Walsh’s Wonderings — Post-4th fireworks

No sooner have I settled in for another night of The Bachelor on TV when suddenly my dog, fear in her eyes and shaking uncontrollably, jumps on my chest and plants her butt on my chin. If it’s July or August, it must be some clown in my neighborhood shooting off fireworks again. I loved fireworks as a kid. My dad would take us out to Long Island Sound and watch the town fireworks display as the boaters honked at the really good ones. It’s fun to see a child’s face light up when the finale goes longer than expected. … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The importance of the Fourth of July

Today we celebrate the courage our forefathers showed 242 years ago in throwing off the chains of oppression in the interest of a new, more representative government. They created the Declaration of Independence with the idea it would precede a living document–our Constitution — that would inoculate the country from the whims of its leaders. (For instance, Ben Franklin suggesting the turkey rather than bald eagle as our national bird.) It was truly brave and unprecedented to place so much power in the hands of commoners. (White, male commoners, anyway.) An honest commemoration of the Fourth of July should therefore … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — A questionable evolution

I’m always surprised when I see people answer their phone without looking at caller ID. It’s an act of so full of tolerance and trust that I have to force myself not to look for a halo. It wasn’t always that way, of course. Growing up, a phone call was an occasion. My siblings and I would bolt for the phone as soon as it rang; we never knew it was capable of ringing more than once. If the call wasn’t for us, we’d yell at each other to “make it quick” so someone else’s call could get through. We … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Spam feels good!

Most people make the mistake of avoiding their email spam folder. I view it as a quick pick-me-up on those days when it seems the world’s against me. It’s a lot like the “Little House on the Prairie” in that nothing bad ever happens there. (Unless you’re a deposed Nigerian ruler who’s been unfairly kicked out of his country and forced to live on the kindness of American strangers.) Just browsing through the subject lines of each message makes me feel special: “I’ve been looking for you all my life,” or “To my dearest friend I haven’t met,” or “You’ve … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Irish Goodbyes

Party guests are like the Catch of the Day; if they hang around too long, they stink. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been a fan of the “Irish Goodbye,” the act of leaving a social situation without any notice. It’s the real world’s Control-Alt-Delete button combo, a mercifully quick ending that skips formality in the interest of practicality. I come from a very large Irish family where leaving family functions involves a series of farewell gestures that can take longer than the Irish War of Independence. Someone inevitably saves that particularly juicy story for the moment our wives are shaking … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Windshield wiper personality test

Everything you need to know about someone you can learn while watching them drive in the rain. More specifically, how they use their windshield wipers. Some people turn on their wipers as if they’re paying by the minute. They’re perfectly content to allow water to transform the windshield into stained glass before they permit the first pass of the wipers. Passengers double-check their seat belts and ponder living wills as the car plunges forward as if driving through a lake. For these drivers, “visibility” is a relative term. Others treat raindrops as rabbits they can’t allow to breed. At the … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Musical shame

It happened as soon as I’d started our new car for the first time. I figured it was something left over from the previous owner. “Must have been an ABBA fan,” we chuckled as the first strains of “The Winner Takes It All” wafted unbidden through the speakers that night. It was easy enough to switch to the radio, so we thought nothing of it. When “Take a Chance on Me” popped up without warning the next time we started the car, we wondered if the previous owner had been Swedish, or maybe a distant relative of singer Anni-Frid Synni. … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The Easter Bunny: The oddest mascot

This weekend signals the end of 40 days of fasting and prayer for Christians celebrating the Easter season. Holy Thursday is the observation of the Last Supper, where Christians believe Jesus Christ established the sacrament of Holy Communion and formed the priesthood that would serve after Him. Good Friday commemorates His crucifixion and death, while Easter Sunday celebrates His resurrection from the dead and the cleansing of humankind’s sins. Somewhere amid all this solemnity, we ended up with the Easter Bunny. It’s a jarring addition to an otherwise imposing occasion, like paying homage to the Battle of Gettysburg with “Winky, … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Arguing on social media

We’ve all seen it. No sooner does Aunt Martha post an Instagram picture of Bobby trying on Halloween costumes at Walmart than someone is posting about the working conditions or whether big box stores should sell guns to teenagers. Somehow, whether Bobby should go as Spider-Man or a rabbit has devolved into otherwise-rational adults arguing over constitutional amendments. Why does this always happen online? The artificial intimacy of social media, combined with the immediacy with which we can interact, creates an inflated sense of our own importance. Arguing is typically defined as the exchange of opposing views with the aim … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Planning for retirement

Wall Street Journal financial writer Jonathan Clements once wrote, “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” I’m at that age when the clammy hand of mortality rests uncomfortably on my shoulder, so perhaps it’s time to start thinking about my retirement before my boss does. According to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live until age 84 (a woman until 86). It goes on to say one of every four of us who … Read more

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