February 21, 2018

The Art Of Being Happy (Bottle #7)

The Art Of Being Happy (Bottle #7)
By John R. Greenwood

I’m sick and tired of being happy. It’s getting harder and harder to find optimistic friends to play with. Everyone is too busy running around hating on each other. Because my job and my life take place on the double yellow line between the right and left lanes I’ll refrain from making this a political commentary. I will say my glass was a lot more full two years ago. Lately I feel every time my glass gets near the top someone comes along and kicks it over. 

I’ve spent my life extracting happiness from every common moment I could wring from life’s dishtowel; from that new car smell to my morning’s first sip of coffee. It’s been sixty-two years and counting, collecting bits and pieces of happiness. My greatest joy today will come from out of the blue. It might be a pure and genuine thank you from an appreciative coworker or stranger. It could come in the form of a Labrador’s wagging tail or a grandson’s infectious giggle. It might even come in the last 30 seconds of an otherwise heart wrenching newscast. 

Like a fish-less bobber I keep popping to the surface hoping things get better. If you’d told me back in the 60’s and 70’s that this country would be struggling with color, gender, and abuse in 2018 at the level we are now I would have laughed you off the street. I would have hoped by now our brains and our neighbors would have found a way to level the playing field so we could all take a shot at the net. I was sadly mistaken, but I’m not giving up. I’ll keep doing my part, spreading my optimism and handshakes wherever I go. I’m not a quitter. 

Oh, I almost forgot, there’s a town hall gun debate coming on in a couple of hours. Let’s see if I can extract anything out of that—he said smiling. 

Bottle release update: No feedback on anything I’ve placed back in the wild yet. Here’s a couple pictures with some hints of where the latest two bottles were set free. 

"Be The Reason"
Hint: You'd be able to get more "Information" if they were open right now...

I thought you'd enjoy this amazing coincidence. My wife had not yet read the piece on Bottle #5. I shared the story and photo with her after I'd already posted it. When she got a chance to read it she sent me this photo of her desk at work. You must believe me when I tell you neither one of us had discussed this quote at any time before I wrote the piece or set the bottle free. It did send a warm-chill up my spine.  

  At My Age Bottle #6
This just seemed like a happy place to be set free...

Bottle #7 “The Art Of Being Happy” will be out there roaming the world by the time you read this latest piece. 

Happy Hunting


February 18, 2018

At My Age (Bottle #6)

At My Age (Bottle #6)
By John R. Greenwood

“At my age flowers scare me,” is a great quote by one of the greats, George Burns. George has been gone awhile now and it’s sad to say but I’ll bet there’s only a handful of people I work with who even remember George in “Oh God”. There’s only a few more that even remember John Denver. It’s funny to think about that movie being at the end of George’s career. There's no more than a pinch of readers here who would even know about George and Gracie so I won't even go there. Even though George Burns and Gracie Allen were ahead of my time, there was still enough remnants left when I was growing up for me to have a deep affinity for them both.  

I thought George’s line would generate a smile or two. I smile out loud thinking about some kid in his thirties trying to figure out what it even means. What it says to me now is—you might just as well laugh about old age because it’s rolling toward you so fast you wouldn’t be able to jump out of the way if your tried. George Burns was born in NYC in 1896 and lived to be 100yrs old. He kept us laughing until the end. If you’re reading this and you’ve never heard of George Burns Google him, and watch a few clips. 

Here's one:I don't do miracles

George handled age like whisking lint off a sweater sleeve. I’m doing my best to follow his lead. 


To date I haven’t gotten any feedback from any bottle catchers other than my friend Diane who graciously did a catch and release (Please don't say anything, but I made her a special replacement bottle). The interest seems to have collected some momentum. To all of you who have been kind enough to follow along, I thank you. I have to admit it’s been fun thinking about where these bottles are ending up? I may never know. I have plenty of bottles to keep me going and if necessary I just might start sending a random olive or pickle jar out for adoption. Whatever happens it’s a little distraction from the madness of the news. I don’t turn things off completely but I do adjust the floodgate according to my tolerance level on any given day. I feel I’ve earned the right to call it a day when the nastiness of the world around me becomes too much to handle. 

Play Nice...


“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” —George Burns

“It only takes one drink to get me drunk.                                                                             The trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth.” —George Burns 

February 16, 2018

Be The Reason (Bottle #5)

Be The Reason (Bottle #5)
By John R. Greenwood

Yesterday I was in the passenger seat of a Freightliner making deliveries with one of my drivers. We were on State St. in Schenectady. If you’ve traveled it you know it can get a little crazy in the morning. We were within sight of our destination when we both noticed the stopped minivan ahead of us. The rear hatch had popped open and left a mountain of newspaper bundles covering the road. It looked like a dump truck spreading a load of gravel. The bundles were scattered far and wide. The gentleman driving had jumped out and was desperately trying to save his lost cargo. Cars were honking and swerving all around the poor man and his unexpected catastrophe. My driver stopped well back but that didn't keep cars from blasting by us and the scattered cargo. I jumped out and I told him to go to the store we were delivering to, a hundred yards away. I began scooping up newspaper bundles like a mother scooping up a runaway toddler. I placed them in neat stacks on the curb as the unfortunate, grey haired newspaper boy began reloading his squatting minivan. When I had all the papers stacked neatly on the edge of the busy street I ran over to our truck and I grabbed a handcart. I began wheeling the stacks over to the other panting grandpa. In the end we safely rescued every escaped newspaper. 

There in the middle of a chaotic Electric City thoroughfare stood two out-of-breath men of advanced years smiling from ear to ear at each other. With no words necessary we simultaneously reached out and shook hands. It was simple gesture that stuck with me for the entire day. I knew, he knew, that it was times like that, that we feel blessed by the kindness of strangers. In those moments, no credit card or bulging wallet can recreate two old men having their own little Hallmark moment. One of those moments when you feel there's still a glimmer of hope in the world. He didn’t need to express any gratitude, I was way ahead of him. I was reveling in the silent handshake of a random act, a random slice of life as it happens. 

With that thought safely packed away, I went home and quickly placed this simple quote on Bottle #5 and released it in Saratoga Springs early the next morning. I didn’t dare wait another minute. Have you watched the news lately? 

Don’t give up.

Don't give in.  

Be the reason someone smiles today...