Wednesday morning, driving to the gym and listening to NPR. At that hour of the morning, Garrison Keillor presents ‘The Writer’s Almanac‘ providing interesting factoids about authors that would ensure victory in a game of Trivial Pursuit, if only I would remember them. He then reads from the ‘Poet’s Corner‘ – and I literally had to pull over to listen to his gentle voice intone excerpts from Ron Padgett‘s poem “How To Be Perfect”. Given my post yesterday, the juxtaposition was almost eerie and definitely surprising in the best of all possible ways. I wanted to share it with you, for in keeping with the belief that we could be a bit kinder to ourselves in many areas and more honest with ourselves in others – there is no one who can communicate this like Ron Padgett.
Excerpts from “How To Be Perfect”
Get some sleep.
Eat an orange every morning.
Be friendly. It will help make you happy.
Hope for everything. Expect nothing.
Take care of things close to home first. Straighten your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.
Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.
Don’t stay angry about anything, for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold you anger at arm’s length
and look at it. as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass
Wear comfortable shoes.
Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.
Plan your day so you never have to rush.
Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if
you have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.
After dinner, wash the dishes.
Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.
Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.
Don’t think progress exists. It doesn’t.
Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.
Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not
possible, go to another one.
If you feel tired, rest.
Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel
even older. Which is depressing.
Do one thing at a time.
If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20
minutes. You will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and
Do not inhale smoke.
Take a deep breath.
Do not smart off to a policeman.
Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.
Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.
Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to
drink, say, “Water, please.”
Take out the trash.
Use exact change.
When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.
Lots to think about, lots more to smile about. Please let me know if this struck you as wonderfully as it affected me. Here’s to a fun-filled, thoughtful Thursday!