Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stream without a Theme

While I haven’t written many blogs of late, the few I have written usually have a theme or a point to them. Or at least, I’d like to think they have some kind of open and close with a modicum of logic in the middle. But apparently, I haven’t felt strongly enough to dedicate a brief article to any one thought; so I've used that as my excuse to not post any comments. Today, I’ll pretend I’m McCartney and Lennon and string together a bunch of little things that have been on my mind and see if I end up with a hit record. They were pretty good at this technique.

So, first things first. The old sayings are true: there are some things you should never argue about.

Politics for example. I’m always amazed at how little “gray” there is to someone’s point of view. All in or all out. Right/wrong. Settle? Negotiate? Please. Most of us are terribly ill informed about the truth. We get our news and form our opinions from slanted news delivered by papers, television and political commentators, and radio hosts, who are, by their own admission, entertainers – not politicians. Still, that doesn’t stop them from adding fuel to the fire with opinions that have little bearing on truth. If a candidate makes a simple slip, it’s headline material. Remember Dan Quayle? How many of us would miss a word or two in a spelling bee? Or the witch who isn’t a witch, who doesn’t know any recent Supreme Court decisions (do you?); but she did know the exact wording of the 1st Amendment and got reamed for saying the constitution never says, “Separation and State.” It doesn’t. Those words came from Thomas Jefferson. She’s running for Governor of Delaware. In a viral world, half-truths are disseminated as though they are fact; and spread like an epidemic.

The ugliness of today’s politics is tiring. If it’s your idea, I vote against it. If it’s my idea, you vote against it. What would we do if we both had the same idea? Uh oh. Third party. I had a local candidate come to my door and brag about how he’s going to cut the Texas budget, protect our borders, stop illegal immigration and so on. He hit on all the state and national issues. Of course he’s running for State Representative, so he can pretty much limit his influence on repaving Dairy Ashford and Kirkwood; which would be enough to earn my vote. I asked him how our Governor could say we have a balanced budget in a TV ad, deny an $18 billion deficit, and admit to an $18 billion shortfall. He responded by noting his opponent was a lobbyist for ACORN. I’m still trying to figure out the connection. So in the end, the only good thing coming from this election is all the extra paper I’m getting from junk mail to earn points when I recycle.

Another futile argument? Religion. I still haven’t figured out why someone has to be wrong for someone else to be right. I was enjoying the company of some very religious friends last week. The conversation drifted to our beliefs. I was asked, “What if you’re wrong?” Wouldn’t it be better to just accept our Savior as an insurance policy in case your God isn’t the One?” I just don’t see how having semi-commitments to an Almighty would work. It’s not like a game show where you get a consolation prize when if loose. Besides, most of us know we pay insurance premiums and hope we never have to use them. I don’t know that I could say, “My policy has this covered” Lord … under Section 1, paragraph. The bottom line on religion is that none of us will truly know until we’ve passed. Then, we may find we were all right, some of us were right, none of us were right or; we just fade to black without any answers at all. Some may think I have faith in the wrong God; but I’ll tell you I talk, He listens, and I have peace in my heart. What more could one ask?

Wives. Never, never, argue with them. They are always right. We are never right. Even when we are, we’ll pay a price for being right, so in this case, cover the bet. You know the joke, “if a man is talking to himself in the woods is he still wrong?” Yes. My wife and I don’t argue often. Why bother. She’s usually right. OK, always right.

Next stream of consciousness comes from the job market and unemployment. I have a friend who was recently “laid off” and is learning how to deal with joblessness after being employed for 15 years. He’s discovering the joy of dealing with Unemployment Benefits, COBRA, and packing up and selling his home. He’s learning how difficult it is to find good leads; and when he does, the salary is anemic at best. I can relate. I’m now entering my 17 month of unemployment. I’ve had a few close calls, but they only count in horse shoes and hand grenades. I never wanted to be an expert in how to stay positive during these times, but fate has led me to be an encourager. The most challenging part of staying positive is dealing with disappointment. When I actually get a solid lead and begin to believe it may actually come together into a real job; it’s devastating when it falls apart. There are times I almost wish I didn’t get the hope. But then I see the positive to the disappointment: at least someone saw value in my abilities. I have so many friends and acquaintances that I speak with each week in the same boat, seeking the same life raft and hoping for the same miracle. A friend once told me “Misery is a team sport.” Please. Go play by yourself. I take no solace in my misfortune, let alone anyone else’s.

Finally, I never met Tom Land aside from "friending" him on Facebook. I’ve heard he’s a nice guy. He’s a nice guy with a serious health issue and he’s fighting for his life every day. And every day, Tom or his wife, or daughter, post a blog talking about their battle, the treatment, how he feels, how he’s progressing, regressing … fighting to win his war. Tom has a job, I don’t. Tom has a serious illness. I don’t. Would I want to trade places? Not for a minute. Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
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