Slices of life are not simple, uncomplicated stories. They contain real desperation and real hope, real tears and real relief, real villains and real heroes. One such hero is the brave lady who wrote this honest, painful, wounded account of a slice of life.
It lets us all know we are not alone in our experiences, and there is comfort in that.
In an old family album, there’s a cracked and yellowed snapshot of three children standing in front of a white and brown clapboard house that’s most certainly somewhere in Los Angeles. The lanky, mop-haired child in the center is my Aunt Shirley at age seven. She’s holding the hands of her siblings: Clifford, age four, and Patricia, my mom, who was a chubby tow-headed toddler of two. I love the sweetness and innocence of this photo. I look at their young faces and I see the adults I later knew. Shirley has a faraway smile. Clifford, dressed in oversized blue jeans and suspenders, purses his lips to form a straight line with his mouth. His eyes squint into the sun as he poses dutifully for the camera. And my mother, Pat, has a brooding look on her face, as if the day was just not going the way she’d hoped.
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OK, I am not a big fan of politicians in general. No, it’s safe to say that I am not a big fan of politicians…period.
I see them as a necessary evil…emphasis on the word evil…in our system of government. A system of government that elects their decision makers is better than other historical and present alternatives, but it does create an interesting multi-layered conundrum. That discussion is for another time.
Today, I wish to look at the assumption that those people we elect, that those decision makers we put into places of power, that the ones choosing our collective destinies are in fact leaders.
The Oxford Dictionary defies a leader as: “The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.”
Merriam-Webster’s definition of leader is: “Something that leads: [like] a primary or terminal shoot of a plant.” The secondary definition is: ” A person who leads: [like] a guide, conductor.”
While I would love to look at the numerous allegorical comparisons to elected officials and Merriam-Webster’s primary definition, it would be somewhat akin to shooting fish in a barrel and thereby reduce the enjoyment of the exercise. So let’s look at the other “Leader” descriptions.
“A person who leads.”
Seems simple enough. We voted them in. They make decisions that affect us. Then I suppose they’re leaders, right? WRONG!
They are in the positions they hold by and large because they are they are perceived as the lesser of two evils. There’s that word again…evil.
They are not leaders…they are the receivers of more than have the votes from less than half of the eligible voters. And the leadership void is all too evident in this country.
No wonder on a single elected official made Fortune’s list of the Greatest World Leaders for 2015.
“That was a luscious nap” I said to myself just before going out on the terrace to take a whiz on the potted plant below much to the chagrin of Mrs. Huntington my nosey widow neighbor who believes that I am prematurely senile or delusional; when in fact I am fully in control of my faculties and am just doing this to piss her off.
A life should be called nothing but a sloth-like existence that does not include growth, regardless of the age. It is precisely this that I am telling myself this morning in hopes of convincing myself that there is some ultimate positive result around the corner from this pain, of sorts.
Yes, I do suppose ‘pain’ would be an appropriate, term. It certainly isn’t a pleasurable feeling, and it has all the earmarks of pain…discomfort, anxiousness, agitation, foreboding, lack of control. Ah! There it is. Lack of control.
The issue isn’t that my wonderfully mature mid-20’s daughter hasn’t returned my texts or calls for 2 hours, and there is urgent information I need. No it’s that she didn’t jump to respond to my communication efforts (all 6 of them) immediately after I sent them.
She is a woman, not a little girl any more.
She is 25, not 18 any more.
She is in control of her life. Not me any more.
And that is as it should be.
So based on the discomfort of change, based on the realization that change is most often necessary for growth, based on the cornerstone concept that growth is necessary to keep living a life; I suppose in some unconventional way I am living life more fully than I was a couple of hours ago.
How does my family put up with me?
OK, it’s time to be me. With all of my harshness, cynicism and sarcasm it is who I am.
In recent months, the insecurity led nastiness has subsided, and I am a happier person less prone to unreasonable and aggressive posturing. Some would have referred to these incidents as manic, unhinged, unprovoked and/or just plain frightening. They wouldn’t have been very far from wrong in their assessment.
Having done much soul-searching and corrective actions deep in my psyche I feel happier, less threatened, and more loving and lovable.
What that DOES NOT change is the fact that I still see the majority of the world as silly (at best), self-serving, non-compassionate, agenda driven sheep who embrace mediocrity.
I am back, and I shall be shedding light on the ignorance of life in the 21st Century.
A Drunk Cowboy walks into a bar, sees a well trained soldier and punches him. Soldier says, “Don’t do that.”
Drunk Cowboy continues to punch, yell at and annoy the soldier. Soldier says “What’s your problem?!”
Drunk Cowboy says “I want that stool”. Soldier and girlfriend move to other end of the bar for some peace and quiet.
Drunk cowboy keeps yelling at Soldier down the bar, walking down to him, punching him, and threatens his date. As Soldier returns from the restroom, he sees Drunk Cowboy grabbing his girlfriend and trying to pull her away from their seats, and his training goes into action.
He confronts Drunk Cowboy, who takes a full swing at the Soldier and Soldier proceeds to knock the Drunk Cowboy out.
Who was in the wrong in this story?
I know it sounds like a trick question form a school exam…and it sort of is.
You see, #Hamas and #Hezbollah are Drunk Cowboys.
(My sincerest appologies to cowboys)
The weekend vote by the American Studies Association proved that academics as defined by this organization is not a pursuit of knowledge, but rather a pushing of an uninformed agenda.
The vote to sanction Israel because of their treatment of Palestinians was designed to do what it has done…gain headlines. The really unfortunate and scary part of this is that the latest vote is part of a seemingly growing trend that is led by a fire of hate, stoked by misinformation and fueled by ignorance.
My rebuttal can be summed up in one comment:
I wear a Star of David around by neck that was made from the remains of the casing of a Kassam rocket fired at an elementary school in Southern Israel. The rocket was fired from Gaza, the land given to the Palestinians less than a decade ago in exchange for peace.
Like I said; a fire of hate, stoked by misinformation, and fueled by ignorance. Not what one expects from an academic organization.
More from the New York Times HERE