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Kerrying On

Kerrying On: Restless Thoughts

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kerry Patterson

Kerry Patterson is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything.

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Kerrying On

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Sometimes my wife buys dark chocolate mini candy bars and sets a bowl of them next to the TV in the family room. If I get caught up in a program (say, I’m watching a show involving moving pictures) and don’t pay attention to my snacking habits, it’s not long until I’ve eaten twenty or thirty delicious dark-chocolate treats—which I then pass off as health food because we all know that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants.

Unfortunately, when I go to bed later that evening my mind races wildly under the influence of the caffeine.

While I’m in the throes of this caffeine-induced altered state I often come up with some pretty whacked-out thoughts. The first time this happened I waited until I was almost asleep before I picked up a notebook that I had left on my nightstand and wrote down my ideas—which seemed positively brilliant at the time. But it turns out that I had waited too long, and the next morning I found the following note: “Productivity, it can only be increased by rubber ducky asphalt hypochondria.” Since then I’ve learned that if I get up before I’ve grown too sleepy and write down my ideas, I catch them before they have been morphed by the sandman. Then, instead of being incoherent, my ideas merely turn out to be off-beat.

Two nights ago I got up and wrote what I have come to think of as my restless thoughts. So, instead of offering up an extended narrative as usual, this month, thanks to the Hershey Corporation—and with apologies to Jack Handey—I share with you my latest restless thoughts.

***

If reincarnation is true, I want to come back as myself—only in the form of one of those plastic bobble-head dolls. That way I can sit at my desk and jiggle my head back and forth and I won’t have to move my arms and legs at all. That’s what I currently do at work, but if I were a bobble-head doll people would find my inactivity cute and charming instead of loathsome and disgusting.

***

Sometimes I drive around town in my car while wearing a bicycle helmet. Then when I spot a biker who isn’t wearing a helmet I roll down my window and screech obscenities while pointing at my helmet. Everybody deserves a positive role model.

***

Next time you’re at, say, a Kevin Costner movie and the person behind you starts talking real loud on his cell phone, close your eyes and think to yourself, “Phone explode! Phone explode!” If everyone in the theater did this at the very same moment the phone probably wouldn’t explode or anything, but then again, with their eyes being closed and all, nobody would have to be watching a Kevin Costner movie.

***

I wish I could have been a mouse in the pocket of the famed alpinist Sir Edmond Hillary when he climbed Mt. Everest for the very first time. Or maybe with Albert Einstein when he first scratched on the blackboard the mind-boggling formula E=mc2. Not that I care about mountain climbing or physics; I just think it would be cool to live in a pocket.

***

When I was a kid growing up my dad always used to tell me he was an entrepreneur—which I looked up in the dictionary and learned is French for “between preneur.” And although I’m not absolutely certain, I’m pretty sure preneur means “jobs.”

***

Yesterday I rushed myself to the emergency room to have my heart massaged. I didn’t have heart problems or anything I just wanted to see what it would feel like to have my heart massaged. It turns out that the bureaucrats who run the hospital had put into place a bunch of policies that discourage such curiosity. It’s no wonder American healthcare is so screwed up.

***

My mom hates all forms of confrontation. Rather than tell dad that his feet stink, she gave him charcoal insoles and explained that in case he ever got lost in the mountains he could use his shoes as a hibachi.

***

One of the great ironies of our time is that despite the fact that our cities are becoming more choked and congested and we’re stacking more and more people on top of each other, we’re growing increasingly isolated and lonely. Couple this with the fact that we’re a much more mobile society with children moving to the far flung reaches of the world and increased political tensions and rivalries pitting family members against one another—and it’s little wonder that there are times when I swear I feel just like an orphan. Mostly when I’m standing over my parents’ graves.

***

There’s been a lot of talk lately about CO2 emissions. It appears that we produce more of it than we need. But going to the trouble to reduce CO2 will eventually cause a major inconvenience to all of us. So I was doing some outside-the-box thinking. Why not just learn to be more open minded and tolerant? Maybe we should embrace CO2 rather than ridicule it. After all, aren’t we living in a time where race, gender, and carbon-based molecules of all creeds and origins should be able to live peacefully side by side? I think so.

***

Never borrow a coat from the guy who first came up with the expression “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

***

The other day I went to the pet store to buy my wife a puppy for her birthday. The salesman up-sold me to a Clydesdale. One thing’s for sure—when you give your wife a Clydesdale you don’t get that cute little jump in the air accompanied by a screech of joy. Nope. Not with a Clydesdale.

***

Have you ever noticed that it’s perfectly correct to say, “Sometimes your feet come in handy”? But it’s always wrong to say, “Sometimes your hands come in feety.” What’s with that?

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Kerry Patterson

Cofounder of VitalSmarts, Kerry has coauthored four New York Times bestselling books as well as co-designed the company’s line of award-winning training programs. As author of our most popular column, Kerrying On, Kerry shares his vision, experience, and advice through fun and insightful stories from his past. read more

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