Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Today, my boss at Rissman told me about Joe Paterno, Penn State's football coach for 46 years.  Joe is either going to be fired or resign amid an immoral and illegal inferno.  Paterno's crime is that of inaction, while in itself may not be illegal or immoral, but allowed Sandusky, his assistant and a pedophile, to act immorallly and illegally, unchecked and unpunished for years.  It occurred to me that this action of inaction is a national disease, a progressive pathogenic with an incubation period that has reached its zenith. Lawmakers and governments were given too much power because we didnt' want to get involved.  Capatalism was given too much power because it was either easier that way or we didn't want to get involved. 

Joe Paterno's lifelong career as one of the best coaches in the country with one of the best records this country has ever had in college football is ruined. What he will be known for is the man who allowed a pedophile to continue to commit crimes under his watch. If this is what inaction does for one man, imagine what it can do to a country?

I seem to see this lesson everywhere I go lately.  Even at my own job, I knew what my duties are, but there were those tasks that I allowed others to do for me and when no one followed up, I gratefully dismissed. Now, my company is cracking down on me (us) and "I don't know how" is not acceptable anymore.  The truth was, I didn't want to know how because I didn't want to do it. 

I think about the Boston Tea Party.  No, not "The Tea Party," but the real Boston Tea Party and the anger that finally boiled to the top of public sentiment that caused a chain reaction that changed history.  Today, at lunch, I mentioned that I was going to take a few days off to join the protestors.  I joked that I hadn't been in jail for a long time.  The conversation took an ugly turn.  The reactions surprised me and made me angry. 
"Bunch of losers." one woman said.
"They need to get a job." said another.
"That isn't what this country is about," another commented, to which I retorted, "That is exactly what this country is about!"
"They don't want to pay their student loans."
Then the conversation turned to student loans and the difficulty in getting a job once you've graduated, which entirely proved the point that was being made by the protestors.
It's easy to sit around a table at a firm that pays you above average wages at your one hour lunchtime and cry, "let them eat cake!" It's only when our cake and cookies and meat and potatoes are yanked from our tables, that we can understand the movement that is being undertaken. 

Whether it be apathy,.sloth, indifference or entitlement, history has proven inaction hasn't worked.  It didn't work for Marie Antoinetter, Joe Paterno, me or the country.  Maybe I'll take a day off soon and go to jail.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's easy not to think; to really just not think about anything that matters at all.  I admit it, I am guilty.  It's too scary to take an honest look at the world.  It's easy to lose yourself in mindless endeavors; television, movies; the girl next door who wears her dress too short; the guy at work with the dreamy eyes, but don't take a look at the world around and really see what matters.

How rare is it for a person to come to their own sense through sheer determination and will-power? My friend Barbara is one of those people, self-aware and strongly opinionated.  She doesn't own a tv and never recognized popular cultural reference that I try to relate to her, but at 61, she's more into the art revolution than the social and political revolution.  I happen to have picked up from small inferences here and there that she does contribute donating here and there, but she is more into the art revolution that the social revolution.  Perhaps she is just tired of beating her head against a wall, like the Wall Street Protesters.  I've been surprised by the comments of the newscasters (why are they allowed to have opinions? What happened to objectivity?).  Apparently, anyone unhappy with the state of their union is "Un" or "Anti" American."  This country was founded upon the backs of revolutionaries, but now, apparently it is American to turn our back and pretend not to see the ever widening chasm between they that have too much and they that have not enough and un-American to point out the hypocrisy. 

Self medication is society's pathology; the abuse and overuse of legal and illegal drugs; television, movies, sports, sex, pornography, gossip, money, power, politics, technology, work and religion.  All have the power to divide, all have the power to put our minds to sleep, causing us to lose track of what is really important in life and forget what really matters.

What are the real issues of life?  Food. shelter, health, security, safety and then happiness.  Who am I, you ask, to tell you what the real issues of life are?  I am nobody.  I will not be the one to tell you what the real issues of life are.  Life will.

Until something rudely awakens us out of our slumber, our sense of justice, right and wrong, fairness and what is really important in life lays comatose, snoring under the influence of apathy.

It's almost as if there is one gargantuan force, creating many smaller forces to keep us from forming a formidable united front. That's crazy, isn't it?  Yeah.  When the events on 9/11 occurred, the nation, at first and for awhile, was united, happy to hate just a small faction of the Middle East, but we were further divided by an agenda and some of us convinced to hate the entire region, the entire culture.  We were not only divided from them, but from each other; those who knew and were not fooled, those who were fooled and were angry at being fooled, those who were fanatics about revenge for any reason, it didnt' matter what or who and if we didn't, we are  "Anti-American."  At least we were united for a little while.

When someone gets cancer, is sick, has a life-changing event or dies, then if there are families, they unite, not all the time, but many times, there is unity and peace at least for a little  Sometimes, minds are awoken and priorities are assessed and reorganized and life-changing, life lasting decisions are made.

For those not already self-aware or willing to try, what we have to have in our lives, either individually or united, to overcome the tsunami of diversion and crush the principle of "divide and conquer", is a tragedy.  It's the only thing that brings us together, individually or as a nation, and that is a shame.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Losing My Mind

The most interesting thing about losing my memory is not watching it in slow motion, like a bad movie, day after day. Nor is the fact that the progression could cost me my job,my quality of life or my sanity. Nor is the most interesting thing about losing my memory the look of either disgust or pity but rarely compassion, that I see in the eyes of those who catch a glimpse of it. No, the most interesting thing about losing your memory is that the only people who can really relate to losing their memory cannot relate with you about losing their memory. It is the most intangible illness there is. It's mistaken for aging, stupidity, lack of focus, lack of prioritizing, lack of discipline; but not what it is- a mental illness. .
 Not only is my memory fading, but bits and pieces of my reality run together and become confusing. For example, dates. I look at dates, completely forgetting what day it is and thinking it's another date, a week ago, a week from now. Names of people I've known for years escape me and lately, I can't remember how to spell things.
I am not going to apologize for my memory loss and the subsequent fall-out. I refuse to allow the permeable distate that others have for those who they label "stupid" to hurt me. If I am to blame, then so be it. But no matter who is to blame, this is what it is. A descent into the rabbit hole.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Draft-Children's Story

Children’s Story-Untitled

“The stories told of old,
Which terror doth unfold
Of shadowless lands and darkness deep
And endless nights when man doth weep..”

“Are you scared?” Haven asked closing the book.
“I’m not scared!” Shouted Arth, a little too loudly.
“What are they about?” inquired Skye, wide-eyed.
Haven whipped wildly around, hands grotesquely clawed, his long blond hair flying around his head,  hissing loudly, “MONSTERS!!!”
Both children ran from Haven screaming and laughing but Haven’s smile faded when their backs were turned.  He knew there were such things as monsters.

Haven walked Arth and Skye down the path beside the black rock, onto the valley floor, besides the Blue Water River back to Dathanlan. They were of the Dathan clan and not Haven's.  Haven had no clan and he had no memory of ever having one.  He enjoyed Arth and Skye when he came through , but they were so young and their energy so powerful and undisciplined that he was eventually glad to be taking his leave, so that he could rest for a while. They demanded his constant attention and would accept no less.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wrong Road

I feel as if my journey in life started on the right road, but somewhere, I chose a route that led me so far away from the main road, I can’t find my way back.  My happiness is on that road; miles of green waving grass, shade trees dancing in the wind, birds singing, animals playing, hunting, living as they should; a feeling of peace and lack of want.  The road I am on, the road that I chose is a journey of  weariness and a never ceasing gnawing longing to return home.  Home feels so close... just over that hill or beyond that lake.  I sometimes want to force a solution, to end the frustration and rush to peace at the end of my journey.  

I don’t know why I don’t.  Am I afraid that God will be angry with me, if there is a God; or that He will show me what could have been had I waited; or maybe it’s what I tell myself, that there are those who depend on me, who will be terribly hurt if I go?  So I keep looking for my way back, praying along the way.  Maybe it should be the other way around.  Maybe I should pray for my way back and look along the way.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life is Strange

M. Scott Peck was right, but he would have been just as right if he had written, "Life is Strange," instead of "Life is difficult."  I almost always have two thoughts heading in different directions at any given moment.  Sometimes I wonder if I just don't enjoy pain. 

What gets me through the disasters of my decisions is a faith in a Higher Power; a "God of my own understanding."  I know people who think this is a crutch.  Well, maybe a cripple needs a crutch. My mind wanders to wondering about atheists.  Sometimes, I think atheists are simply people who are disillusioned or don't understand God.  Others want to blame God for the actions of those with free will, including themselves.  But then, I know there are people who are neither angry with God nor disillusioned...not anything at all. They just never met God, so they don't believe in anything greater than themselves.  That, to me, is a terrifying thought. If we are the species with the highest intelligence in the universe, then the universe is doomed.

I find it interesting that a species that can only fathom small fragments of life's complexities ; what flows beneath our thin layers of skin, what electrical pulses through the small spaces in our cranium, think we are the ultimate supreme intelligence in the universe.  Then we could also say, "Life is primitive."

I don't know how I got on all this. All I was thinking about was moving closer to work and getting a fenced yard for the dogs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My First Ride

My first car was given to me in 1973 by my Dad after I passed a summer Driver’s Ed class at Northeast High School, in St. Petersburg, Florida .  It was a white Chevy with three on the column and a very tight clutch, which was challenging for a 5’, 98lb, 17 year old. 
I drove to St. Pete Beach when the teenage angst became unbearable.  I can still hear Deep Purple blaring from the eight-track.  “Hush, hush, I think I hear her calling my name, now.  Hush, hush, she broke my heart but I love her just the same, now. Nah, nah nah nah, nah nah nah, nah nah nah…”
One particular memory of that first ride still burns brightly.  I had plans to go to Jerry’s Tavern one night.  Jerry's Tavern used to be on 66th St. in St. Petersburg.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  It turns out it wasn’t. 
Back in the 70s, it was becoming less routine and therefore, more exciting each time a bar would let you in underage and without a fake ID.  I was a regular at Jerry’s and had been going to bars for almost a year by then.
I don’t remember what happened at the bar, but I pray I never forget what happened after.  I remember coming to when my car hit the median.  I was jarred awake up when it hit the pole and desperately trying to sober up by the time the police arrived.  There were colored lights, a white car bent around a light pole, lots of people and even more questions.  I told the police I was tired, a half-truth; practice for my future career in alcoholism. 
The police called my father who came to the scene.  It was probably about 1:00 a.m. 
I don’t remember much of the rest of the night or the years that followed.  My father was a salesman and a pretty good one.  I am sure he sold them a great story.  Whether or not they bought it, I will never know, but I do know I did not get a ticket, the car was towed and I never saw it again.
I miss that car.  I miss my innocence.