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Posts published in “Day: April 9, 2009

Being bad at things can be good

By Kristan Hoffman

A few years ago when I was in college, I asked a friend to join me on an intramural softball team. She looked at me as if I were crazy. “Thanks, but I’m terrible at softball,” she said with a laugh.

“That’s okay, I am too!” I replied. “But every team has to have four girls on the field to qualify, so you’re helping out no matter how good or bad you are.”

My friend shook her head. “Sorry, I only do things I’m good at.”

Then it was my turn to look at her as if she were crazy.

Yes, it’s normal to want to be good at things, but do we have to be good at everything we do? And how can we get good at something if we don’t practice when we’re still terrible? Do we have to get an A in a subject for it to be fun or have value?

When I was a girl, I remember believing I was a natural-born artist. Both my parents were architects, so how could the ability to draw, paint, and design not flow through my veins? My parents must have thought the same thing, because they bought me sketchpads and fancy pencils, canvases and paint.

Much to our collective surprise, I could barely color within the lines.

Determined to live up to the talent in my blood, I took art classes almost every summer. Over time I did improve, but I was never the best student in the class. There was always someone with better technique, greater imagination, or both. But even though I wasn’t going to be the next Monet, I didn’t quit.

Because sometimes things we’re bad at can still be good for us. For example, art, music, and dance are all powerful creative outlets, allowing you to express what you’re thinking and feeling even when you don’t know exactly what that is. Sports are group athletics, so you get the physical benefits of exercise plus the social benefits of hanging out with your teammates. Cooking and gardening are both challenging — at least to me! — but they can really nurture your spirit and help you tune in to nature.

In this day and age, with a million things vying for our attention every minute of every day, simply taking time out for yourself is therapeutic, no matter what you’re doing. So even when my boyfriend tells me my drawing looks like a sausage (it was our dog!) I feel calmer and happier just for having given myself those fifteen minutes to sketch. I don’t have to be the next Monet to love art, or the next Michael Phelps to enjoy a dip in the pool, or the next Iron Chef America to appreciate my kitchen.

We spend so much of our lives being graded — in school, at work, even among our friends and family. We try so hard to please everyone else that we forget to make ourselves happy.

So forget your critics, and forget your fans. Do something for yourself. Even if you’re bad at it.

Bomb threat closes Lee College bldg.

BAYTOWN — Lee College’s Barney Gray Science Building was evacuated for more than an hour last week following a bomb threat to the school.

Baytown Police Lt. Eric Freed said that just before 9 a.m. on April 2 someone called the college’s main switchboard and told the operator that there was a bomb in the science building.

The caller did not elaborate on the type of bomb. “It was a very brief call,” Freed said. Witnesses differed on whether it was a male or female who called; leading police to believe it was a soft-spoken male.

Freed said that they evacuated the building of a few early morning students and staff, then began to search the building.

No device was found.

Freed said that since no threats were given to other buildings, a campus-wide evacuation was not needed.

Since the college is considered a “public access building” the bomb threat is considered a Class A Misdemeanor.

Lee President Dr.Michael Murphy praised the college’s security guards and police for containing the situation and not letting a panic develop.

Remembering an old friend

Lost one of my buddies the other day, this one was an old paratrooper from WWII and his picture has hung on my office wall for years. It was a photo of him with John Wayne. Had another picture below it of John Wayne and David Jansen which was photographed at Fort Benning during the filming of THE GREEN BERETS back in 1968.

Bob Fischer was my neighbor during my growing up days back in Georgia and an interesting man indeed. Being the military liaison for the State of Georgia, he had diplomatic status at the bases in Georgia. He enjoyed rubbing elbows while flying around with the General in his helicopter in those days.

He was a boxer and coached boxing at the Dixie Community Center. Having fought Golden Glove in Alabama, he knew how to box. He was a former Scout Master for one of the Boy Scouts Troops, having made a trip with his troop to the scout camp in Philmont, New Mexico. A big time Shriner, he loved to participate in parades around the state with his convertible having a large time enjoying life.

Talking about the war one time, he called me Bub. He said, “Bub, I’ve seen it all.” talking about the Germans and the mutilation that went on in Auschwitz.

Back as a chap, I was at their house next door down the hill; Bob went into his attic and came back with a Nazi flag to show us kids.

Guess you could say he has made his last jump in life, RIP old friend.

Old friends like that are hard to come by; it takes a life time to create something that special. Problem is, at my age, good friends like Bob are getting fewer and farther between.

Had lunches recently with some old banker friends. Interesting to be around people like that; find out what is going on in the area, people, events, happenings, this and that. Past dues are still past due. What areas are hot in value and what is this, that and the other going to be?

At least the working banker picked up the tab.