Filed Under (Life, Stuff) by Sean on April-13-2010

This is a story I’m sure you’ve read before. The old Mayonnaise Jar, Golf Balls and Two Beers. Maudlin? Yes. Glurge? You bet your life. Deep philosophy? Not so much. Not exactly the brightest students, either, I suppose. However, seeing as I’ve been going through a shit-ton of crap lately, with the loss of my oldest brother providing the exclamation point, I thought this worthwhile to post. There are versions that use coffee instead. The fact that it uses beer to tell a maxim makes it compulsory.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two beers .

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was..

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents.. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf ball first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.’

Filed Under (Gastronomy, Life) by Sean on January-23-2008

Today I had the pleasure of getting together with my oldest brother (who is a grandfather and has officially entered his fifties – a sobering thought if it weren’t for the fact that he plays in two bands three nights a week and parades around like he’s in his thirties and still looks it; I have more gray and more of a receded hairline than him) for lunch at P.F. Chang’s to use up a couple of gift certificates from the winter solstice (that holiday many people call kriss-mess or something . . .) holidays. So we went full court press and hodgered some serious groceries, as we like to say in my family.

So we had some hot tea in a lead-encased pot that weighed about 62 lbs and of course the waiter whipped up their dipping sauce which is essentially a mixture of chile oil, rice vinegar, chinese mustard, and soy sauce. Of course to kick that up (as is it could be thinned out with a little stock and eaten as a soup) we added sambal oelek (I love wikipedia) and more chile oil. Then our server told us he would bring out some more spice to kick it up. Scot (my brother) and I dig in with a couple of teaspoons and slurped up the mystery sauce (it was hard to tell with the lighting and the small ramekins) and noted it was simply Sriracha.

Anyway, there was plenty of banter whilst we scarfed on the first two choices for appetizer: salt and pepper calamari and Chang’s chicken wraps. Most of our discussion was BS and catch up since we hadn’t seen each other since the holidays. Some of it was light ranting about dumb-ass drivers in Houston (quick question: why is the speed of a vehicle over rough pavement/rail road tracks, etc., inversely proportional to the size of the vehicle? Why do Ford Ex-screw-me-sions and Cataract Escapades slow to a stop before driving over pebbles? Why? There will be a blog entry about that sometime soon . . . :) ) including people driving slow while on the phone in the fast lane and other things that perplex me no end.

Anywho . . . . back to the vittles. We had decided upon a couple of dishes we hadn’t had before: Sichuan (i.e., Szech(w/u)an) Beef and Chengdu spiced lamb. The beef was good, but the Chengdu was kick ass. I will definitely be getting that again and urge everyone to try it. It is described on the menu as “Richly spiced marinated lamb, wok-caramelized then tossed with cumin, mint, tomatoes and yellow onions.” It is seriously yummy is what it is. According to the restaurant’s website, we each ingested about 1,760 kcal. With that I should be running, not driving, home . . .

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to wrapping up here at the office (while I’m listening to one of my favorite Internet radio stations: GrooveSalad at SomaFM) so I can get home and get back to cooking for this Friday!