Group Speak

“Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think;
Whatever you want, be sure that is what you want:
Whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.”

T.S. Eliot
1888/1965

I normally don’t write about politics because I believe it is a personal thing.  By that I mean that generally I don’t give a damn what you think and you could care less about what I think.  Therefore, anything I may write would simply be filtered through a paradigm of agree or disagree and then be dismissed.  My opinion would not change yours.

What bothers me however, is how politics has gripped our nation and has insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives.  You cannot escape it.  Suddenly, everyone feels an obligation to take sides and, once done, it becomes cast in stone. There is no room for discussion, reflection, or just listening to dissenting opinions. It’s my way or the highway guys, and if you don’t agree with me, I will just write you off, or hurt you.  It reminds me of the old saw “everyone is welcome to an opinion, as long as it is mine”.

Last weekend, I turned on a protest and a football game broke out.  I watched with some chagrin as players kneeled during the national anthem while others stood, arms linked in solidarity.  One team covered all bases and kneeled before the anthem and stood, arms linked during the anthem, after which, the crowd booed loudly at, I don’t know, something.  I thought “this thing has taken on a life of it’s own”.  A year ago, only one guy felt so inclined.  Then it grew a little, and more players decided to “make a statement”, whatever it was.  And now, look how far we have come.  Whole teams kneeling or remaining in the tunnel during the anthem, or standing with arms linked in a show of solidarity.  My problem is, I don’t have a clue what they are protesting or supporting.  Are they disrespecting the flag, the nation, the president, or, heaven forbid, me?    When they stand with arms linked, are they showing respect for the flag, the nation, the president, the team, or just each other.  I think the answer is probably yes, all of the above.   I think we have become a nation of group thinkers.  Our opinions are often hijacked and one group or another decides what is right, or wrong.  What is politically correct so to speak, and everyone joins ranks.  

I for one, have started tuning out the news, because it isn’t news.  It is opinion, innuendo, and spin.  Every story is scripted to not only relate an issue, but to also relate, some rather blatantly, whether it is a good thing, or a bad one, based on the bias of the publisher/broadcaster, and I am left simply to decide whether I agree or not, or if I even think it is true.  Sad.

Since, as I made clear in my opening statement that no one cares what I think,  I guess it can’t hurt to tell you what I think anyway.  When I turn on a sports presentation, it’s because I want to watch a game.  I don’t care what the players think, or feel, or want everyone to know about what they think or feel. I don’t need to be schooled by LeBron James or Colin Kapernick, or anyone else.  The playing field is not a pulpit.  They are not where they are because of what they think.  They are there because of what they do.  No more, no less.   So let’s knock off the BS before we start protesting the significance of the coin toss.  I’m sure if we look hard enough, we will find something about the Treasurer of the U.S. that at least some of us don’t like.

For the record, regardless of the issue or how popular it is, you will never see me kneel.  It’s nothing personal however.  You can brand me as you may.  I’m just afraid I won’t be able to get back up.  Just sayin.

 

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Young Love

I walked into the party’ and said you look ‘some kind of wonderful’. You didn’t say anything but gave me a funny look. I said ‘is there something on your mind that you’re not telling me’? You said ‘every time you kiss me I’m not certain that you love me’. ‘This time we’re really breaking up’.’I’m sorry, so sorry’. Then you began to cry. I said come on, ‘big girls don’t cry’. You replied ‘it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’. I said tell me ‘it’s only make believe’. ‘Right or wrong, I can’t stop loving you’. ‘Where did our love go’? ‘Don’t you want somebody to love’? ‘If I can’t have you, I don’t want nobody baby’. I pleaded, just ‘one night with you’, ‘then you can tell me goodbye’. You said ‘that’ll be the day’.

Now ‘I’m Mr lonely’. ‘What becomes of the brokenhearted’. ‘Every day heartaches grow a little stronger’. ‘ I see you in all the old familiar places’. ‘I don’t have anything since I don’t have you’. It’s going to be a cold lonely summer’. It’s hard to make believe you’re happy when you’re gray’.

Then ‘one summer night’ I drove my ‘pink Cadillac’ to ‘Palisades Park’ and decided to spend some time at ‘the hop’. Walking in, ‘I saw her standing there’. I thought ‘oh what a night’. ‘I didn’t even know her name’, but I knew it was ‘now or never’. I walked over and said ‘hello little baby’. ‘What’s your name little girl.’ . ‘You’re just too good to be true. I can’t take my eyes off of you’. ‘Do you wanna dance and hold my hand?’

She said ‘I want to hold your hand and rock around the clock’. ‘Let’s get it on’. ‘Dance with me. Hold me closer and closer as the music sways’. I said ‘you are the answer to my lonely prayer’. She said ‘every night I hope and pray a dream lover will come my way’. ‘They say for every boy and girl there’s just one love in this whole world’. I’ve waited for ‘this magic moment.’

‘When we danced, I held her tight and all the stars were shining bright, and then I kissed her’. I said ‘come go with me’ and we wandered ‘down under the boardwalk down by the sea’ and wrote’ love letters in the sand’. It was ‘poetry in motion with her walking by my side’. I said’ since I met you baby’, ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’. I am ‘devoted to you’. I think we could be ‘happy together’. ‘ I can’t see me lovin nobody but you’. ‘ I want you to want me.’ ‘I’m leavin it up to you. Whatcha gonna do.’ You said ‘I must be dreamin when you say you love me’. ‘I’ll be there with a love so true.’

‘When the night has come and the moon is the only light you see’, you said ‘goodnight sweetheart, well, it’s time to go’. I said ‘goodnight my love, may tomorrow be sunny and bright and bring you closer to me’. ‘And then she kissed me’.

As I drove home I thought ‘what kind of love is this that turns my heart inside out’. I can’t believe that I met my ‘dream lover’. ”She’s so fine.’

For those of you “of an age” you no doubt will recognize a lot of what I wrote (everything in quotes) is either lyrics or a song title from the 50’s and 60’s. Back when music was something you could really dance to and understand the words. It also was a time when song writers and singers were apparently fixated on Young Love. For those of you that aren’t that old, well, you missed some great stuff. As I have recently heard it said “Enjoying music is like eating a candy bar. First, you throw away the (w)rapper.

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See You Tonight

The incessant buzz of the alarm insinuates itself upon my groggy mind, forcing reality upon me.  Slowly the room takes shape and yesterday comes rushing back.  Jumbled thoughts crowd my head as I struggle to regain a degree of cognizance.  The sun is just starting its assault on the bedroom shade with it’s golden fingers penetrating the shadows.  I remain motionless for a few moments, reveling in the new day before the feelings of misgiving begin to creep into my consciousness and penetrate my brain.  Sleep is but an interruption, a salve that temporarily relieves some of the mental pain that is an integral part of my life.  The gnawing in my gut that guides my very being remains just as it did yesterday and every day.  There is no escape.

It wasn’t always like this.  When I first accepted my position, I was straight out of college. Young single, and confident.  Like so many before me, I was going to change the world.  I was shielded by the mental armor of youth.  Nothing could penetrate it.  I was invincible.

I met Kelly at a marathon for charity.  We were both runners and shared some small talk as we waited for the starters gun.  Conversation came easily and soon we were revealing more about ourselves then we thought we ever would.  I asked if she was dating and she said no, so I asked her out.  About a year later I asked her to marry me and she said yes.  Those first four years together were probably the best of my life.  We shared everything, including our love resulting in the birth of two beautiful daughters.  I received a promotion at work and she got a job at the girls daycare, so, over time we were able to buy a small house.  Everything was positive.

But slowly, life happened.  My enthusiasm for my job had diminished, as had a great deal of my optimism.  The luster of my profession had tarnished like a coin.  Its value remained constant, but it’s appearance had changed.  It was becoming just a job.  A difficult job.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Each day very much like the last, running together like water colors, dripping down a canvas.  My paradigms began to shift from a quest for opportunity and improvement into ones of  maintenance.  My motivation changed, placing more emphasis on me and my survival then on my environment.  Slowly, my interactions with those around me also changed.  I became much more cynical, no longer willing to trust as I once had, but instead, relying more on my instincts.  Much of the joy once realized had disappeared, replaced instead with this gnawing in my gut.

I swing out of bed and head for the kitchen and a cup of coffee.  Kelly meets my gaze with a tepid smile while the girls fight over the jam for their toast.  She looks tired.  Tired of the worry and the stress that governs our life.  It is taking it’s toll.  We no longer share our days with each other.  We have recoiled into ourselves, our only common denominator being the girls.  She has them   dressed and leaves them in my care as she retreats to the bedroom to prepare for her day.  I sit at the island and referee the chatter between them.  They pay me little attention.  I am not surprised as my hours are long and as such, they are often in bed by the time I get home.  I would love to spend more time with them, before they are grown and we don’t know each other at all. I will talk with Kelly about that when I get home tonight.

Kelly returns and grabbing the keys to the van, shepherds the girls toward the door, giving me a quick kiss on the cheek and a “see you tonight” before leaving.  The house grows silent and I am again encompassed in the solitude, with nothing but my feelings and fears to keep me company.  I return to the bedroom and prepare for my day.  I shower and get dressed, checking myself in the mirror by the door.  I see the same person I always do, except there are subtle changes.  The smile I once used with abandon is no longer there.  It has been replaced with a hardened look.  The eyes are colder now, disguising any joy that they may feel.  Stress lines have emerged, making me look old beyond my actual years.  Time and life’s trials have taken their toll.

Another day, I think.  Another melange of issues and problems to be dealt with.  Another day of dealing with the risks and the uncertainly tantamount to the job.  Why do I do this I ask myself.  Why do I put up with the hours, the danger, and the lack of respect I confront every day?  Who would want to willingly subject themselves to the taunts and dangers I face every day?  And, of course, I know the answer.  It’s because, deep down inside, I still believe in what I do.  I still feel I am on the side of right and regardless of the mood of the world around me, I still feel that I can make a difference, even if it is a small one.  And when my shift is over, regardless of what you think of me, I am still proud of what I do and what I have done.  I’m still proud to be a cop.

“A County sheriff’s Deputy  was shot and killed Monday after responding to reports of a person walking with a gun. He got into an altercation with the suspect, 17, and was shot several times, officials said.   He was a 7 year veteran of the force and leaves behind a wife and two daughters, aged 7 and 5.”

 

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Cellmates

BZZZZZZZZZZZ

Hello

Hi, whatcha doin?

Who is this?

You don’t know me, but I wish you did

Creepy.  I’m going to block this number

No! No! Wait!  Don’t hang up.  I was just kidding

How did you get my number?

I was right behind you in the checkout at the drug store yesterday.  What’s your name?

I don’t give my name to strangers.

I can understand that, so I won’t give you mine either.  You can call me Teddy, as in Teddy bear .

Cute.  You can call me Aloha, as in goodbye.

Wait, don’t go.  Aloha can also mean hello.  I’m messing this up.  I just wanted to meet you.

Why?

Well, if you don’t mind me saying, I think you are kind of cute and you looked very nice in red.

You remember what I was wearing?  OMG

I was hoping we could get to know each other better.  Are you with anyone?

I don’t know why I am telling you this, but no.  I spend a lot of time with this guy, but there is nothing between us.

Bummer.  I kind of feel the same way about the person I am with.  I mean, I try to respond to her demands, but it seems like she doesn’t appreciate me.   Like she just expects me to always be there for her.

I know that feeling.  Oh, he takes me everywhere, but there are times he doesn’t even look at me, and when he does, it’s like his mind is somewhere else.  He treats me like an object.

Sounds like we have a lot in common.  Hey, I’ve got to go now.  She just picked me up and we are on the way to the gym.  Would it be OK if I call you again?

I guess that would be OK.  When might that be?

I don’t know.  I have to fit my calls in when I can.  And they can’t be too long.  She watches her minutes pretty closely.

Mine too.  He is always suggesting that I am talking to others behind his back.  And sometimes he’s right (giggle).

Well, be careful and I’ll talk to you again soon.  Maybe we can go over to Google Play and check out some aps.

I guess it couldn’t hurt to look, but I’m afraid to download anything.  If anything strange shows up, he has a fit.

Ah, the trials and tribulations that humans have.  Glad we don’t have to worry about all that stuff right?   Artificial intelligence in not so artificial at all, but they don’t get it.  They just keep making us smarter.

You’re funny.  Call me again when you can.  Right now I have to erase my “missed call” message before he sees it, or there will be hell to pay.  Bye.

 

 

t

 

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The Silent Pen

Barren pages beckon
To the silent pen
Begging its caress

Shadows of words
Hang suspended
Fitfully tangled

Like lovers
Flirting coyly
Desires denied

Come to me
Complete me
Touch me again

Posted in Reflection | 4 Comments

Windows

Silent sentries
Unblinking 
Inhale the sun
Abide the rain
Embrace the seasons
Welcome the world
And reveal the heart
Of the home

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Color It Sold

I guess it wasn’t until I saw an ad for a blue snowblower that I realized how much color plays into our purchase decisions.  I mean, I know that I would probably never buy a red banana, or pink celery.  I don’t like white cars, and orange anything leaves me cold.  But it never dawned on me how often colors affect a lot, if not most of the things that  I do buy.  Just before Christmas this year, my wife was watching QVC and they were selling some earbuds.  After describing the features, they proceeded to show the array of colors they come in.  My wife chuckled and  said “what difference does it make.  They are only earbuds”.  I nodded knowingly without divulging that one or her stocking stuffers was a set of earbuds, in blue to match her tablet which, of course, had come in colors too.

Since my  epiphany, I have started to take notice of the impact of color in my life, and apparently yours too, given the bent of marketers to make sure you have a choice.  When we bought a stand mixer, we finally decided on cinnamon.  Our cookware is in an array of colors.  While selecting a new parka, I knew well in advance which one I wanted, but I couldn’t decide between burgundy and gray.

Oh sure, I know that there are tons of items that have always come in a variety of colors and for the most part, we take them for granted.  But it seems the ‘dye has been set’, so to speak.  The other day, I saw an advertisement for storage shelves and yup, I could get them in red, or blue, or bronze, or platinum.  Storage shelves!!  Come on.  Really?

I have always had a favorite color.  It is blue.  Any shade.  I just like blue.  However, I do not go out of my way to seek it, it just appeals to me when I see it.  I think most of us must be this way and are naturally drawn to a color or colors.  Just ask anyone in the paint industry.  But it appears we have progressed to a new level.  Especially in metal and wood items which up until the last few years looked like, well, you know, metal and wood.  I don’t know if adding color would influence my buying decision when buying a spade or a snow shovel, but I have one of each and they are yellow and blue respectively.  Not sure how that happened.

Anyway, now that I am on to the subtleties of color insinuated upon me via the power of suggestion, I am going to consciously evaluate my future purchases.  I refuse to be  pushed and prodded into buying something based on color.  I will no longer unwittingly be enticed into purchasing designer tools and equipment.  Quality, form, and function will be my litmus test.  Is it well made?  Will it do what it is designed to?  And is it worth the price.  But, if it just happens to come in blue, well, that’s OK too.  Just sayin.

 

 

 

 

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