Coping: BIPTOTs & the “Not Forever” Problem

Alarming Talk? No, I Wasn’t Kidding nor was I delusional (any more than usual) when explained Thursday that my alarm clock failed to wake me up in time to write my usual (longer) Thursday morning Coping section..

A reader (the other one) thought my “precognitive oversleeping” was one of the best excuses ever heard.  Then went on to question if I was just making it all up…


Sure I’m a creative writer and all. Yes, I have a pretty good imagination.

But this was another one of those zillions of  honest-to-God cases to where “a little voice inside our head” was screaming what was to come.  Happens when you’re on some kind of Path. 

Toward what end?  I don’t have a clue.

Yesterday I overslept on the morning of the 30th.

So closely inspect the order date on my Amazon order tracking report.  Note the “Order Date:”

Somewhere in the bowels of the Universe – some little clockwork demanded that I oversleep Thursday and arranged for it.

I call this the BIPTOT:  The Big Invisible Plan (or Persona)  That Orchestrates Things.

Like the alarm clocking arriving yesterday a scant seven hours after it would have made Thursday’s column more normal.

The “Not Forever” Problem

BIPTOT aside, my buddy Gaye over at and I had a chat this week about what our next “big writing projects” will be.

By the way, see her “12 Disruptive Events to Prepare for this Year.”  (She didn’t have “failed alarm clock on the list” which would have been useful…

As you may remember, we coauthored a book that’s still available on Amazon:

11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: A Guide to Survival During Uncertain Times.”

We’ve been considering a “further thoughts” book along these lines.  We’ve both learned a lot more since that book.

Sure, the material is still relevant, but we both have ideas that would make for a new (and better) book.  It could be three to six months out.  Making schedules mesh and so on is non-trivial.

There are many additional topics we’d like to cover.

One I’m lobbying for is a chapter on how important it is to “know where you are in History.” (As in  The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny.  Yes, Strauss and Howe.)

Gaye’s got some thoughts on the schism that seems to exist in the minds of some between being a “normal” person, a “prepper” person, or a “back to the land homesteader and home schooler.”

As she correctly points out:  We’re all on the same team.

But sometimes, when you read how people get into that “Me! Me! Me!” mood that is going around…well, there ain’t no Holier Than Thou in any of this stuff. 

We’re just all helping each other to get along through Life. All souls weigh the same.

(Except mine may weigh more than yours as a side effect of a grand shrimp pizza I made last night that went marvelously with red jug wine….)

Over the course of our weekly Skype session, Gaye and I are trying to distill out a method and practice to minimize one of the phenomenon in Life.

We describe it as “The Not Forever Problem.”

Here’s how it works – using some practical examples that happen in damn near anyone’s Life.

It begins in grade or middle school.  You are sitting in class, bored out of your mind,  wondering “When will this damn math class be over so I can go outside and play?

It’s a classic “Not Forever” problem!

You tell yourself “I’ll just daydream a bit because this class can’t last forever…  It usually seems to, however.

Finally recess comes.  But what happens as a result is you miss the one trick that later in Life would secure your fame and fortune!

If you’re snoozing in a math class, you might miss the magic to solving quadratic equations.

Not a big deal that day.  Nor that year.  Or for even FIVE YEARS on.

But there comes a time with the arrival of the SAT scores that the payback shows up.

Your daydreaming means (*in this longer term study) that you end up having to pay for college instead of the full-ride that could have been yours if you had simply done better choicing early on.

Another example?  Well, sure…

Let’s look at marriage:  No one gets married expecting the relationship to fall apart.

But many do – over 50% now isn’t it?  And what is the core problem?

Other than money, moving, kids, in-laws, drugs, injury, weight, sexual adventuring out of the home…all of this can be attributed in some measure to the “Not Forever” Phenomena.

Fast forward to later in life?

You get a great job. 

Thinking it will last forever, you put down roots, buy a bigger home than otherwise sensible.

Then one morning, you find yourself teaching a bunch of foreigners how to do your job which they will be doing remotely from Chennai, India three weeks hence…

Again, it was great…at first.  But (sing the chorus line please) “NOT FOREVER!”

Same thing with autos and homes.

Elaine and I are still deliriously happy with the 2005 (last of the Made in Japan small) Lexus’ we drive. 

Sewell Lexus up in Fort Worth comes down a couple of times a year and drops off a sparkly new 2017 model for us to compare with while the regular maintenance is done. 

Invariably, we still think the 2005 has a better ride than the new ones.

Oh, don’t misunderstand:  The next gen US Made Lexi (Lexus’s) are great.  The suspension has great “feel of the road” and all. 

But if we wanted that, we would have rolled the money from the airplane into a classic Lotus Super Seven as a summertime/fair weather toy. Or we’d have never sold the 930 whale tail.

But no:  We looked at the “Not Forever” problem in 2008 and bought the (driven by the fabled little old lady from Tyler) lease return and it has been the best car yet in either of our lives and that’s north of 130 years of combined experience.  That’s saying something.

It smacks down Elaine’s Corvette, my succession of Porsches, her Jaguar… I mean it’s…perfect!

Where we didn’t get the “Not Forever” problem right is in our delightful “Fully equipped, furnished and stocked, solar-powered, survival home and recording studio in the woods with a great ham radio antenna set up.”

We love the place dearly.

BUT – we will likely put the place on the market this summer.  There are some parts of the “Not Forever Problem” we just got wrong.

The first was no fault of ours:  There was no way of telling that my eye issues even with good surgeries that went OK. 

It’s not just eye considerations and wanting to walk to services or be able to call out for Chinese:  There is what turns out to be a tendency toward back problems which has been a curse of the Ure family forever. 

This wasn’t even in sight when we bought this pie slice of Paradise in 2002.  But I was 53 then. Unstoppable – bull in china shop, yes sir.

The simple matters of sawing up fallen trees and bush hogging 20 acres was child’s play at 55.  At 68?  It has started to hurt and I won’t let up on the work.  No, pride of ownership and yada, yada, and trim that fence line…

See?  This is another crystal-clear example of the “Not Forever” template being missed.

(I know this lovely couple who will be selling a complete rural survival compound 2 hours outside of Dallas for a reasonable figure.  Send me an email and I will send you a prelisting chance to take a stab at it… Comes with a herd of deer, good selection of tools in the shop, tractor, microphones and a drum kit in studio, and plenty of those inexpensive 55” UHD TVs. Oh, and did I mention two black cats?.)

I don’t mean to give away that chapter of the book – that’s just a small taste.

I would like to solicit any strategies and methods you may have found to minimize the Not Forever Problem in your life.

So post ‘em as comments, or send ‘em  by email.  But please skip the blood sacrifices and rituals.  We’re looking at this algorithmically, like we do so much else.

Another example? 

This is one that calls to me as soon as the second part of today’s chat is done.  You may have experienced this one, too:

Lawn mowing.

Who the hell ever thought up that?

It’s the classic “Not Forever  Problem” that breeds another problem in its wake.  “Lawn care service  payments.”  Yeah, those.


When you really you go looking for “Not Forever” contexts, my-oh-damn  they are lurking behind every corner.

And they don’t do yard work.

Write when you get rich,

36 thoughts on “Coping: BIPTOTs & the “Not Forever” Problem”

  1. 50% is a lie. The divorce rate has never been that high. And, it is a statistic that is misapplied when reported. One year in the 70’s it was approaching 50%, but that was not all marriages, or even people married that year. It was a comparison of the number of people getting married to the number of people getting divorced. It has become an urban legend with no base in truth. The actual divorce rate seems to linger around the 22% mark, if I remember my research correctly.

    • “More recently, having spoken with academics and National Survey of Family Growth representatives, estimated in 2012 that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%–50%. Variables that may affect rates of divorce include: race/ethnicity. importance of religion to the couple.”
      We do check such things

      • I only wish I could have done as well! So far, my record of serial marriages is matched by my record of serial divorces, so I’m batting 100% failure, regardless of major efforts before and during to make things work.

        I’m hoping the next time’s a charm, but it’s becoming harder by the decade to even meet people. I’m convinced that marriage, for some people, needs to be an absolute transactional contract, with rights and obligations spelled out in detail, and compliance obligatory on the part of both parties, regardless of personal desires.

  2. Alarm clocks are prima facia evidence of sleep deprivation, according to all the research I have seen, and to add insult to injury, all the pretty blue and green LEDs also cause sleep deprivation. As do most other lights, wifi, cellphones, needy pets, snoring, watching an illuminate screen before bed and a host of other artifacts.

    Perhaps a topic for future articles? I think it is almost a deceptive trade practice to sell an alarm clock with a blue illuminated face. Like adding nicotine to cigarette tobacco.

    • I’ve experienced this for years. I had to get rid of an alarm clock with a blue LED display, and I finally found a large red LED model that works.

      I’m surprised that the clock manufacturers don’t know this. Red LED’s were the first ones and probably the cheapest ones even today. Red of 660nm or longer wavelengths don’t seem to affect the diurnal cycle or melatonin release. I’d like to scatter some red LED night lights around the house so I don’t have to turn on a main light during the nighttime. I’ve just been a bit busy to go looking.

      BTW, I almost never use an alarm clock, but I did notice that my diurnal cycle went way out of whack during and around the winter solstice. I’m locked into the daylight again now.

      • Yep stay away from purple that light spectrum has shown to kill people then back it’s it’s deadly

  3. “12 Disruptive Events to Prepare for this Year.”

    I just love gayes site.. she is probably one of my favorite places to go besides urbane survival and peoplenomics report…

    One of the twelve is ongoing and has been for some time.. the nuclear accident..The ongoing Fukishima accident

  4. I’m going to tell you a story one that you’ve never heard before

    but the parts of the story that you have heard are about the dark side and the light side

    But now the truth will be unveiled right before your eyes and the story starts like this

    Everyday there are four hundred and twenty thousand lightning strikes a day and also every day there’s a hundred and twenty some thousand people who in this world die every day

    and they say the population is going to keep increasing from from 7 billion to near 11 billion and they also estimate that the lightning strikes will increase also as the number of people increase

    and on every planet in our solar system there is lightning now we live in a galaxy called the Milky Way the Galaxy is a spiral with arms like an octopus and we live on the tip of one of those arms and it’s called the Sagittarius

    • Part 2

      It’s called the Sagittarius

      that’s where our son and our solar system is way out there away from everybody else now now you say what’s the big mystery it was in those numbers okay

      the hidden part the hidden part of death the hidden part of retaining of retaining knowledge when you die and the ability to take over another body whether it’s a body of any age

      Now it’s getting interesting cause we’re going to combine these things and make a remarkable ——–discovery
      Discovery that’s what it is a remarkable discovery

      Okay here we go are you ready sit back in your seat

      Okay open your brain here we go are you ready one two three four,

      Take the breath
      Count to 7 and relax and exhale it slowly

      Now you ready
      Many years ago back in 1947 there was an alien ship that was brought down by lightning there was somebody’s in there
      Most of them were dead

      • Yeah right – Roswell. And THEY were only 85 miles from Alomogordo because that’s where we did our first rip of the space/time fabric with Trinity Test in ’45.
        Please…less topping, more filling

      • Most of them were dead but one wasn’t so I’m not going to go into the story that part
        But this alien told us about how old is alien was and told us how old all of us are
        We are into the trillions of years old
        NOW The alien told us the reason we don’t remember our past is because when your body dies you go to the light and it shocks you ,one billion volts . And your memories are erased all your memories and then you’re shocked again to be reprogrammed and then your put back into a new body, a baby,

        Now coincidentally lightning has 1 billion volts, most lightning does have a big envelope and you’re wondering why some people remember part of their past lives or why they are sorta like geniuses at three or four or five years old

        maybe it’s because that lightning strike that they were struck by wasn’t quite a billion volts, but just enough to wipe out pretty much everything, but leave a little bit

        Then you’re saying well how’s that possible well when you leave your body your spirit Soul weighs about the weight of a quarter and your spirit has been trained to go toward the light

        And so it seeks the light and immediately sees the light because it was trained to see the light but it goes further because it was trying to find the light so somewhere in the atmosphere it sees the light and find it it seems the spark somewhere out there as it travels around the Earth and goes there it is and it goes toward it and it gets struck with a billion votes and then gets reprogrammed with another lightning strike to go somewhere else

        Now how is that possible that all these planets are in the same boat at this end of the Galaxy ,this octopus leg call the Sagittarius

        Is that what we really are is in the prison planet section
        And for you that don’t want to be shocked over and over

    • Ding!
      Truth detector time
      One estimate is that 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year and about 240,000 are injured. Another estimate is that the annual global death toll is 6,000.
      That’s world wide 55 per day.
      So sorry.
      Nice fairytale tho.

      • Oh George you’re so anxious for criticism and you haven’t even listened to the rest of the story which indeed the numbers are there

      • You assumed without me even giving you the correlation between the numbers bouquet

      • how many people are born in the world every day and how many people die every day and then compare that to how many lightning strikes there are everyday

      • Reventon the lightning strikes which means that these people that died don’t get struck by lightning all we’re saying is there’s a number of lightning strikes every day and there’s a number of people that die everyday that’s as far in the story that we have gone

      • But but I like that you commented in regards to that because it puts more emphasis on what we’re talking about which hasn’t been revealed yet

      • No part in this story wasn’t mentioned or said that there was a certain amount of people killed by lightning strikes

      • no one said that those people died by lightning strikes we just staying the fact these people die every year

  5. Reading this brought tears into my eyes. I know how it feels like reading between the lines. Everyone wants to get old — but no one wants to be old. Pain will be all that’s left; With some exceptions, of course. Best to you and yours!

  6. Lawn mowing: Years ago I bought an early-version lawn mowing robot. I got it at great discount, as it was being used as a doorstop because the idea didnt go well in Central Illinois. It worked fine; the newer versions can be programmed to work at certain days/times and will even transport itself back to the charging station. I quit using it, because my lawn was so small, that it took less time to use a manual electric mower. And even now, I’m getting rid of my mowing duties by planting vinca minor, creeping phlox, [creeping] juniper, ivy, and building landscaping block tree rings. Too bad I cant do the same inside the house. (In case anyone wonders, I do have a robo vacuum, but the small floor size:furniture ratio is wrong for its use. )

  7. This comment isn’t particularly relevant to today’s newsletter,, maybe more yesterday’s. With the weekend coming up, maybe someone has some spare time to read this post. I know the readers of U.S. have some pretty varied views, and pretty good B.S. detectors.. This is somewhere between sci/fi and a spy novel. It’s 40 pages and gets better at the end.. It’s rather sobering (with many ripples beyond what written),, and probably just clarifies what we already knew.

    Enjoy, and I look forward to some replies..

  8. George,
    45 to 47 is too short for reaction unless they were already
    here. Think Goddard and his liquid fueled rockets, Where?

  9. I really hope you don’t sell to a jackass. I’ll miss you as my quasi-neighbor as it is..

    • We go back and forth on this, of course. Sitting with a couple of cold ones on the screen porch last night with the sun going down and 80F…hard to imagine a better place in the world.
      It dawned on E – when I explained that there would be four homes between the house and the mailbox – such on in-city lot sizes – that privacy IS a big deal so she grew a bit less thrilled with the moving idea.
      “Still, I don’t want to die alone out here in the woods…” she said.
      “Well…where then? We can go and rent a room…”
      (still awaiting an answer…got most of the drink washed off.)

  10. Shocked over and over
    And start out with nothing in your brain again
    This is where the dark and light comes in
    There are very few people that know this and they keep it secret why
    Imagine your body gets tired and you don’t want to use it no more
    And you have the ability to leave that body and you’ve already picked out another body to go to ,,,,a young body,,,
    Well you push that Spirit out of the body
    Or if it’s just a baby you can push that one out, it’ll find another
    As long as you have the audacity and stanima you can push that one out
    But that particular body that you picked is full of riches, Maybe the owner of the banking system or maybe the owner of the Catholic Church or maybe some other up and rising owner and so it’s at the top of the pyramid this entity and a few others they keep this

    knowledge to themselves an they encourage those books that say go to the light
    when they know that when they leave the body they see a flicker out there
    they don’t go to it because they know what it means
    that is how they will always have control even when all of you get together and take their power away
    they know that when they get ready they can jump into another powerful body
    and take over again and the way that they keep you from finding out is they do bad things maybe not them personally
    but they surround themselves with people who do bad things because they don’t want you to get close to the truth

    • The truth is we don’t know where the shocker system is I made up the lightning bit but it was said that the shocker system does put out a billion volts and they don’t know how it works these aliens said that back in 1947 but since then it seems that this Shield or shock resistant is breaking down because more and more people are becoming enlightened and I don’t know if they are affecting it or whether it’s us but we’re learning more and more about reincarnation and we’re learning more and more about death, and they admit that this is a Prison Planet
      They the aliens have lost a bunch of people here in the past when there was a war between the two main forces in this part of the universe,, anyway there’s lots of holes in this story but maybe you can find the ,answer ,that solves the puzzle ,that is my goal

      May all beings be lovingly fulfilled,,, so be it

  11. Wherever did Americans get the idea that moving to the country and then grooming it to look like A CITY PARK was a good idea. People in Texas a century ago weren’t doing that.

    I told you years ago, George, that my hospice/home healthcare wife said the greatest issue for American retirees was not downsizing early enough. Trying to maintain a lifestyle that eventually causes injury or other health problems trying to maintain a property too large for them. And many destitute themselves in the process.

    Me, at age 60 I retired to (a small town in) Ecuador, bought a 4 apartment house and kicked back. I can hire a guy for $25 to fix anything on the property, and pay a cleaning girl to clean our personal area and all the public areas for $20 every week.

    Our $200k investment allows us to bank 80% of our social security, and cd’s in an Ecuador bank all pay over NINE percent per annum. And that’s no typo, there is no decimal in that number. We can get a nice Ecuadorian meal for $3 with not a speck of commercially processed food in it, and a filet mignon goes for $8.

    And this week they are connecting our internet account to fiber optic. Woohoo!

    Urban Survival, the great oxymoron of the 21st century.

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