The Joy of Superficial Expectations

January17/ 2000

..Yes, I have read “A Purpose Driven Life”.  Hasn’t everybody? … at least all of us Red State “God Squaders”.  A Lib acquaintence got a copy for Christmas, saw it was “religious” and immediately tossed it in the garbage before it’s “Christian cooties” got on him. … I am offering a back-up corollary to Reverend Warren’s outstanding blueprint for healthy living.  

   One of the several parallel universes I inhabit is devoted to “sports”. In sports this is, pardon me Mr. Dickens, “the best of times and the worst of times” … March Madness.  64 collegiate basketball teams are selected to compete in a 3-week single elimination “Battle Royal” to determine a “National Champion”.  With most sports events, elections, and pre-emptive nuclear strikes there can be only one “winner”.  63 of the 64 schools’ fans that were so thrilled to be “invited to the dance” will end up disappointed, dejected, and blaming “referees, Ken Starr, Dan Rather, or the Internet” for their team’s failure to win the championship. 

   One team will “cut down the nets” in St Louis and many of its fans living lives of varying levels of desperation (like a high % of modern society) will immediately claim moral and intellectual superiority over the rest of mankind.  That euphoria lasts about 72 hours before succumbing to the relentless reality of unrequited personal and professional existence.

   Me, I am all in favor of any simplistic route to “happiness” via life’s simple pleasures … regardless of how fleeting, short-lived, or irrational said “happiness” may be.  I happily introduce you to BobLee’s “Joys of Superficial Expectations”.

   I watched a lot of basketball this past weekend.  “My team” (UNC Tar Heels) won convincingly and most of my friends’ teams (NC State and Duke) also “advanced”.  Whether they won by a “buzzerbeater” or in a “rout” is incidental.  That “we won” shall not be diminished by “that scoring drought at the 10 minute mark”. By 10 PM Sunday night as the sharks were attacking the nubile coeds on “Spring Break Shark Attack” I was contentedly reflecting on a lot of exciting basketball.  My vicarious self-worth was intact.

   Everything we encounter in life is NOT an artichoke requiring multi-level peeling away of layers to get to it’s “core”.  So much can simply be enjoyed for what it is.  Did “learning the truth about Santa Claus” really make you a better person?

   One of my favorite authors is Clive Cussler.  I have read and enjoyed every one of the several dozen fiction novels he has written.  Like many successful fiction writers be they Ludlum, Clancy, Grisham, Sheldon, Fleming, et al … he follows an easily recognized “formula” in every book.  Is “a Dirk Pitt Adventure” great literature?  Who cares … I enjoy the heck out of each time Dirk saves the world from some insidious super-villain.  I grab the latest Clive Cussler the nano-second it hits my neighborhood Barnes & Nobles and devour it within 48 hours.  Ranking Clive Cussler with Victor Hugo, Herman Melville, or Jackie Collins is the farthest thing from my mind.  I simply enjoy the exciting story he tells me.  Superficial expectations are easily fulfilled.

   The DaVinci Code is a marvelously exciting adventure story.  I devoured it over a recent two day business trip without a scintilla of concern about my Christian beliefs.  If Dan Brown was trying to get me to question my faith he failed.  If he was trying to get me to buy his next book … he succeeded.

   Going to a movie I don’t pay much attention to the “cinematography”.  Because I have no clue what “cinematography” is.  I might notice the “musical score” but more than likely it will be on a subconscious level.  I go to a movie to be entertained.  All those categories that clutter up the first two hours of the Academy Awards are lost on me.  My idea of an “art film” is Forrest Gump.

    I have seen Roadhouse, Green Berets, Lonesome Dove, and the Rambo Trilogy about 137 more times each than I have watched our wedding video.  No offense intended to the Mizzus at all. They entertain me.  That’s all I ask of a freakin’ movie … superficial expectation are easily fulfilled.

   I labored for 15 years in the 5-Star luxury hotel business.  I emerged from that experience knowing three things about “wine”.  One … it comes in 3 colors … red, white, and pink.  Two … the red kind makes the worst stain on a white shirt. Three … the indention in the bottom of the bottle is called a “punt”.  I realize there is a lot of other stuff to know about wine; but wine is not that important to me.  I limit my experience to “does it taste good?” …  Superficial expectations are easily fulfilled

   Food … does it taste good?  Surprisingly I am considered an “adventuresome” diner.  I am “a Mikey”.  I will eat anything.  My secret used to be a handy bottle of Heinz 57 sauce until the most recent Presidential election when I switched over to A-1 for reasons that should be obvious to patriotic Americans.  Two keys to superficial enjoyment of dining … (1) Never take a tour of a sausage factory … (2) Be glad some other brave soul had the courage (!!) to eat the first egg. 

   While many of you are watching Face The Nation, Meet The Press, or ESPN Sports Reporters on Sunday mornings, I am being enthralled by Pastor Leon Tucker.  That son-of-a-gun can go 45 minutes without his looking at notes or me looking at my watch.  Better yet … by 12:30 or 1 o’clock that afternoon some point he made is still rattling around in my head.  I still cuss too much and linger too long on the occasional lustful thought but I don’t blame Leon.  He makes me think and I still can’t figure when he takes a breath during those 45 minutes.  Leon Tucker fills and surpasses my expectations as “my preacher”.

   Growing up I heard two criticisms … (1) BobLee you “think too much” … and (2) BobLee you “don’t look happy”.  That resulted in two fundamental changes in my life.  (1) I found an occupation where I don’t have to deal directly “with people” … and (2) I stopped “thinking too much” about “being happy”.  Pretty simplistic solutions to what are likely deep-seated mental illnesses but my solution is cheap, saving me lots of money on expensive psycho-babblers … money I can spend on Clive Cussler books.

   Over analyzing every single issue in one’s life has led to many unhappy marriages and many dysfunctional families.  Kid doesn’t have to make A’s EVERY time, The Mizzus can squeeze the toothpaste any way she pleases … and I have my own TV with my very own remote.  Simple solutions to complex issues.

   There are maybe 4-5 “biggies” we spend most of our lives trying to figure out and rarely do.  Deep introspection and circumspection does have its place.  Don’t be assuming I can’t do deep cogitating over certain issues.  “How does MapQuest work so fast” and “Is Oprah the AntiChrist” can fill up as many of my empty hours as I will allow them to.


 ??? Do You Remember ???

Where did Yogi Bear live?


   Have you checked out Mr. Swagger’s sports commentaries over on ?  You really should.

   Speaking of “A Purpose Driven Life” … If MoDo gets kidnapped by a crazed killer and pulls out “It Takes A Village” the NYT could have a vacancy on its Diva Columnist roster.

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