Blauer - Tactical Clothing & Equipment

07/17/18
The Simplicity of Contentment - By Lt. Tim Cotton

Blauer contentment blog by lt tim cotton

As the miles slip by, the music channels are switched using the buttons on the steering wheel. My selections are endless. I can go from Frank Sinatra to Classic Vinyl at the flick of an index finger. More bass? I got this, More mid-range? Nope, I will adjust the treble, because I can. I can find comedy, politics from both sides of aisle, and if I don’t like it I can always turn it off and listen to the wind.

My seat is just as easy to adjust, as I have several switches and levers which will change my position, support my back, and lift my legs a bit. My steering wheel? Adjustable. 

The armrest in my pickup even slides fore and aft to make sure my right elbow is supported. I usually keep it aft as it gets in the way when I grab and return my coffee to it’s rightful place into one of the four cupholders; I don’t even have to look down. 

Upon my arrival at home I find several kinds of seltzer, cold or hot coffee, dark roast and a breakfast blend. I have  three varieties of cereal; my current favorite are the corn Chex - at least until the box is almost empty and I find nothing but tiny, lonely sprigs of what once were complete squares of corn Chex. I hate those little devils because they make milk into paste. You know what I am talking about. I throw them out now. I have more Chex in the unopened box in the cupboard rounder.

Television provides more choices, and I still can’t find anything I want to watch. I leave it off more than on now and find myself reading when it doesn’t make me fall asleep in one of the four recliners included within the two-piece  couch and love-seat combo set. I have a stack of books, a pile of magazines, and music channels on the television for when I can’t stand the reruns on the three hundred channels. Granted, some present us with the same material, but with higher definition.  

I used to have three available television channels and surfing them meant getting up to turn the dial and then taking a vote with whomever was in the room. We always settled in with a forced satisfaction. It was true democracy in action and we didn’t need pundits from 27 full-time news channels to understand how it  all worked. Heck, I’m sure I didn’t know what a pundit was. I did know Walter Cronkite, but he was only on after dinner. 

The channels of democracy were temporarily suspended when Mom and Dad watched the news. Can you say, “veto power?” 

I am no happier now than I was when I was 18 years old. I still hang out with the same lady who used to help me dig through the couch cushions and down deep into the crevices of the bench seat in the 1976 Pontiac Ventura. We needed the gritty - sometimes sticky - coins so that we could afford to go to the Pizza Hut on Broadway for All-You-Can eat night.

The seats were only adjustable fore and aft, there was no armrest except for a rolled up army blanket from the Surplus Store; a tilt-wheel was only available in your uncle’s Buick. 

We went to the movies now and then, but not on the same weeks that we went to AYCE pizza night. Those car seats and couch cushions needed more time to shake-down their occupants.

Six presets on the dash radio, one reserved for the FM Converter’s needs, meant that you needed a free hand to manually tune in, and back in, to 770 WABC out of New York as the signal drifted in and out depending on your vehicle’s location and of course- the weather.  The signature echo built into the announcer’s schtick made it seem so far away, but closer in the evening when the signal showed up on the back roads as we drove around for no reason.

A few weeks ago my full-time adviser brought up a valid point to me when as we discussed happiness. She said, “It really is not about happiness, I think being content is more important.” I didn’t even say anything for a few minutes. Mostly because it dislodged all of the above comparisons in my mind and when thoughts get dislodged you need time to put them into some order, possibly jot them down when I found some paper. 

She asked me what I was thinking about. I told her that I was reflecting on our need to constantly chase happiness by whatever means necessary, but how the word contentment had a more peaceful meaning to me. And that, in turn, made me realize that I am no happier today, with all the amenities, than I ever was when I was digging into car seats for pizza money.

The simplicity of contentment - it puts things into perspective for me. 

That’s the view from the dooryard.

Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.

TC (cottonblend at blauer dot com)



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