“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” Lennon wrote, but today’s Pearls Before Swine (AMS) suggests that so does pizza.
I had a life plan not so different from Neighbor Ned’s though not quite as grandiose. I wanted the novel published sooner, but then only to be a successful novelist by 35, in the sense of writing what I wanted and living on the proceeds.
Well, as the Yiddish proverb goes, “Man plans, God laughs,” and it was gentle, affectionate laughter, because by 35 it was clear that I wasn’t going to be a novelist, but, meanwhile, the writing I’d been doing around the edges had taken over the center. Not only was I better at it, but I enjoyed it.
And people gave me money for it, which clinched the deal, since, if you have money, you can buy pizza.
Two bits of happenstance: One is that Terry Gross interviewed Paul McCartney on Fresh Air Wednesday, and it’s worth a listen or a read of the transcript, John Lennon not being available.
He talks about his life and work, which includes several changes in direction.
The other is that the Denver Broncos traded megastar player, Von Miller, this week, which reminded me of what a kind and thoughtful interview he did with one of my young reporters a few years ago.
I don’t know how many of the youngsters I worked with will go on to become professional journalists, but they certainly got a better look at the possibilities than I ever did, thanks to people like Miller who took them seriously and didn’t just pat them on their heads.
Lest we get too mushy, here’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal with a reminder of what is either God laughing or, as she suggests, survivor bias.
It’s a reminder that for everyone making a speech on Oscar Night about believing in yourself and following your dream, there are a thousand who dreamt of being there but are doing something else instead.
If they played their cards right, it’s just a case of life having happened, and God’s laughter is him assuring you that this was really the plan all along.
If, on the other hand, they’re bitter about the change in directions, that’s on them.
As they say on Sesame Street, “Letter B.”
Juxtaposition of the Day
There are a number of cartoons about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is out of Sunday’s game after testing positive for the coronavirus, but I leave to a pair of Wisconsin cartoonists to bring home the charge.
Rodgers isn’t god, but he may have just changed a lot of other people’s plans anyway.
The betrayal Heller speaks of, and Hands suggests, being that Rodgers declined to be vaccinated, claiming some sort of hippie voodoo treatment instead, which may not fit in with medical science but is at least congruent with his other revelation this past week, which is that he’s partnered with a Bitcoin company and is hoping you will, too.
It’s a chance to do to your life savings and your family what Rodgers has done to his health and his teammates.
Did I mention that Von Miller outfits 5,000 poor kids a year with free eye exams and glasses?
I don’t know what Miller’s original plan was, but I admire where he’s at.
On a related note — related both to the pandemic and to young reporters learning to do the job right — Alex touches on a sore spot.
There is a sudden profusion of young dogs at the park, in part because we had a number of old dogs who checked out over the past year, but also because of the flood of pandemic puppies mentioned here.
As the dog walker says, there’s been some transition required as people have started back to work, and the dog walkers and doggie daycare people have benefited, because all those yearlings are used to human companionship 24/7 and most people aren’t able to work at home permanently.
But there has been a journalistic phenomenon that makes me despair for the profession: Feature stories about how all these pandemic puppies are now being brought back to the shelters.
So far, what I’ve seen are stories about why J-schools should teach logic and statistics, because the reporters dutifully report that a lot of people adopted puppies and now a lot of puppies are being returned.
What’s not being reported is whether the failure rate — the percentage — is higher. That is, perhaps you had 50 dogs adopted and five were returned last September, while this year you had 70 dogs adopted and seven returned.
That’s an increase but it’s not a change. It’s still a 10 percent failure rate.
This is before we deal with the implication in all of these stories that people have been thoughtlessly adopting puppies and then heartlessly abandoning them.
It does take two to tango. Increased demand shouldn’t cause a decreased effort in screening potential owners. A good reporter would ask the obvious question.
However, first let’s do the basic math to figure out if we even have a story at all.
And, yes, I know what happens when a features editor gets hopped up about a story assignment, and the reporter tries to explain that it just isn’t out there.
Editors plan, God weeps.
Meanwhile, embrace your changes. Or miss your chances.