I posted a few days ago regarding losses – specifically the loss of my daughter, and a good friend’s loss of most of his lower left leg and foot.
Hardly an upbeat read.
However, Life is not just loss. Life also gives us lessons!
Since I heard from my good friend Bob regarding his diabetic amputation surgery, I’ve tried to contact him. We exchanged texts initially a couple of times, and he advise me he would call.
I feared the worst.
So, I took it upon myself to call him. Not to incessantly badger him (thinking he was busy enough) but once a week, just to check-in on him and his condition. And attitude.
And I ended up leaving messages. And this concerned me.
Bob returned yesterday’s message last night. I needn’t have been concerned.
Bob – (my former PI and gun store boss) was in great spirits! YES, he did lose his left foot and about 12″ of lower leg. And yes, he has a long, painful recovery and rehab ahead.
But he was not only doing physically well – he was doing well emotionally and spiritually, too!
Now, Bob would be the first to tell you he is not a religious guy. And not the most spiritual. But he almost lost his life to sepsis, and took his survival to mean he is supposed to remain here a while longer.
And not wallow in his losses.
He is fortunate to have the great support of his wife and two daughters. And his brother. And he reminded of previous losses and near-death experiences he has suffered.
AND HE SEES THIS AS YET ANOTHER CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF!
Or, in the words of his parents (both deceased), “Put on your big boy panties and get on with it!”
And his is and has.
And, he reminded me (indirectly) that I have similar lessons. I, too, have had losses, and near-death experiences. And I have wallowed. Or more specifically whined.
I might lose some benefits. So what? Big boy panties are available for the wearing.
Bob has set an example for me to try and emulate.
Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.
And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports. Watching, playing, appreciating. Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.
(If YOU love your sports, enjoy! It’s no problem for me. But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)
I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball. It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride. And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.
Or the bookie.
Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses. In this country, the opiate is also sports! I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)
MY passion is the ability to live free. To make my own choices. To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government. If I choose to do so, that’s one thing. At the point of a gun, that’s another.
And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.
Currently absent. :-(
But that’s for another post…
My friend ASM826 (whilst reporting in Borepatch) spun a tale of government most foul:
In Maryland, this week, one set of parents have been investigated for letting a 10 year old and a 6 year old go walking without supervision. The parents want the kids to have what they think of as normal freedom, expanding as the children get older. Child protective services are now involved in a neglect investigation.
Of course, we don’t know many specifics. But this from the article in the NYDN is telling:
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say the county’s Child Protective Services began investigating them after police stopped their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter midway through a mile-walk home on Dec. 20 in Silver Spring. Police say they stopped the children and drove them home after someone reported seeing them.
OMG! Someone saw children! Sacre’ Bleu!
(In the name of piling on, I’m adding to ASM826’s tales of misspent youth)
I was raised in a small, white bread college town. Still, my parents placed boundaries with regard to my wandering. Roughly 1/2 mile in any direction, as boundaried by major streets I was NOT allowed to cross. Withing those boundaries were trees needing climbing, houses under construction needing exploring, irrigation conduits needing climbing down into and junk in alleys needing examining. And rockets and firecrackers needing ignition! I had these boundaries until high school, to which I either walked or rode my bicycle. One mile each direction. Then there were stores, shops (the hobby shop) and MORE construction sites, including an industrial park just the other side of the high school.
With underground electrical access.
VERY cool for fledgling secret agent fantasies!
Yes, I was wounded, scratched, developed blisters, was hit in the head by a rock in a dirt clod fight, dislocated my left thumb playing football, and broke my arm at school doing faux karate.
And none of these things with parental supervision.
I didn’t ride my 24″ Schwinn Speedster with a helmet, either!
Now CPS and the police are enforcing this NERF world. And taking more rights away from parents.
In loco parentis, indeed!
(Disclaimer: I-in no way-endorse illegal activities of any kind. If you are reading this in a correctional facility (and are not staff) you should probably disconnect before the guards are alerted to your activities! They generally have no sense of humor! – Guffaw)
Why You Should Learn How to Pick Locks (Even If You’re Not a Criminal)
Some of you might be thinking, “Brett, why should I learn how to pick a lock if I don’t plan on breaking into people’s homes?”
There are a few good reasons why law-abiding citizens should learn how to pick a lock:
Lock picking opens your eyes to the “illusion of security.”
It makes you handy.
It’s cool and fun!
When I was a private investigator/security supervisor for P**M**, my boss and I decided it would be appropriate (cool) for each of us to obtain a set of commercial lock picks. Pretty much for the reasons listed above. We went to a commercial lock supply store, presented our P.I. credentials and each bought a set. Then, we returned to the office and spent the rest of the afternoon locking and unlocking the exterior door of the office.
YES, we were both ‘adults’ at the time.
Of course, just like the PIs of yore, we had guns, binoculars and tape recorders, and thought this would be another (cool) tool for our arsenal.
IN THE REAL WORLD, I only used them once. At my own home. Because burglary IS a felony!
I still have them, tucked away somewhere.
But, in my mind, I have the voice of Thomas Magnum, “Work the lock, don’t look behind you! Work the lock, don’t look behind you!”
They really do open one’s eyes to the “illusion of security”, though. Not all burglars are opportunistic, door-shaking street kids – some actually have skills! If you have something worth protecting, make certain you’ve enough good obstacles ( e.g. quality locks) to make the criminal go somewhere else!
It’s been suggested if only I changed my hair, my clothes, some of my beliefs (etc.) I’d be cooler. I don’t care – I’m happy being who I am.
Never Yet Melted quoted what I think is the definitive comment on hipsterism.
Hipster economics are standard economics because hipsters are everything the US economy has ever wished for in one convenient package. It’s a group consisting largely of young, upper-middle class people with very little conviction, who will spend large amounts of money to maintain their own comfort and the appearance of diversity and rebellion. They are activists as long as it’s easy, poor as long as it doesn’t involve dirt or hunger, and selfless as long as they don’t stand to lose anything. They represent the sanitizing of national issues so that they can be discussed without being addressed. And all you have to do to control them is use some reverse psychology. They’re not rebels, they’re not even malicious, because they’re not anything except a bunch of kids playing pretend. They’ll eventually grow up and become bankers, lawyers and politicians, just like their parents…(Robert)
Again, I’m NOT a hipster…
When I started this blog, it was more just an outlet – it was something to do. Being on medical disability for lymphoma, compounded by arthritis, a fused hip, and diabetes, I told myself I would NOT use the blog as therapy.
Even though, on more than one occasion, I have! :-)
But one advantage of this window on the world is it can be indeed a window. And can be observed both directions.
Recently, I posted about Kilted To Kick Cancer. Cancer charities are especially personal to me, being a lymphoma survivor, and all. When I was diagnosed, and required chemotherapy, I was actively employed and had quality health insurance.
But, it wasn’t enough to cover the high cost of the chemo.
Enter a charity – who, upon my application, covered the bulk of the cost not absorbed by my insurance.
For this, and for many things, I should be grateful.
But, I get into myself, ongoing chronic pain issues, inability to work, low income, old bad car w/o A/C, yatta, yatta, yatta…
Then I get a view into the window!
I’m privileged to have many people follow me on this blog. I’ve no idea why they do. And while some are fellow travelers of the libertarian/conservative/gun totin’ kind, there are others.
Talk about an attitude adjustment! To see what this beautiful woman and her family are going through…
And so many others.
(No, not the 1928 silent film Western! And not THAT old…)
After my ignominious departure from the University (I dropped out because I spent more time partying than studying. Remember Joe Cool? 1970-71), my parents (with whom I was still living) put their feet down.
I was to pay them rent. This meant upgrading my employment – both to meet my financial obligation to them, and to look for better accommodations.
My Dad knew a guy who worked for AZDES, as a job bank guy. And soon, I was interviewed and sent out for a better possible job.
At M****** S***** Nut, Bolt and Screw. A manufacturer of industrial fasteners – nuts, bolts, screws, rivets, all manner in all sizes and quantities. Not being particularly handy, I was unaware one could get such items in kegs. Or pallets of kegs. Containing thousands, weighing a lot!
Soon, I went to work commuting from the S.E. Valley to N.W. of downtown Phoenix. And, in spite of promises made I would not have to drive a clutch-operated vehicle (with my disability, it can be difficult), I was soon driving a fork lift, among my other duties!
And I got to load trucks and make local deliveries, mainly to construction companies, Valley-wide.
But, this was before political correctness. And except for a couple of secretaries in the main office, and small parts packaging, the staff and customers were entirely male. And in a blue-collar business such as this, coarse language and humor was prevalent.
ALL the company pencils had the name of the company, the address, telephone number.
And the phrase “To Us, There’s Nothing Better Than A Good S**** “
And not to be outdone, over the will-call office, wherein people came to pickup ordered merchandise, was a sign reading “We’d Like Nothing Better Than To Handle Your N**** “
Obviously, a different time. I think I was making $2.00/hour, up from $1.60 as a busboy! @ 45 hours a week.
But, all good things must come to an end.
It was closing time, and I was in a hurry to get home. My manager asked me to wait for him to load a truck for delivery – and he was taking forever. So, I took it upon myself to load the pickup truck with the fork lift, without waiting for his direction. And I put a small dent in the truck, with the clutch-operated fork lift I’d been promised I would never have to drive.
And I was subsequently fired.
No more commuting for me. At least to that part of town.
And yes, I thought I had been s******!
A few years back Superman (2011 in DC Comics) announced he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship! Now, I’ve not been a comic book reader/consumer since I was 10-11 years old, but I was always a big Superman fan.
I found this action repulsive. One – that the beloved character would do such a thing, and Two – that in so doing such a children’s fictional comic would make the national news. After all, they ARE just comic books.
Fast-forward to NOW. It was announced a couple of months ago (and made the national news again recently) that beloved perennially-in-high-school everyteen comic book character Archie Andrews would die in the comic book. This was NOT due to his having been in high school 78 years.
It was because he would dive in front of an assailant attacking his friend with a gun, and his taking a bullet for him! Archie’s GAY friend!
What do I make of this?
Political correctness aside, I like to believe I would have done the same thing for any good childhood friend. My best friend from third grade through college was a legitimately brilliant. IQ off the charts. Socially, less skilled. But, except for his studies and church, my constant companion. He was the geek I aspired to be, even though I didn’t have the mental acuity.
After his own father disowned him when he came out of the closet as a college freshman, and my own father lampooned his gayness, I had to stand up for Carl. Fortunately, no one shot him. And I, myself, had to overcome childhood indoctrination regarding gayness, and what that means. After all, sexual preference aside, he remained my friend!
I’m not yet certain how I feel about comic books being tools for political correctness. Of course, even Peanuts eventually had a Black character. I suppose comic books must change with the times, as well. I don’t know how the Archie friend’s character’s gayness is shown to the comic book audience. Obviously kids are more aware of such things than I was 50-60 years ago.
But, I know one thing.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13 (ASV)
If we can teach this to the self-absorbed-faces-glued-to-their-cell-phone adolescents, then all is not lost. If only adults read comic books.
Here’s an interesting, if not fully convincing, piece by Ronald Bailey at Reason on what the future of privacy might look like.
“You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it,” declared tech guru Scott McNealy back in 1999. Fifteen years later McNealy’s statement is no longer factually controversial.
We all give up gigabytes of personal information to Facebook, Foursquare, Google, AT&T—and that’s just the voluntary stuff. In the past year, former government contractor Edward Snowden has revealed that our own government has been engaging in pervasive domestic spying, keeping track of everyone we’ve called, for how long we spoke, and from where. Privacy looks increasingly like a quaint mid-20th century relic.
In his new book, The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current), former Futurist Deputy Editor Patrick Tucker explores a more positive take on how we can personally use the megabytes of information generated and collected by our digital paraphernalia to help us live smarter, healthier, and better lives, and maybe even regain some measure of privacy. Tucker, who is now technology editor at Atlantic Media’s Defense One, argues that all that data will enable us to predict and thus take more control over our futures. The Internet of Things is being born as the world is increasingly loaded up with gadgets that can sense where they are and can report what is happening around them to any other device connected to the network.
To illustrate just how naked we all soon will be, Tucker opens with a vignette from the near future in which your cellphone wakes you with a text message alerting you that on your way to work you will run into an old girlfriend who is going to tell you the happy news that she is engaged. The phone tells to you to act surprised at the news. This scenario unfolds as predicted, but instead of waiting for her to tell you, you blurt out your congratulations. As it happens, she not yet made her new romantic status public and is quite alarmed by your mistimed felicitations. The phone did warn you to act surprised.
Science Fiction? Hardly. Perhaps there is something to be said about going off-the-grid and becoming full Luddite? :-(
c/o Floyd @ threedonia
Every day my morning ritual includes signing onto the Internet, checking my email, the news (such as I can stomach) and doing my blog (such as it is).
Then, usually after I read the daily almanac, I start perusing my blogfriends (TM), many of whom are listed as ‘The Usual Suspects’ on the blog.
But, more and more I’m distressed. In the 3 1/2 or so years I’ve been reading blogs, many have dropped off the radar. Some due to unfortunate circumstances (death, illness, law-enforcement-interaction), others just because they lost the interest or material to continue blogging. To wit:
Whose Paranoid, Eternity Road, TJIC, Hedgeroot, Misanthropic, Tall Tree-Short Rope, Tango Juliet, North, A Girl And Her Gun, To which I replied, Tranquility Lost…
And one or two more who went ‘dark’ or are now password protected.
(I’m certain I’ve missed a couple of others. Apologies.)
The most recent is Kevin Baker’s The Smallest Minority. Due to family illness and business concerns, he’s not stopping blogging entirely, but is cutting back.
And I’m sad. He and the others are missed.
PS – Does anyone know CoolChange’s (Tranquility Lost) status? Last I knew he was quite ill and hasn’t responded to my email.