After weeks of hopefully considering a return to normal either in the fall or in the new year, the Covid news does not look good. I can imagine that many are thinking sadly of summer plans that are gone and thinking back to better times. I am generally not a fan of rap music but I do like a song by Macklemore called Good Old Days. There is a section where he raps
Never thought we'd get old, maybe we're still young
Maybe we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I've been missing what it's about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We've come so far, I guess I'm proud
And I ain't worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I've got some scars, I've been around
I've felt some pain, I've seen some things, but I'm here now
Those good old days
It’s hard to look forward with optimism in the wake of the current news but I have a story that brings me hope. My son, Matthew, is 13 years old. Last year, he and a friend started a lawn mowing business. Back in the Good Old Days, I too used to cut lawns. Back then, I started my business by talking to neighbors and made a few dollars using my family lawnmower. I remember my concerns being whether my client’s lawnmower would work and whether I would have enough gas. Matthew’s approach had no resemblance to mine. He started his business not by considering equipment that he needed or putting flyers on telephone poles. No, he built a website and marketed the services that they could provide. Prospective clients can click on the services they wanted (mowing, trimming, raking, etc.) and sign up online. When I asked him who did the website, he gave me a look that said “anyone with a brain can build a website.” This is where the story starts.
Earlier this week, Matthew asked me to help him with a “work” problem. He and his partner had agreed to mow a lawn but when they did it, they found it was much larger than they realized and took longer than they expected. He wanted to inform his client and set a new price going forward. I started to talk to him about how he should talk to his client. He stopped me mid-sentence to inform me that the client is in Germany and hired them over the internet. He showed me the email he was crafting to explain the situation. Shocked and amazed by amazed by all of this, I noticed that the last line of the email provided the client with the PayPal account to which he should make payment. I asked Matthew about why there was a picture embedded in the email and he explained that it was how they show their clients that they did the work because most of the clients live somewhere other than Arlington and are renting their homes here. My conclusion from this is that we are going to be okay. I know times are difficult right now but humans are innovative and resilient. We’ll find a way through this. As the song says, I don’t need to pine for the Good Old Days; I may be living them now.
This week’s selections are below:
- Sorry for Your Trouble by Richard Ford. This is a new collection of short stories that are a “stunning meditation on memory, loss and love. “Displaced” returns us to a young man’s Mississippi adolescence, and to a shocking encounter with a young Irish immigrant who recklessly tries to solace the narrator’s sorrow after his father’s death. “Driving Up” follows an American woman’s late-in-life journey to Canada to bid good-bye to a lost love now facing the end of this life. “The Run of Yourself,” a novella, sees a New Orleans lawyer navigating the difficulties of living beyond his Irish wife’s death. And “Nothing to Declare” follows a man and a woman’s chance re-meeting in the New Orleans French Quarter, after twenty years, and their discovery of what’s left of love for them.
- Giri/Haji — Soulful thriller set in Tokyo and London, exploring the butterfly effect of a single murder across two cities. A dark, witty and daring examination of morality and redemption.
- 13 Minutes to the Moon – This podcast tells the story of the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing by unpicking exactly was going on in the 13 minutes just before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon.