Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today's fortune: January 12, 2011

Today's fortune: A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share.

(Before I begin, I want to mention my friend Phil. He's been pestering me incessantly to be mentioned on the blog. I thought today's post was the appropriate place, since I'll be writing about short people.)

I now know what it feels like to be a very bad, very clumsy stalker.

While I was thinking about this unusual fortune today at work, I kept looking around the place for short co-workers. But the problem with co-workers is that even if I don't know them personally, they're not technically strangers.

Another problem I encountered is this: by nature, I'm fairly shy. I've never been one to go up and speak to random people. I wish I had that skill; those folks never seem lonely. My mother is able to do that. The running joke in the family is that Mom has never met a stranger. She'll talk to anybody. We kid her about it, but the truth of the matter is my mom has many, many friends, due in large part to her outgoing personality.

In the case of today's fortune, I found inspiration: a way to draw "blessings" from short strangers without actually having to talk to them.

After work, I drove to Half Price Books, my favorite store in the entire world. My plan was to find short people in the store and follow them to see what sections they visited and what items they purchased, and to see what blessings I could draw from their selections.

This is where the stalker skills come in to play.

Upon entering Half Price Books, though, I ran into a problem. It was almost as if a freaking basketball tournament was in town. I couldn't find a single short person.

Finally, I found a short guy. He wasn't that short, though, and as such I didn't draw many blessings from him. The gentleman had two books in his hand, one of them I couldn't identify and another a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I've read Crime and Punishment, but I don't remember much of it. I'm sure there are a lot of "blessings" to draw from Dostoyevsky, but jeez, who has the time or the energy for that?

In the music section I found an even shorter fellow coasting through the used CDs. He was flipping through the S's, and at different times he examined albums by Steppenwolf, Rod Stewart and Styx. In one hand he was grasping a Fleetwood Mac CD, and I saw that he eventually purchased it.

All I know about Fleetwood Mac is that they sing "Landslide," Stevie Nicks is a member, and my wife loves them. That song, "Landslide," is pretty powerful, and it's been covered to death. I personally prefer the Smashing Pumpkins' version:

"Time makes you bolder / Children get older / I'm getting older too." There's a blessing to be had there, especially as I ponder the year in which I'll be turning 32.

As I stalked the Fleetwood Mac purchaser, I noticed that he had noticed me, so I quite covertly turned around and nearly slammed face-first into a shelf of audiobooks. The first book I saw was an abridgement of Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," read by Paul Newman. What a perfect combination. Newman is my all-time favorite actor (Hud, anybody?), and I was blessed by his work. I also feel a personal connection to Twain. Several years back I worked an internship at the Hannibal Courier-Post, a newspaper Twain worked for.

But two short guys did not seem like enough. Then I realized that in the back of the store, there's an entire section dedicated to the shortest people of all. I walked back to the kids' books and began to browse.

The first thing that drew my eye was in the young adult chapter books section. When I was a kid, I was crazy about the Hardy Boys - the original versions my Dad read to me, as well as the "Hardy Boys Casefiles" written in the '80s. I found the very first Hardy Boys Casefiles book, Dead on Target, and bought it. I'm looking forward to reading it again and rediscovering some blessed childhood memories.

Finally, I visited the picture books section. Immediately I searched for one of my all-time favorites: "Where The Wild Things Are."

This book is one powerful little blessing. If you haven't read it or seen the recent movie, "Wild Things" is about a little boy named Max who gets sent to his room by his mother for causing mischief. In his room, he creates a fantasy world filled with "wild things," and he's engrossed in this world for what seems "almost a year." But Max finally gets lonely and decides to journey back home, and the fantasy world turns back into his room.

Max finds his supper waiting for him. The last page of the book declares, "and it was still hot."

The blessing here is that no matter what, your mother will always love you.

I'm happy this strange fortune led me back to such a simple message.