Untethered Dog

A Commonplace By Tom Swift

Work

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

-Maya Angelou

Self Care

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.

-Benjamin Franklin

Effort

Jimmy Dugan: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is … what makes it great.”

A League of Their Own (1992)

Courage

Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.

-George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone (2007)

Attention

Attention

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it … Life is long if you know how to use it.

-Seneca, Penguin Great Ideas: On the Shortness of Life (2004)

Stability

The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.

-Unknown

Action

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)

Courage

Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, “This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.”

-Ashton Kutcher

Honesty

[Leo’s office]

Toby enters.

Leo: “Yeah.”

Toby: “I’m gonna have breakfast with Ann Stark tomorrow.”

Leo: “Leave it alone.”

Toby: “I think we should be able to discuss the minimum wage and—”

Leo: “Toby. It’s a brand new year.”

Toby: “Let’s not faf around!”

Leo: “It’s breakfast.”

Toby: “I know. It’s breakfast. We’re not gonna come up with solutions in 90 minutes. But we have the principles in a room and no cameras. The—[utters a small laugh] the leaders of the land. And not to talk about how we’re gonna approach the minimum wage, the Patient’s Bill of Rights, tax relief, and education in the legislative session that’s about to begin is a criminally negligent and cowardly refusal to do … what we were all sent her to do. [beat] This is what my ex-wife and I did for years. We had these rules. We could talk about anything but why we couldn’t live with each other. I could’ve been two years younger right now.”

Leo: “There was a freshman democrat who came to Congress 50 years ago. He turned to a senior Democrat and said, ‘Where are the Republicans? I want to meet the enemy.’ The senior Democrat said, ‘The Republicans aren’t the enemy. They’re the opposition. The Senate is the enemy.’ Those days are over. Toby, in this climate …”

Toby: “This climate is exactly what real bipartisan debate should look like.”

Leo: “This woman’s had this job two weeks. I don’t like dealing with people who are trying to impress me.”

Toby: “I know her a little.”

Leo: “Have breakfast with her.”

Toby: “Thank you.”

Leo: “Toby.”

Toby: “Yeah.”

Leo: “Jenny and I wouldn’t talk about it either. You know why?”

Toby: “Why?”

Leo: “Because we loved each other and it was awful and we knew it was never gonna change. Ever.”

Toby leaves.

[Fade out]

The West Wing, Season 2, “The Leadership Breakfast” (2001)