"Pick something you know how to do, you can do well, and that you can make money doing."

Probably the first words of advice that still regularly ring in my head are those from a friend of mine given to me over thirty years ago.

It was a version of the graphic above, but my friend's version was (in answer to my complaining about not knowing what I wanted to do after we graduated from high school):

"Do something that you know how to do, that you do well (hopefully), and that you can make money doing it!"

So I became a U.S. Navy Journalist and messed around with that for 20-odd years.

Rating badge for 'Navy Journalist' (they no longer exist)

I write how I talk.  Or so I've been told.  And I'm pretty sure I like it that way.

A Facebook acquaintance objected to how I worded one of 3 choices on a poll I presented to a group in which we are both members:

"John, words matter - pick better ones."

She didn't like the 1st option:  "Do you use 'anything that writes,' based upon the occasion (pencils, charcoal for sketching, a pen of some sort for other stuff, etc.)?

So I suggested a rewritten version:

"Do you use any natural or man-made object used for or created with the intent of written communication or creative expression, including, but not limited to any one type of such item?  (Those who prefer to use a fountain pen or a charcoal stick or a rollerball pen, ballpoint pen, colored or regular pencil or any other such utensil selected for its unique relevency and appropriateness to the task at hand on any specific occasion as the situation calls for" would check this option.)

Fortunately, she thought that was funny (it could have gone south!).

I am also very fortunate to be able to be in touch with my 12th-grade English/Literature teacher (from 1980something).  After I recently expressed my lack of interest in "The Oxford comma," he opined:

"Sacrilege, John.  I thought you wiser.  Remember that good folks do not judge others on the basis of race, color, creed or gender, but they do judge them on the basis of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.  I hope that you never become tired of other conventions like run-on sentences, periods and capital letters."

I replied:

"I *do* love my run-on sentences which can often be SO much fun but also misinterpreted if they're not built correctly because people don't always 'get it' ... see what I did there? But, as we sail into 2019, I will be sticking to my guns and not using the Oxford comma if and when opportunities arise to make that decision while writing because I don't like it, it doesn't 'read like I speak' and it's a point of contention which often starts fun conversations like this one. :)

"As you are likely well aware, my long-valued mentor and friend, I've always been a bit of a rogue when it comes to rules that I don't like - and this last portion of my reply (after the hyphen about 10 or 11 words back, depending on how you count) is strictly here to give a lil more *oomph* to the bit about run-on sentences. I'm also not quite sure about hyphenated words, so I usually create those when, where and how I choose. :)

You were right all those years ago: "Mediocrity is boring."

I received an e-mail from him just this evening that was so personally motivating ... I'm not sure as of yet whether or not I will ever share it with anyone ... but I will say this:

Regardless of what I thought in high school, he likes what I write.  Even if I am a smartass about it a lot of the time.  I guess when you're over 50 it's sometimes called "witty."

Moral of the story:

"Go with what you know."  (Something another person told me that I've never forgotten.)



2019: Nobody uses e-mail anymore?

Really?  Nobody?  This is news to me.  My sister recently expressed the same observation alluding to the fact that I communicate with our mother via e-mail, but she's strictly a 'text message girl' and, heaven forbid, that text message be via Facebook's Instant Messenger.  After recently sending her a text from my cellphone (because she doesn't often use Facebook or it's messaging feature) I believe I remember her asking "Since *when* do *you* use text messaging?  I thought you used Facebook Messenger?!" with a similar that 'when did you become current' inference.  This is my *older* sister!

So I did some 'Googling.'  I can't decide if there's really a disappearing act (e-mail's) going on or if it's a concerted effort by corporate America to 'make it happen' in an effort to pave the way for whatever the next 'thing' is to be.

I think the problem people imagine is that their information is not secure and that any one of many people between themselves and the recipient of their e-mail  can be snooping.  Encryption very simply and effectively prevents this.  Could it be that all those who predict the downfall of e-mail are unaware of hope to use it properly to protect their data?

Here's an interesting video:

Perhaps because I work for the government and most of my emails are, indeed, encrypted (not a big deal, you can encrypt your Gmail or even your AOL e-mail) is the reason I don't understand the problem that my sister and others see with e-mail (as they understand it is to be used)?  

Is it that they don't know how to protect their 1s and 0s from Ivan or Abdul?  Or is it that they think it's much more efficient to tap out a line or two (in a code that resembles their mother language but with a lot of the vowels missing - LOL, OMG, BFF, ROTFLMAO, ETC. See what I did there?  :)

We shall see!  My Googling seems to uggest that some folks think e-mailing will be replaced (by something nobody yet knows about) by next year (2020) -- if only they knew, as my sister does:

Nobody emails anymore!

... more later (when e-mail disappears).