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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Seagull



Yesterday after a long walk on the beach, my husband stopped to wash off his feet in a pool of water, because he is the sort that likes everything just so,and dislikes getting sand between his toes and his sandals. Never mind that's why sandals are called sandals--so they can be sandy. Larry placed his sandals next to the pool of water and stooped down to wash his feet. While he was hunched over, a seagull flew overhead and pooped right beside him. The poop splattered onto his hair. As much as Larry dislikes sand between his toes, he dislikes seagull poop in his hair even more. He quickly forgot about his sandy toes, and went into the surf to rinse out his hair. His hair was now poop-free, but wet. When it dried it was stiff with salt and every time I  looked at him I wanted to laugh, again, because it was impossible to look at his funky hair and not remember his look of shock when the poop hit. (Mean, I know.)

Yesterday was a reminder that even when you try to do everything just right, a seagull might bomb by and just maybe you'll have to spend the rest of the afternoon with stiff, funky hair. And how maybe you work really hard to get your toes sand free, thinking that this is important, until  you have poop in your hair and the sand between your toes just doesn't matter anymore.

Life is like that. We were in Oceanside at sunset and the sky was pinky orange and the clouds were huge and there was a band playing on the pier and children laughing and splashing in the water, and a collection of shells and pebbles at our feet and all the world seemed perfect, until the seagull came by. But there will be always seagulls. Maybe laughing isn't mean. Maybe it's the very best thing to do.

What does this have to do with a healthy life-style? Pretty much everything. For one thing, laughing is good for you. According to health web MD, "Laughter stretches muscles, burns calories and produces a natural energy booster." And for another, poop happens. Everyday something unhealthfully delicious walks in my door. Whether it’s a friend’s birthday celebration, or a t-ball player selling candy bars, or a girl scout selling cookies, or guy outside his restaurant passing out free samples, (do I really need to go on?) most of us here in the prosperous US  live a life of super abundance.
We have the counter-challenge of excess. Those who are struggling for food would laugh when we call abundance a curse, but isn’t it? Without excess we wouldn’t have obesity, alcoholism, drug addictions, hoarders (I could go on.) Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a magic train where we could stash all of our extra calories and send them to those who need them? Why can’t we bundle up all that we don’t need and ship it to countries starved by draught or strapped by greedy governments? Wouldn’t that be better than wearing our excess around our bums or stuffing it into spandex?
But I don’t have a magic train and I do have spandex. The challenge is to stay lean, mean and yet still be able to laugh when the seagulls bomb by.

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