The value of examining your core beliefs regularly

The world is flat.

Applying leeches will get rid of a patient’s illness.

If someone takes your picture, they’ll steal your soul.

At one time, each of these statements was believed by groups of people. Today, we scoff at these theories because we know them to be untrue.

But the people who believed these things were not stupid.

The world’s best scientists believed the world was flat. Experienced, caring doctors believed leeches got rid of “bad” blood. Wise community leaders believed that spirits could be captured by cameras.

So what changed? How did people come to accept a different reality…

What else have I forgotten?

The ’70s was the era of canned tuna and cottage cheese and peach slices for the calorie-conscious woman. My mom was a fan. When I was growing up, she served cottage cheese with supper, maybe five or six times a month.

I liked it fine, but once I moved out, I don’t remember ever buying curds OR whey for my tuffet. It seemed like old-people food. And my meager food budget was allocated to only the basic necessities: pasta, chicken, bagels, frozen veggies, cereal, milk, chocolate, and Diet Coke. Mostly pasta and Diet Coke, to be honest.

A curd in the hand…

A few years…

How many times should we be rescued?

The plot of land that we care for is a little over an acre — low-lying land with big trees, close to a large creek, and across from a 40-acre park. (I can’t bear to say “own,” because who can actually own land? We live there and care for it…and, you know, pay the taxes.) Daily, we encounter all kinds of wildlife in the yard— chipmunks, birds of all kinds, squirrels, raccoons, snakes, deer, and even an occasional fox.

I try to make peace with the garter snakes, even though they scare the bejeezus out of me. I would never…

Research reveals what dogs do and don’t understand

I was astounded when I finally realized something amazing: When I smile at my dogs — without saying a word — they relax visibly and wag their tails. It took me longer than I care to admit to notice this fascinating phenomenon. Years, in fact. But now that I know, I can’t stop beaming at them. It can be when I’m face-to-face with them or through a window when they’re outside. They recognize a smile and respond with vigorous tail wags.

Both of my dogs are golden retrievers, which are notoriously happy and emotionally responsive to people. I wondered, is…

In disaster movies, survivors come out from hiding after the enemies are vanquished — tattered and blinking into the sun. They’re stunned and exhausted…and hopeful.

As we emerge from a devastating pandemic, we find ourselves a bit tattered. A bit detached. A bit wounded.

Social observers say we need to brace for a frenzied return to normalcy, with promiscuity and wild living. Airlines report that passenger misbehavior is on the rise. And here, in our quiet little burgh, we’ve noticed a spike in loud vehicles racing by our house. All part of the “blinking” and readjustment? Possibly.

Much grace will…

…And what may never get done

I’m a list maker. A spreadsheeter. If I have a prayer of getting things done, a list must be drawn up, usually on an index card — an invention created by God himself to help us get things done. On the left side of the card I write “To Do.” On the right side, “To Go.” Sometimes I add a “To Buy” section. Armed with this deceptively simple but powerful tool, I get things done.

So satisfying are to-do lists — whether on index cards or more formal spreadsheets — I’ve even been known to add unplanned items after they’re…

A 100-word story

Otis. Mr. Whiskers. Sir Talksalot. That’s what they call him. Only he knows his true name.

He’d explored the neighborhood thoroughly before choosing the Man and Woman. Evaluating each home. Prowling…watching from the brush for days before leaping irresistibly into her lap outside late one night.

The two bushy-tailed beasts frolicking and barking in the yard were clearly simpletons. He’d subjugate them in no time…and so he did.

None of them know his diabolical plan. World Domination, beginning with this house. This block. This mortal realm.

“But first…a nap,” thinks LordAndMasterOfAll, yawning and nestling cozily behind the Woman’s knees.


Live, learn, and enjoy the sweet smell of success

I have a marketing dream. A simple one: to produce a campaign that features scratch ‘n sniff cards. What could be more fun and memorable than a sensorial promotional experience? Interactive, stimulating, and unique. But colleagues always said it would be a big mistake. Harrumph.

It wouldn’t be my first, thank you very much. In my 25-year+ marketing career, I’ve made some doozies.

Podcast Faux Pas

One conversation from 10 years ago looms large in my pile of blunders. I was working with medical researchers who wanted to disseminate information about childhood injury prevention to pediatricians. …

She inspired me to become a writer. So why can’t I write to her?

I have her email address. It’s been sitting in my Messenger messages for months now. I was thrilled to get it…and now I’m paralyzed.

Let me back up. In the early 1980s, I bounced from full-time college to full-time work to doing both part-time to doing both full-time. Without clear goals or financial means, it took me six years to finish college. We were a blue-collar family, and I was to be the first person on either side of the family to graduate college (eventually followed by both of my older siblings, who returned to get degrees).

What did I…

Tina L. Smith

Writer, humorist, animal lover, lifelong language geek (er, I proofread for fun). I write on diverse topics that catch my fancy. Everything but haiku(tm).

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