Category Archives: Musings

It jes’ doesn’t happen over night

Meaness jes’ don’t happen over night.*

I sometimes wonder whether the mean people I run into are “jes’ that way,” or whether they are “jes’ havin’ a bad day.”

Seems to me, if I label them ‘mean’ in my mind, it “ain’t them jes’ havin’ a bad day.”

AND! What’s extraordinary about people like this is — many of them either don’t give a crap about the fact that they are being mean, or — they don’t know they are mean.

The latter statement comes from my work with “difficult people.” As hard as it is to believe, many difficult people, and even REALLY difficult people, don’t have a clue about how they come across to other people, AND they have no idea how much they hurt other people.

They just go through life stepping all over everyone else because their singular focus is themselves. They have no:

  • consideration
  • empathy
  • compassion
  • kindness
  • thoughfulness
  • positivity

[This could be a long list!!! If you want to add some “definers”, make a comment below!!]

And it seems they have no “joie de vivre.” Joy of life; joy in living.

I would like to stop them in the middle of their meanness and say:

  • Look at that rainbow
  • Smell the roses
  • See the Mama and Papa ducks with their baby ducks walking down the road in a straight line (and all the other people being considerate of them?)
  • Did you ever notice how beautiful her smile is?

Because it seems they never see such things; they just see darkness, and hate, and dominance, and pain, and…???

Sometimes I don’t care that they might have had a rough day, a rough week, a rough year. Most of us have had a heck of a lot thrown at us in the course of our lives: “the stories I could tell…” Somehow we’ve managed to get out of bed every day and try again, and again, and again with positivity, kindness, consideration, etc.

One of the sad things, too, because I have spent a good bit of time trying, is you can’t seem to help these kind of people out of their “meanness.” I’ve known some lulus in my day, and I HAVE tried to help them see the roses, shown them consideration instead of reacting, even tried to talk with them about a more positive approach to life, They might agree with me up front, but their approach to others, to life doesn’t change — it’s who they are.

Which brings us back to the title of this blog — “Meanness doesn’t jes’ happen over night.”

So what are our choices?

Choose all of those things in the list above and all of those things you can think of to add to the list, and use them in your life regardless of the other person — it’s who you are:

I’m a nice guy. Yes, I get angry, sometimes I react to negativity like everyone else, get upset when I am attacked, put down, treated badly; but overall, being kind is just who I am, and its not worth it to have some “meannie” change that. [One of those words we used as kids to describe bullies.] Somehow, to this point, I have managed to always come back to me.

Hope that doesn’t change.


Joe Koob

*from Farmer’s Almanac

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Nurture Yourself

We all go through bad times. Some times we go through really difficult things that threaten to take over our lives. These are the times when we need the most help. Often we look  outside ourself for help; which IS a good thing to do: support and understanding from loved ones, friends, and even acquaintances and strangers can help us get through rough moments as much as anything.

But don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.

Sometimes the little things really can make a difference. I am one of those people who finds some comfort in work; so I try to forget my troubles by throwing myself into something. I also, however, like the little things in life that make a difference. Here are some that matter to me and can help me through a bump in the road:

Treat Yourself — Peanut M&Ms anyone?

A nose to nose commiseration with That Black-Haired Beauty (for any who might not follow this blog, that’s my dog). Getting down on her level (the floor) and saying “Hi” I think makes us both feel better.

Organizing things — understand I am NOT a very good “keep things in order and in their right places” kind of person; just the opposite actually — but putting things in order once in awhile, especially if I’m struggling, helps keep things in perspective.

Cooking — I am a cook and I even have a cooking blog: The Irreverent Gourmet — Buying food and cooking (and then eating) are great for me.
Communicating with an old friend.
Remembering good times.
Doing something nice for someone else.
Shopping (for me that’s usually food), but tools are high on my list too.
Enjoying a moment, instead of letting it go by. Note: the sun sets every day!
Reading a good book (or ten).
Listening to favorite music — that’s certainly helped get me through  a good many difficult spots!
Working out — something about doing something physical is recuperative for me (and doesn’t hurt this old bod either).
Saying something nice to someone.
Sharing hugs — I once hugged an old lady in a wheelchair in the hospital because she looked like she could use it even more than me.
You know what works for you. Don’t wallow in difficulties; do something. One way or another these things all pass and I’m all for making the most of as much of the pathway to what comes next as arriving there.
Joe Koob
P.S. Did I mention Peanut M&Ms?

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Each Step I Take

Each Step I Take, the Horizon takes one too.

It seems

so Obvious


The frontiers of unlimited space


With me.

I hurry,





Keeps pace


Each Step I Take, the Horizon takes one too.

I wrote this short ‘poem’ many years ago and it seems as relevant now as it did then. As I get older (and I AM getting up there), I keep stepping ahead, trying new things, trying to figure out old things,.. I do struggle and I sometimes weep for myself, for others, for days past, and hopes that continue, but seem farther away than ever before. Life in a continuance — up until the day we pass to something else. Today I will continue with it to the best of my ability and who knows, because we never really do, what may come of it. There maybe some precious moments; there may be some frustrating ones; there may be pain, joy, sorrow, struggle, but there will always be choices. Today I choose to move ahead as I have done with most of my days. Maybe this day will have an unsuspected joy to it; or some moment that I can treasure in spite of what I may have to deal with. I look forward to that moment. I hope my eyes are open when it happens.

Step ahead… I dare you.


Joe Koob

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Lean on Me

Went to a wedding celebration of some close family friends the other day. As part of the ceremony they had everyone sing “lean on Me” by Bill Withers. It’s a beautiful and moving song, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics. Here are some excerpts:

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

One of the great things we can do is be there for someone when they are suffering — whether it is physical or emotional pain, stress, mental anguish, or…

I know it has meant a great deal to me when people have helped support me through tough times. Sometimes it is hard to deal with what you are facing. This song says something that is very, very important — seek help when you need it.

The world lost a great person and comedian recently. We really don’t know what was going through Robin William’s mind, but in hind-sight, one wishes he had called upon someone who would have been more than willing to offer their support when he was in despair: wife, children, friends, etc.

Sometimes we do feel we are alone; but rarely is that the case. There are a great many people out there in the real world who do care about others. If you are sad, lonely, fighting something you just can’t handle, reach out. Please, reach out. Even if its a stranger, most people will help.

If you find you can be a person, that person, whenever the moment presents itself, to reach out to someone in pain, make the effort. You and they will be glad you did.

A thousand blessings to you for doing so.

Joe Koob

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I wrote this quite some time ago and have included it in the appendices (in various forms) in many of my books. If it serves, circle the second section and put it where you can read it every day. Many of us, me included, have fought our whole lives feeling “not good enough.” Self-work is often about turning negative influence from our younger years into more positive self-worth. You are a child of this universe no less than any other; find the love within.


I am going to worry all the time and kick myself
whenever I do something
that is remotely stupid.

I am going to feel bad whenever anyone puts me
down, be depressed because no one likes me,
and get frustrated all the time
because no one listens to me.

I am not going to take care of myself when I get
tired, over-worked, or ill
or take time for myself because I have way too
much to do.

I am going to accept everything bad that anyone
says about me,
because it’s all true.

I am going to wallow in self-pity.


I am going to stop worrying and look at the
brighter side of life.

I am going to pay attention to my thoughts
and feelings and when I start to think negatively
or to kick myself,

I am going to turn my thoughts around and say
supportive, kind things to myself.

I am going to be self-confident, believe in myself,
and maintain a calm, cool, collected persona
wherever I am and with whomever I am with.

I am going to be assertive, kind, and compassionate
in all my dealings with others.

I am going to pay attention to my communications
and always try to present
a positive me to the rest of the world.

I am going to believe in myself.

( publication)

Best, Joe Koob

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Graduation Day

arwen iv 007

Congrats to all the new Graduates out there. That Black-Haired Beauty isn’t graduating from anything (unless you considerate it a graduation to move into senior citizen status — if so, then I deserve congrats too!).

Have you ever thought what you might say if you were to ever give a graduation speech. We all have been through enough of them; these days we graduate from almost every level it seems. And if you have had any of the myriad of experiences I have had, you’ve heard some lulus. I even sat through one as a professor that was so depressing I wondered if the Senator giving it was on drugs — it was all about doom and gloom and world Armageddon — now that’s a cheery topic to send the grads out into the world on.

I think if I was to ever give such a speech I would focus on more positive things. Maybe I would start with Kindness — because if you take kindness as one of your major tools in dealing with that wide world out there, you’re going to have a lot better time of it than if you don’t. Then I might just add in a bit of Consideration and a good dose of Compassion. Finally, I might end with the key to all of these: self-awareness. You can’t know how you’re coming across to others, how you are impacting them, unless you pay attention to yourself.

Now grads, get out there and toss a bit of these three around: Kindness, Consideration, and Compassion. Others will really be glad you do; and you will be glad too.


Joe Koob

P.S. My wife has asked me on occasion how I get Arwen to pose for all these portraits: basically trial and error and treats. Here are a couple of pics that didn’t make the cut. Truth is we have a great deal of fun getting to the good one.

arwen iv 006

arwen iv 005

arwen iv 008

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Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

A good friend sent me a number of quotes from Steven Wright (comedian, “philosopher,” etc.) and this one has more depth than comedy. Kind of gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Imagine hearing this in a droll manner, with little affect, and then a long pause after the delivery of the line — that’s where the humor comes in. I could see George Carlin raising an eyebrow after such a line. (MHRIP)

Depression, non-enthusiasm, unmotivated has roots. Maybe if we get to the roots, we can work on the source and not the symptom. 

Sometimes when i am feeling this way (and today isn’t far from the truth — its cold, windy, and going to be very wet soon in un-sunny PA), I try to immerse myself in something motivational; sometimes writing helps (e.g. what I’m doing now :}); and sometimes — for me, since I am a “do-er” — the best thing is to do something.

Writing helps because I am not only “doing”, but I am using my rambling thoughts to sort through things — I’m working toward the source of the ill-ease. I highly recommend it as a minor type of therapy (and it doesn’t cost a mint either). 

Got the blues? Sit down with your computer, tablet, or if you still own any — a pencil and sheet of paper, and talk to yourself. OR you can talk to someone else: that can be quite therapeutic as well, most of the time, however, it’s probably not wise to let them or anyone else see your ramblings. This type of work if for you.

Talking to yourself on paper (or a computer screen) is far different than letting things run through your head. We tend to perseverate and go through things over and over again without really getting very far when we “talk” to ourselves in our heads. Writing it down takes time, thought, and it helps us focus. Whatever we “talk” about becomes more concrete.

Now, as with any kind of “therapy” you should be careful and not push yourself too far or too hard. If things start to get difficult or overwhelming, get some support or help. It’s always wise to understand where you are at emotionally at any given point.

Otherwise, just see where your thoughts and emotions take you. You just might find that you’ve built up a little enthusiasm for yourself and life again. Hey, I’m already feeling better. Maybe that Black-Haired Beauty would like a walk — there’s a stupid question. Well, I’ll be “doing” something and have an appreciative partner to boot. 

Try writing — you can even write me. I listen. [Use the Ask Dr. Koob link]


Joe Koob




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You can choose…

You can choose… Your God’s name over someone else’s God’s name… but are they so different?

You can choose…to be better than someone else because they are different because of… social class, race, religion, they make less, look funny, or…?

You can choose

…to believe that men are better than women, and treat them that way… which is fairly prevalent in some countries, but unfortunately is still true here in the U.S. of A. too.

…that black is better than white.

…that your ideology is better than theirs.

…that right is better than left; or is it that left is better than right???

… that sticking to one’s guns is far better than compromise.

… to be right instead of being kind.

… to cut in line, instead of being courteous.

… to have it your way, instead of considerig someone else’s way.

… to cut someone off, instead of leting someone in.

… to be magnaminous when someone is having a bad day, rather than being rude.

…to open a door, instead of shuting one.

… to love instead of hating.

…to find peace and joy, instead choosing anger, frustration, and pain.

What are you choosing today? Tomorrow. What did you choose yesterday? What is in your head every day? These are the thoughts that make you who you are. These are what you bring into the world. More importantly, perhaps, what are you listening to — broadcasts of anger, hate, frustration, fear, people railing against each other about this thing or that? Or are you finding more positive things to pay attention to? Every day I try to find something positive to read or listen to. And every night before I fall asleep I try to remember to read or think of something positive. It’s a start. Here’s one I thought up yeserday: If every day were a massage — what a great world it would be! (Brings a smile to MY face!


Joe Koob

And in the morning you can start your day that way, too. :}

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