So Now What?

“Entonces que?              “Alors quelle estm in prochaine?”              “Kommt als nachstes?”

7.8 billion people are simultaneously asking, “so what is next?” Covir-19 has changed everything. As the viruses’ immediate risk wanes, the world asks, “what is next”. The coronavirus’ impact will reach beyond quarantines, sickness and death.

The economy will have the largest impact on individuals.

The pandemic’s impact on the worldwide economy will touch everyone. “Will I still have a job?” “What about my health insurance?” “How will I make my house payment?” During the pandemic banks and institutions have been accommodating. Those accommodations will end. They rely on our payments for their survival. Some companies will cease to exist after the pandemic. Where will their employees go? How are there former employees paying their bills? Buy groceries? All the baby boomers moving into retirement, have seen their accounts disappear. Retirement accounts invested in stocks and mutual funds have seen their values dwindle. No one can escape the effects of the economy.
What will become of the national economy? Trillions of dollars were spent on government stimulus packages. Where did the funds come from? The government has taken deficit spending to a new level. I am not saying I disagree with these decisions, but the money had to come from somewhere. The value of money will be impacted worldwide. A dollar will not be worth what it was before the pandemic. Worldwide, currencies will all be devalued. Traditionally, this triggers inflation and higher prices.

The pandemic also became an experiment on man’s impact on the environment. With people sheltering at home, cars sat in the garages. There was much less traffic. The result of reducing carbon emissions was quickly visible to all. The skies over Los Angeles were clear. In Beijing people were able to breathe the air. Not from a computer model or theoretical paper, visible results were before everyone. Opponents now are faced with the reality of carbon emissions on our air quality. How will we respond? Increased regulations? Enhance mass transit? Electric vehicles?

If we use history as a guide, we are facing difficult times ahead. The problem lies in that we have little historical references to examine. The last major worldwide pandemic was the Spanish flu in 1918. It infected 500 million people, approximately ¼ of the world’s population. Death tolls were 50 200 million people. The world was much less complex place in 1918. Society in 1918 was far different than it is today. With no relevant historical information, predicting the future is an uncertainty. So, the world stands together and collectively asks,
“What’s Next?”

Just Saying….
Todd

The Window

It’s “Ground Hog Day”. You remember the Bill Murray movie? Every day he woke up and it was yesterday all over again. Gradually he discovered when he changed his behavior the day would slightly change. Eventually he got it right and was able to move on. The problem is I keep trying to get it right but nothing changes. If anything, it’s getting worse. Every morning I wake up and it’s yesterday all over again. I’m at a loss as to what day of the week it is. My family is on our second week of self-quarantine because a family member may have been in contact with the coronavirus. She was tested and we are currently awaiting results.

I feel like I am inside a clear bubble, sealed from the world. I look out my window and it is a beautiful summer day, birds are singing, trees swaying in the breeze. Life seems to be moving on, but something is missing… People. There are no people. Life is moving on without the human race.

I drive to the pharmacy and there is little traffic on the road (okay, there is one positive thing from Corona). I pull into the pharmacy drive through, sitting in my car. The pharmacist comes to assist me. He hides, in plain sight behind a window, as I seek shelter behind my own glass shield. We communicate through microphone and speakers. Each of Us Terrified the Other Might Be Carrying Our Common Enemy. I Stop at the Bank Drive-Through to Repeat the Ritual. We Fight a Common Enemy but It Is One Another We Fear. Just as I do at home, I Gaze out My Car’s Window. I watch a Life That I Do Not Feel a Part of Anymore.

It All Reminds Me of a Song, “Through Glass” by Stone Sour.

“I’m looking at you through the glass
don’t know how much time has passed
ah God, it feels like forever
but no one ever tells you that
forever feels like home
sitting all alone inside your head”
and then, the second verse
“how much is real? So much to question
and epidemic of the manikins
contaminating everything
when thoughts came from the heartI

It could be the coronavirus theme song. Probably not a distinction the band wanted. As I gaze, mesmerized at the world outside my window, my mind’s eye reaches across the globe. I see myself gazing at the Eiffel Tower, I look out through my window and big Ben, I stare at the pyramids of Gaza, I see the spires from the Kremlin. I see myself staring out the window in every corner of every region of the world, millions of times over.

In total solitude, we as humans have never been so close. We all face a common enemy that we can’t see. Faster than a Ninja, more deadly than the sword, like the Trojan horse, it hides deep within their human hosts, silently ambushing those who dare seek the world outside of the glass.
So I sit in my bubble, looking out upon the world. I know that one day this will be gone and those left will return to their daily routine. Emergency services, first responders and government bureaucrats will write reports and analyze everything that went wrong. Governments from around the world will promise better communication and cooperation the next time. Doctors and scientists will study the new bug and how they can kill it. Journalists will look for stories of deception and corruption during the pandemic and write sensational stories for the masses. The rest of us? We’ll just go back to work, trade stories of our time during the pandemic. In other words, we all go back to the way we were, and nothing will change.

What a waste of an opportunity to unite as the human race. To realize we are more alike than different. A chance to admit that we are stronger together than apart. A chance to say all the lives lost had meaning. A chance at a better world.

Just Saying….
Todd Pfeifer

IMAGINE

 

It is a beautiful day out today. The sky is clear and the sun shines brilliantly. A cool breeze washes over me as the warm rays of the sun warm my skin. The red beds and pear trees are in full bloom with the reds and whites set against the biting green. Yet in my mind’s eye it’s all fogged by a cloak of millions of tiny spheres, covered with tiny red blossoms. Corona. They fall from the sky like snow, securing the springtime beauty
I wonder if this is the world’s way of hitting the reset button. In the movie Independence Day, the world faced extinction from a common enemy. The countries United, understanding we had more in common than we differed. The world unites and defeats the alien intruders. What is so different from what we face today. All of us on this big blue marble, have been forced to confront our mortality. Things that had great importance in our lives last week have faded into insignificance. As a world, we share new common priorities in life.
Since we have been drawn into this new reality, I have noticed changes in myself. At the McDonald’s drive-through, I look the young man directly into his eyes and offered a sincere smile and thank you. A week ago, I would’ve offered up a mechanical thank you, probably not looking to see the person on the other side of the window. I’m driving slower, I wave to all of my neighbors, smile and think about what they’re doing. I’ve slowed down and recognize the people around me. I can think of nothing better in this world than sitting on the couch with my wife and son. Life itself has new value.
They say from hardship comes growth. This is a life-changing event for all humanity. That’s the key for “ALL” humanity. No race, nor religion, nor economic standing will shield anyone from the pandemic. We all are equally vulnerable to the virus. Thousands, from across the world will surrender their lives to this tiny organism. What shall be the meaning of their deaths? In their sacrifice could we see a world, reborn in peace and harmony? Will these thousands become martyrs to a new day of peace and prosperity for mankind? Nothing less would be worthy of their lives that have been lost.
Mother Earth has humbled humanity. Everyone has been forced to accept their individual insignificance on this planet. We all have been forced to see our fellow man in a new light, with common fears and weaknesses. In the name of those who have lost this fight with Corona, I hope mankind remembers how we as humans faced this deadly virus. How we united in our common sheltered solitudes. How we became better people willing to sacrifice for others.
“And The World Will Be As One”.
Imagine

PS
I want to recognize our first responders and medical staff around the world. They have faced this vicious killer with bravery and ignored personal risk to help others. They are role models for the entire world.

The Magic

 

He could feel his internal organs move and compress as his soul swelled within him. His body tensed in an effort to restrain the soul but to no avail.  The soul burst forth blossoming beyond the body which confined it.  It lifted him up, soaring out of the arena and into the veil of nighttime. He had no skin or body but could feel the caress of the damp night air as they continued to climb.  It was as if he had just been born some thirty years beyond the date on his birth certificate. For the first time he knew what being alive meant. He felt connected to every other living thing. He was part of something amazing.

He could hear the voice of every living thing, clearly like a harmonious symphony of life. He could smell the clouds and the light around him. He was a blind man given the gift of sight, Not of people and things but he could see Love, Happiness, Excitement and all of the emotions of the heart. He could actually see them. No longer abstracts of the mind, they were there, right before him. He was no longer a mere individual, aimlessly navigating life.  He was an interareal part of something much more amazing, Life.

As they soared ever higher he looked back down, from where he had come. He was being propelled by a beam of dazzling colors, winding their way through the misty night time sky.  They were musical notes sinuously leading back to a single guitar on stage. As the musician caressed the notes from the guitar he was led ever higher into the heavens. He looked to his sides and saw there were others. Each riding their mystical highway of music with great anticipation of what was to come. None knew the destination of this ride but each sensed it was epic.

The guitarist looked up at them knowingly. He understood the power of the magic he held. The guitarist bent and held a high note and it happened. A brilliant flash of light blinded him. All of his new senses went on overload. He simultaneously felt every emotion he had ever known but one hundred times greater than ever before. And then it stopped. Silence. A great sense of calm and safety set in.  He felt himself being gently lowered back to the place from which he came.

He knew this had really happened.  It was not an illusion. There were no words in the human language that could describe any of it.  It would never be anything that could be share. No one would believe him.  But he knew.  He knew that he had just touched the face of God.

Operation Black Friday

 

 

It’s all over.  The guest have all left, the trash bags line the curb and the house is almost back to normal. It only lasted a couple of hours if you don’t count the week of preparations.

Now we move into phase II.   A week (or more) of turkey left overs.  This is when everyone becomes a five star chef, inventing new ways to serve left over turkey.  Here is a well kept secret.  It still taste like turkey, no matter how you serve it.

Thanksgiving was just a warm up exercise.  Now were ready for the main event.  I’m certain it will be added as a future Olympic event,  They added the one where a bunch of middle aged men (athletes) slide a big rock down an icy path controlling them with brooms so this one is a shoe in.  You know the event I’m speaking of? Christmas.  Retail stores and television think it started  November 1st but the real event start with the infamous “BLACK FRIDAY”

Black Friday is the opening ceremony of Christmas. There are both individual and team categories. Entire families unite like well trained Navy Seals to prepare for the operation.  Operation Black Friday begins with well laid plans, labored over with specific objectives (Christmas Gifts) and each individual’s role spelled out. On Thursday the Generals (moms) scour the intelligence reports (Ads).  A battle plan is created.  A map with coordinates (stores) is generated.  Each individual is given several objectives (gifts to buy). Rations (Coffee and snacks) are prepared to keep the troops moving,  In the pre-dawn morning they acquire their gear (coats, hats and gloves) and their primary weapons (credit cards).  In the pre-dawn darkness they board their assault vehicles (SUVs) and begin their mission.  Upon reaching their objectives (stores) they take up fighting positions (lines) with other units (families) around the objective (store). At precisely coordinated times (store opening) they rush to secure their objectives (merchandise). At precise times the units rendezvous at their assault vehicles to move to their next objective.  They continue their mission through out the morning until all objectives (gifts) are secured.

Operation Black Friday is a prestigious start to a campaign that will last a month long.

Base Camps (homes) are established and intensely camouflaged (decorated). Most home are camouflaged in red and green to fit in with the environment.  Many base camps (homes) add additional security (Christmas Lights) to protect the base camps (homes) at night. Ojectives (Gifts) are secured in secret bunkers (hiding places) to avoid detection. The camouflage (decoration) and security lighting (Christmas Lights) often takes weeks to prepare and can be costly.

After the Black Friday operation is completed their are still several smaller objectives (gifts) that must be secured.  Members of the unit spend the entire month conducting smaller operations (shopping). Each individual objective (gift) must be properly bagged and tagged (Gift Wrapped) for later identification. This will continue for the entire month.

Camouflage (Decoration) and security lighting (Christmas Lights) must be maintained for the entire conflict (Holiday Season).  Camouflage (Decorations) will deteriorate and need attention throughout the month. Security Lighting (Christmas Lights) must withstand the elements.  This will require constant attention to maintain proper coverage of the base camp (Home).

As in any conflict (Holiday Season), psychological warfare plays a key role. In an effort to secure the minds of our allies (friends) numerous flyers (Christmas Cards) are sent out. This effort will often consume the first two weeks of December. In the psychological warfare food (Christmas Cookies) is often used.  Food (Christmas Cookies) are universally recognized as a peace offering and maintain relationships important to the alliance.

As the conflict draws to a close, allies (friends) are often summoned to the hone base (Home) for meetings (Christmas Parties) regarding the end of the conflict.  Great preparation is required to accommodate all of the allies (Friends) needs.  The home base (Home) will be organized and cleaned to accommodate the allies (Friends).  Sometimes additional camouflage (Decorations) are needed for the meetings (Christmas Parties).  Food will be prepared to meet their diverse taste and drinks (Liquor) provided to ensure proper hydration.

The final week of the conflict (Christmas) is the most difficult. There are often a final few objectives (Gifts) to secure.  Objectives will sill require bagging and tagging (Gift Wrapping) and storing in their secure bunkers (Hiding Places). The Home Base (Home) will still need attention and many times a grand feast (Christmas Dinner) is planned for V-Day (Christmas Day).

V-Day (Christmas Day) finally arrives. December 25th.  The team (Family) is assembled, sometimes with allies (friends) to enjoy the fruits of their victory. The home base (Home) is strewn with now useless bag and tags (Gift Wrap). The security lights (Christmas Lights) are no longer required and the grand fest (Christmas Dinner) is nothing more than left over remains.

As the General (Mom) surveys the battle field (Living room) with a smile she briefly acknowledges her victory and then begins planning her Black Friday campaign for next year.

 

From the Author:

I want to acknowledge and thank all of the mothers out there that make Chistmas so wonderful for their families, year after year. Dads help but it is usually mom that drives the event and does most of the work.  No matter what your religion I want to wish all of you, Happy Holidays, especially to the generals, the moms.

A Yellowed Piece of Paper

 

Here is another of possibly thousands of Blogs recognizing and celebrating America’s Independence Day.

It is Independence Day, at least it is in the United States of America.  We believe that America is something different, something special.  But Why?  What sets America apart from our global neighbors?

Most citizens of most countries have National Pride.  You see it at the Olympics at the opening ceremonies. They parade in carrying their National Flag donning their countries colors.  They are honestly proud to represent their Nations.  The fans at home root for their teams to win.  Every Nation has their unique celebrations of their beginnings as we do.  They share common history, traits and languages (except Canada… but you gotta love the Canadians!).

How is our National Pride any different, than our loyalty to a high school or college that we attended.  You see the college running back in the end zone holding up the number one sign after the score.  They can’t all be number one.  That’s the point of number one, there is only one of them.  Then how are we so disillusioned as Americans to think we are number one, something special?

Isn’t good, good enough?  Americans would be quick to answer, “Not for America. We’re winners!”  They somehow believe this national pride is unique to the United States.  I’m not sure they have seen it, but there is this little game called soccer.  Yes, soccer, Football is something played by Bears, Broncos and Falcons.  If they haven’t seen it, the national pride exhibited by world wide soccer fans is so intense it sometime leads to violence.  Americans might say “they are getting carried away”.  Countries around the globe might say Americans have gotten so comfortable they don’t know what real National Pride is.  I am an American and agree they go a little over board but I do concede that National Pride is not something exclusive to the United States.

Then maybe it is our freedom to voice our opposition to the government, or ourability to express descent that sets us apart.  It is true that in some countries public opposition to authority is not a condoned activity and may lead to serious consequences.  Those countries are the minority.  How many people remember the photo of the young Chinese man opposing the Chinese Military tank in Tienanmen Square?  How about riots in Europe over labor laws, or in South America regarding individual rights?  All of these were shut down by the governments. So is the difference, that we allow them to continue?  Can you say Ferguson, Missouri?  America is no different than any of those countries.  When the descent becomes destructive or violent, the government shuts them down. So maybe it is the level of push back and violence applied by the government to re-gain control?  Tell that to a civil rights activist from Selma Alabama that was beat with batons or bitten by a police dog. I guess it is not necessarily free speech or freedom to assemble and the application of force to enforce the policies that sets America apart.

Then it must be our financial system that makes us unique in this world.  Our free market economy.  Ask our friends across the pond who have fought and won Brexit, moving the U.K.s economy away from the European Union to complete independence.  Maybe it is capitalism that sets us apart.  No Communism or Socialism but pure Capitalism.  First I would ask what is pure capitalism?  If we had pure capitalism GM, Chrysler and every bank with more than two employees would not have received all of the “government loans” they received to save their business’.  I’m not commenting on my opinion of these, just that they are not pure capitalism.  The Strategic Petroleum reserve is a government program to help stabilize oil prices.  The current farm bill has millions for farmers to not grow crops to stabilize prices. The Federal Reserve manipulates the availability of money through interest rates to keep the overall economy stable. None of these fit in a true capitalist system.  Want to see true, unbridled capitalism at work?  Go to Dubai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and several other Pacific Rim countries.  Their entire country is focused on the pursuit of exports to drive the economy.  So it’s not our financial system.

It must be tolerance and freedom of the individual that sets America apart.  If we are so tolerant why do Americans focus on assimilation of immigrants into the American culture?  Europe is much more tolerant of individual cultures sticking together and maintaining their individuality without assimilation.  I am endorsing neither approach as each has its own costs, but Americans can’t look at tolerance as something that sets them apart.  We have seen over the past few years that we still have a great distance to travel before realizing Dr. King’s dream.  It is still a fact that not all Americans are treated the same by everyone.  America does encourage freedom of religion but that is not unique to our country.  In countries that are wholly established based on a religion, we still see tolerance.  Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the home of the Jewish Religion.  Yet both Christians and Muslims find some of their most holy locations in the city of Jerusalem and make pilgrimages there to celebrate them.  Freedom of religion, while not globally accepted is woven into the fiber of several nations.

Maybe the key to America’s individuality is our moderation.  So many of the things that were established as defining values of America are only experienced at the edges, the extremes in other countries.  These values are either ignored or erupt into violence. Maybe. But there are so many countries like Canada, Australia and Sweden that you can’t say that about either.

Maybe its nothing more than piece of paper that separates America from the rest of the world.  A single sheet of paper, hand written by a group of men with a vision of something greater.  The paper is yellowed and aged. It was penned 230 years ago in 1789. It establishes an ideal to strive for.  It spells out, in common language an ideal to live by.

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Stats of America.

One aged, yellowed and worn piece of paper over 200 years old sets America apart from the world.  Things may not always work right, but when they don’t I am willing to bet they don’t stand up to the ideals in this document.  We make mistakes and put individual priorities above the Constitution sometimes but we always know that WE, THE PEOPLE share this common ideal as our center.  As a rule to measure our actions by. As a guiding light for our futures.

America is special.  In Neil Diamond’s words it’s the reason: they’re all coming to America.   I am a 57 year old American.  Too young to have shared the sacrifice and national pride of a generation that fought and won a war for the principals set forth in the Constitution.  I’m much too old to be considered a young idealist, yet when I hear the National Anthem I always tear up, I thank those who serve and have served, risking the ultimate sacrifice for this very piece of paper. I’m proud to fly the Red White and Blue at my house.

Happy independence Day.

 

Just Saying…..

Todd

The Long and Winding Road

I just got back from visiting my daughter in a drug rehabilitation program in Florida. It is an extremely intense program. Most individuals attend for at least three years.  I get to see her twice a year at their festival.

The program is based on only on two things. Hard work and Prayer.  It is part of the Catholic Church.  The program originated by a nun in Italy and now has several locations in the United States and other countries.

From the outside looking in it appears to be brain washing. I believe it actually is. My daughter is 29 years old and had been involved with drugs for at least 15 years. Over half of her life. Her mind is so programmed to use drugs as her coping mechanism she really needs brain washing.

They use three years as a base for their program.  One year to heal the body, one year to heal the mind and one year to heal the spirit.

The residents start their day early at 6 am, and earlier if you are on cooking duty. Their day is packed full with work to maintain the house and on jobs creating goods to sell and support their expenses. The remainder of their time is filled with prayer. They attempt to teach the resident to replace drugs as their coping mechanism, with God and prayer.  Their must be something to replace the huge void in their new lives without drugs.

Austerity is another key to their lives. They attempt to cut off all outside distractions. Currently there are 24 girls in my daughters home. It is a modest, but quite nice house in St. Augustine Florida.  It is situated on about an acre that includes a large garden they use to produce food, a workshop for making purses, greeting cards and rosaries, a chapel and great outside living spaces. The girls meticulous maintain it and are very proud of their efforts. They do not watch T.V. and are only allowed a very few, modest clothes and their personal essentials. Only their basic needs are attended to.

There are also two boy’s facilities in Florida, and one in Alabama.

They call it “The Community”, Community Cenacolo.  The most telling thing about the community is all of the people who have completed the program and left, who return for the Spring and Fall retreats. They all know they owe there lives to the community and to the others that were them with them. They create strong personal bonds with their sisters. They are honest and do not allow B.S. from each other. They hold one another accountable and in line with the standards set by the Community. That is a big part of their success.  My daughter was surprised there were no therapist working with them as in other programs.  What they find is, everyone there is a therapist following the directions of the community.  One young lady commented, after being there for a while that it was the most intense therapy she had ever had. The therapy was constant, part of everything they do and it is honest and opened.

So why should this information be of any interest for anyone other than myself? If you, or someone in your life is struggling with addiction, don’t expect these 30-day, 60-day 90-day programs to always work. Addictions are incredibly strong and encompasses every aspect of their being.  Understand it will be a long and hard road back. Most go through hell to get there in the first place and will have to make a return trip back through hell to get home.

I would not assume to offer advice to the attics that are looking to beat their addiction.  If you haven’t been there you can’t understand.  I can give advice to the loved ones.

  Be Strong:  You have to say no to them.  Helping the with money and things only makes things worse.  You are               enabling them.

Be Resolute: Their conviction to get clean will waver.  The appeal of the drugs is overwhelming.  Be resolute in your        expectations and expect nothing less.

Be Supportive: It will be the hardest thing in their life. They will need people that understand this and are there            for them. Tell them you are proud of them.  They need positive feedback.

Be Honest: Don’t tell them you understand. You can’t unless you have traveled their path. Just listen and try to              understand what they are telling you.

Love Them: No matter what they had done, make sure they know that you do and you always will love them.  You         didn’t like the things they did but you will always love them.

So there it is, for what ever it is worth.  If you are going through this personally or with a loved one I feel for you.  You’re scared and your hopeful.  You see a light at the end of the tunnel but aren’t sure you have the gas to get there. The Community is the right place for my daughter.  It won’t be for others.  I can tell you the easiest one you find probably will not be any help.  It’s going to be hard and you need to find a facility that understands this.

 

Just Saying….

TODD

 

 

 

 

 

Writing

What is it that compels some to write? I’m not talking about filling out forms and signing papers like everyone does, I’m talking about all the Ernest Hemingway and Steven King want to bes.

I’ve been doing this blog for several years.  It began as a blog about Ebsco Spring and related topics.  A couple of years ago, I hijacked it and started to write my own topics, often about social issues and sometimes short stories with a point to them.

Recently I have started writing fiction and non-fiction.  I am working on the finishing stages of my first book.  I have two others in process and the outline written for two more books.  Obsessed?  I’ll let my wife answer that question, but I’m sure you can guess what she would say.

Everything eventually ends up on this laptop somewhere but they all start out hand written.  I love putting pen to paper and creating thoughts.  For me it started a couple of years ago.  For some reason I thought I would like to write with a fountain pen.  Now I write with nothing else. There is something almost magical when the ink smoothly flows from the cartridge to the thin metal nib. The ink flows onto the paper, still wet and glistening, forming words before your eyes.  The words join together to form sentences, the sentences are grouped in like categories as paragraphs and the paragraphs become chapters.

If you do it right the chapters become the book or short story.  When someone reads your writing the should feel your feeling you attempted to convey.  They should see, hear, touch, and taste the picture you had in your mind when you shared it with them on the paper. A very good written story will make you wonder what the characters are doing when you are not reading the book.  You writing has brought the characters and their actions to life for the reader.

I do not know yet if my writing is at that level.  I feel certain it isn’t YET.  I do like the stories.  The first book started on a day I was sitting at the desk, bored.  I picked up my pen and before I knew I had one page written.  It was a description of a young man.  He would become the hero in the book. After I completed the page I could see the young man and already had insights into his personality.  Okay….. Now What?  The following day I turned the page to the next blank sheet of paper.  Then it happened.  The story came flooding. I was writing as fast as I could and the story was playing out in my mind several chapters ahead. The outline to the book wrote itself.

The hard part is going back making each scene come alive through the words.  I call it word pictures. So what draws me to writing?  I can’t 100% answer that question.  I know it is therapeutic.  It can be an escape if reality gets too much to deal with and I need a little break. I could use several things as an escape. That still doesn’t explain why do I write.  The best answer is I don’t know.  But as long as the ideas keep flowing and I enjoy applying ink to the paper and I find people who find it entertaining to read….then I’ll keep writing. Is it like Forrest Gump running?  Will I stop one day and decide to “just go home” and stop writing.   Anything is possible.

So for now I’m claiming the title of unpublished author.  That’s a title that means nothing, but it fits.  I might self publish and make it only available on-line.  That way I would be a published author, a term that used to have real meaning. I’m going to keep watching the ink flow, building words that create scenes that people can escape to.  You can’t ask for anymore.

Just Saying…..

Todd

WHICH ONE AM I?

 

As I was sitting in my car the other day I wondered, which one was I?  The idiot, the moron, the asshole, or the ultimate, The real asshole (as opposed to what, an artificial asshole).

I’m really not sure if there is an official hierarchy to these labels. I’ve never seen anything documented, so I am going  to make an attempt at it here.

Idiot               Driving 3 mph or less than the speed limit

Driving on the shoulder

Moron            Hesitating over 4 seconds after the light changes green.

Making a U-Turn at the traffic light

Asshole           Pulling across a lane of traffic to make a turn at the last-minute.

Not pulling over for an emergency vehicle

Real Asshole   Changing lanes into another car.

We are not a very tolerant society these days, especially when we can hide inside our cars, much like hiding behind our keyboard on Facebook.  When we don’t need to face one another we are extremely intolerant.

After we have assigned the appropriate label to our nemesis, it’s now time to officially inform them of their significant accomplishment.  The official notification begins with a blast from your horn, sometimes multiple blasts if their performance was deserving. NOW, I want to be clear. This is not a blast on the horn to greet a passing car or worn someone of impending danger.  This honk is an official recognition of their actions.  After the official notification it is important we personally recognize their accomplishment. This is generally delivered by racing by the recipient and directing our stare at them. Sometimes it is appropriate to add a hand gesture to validate that their performance was number one. What an honor.

At some time every one of us have held driving performances worthy of this recognition.

I wonder if we randomly met the recipient, in person, if we would feel they were still worthy of such recognition? With the stress and speed of our lives everyone has brain farts.  They are distracted and tired and sometimes even defy the “you should be perfect directive” and make mistakes. I realize that in our world of perfection it is difficult to grasp others do not live by the same rules we do.

The next time someone fails to pull off at the light or makes a U-turn in front of you, before you bestow one of these prestigious labels, try to put yourself in their shoes.  If it was you, what response would you like to see from your fellow motorist? Tolerance would go a long way to making everyone’s life a little simpler. Imagine after the embarrassing mistake you were greeted with a smile and a wave.  I think you would live without the recognition.

The Moron.  I’m thinking that is probably me.

Just Saying….

Todd

 

Who Do You See?

You finally get past the car that had been holding up traffic, driving 30 mph in a 40 mph zone.  As you race past what do you see?  Do you see the old man, hunched forward, straining to see with arthritic fingers gripping the wheel with a death grip or do you see the former First Sergeant from the 1st Marine Division that landed on Red Beach at Inchon Korea on September 15, 1950, that spent 2 years fighting in Korea. The man who went onto build power plants for the next 35 years, in all kinds of weather so you would have lights and heat for your home.  Who do you see?

When the old man walks in wearing plaid shorts, dark socks and dress shoes with a yellow jacket, who do you see?  Do you see an old man who has lost all self-respect,that you laugh at or do you see the Marine Specialist that survived 4 months of siege by three divisions of the NVA at Khe Sahn in Vietnam watching his friends die in his arms.  Do you see the man that went onto college and became that special teacher loved by all of his students for the next thirty years?  Who do you see?

As you are waiting in line at Quick Trip and the old man in front of you won’t stop talking to the clerk about just about everything, who do you see?  Do you see a lonely old man with nothing better to do or do you see the young lieutenant in the 101st Airborne, freezing in a snow drift in the 1944, surrounded by the German Army. The man who went on to serve as a police officer protecting the city for forty years. Who do you see?

You sigh as the old lady in front of you continues to dig for correct change at Walgreens.  Do you see an old lady with difficulty seeing, arthritic hands and trouble focusing on what she is doing or do you see a strong woman whose husband was an Army Captain killed on the beach  in Normandy, leaving her three sons to raise on her own.  The lady that worked two jobs to ensure they all attended college and who all now serve our country.  Who do you see?

The old lady in front of you stairs lost at the ATM screen confused.  She has no idea what to do.  Do you see an old lady passed up by society and technology, unable to function in today’s world or do you see the mother that lost her son in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965 and then lost her other son during the TET offensive in Vietnam. The woman with unbearable grief that continued on and went to work at the VA rehabilitation hospital in honor of her sons.  Who do you see?

They say old age isn’t for sissys.  Like everything the body and the mind break down over time.  Things just do not function the way they had before.  Yet inside lives the same person.  The person that gave so much for the rest of us. The person that help build the life we enjoy now.  The person that defended our freedom.  The person that raised Presidents and Ministers.  The person that we owe everything we now have.

So when you run into these people…..

Who do you see?

Just Saying…..

TODD