Inspiration OctoberNovember 2004

Shortarmguy's Emails That Made Me Think

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November 28, 2004

Pictures From Iraq That Are Too Shocking & Graphic for The Mainstream Media

Yep, the Iraqi’s sure do hate us over there.  When was the last time the mainstream media showed all these angry Iraqis seething with rage at the US for liberating them and removing their beloved dictator?  These images are just too graphic to be shown on television, obviously. 

November 20, 2004

(taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds)

Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people’s.

A grandfather is a man grandmother.

Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the store and have lots of quarters for us.

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.

They show us and talk to us about the color of the flowers and also Why we shouldn’t step on “cracks.”

They don’t say, “Hurry up.”

Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes.

They wear glasses and funny underwear.

They can take their teeth and gums out.

Grandparents don’t have to be smart.

They have to answer questions like “why isn’t God married?” and “How come dogs chase cats?”.

When they read to us, they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.

Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television, because they are the only grown ups who like to spend time with us.

They know we should have snack-time before bedtime and they say prayers with us every time, and kiss us even when we’ve acted bad.


November 14, 2004

Don’t close your blinds . . . .

The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war. My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation.

My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window. He said “Son, stand there and tell me what you see?”  

“I see trees and cars and our neighbor’s houses.” he replied.  

“OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush.” .

Our son giggled and said “OK.”  

“Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country” my husband said.  

“OK Dad, I’m pretending.”  

“Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam Hussein come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid. You see all of this, son…. what do you do?”  


“What do you do son?”  

“I’d call the police, Dad.”  

“OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call.  They listen to what you know and what you saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?” 

“Dad … but the police are supposed to help!” My son starts to whine.  

“They don’t want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it,” my husband says.  

“But Dad … he killed her!!” my son exclaims. 

“I know he did …but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you  to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you’re pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children.”  

“Daddy…he kills them?”  

“Yes son, he does. What do you do?”  

“Well, if the police don’t want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him.” our son says.  

“Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him,” my husband says.  

“But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can’t stop him by myself!!”  

“WHAT DO YOU DO, SON?” Our son starts to cry.  

“OK, no one wants to help you, the madman across the street saw you ask for  help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?”  

“What Daddy?”  

“He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and  then …he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?”  



Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, “I’d close the  blinds, Daddy.”  

My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him…”Why?”  

“Because Daddy…..the police are supposed to help people who needs them…and they won’t help…. You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won’t help either…they won’t help me stop him…I’m afraid….I can’t do it by myself  Daddy…..I can’t look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and…and… nothing…so….I’m just going to close the blinds…. so I can’t see what he’s doing……..and I’m going to pretend that it is not happening.”  

I start to cry.  

My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband’s questions and he says…”Son”  

“Yes, Daddy.”  

“Open the blinds because that man…. he’s at your front door…”WHAT DO YOU DO?”  

My son looks at his father, terror and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: “I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I’M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I’M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I’M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!”  

I see a tear roll down my husband’s cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says… “It’s too late to fight him, he’s too strong and he’s already at your front door son… should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what’s  right, even if you have to do it alone, before it’s too late.” my husband whispers.  The scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen son, that is the greatest evil of all.  Our President is doing what is right. We, as a free nation, must understand that this war is a war of humanity. WE must remove evil men from power so that we can continue to live in a free world where we are not afraid to look out our window so that my nine year old son won’t grow up in a world where he feels that if he just “closes” the blinds the atrocities in the world won’t affect him “YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT!, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!” BE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! BE PROUD OF OUR TROOPS!! SUPPORT THEM!!!  SUPPORT AMERICA SO THAT IN THE FUTURE OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO CLOSE THEIR BLINDS…”  

This should be printed in every newspaper and posted in every school in  America. Of course that won’t happen so we’ll use the internet. If your blinds are closed do nothing with this email. If they are open I do not need to tell you what to do.  

GOD BLESS USA!!!!!!!!!!

November 7, 2004

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which
direction was north because, he explained, he didn’t want the sun waking
him up every morning. She asked, “Does the sun rise in the North?”

When another person jumped in and explained that the sun rises in the
east, (and has for some time), she shook her head and said, “Oh, I don’t
keep up with that stuff.”

, , , And then she voted.

I used to work in technical support for a 24×7 call center. One day I
got a call from an Individual who asked what hours the call center was
open. I told him, “The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week.” He responded, “Is that Eastern or Pacific time?” Wanting to
end the call quickly, I said, “Uh … Pacific.”

.. . . And then he voted.

So my colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we
overheard one of the admin. assistants talking about the sunburn she got
on her weekend drive to the shore. She drove down in a convertible, but
“didn’t think she’d get sunburned because the car was moving.”

.. . . And then she voted.

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car. It’s designed to cut through
a seatbelt if she gets trapped.

She keeps it in the trunk.

. . . And then she voted.

My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were
discounted 10%. Since it was a big party, we bought two cases. The
cashier multiplied two times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.

….and then he voted.

I was hanging out with a Liberal friend of mine when we saw a woman walk
by us with a nose ring attached to an
earring by a chain.

My friend said, “Wouldn’t the chain rip out every time she turned her

I had to explain to her that a person’s nose and ear remain the same
distance apart no matter which way the head is turned.

. . . And then she voted.

My girlfriend and I were picking up some sandwiches from the sub place
last week and she asked the clerk which one of two sandwiches was
better. The clerk didn’t
have an opinion but did say that the first sandwich was more expensive.

My girlfriend got a quizzical look on
her face and asked, “If that’s the case, why are they both listed with
the same price on the menu?”

To this, the clerk responded, “I don’t think they tax the turkey.”

. . . And then he voted.

I couldn’t find my luggage at the airport baggage area.  So I went to
the lost luggage office and told the woman
there that my bags never showed up.

She smiled and told me not to worry because they were trained
professionals and I was in good hands.

“Now,” She asked me, “has your plane arrived yet?”

. . . And then she voted.


October 31, 2004

A Recent Letter To Larry Elder

Dear Larry,

Last Thursday, I put out one of my Bush-Cheney signs in my front yard. Between midnight and 3:00 a.m. someone stole it. On Friday night, I put out sign No. 2. Since I didn’t have to get up early, I thought my dog and I would “stake out” our sign. This time I put the sign a little closer to the gate leading to my back yard. With my dog on an extra long leash, I planted myself on a lawn chair and read “Unfit For Command” by flashlight until about 1:00 a.m.

Here comes the fun part … I noticed that the car coming down the street was slowing down and pulling over to the curb right next to my yard. Sure enough, he gets out of his car and heads right for my sign. Just as he was about to uproot and desecrate it, I opened my gate and let my dog make the initial introduction!

As he ran to hide behind the rear end of his car, I promptly moved to the driver-side door, which was still open. It was a fairly nice car with power everything and still running. While my dog continued to “introduce” herself, I rolled up the window and hit the power door lock button. With that, I slammed the door, grabbed my Bush sign and headed into the back yard.

And now for the “rest of the story.” About 40 minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to one of our city’s finest … the Vancouver Police Department. The officer asked me what was going on and when I told him, he could not stop laughing!

I followed him out to the perp’s car and stood there while he asked the guy a few more questions. Upon learning that the guy lived a couple of streets down, I – knowing what was about to happen – asked him, “Why do you have Oregon plates on your car if you live just down the street (here in Vancouver, Wash.)?”

Larry, Oregon has no sales tax, so often Washington residents will buy and register cars in Oregon to avoid paying sales tax … it’s a crime and the fine is pretty stiff. Here comes the best part … The look on this guy’s face told me he knew he was about to get busted. When the officer asked for his license and registration, the “Democrat” mumbled that (his license) was suspended.

Just for kicks and giggles, I asked the officer if he smelled any alcohol coming from the guy! The officer looked at me, smiled and promptly gave him a field breathalyzer test. Guess what? You got it – he blew a .10, legally drunk in the state of Washington.

DUI, illegal registration and the brand of “MORON,” all ’cause he hates Bush!



P.S. If you do not know who Larry Elder is, you should. You can find him at:

October 24, 2004

Sometimes it DOES take a Rocket Scientist!! 

But – sometimes those high paid brains aren’t so brainy!

Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard 4 pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high-speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers. When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer’s back-rest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.

You’re going to love this… NASA responded with a one-line memo —

“Defrost the chicken.”

October 17, 2004

Recently I was checking my 401k account and thinking about retirement, as everyone does when they hit 62.

I saw an article about nursing and retirement homes and the expenses. Then it hit me.   No nursing home for me! 

Here is my plan: I’m checking into the Holiday Inn. With the average cost for a nursing home reaching $188 per day, there is a better way when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn. For a combined long-term stay discount and senior discount, it’s $49.23 per night. That leaves $139.77 a day for breakfast, lunch, dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service. It also will leave enough for laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies.

Plus, I’ll get a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, and washer and dryer.  I’ll also get free toothpaste, razors, shampoo and soap.  And I’ll be treated like a customer, not a patient.

Five dollars worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling. 

There is a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick me up if I fake a decent limp.  Ride the church bus free on Sundays.  For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there.  While you’re at the airport, fly somewhere.

Meanwhile, the cash keeps building up. It takes months to get into decent nursing homes.  On the other hand, Holiday Inn will take your reservation today.  And you are not stuck in one place forever — you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city.

Want to see Hawaii?  They have a Holiday Inn there, too.  TV broken?  Light bulbs need changing?  Need a mattress replaced?  No problem.  They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service.  The maid checks if you are OK.  If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance.  If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life. 

And no worries about visits from family.  They will always be glad to visit you, and probably check in for a mini-vacation.  The grandkids can use the pool. What more can you ask for?

When I discussed my plan with friends, they came up with even more benefits that Holiday Inn provides retirees.  Most standard rooms have coffee makers, reclining chairs, and satellite TV — all you need to enjoy a cozy afternoon.  After a movie and a good nap, you can check on your children (free local phone calls), then take a stroll to the lounge or restaurant where you meet new and exotic people every day. 

Many Holiday Inns even feature live entertainment on the weekends. 

Often they have special offers, too, like the Kids Eat Free program.  You can invite your grandkids over after school to have a free dinner with you.  Just tell them not to bring more than three friends.

Pick a Holiday Inn where they allow pets, and your best friend can keep you company as well.  If you want to travel, but are a bit skittish about unfamiliar surroundings, you’ll always feel at home because wherever you go, the rooms all look the same.  And if you’re getting a little absent-minded in your old days, you never have to worry about not finding your room — your electronic key fits only one door and the helpful bellman or desk clerk is on duty 24/7.

Being natural skeptics, we called a Holiday Inn to check out the easibility of my plan.  I’m happy to report that they were positively giddy at the idea of us checking in for a year or more.  They even offered to negotiate the rate.  We could have easily knocked them down to $40 a night!

“So, when I reach the golden age I’ll face it with a grin.

Just forward all your emails to the Holiday Inn!”

October 11, 2004

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah (on her show) for Dr. Angelou’s 74th birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.  And, there on television, she said it was “exciting.” Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day… like her breasts.  They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist first, she said. The audience laughed so hard they cried. Dr. Angelou also said:
“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. 

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. 

I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” 

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. 

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. 

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually
make the right decision. 

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. 

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. 

I’ve learned that I still have lot to learn. 

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

October 3, 2004

Dusting Off 

I have an important friend named Trey, who is exactly ten years older than I am, yet he lives the childlike life of one who is many years younger.  When I was six, he was part of my Sunday school class.  He seemed huge and intimidating at first, sitting crammed into a small wooden chair, but we became best friends on that first day after he broke a cookie in two and with a large grin handed me the smaller half.  I thought of him as a protector, a special friend.  It didn’t matter that he was mentally handicapped, for I saw him as a grown-up who understood me.  As years went by, however, I began to outgrow Trey.  I grew up and Trey just grew.  Sometimes I would watch him and wonder: did he notice that I was no longer in his Sunday school class?  Did he realize I had moved on with my life as he treaded water?  Did he ever miss me?

One Sunday, just a year before I began college – where I planned to participate in many sports as I had in high school – Trey’s mom asked me if I would like to earn some extra money by being his “special Saturday friend.”  I wish I could say I accepted for altruistic reasons, but the truth was, I accepted because I needed money for tuition.  Trey and I went to the library, to the pet store or for walks in the park.  I mainly worked with him on socialization.

To my embarrassment, I quickly learned that this 200-pound man-boy liked to shake people’s hands.  In spite of his ear-to-ear grin, he could be daunting when he galloped up to strangers and stuck out his large hand in a hearty greeting.  It was hard to teach him this behavior was inappropriate.

“Stand next to me and do not go up to people,” I spoke tersely.  “No one likes it.”

“Ochay,” he obediently replied, as if he hadn’t a care in the world, and nothing was important.

When Trey learned to ride his bike, I watched as he ran off curbs and toppled over about a dozen times.  Sighing deeply, I would impatiently tap my foot on the sidewalk and tell him, “Dust off and try again!”  I assumed I was the smart one, the one with all the answers.  That was about to change.

That summer, while playing in the city’s softball tournament, I was sliding into third base when my cleat caught in the ground, pulling my foot to the right and backwards as my body fell forward.  My parents, sitting in the bleachers, heard two loud cracks.  I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.  X rays revealed a broken leg and a foot that was totally twisted off my ankle and hanging, saclike, in my skin.  Emergency surgery lasted into the wee hours of the morning.  A pin was put in place to hold my foot to my ankle and screws were inserted in the broken leg.

In the early morning, groggy from anesthesia, I awoke to see my father, my mother and Trey at my bedside.  He waited for me to jump up and do something with him.

“Hi!” he grinned as he shoved his hand in my face.

“Hi Trey,” I weakly shook his hand.  My leg hurt and my mind was dense from pain medication.

“Dust off . . . try again,” he said, repeating what he had heard me say so often.

“I can’t.”

“Ochay,” he sweetly nodded and galloped out of my room in search of a hand to shake.

“Trey, don’t shake hands,” I whispered.  “No one likes it.”

Before leaving the hospital, my orthopedic surgeon said I might never regain the same mobility in my ankle – mobility essential for a champion sprinter and jumper like me.  Not allowed to put weight on my leg for eight weeks, I wobbled about on steel crutches.  Now Trey was the impatient one.  He wanted to go places that I couldn’t manage.  He sat with his arms crisscrossed over his large belly and stared at me with a pouty face.

We read many children’s books and drew pictures, but it was plain to see he was bored.  He wanted to go to the pet store to see the white mice and feathery birds.  He wanted to go to the library and count all the books on the shelves.  He wanted to go to the park and have me push him on the swing.  I couldn’t do any of this for a while.

Meanwhile I was plagued with questions and self-doubt.  Would I be finished with physical therapy in time to run track?  Would I ever run at my capacity again?  Would I do well in the 300-meter hurdles, the race I had lettered in the previous season?  Would it still be my event?  Or would the doctor’s prediction be correct?

I worked hard at my physical therapy.  Afterwards, I packed my foot in ice.  At times, Trey came along to watch me work out and he laughed and laughed when he discovered the stationary bike didn’t move.  “No dusting off!” he’d say.  How simple life was for him.  How complicated it had become for me.  I tried not to cry in front of him.

Finally off my crutches, I pushed myself hard to regain my former mobility.  Trey ran laps with me around the black tar track at my high school, running slightly askew.  Sometimes he tripped over his own feet and fell down hard.

“Dust off!” he would tell himself with confidence as he rubbed dirt from his legs and knees.  I watched him greet each defeat with determination.  He never gave up.

After many months, I somehow managed to qualify for the 300-meter hurdles.  Mom, Dad and Trey sat in the stands to cheer me.

Stay focused, I told myself as I mentally prepared.

The starting gunshot split the air.  Running, I could feel the tautness in my legs.  My legs hit the hard track one after the other, in a quick rhythm.  My breathing was even.  I could feel some of the other runners around me, next to me, passing me, ahead of me.  I ignored the rising pain in my foot and ankle as I prayed away the thumping fear taking hold inside my chest.  On the other side of the track, I ran into a wall of cheers.  No time to react or think – just time to run and run hard.

More runners passed me, then another and another.  Over the hurdles they flew easily like great birds stepping over stones.

“Look at that new girl move.  Go Tiffany,” I heard someone shout to the other runner.  Last year it was my name they called.

Once I had sailed over the hurdles.  Now I felt as if I were pulling myself up and over.  Then something shifted inside me – I thought of Trey and what he had had to deal with.  Suddenly my problems seemed minor.  With a new sense of determination, I sprang forth.  I wish I could say that through a superhuman effort I passed the other runners.  But I didn’t.  In fact, I limped across the finish line, dead last in an event in which I had once set a record.  Then I looked up into the stands.  Trey and my folks stood cheering for me harder than any time I had ever won.

As the season progressed I did improve, but I never placed first, second or third.  I never set another school record.  My hopes for a track college scholarship were dashed.  Yet I learned a lesson more valuable than any medal.  And it was this: “Dust off and try again.”  I also learned that courage comes not in the easy times, but when it’s hard to go on – when others pass you, regardless of how hard you work.  Now I finally understand Trey’s courage, as he shakes the hands of complete strangers, risking laughter or rejection.

Today, I no longer grieve for the athlete I might have been, or the races I might have won, or the records I had hoped to break.  I see a world filled with possibilities as I walk (not run) down new paths to explore.

Now, on Saturdays, when someone stares at us, I pull on Trey’s sleeve.  “Go shake his hand, Trey.”  My crutches gather dust in a musty corner of the garage.  In contrast, Trey’s handicap remains fresh as the day he was born.  And every day he is braver than I could ever be.

Taken from an Email from Chicken Soup For The Soul’s Daily Inbox

Inspiration from the past