it’s my party

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A friend asked this morning, “How are you getting along these days?”

“Just fine and dandy, couldn’t be better.”

I lied.  But I truly could not put a finger on what I was feeling.  Where was my head floating?  Was I sad, depressed, melancholic?  Or was I just lazy and unmotivated?  Then, those thoughts that help us decide whether to get up and function or just lay around accomplishing nothing, yes those thoughts that are familiar to everyone, swirled through my brain and before I knew what was happening, I was engaged in a full throttle emotional crisis. What in tarnation is wrong with me?

I ran a few more words through my brain.  Nope, not that.  No, that’s not the problem.  Well, maybe I’m just over-tired.  Yes, I could be playing the control game again, I’m very good at that.  And then like a bolt of lightning it hit me.  I recognized what the problem was.

Irrelevance.  I have another birthday next month and I realized how irrelevant I have become to society in year 2018.  This old caveman from the 1960s simply does not like 2018.  Oh sure, girl scouts still try to help me across the street and 50 year-old men call me sir.

“Sir can I help you, may I get that for you, sir?”

“Bug off, sonny, I ain’t dead yet.”

They are just being nice, but they don’t need me for anything.  They still have a purpose in this world.  My life has become….well, jaded and irrelevant.   I want to go back to 1968 when life had meaning, when the future was bright and promising.  Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix cranked me up every morning and the Doors put me to sleep every night.  Life was good.

I don’t own a smart phone because I refuse to have a device that can make me swear like a sailor.  I watch ads on TV for services and electronics about which I haven’t a clue.  What’s that thingamajig for?  My vehicle is a 22 year-old pickup truck.  It has a key to open the door and start it, and a cassette player.  The dashboard shows speed, RPMs, gasoline, oil, and voltage.  Yes, they are the old fashioned gauges just like pop had on his car.  If I should ever need to buy another vehicle I will need operational lessons to simply drive it.

My 8 year-old neighbor spied me talking on my flip phone and immediately turned to his mother,  “He’s really old, isn’t he?”  AARP has stopped mailing me applications for membership.  The stores which I shop give me the senior discount without asking if I am a senior citizen.  Out on the highway, younger folks pass by flipping me the bird because I’m driving the speed limit.  I get phone calls from local funeral homes asking if I’m ready to prepay my final expenses.  People automatically raise their voices when speaking to me thinking I’m just an old deaf man.

Yep, I’m irrelevant in this world.  I haven’t left my mark nor have I made my fortune.  There are no children nor grandchildren to aggravate me and my friends are moving into assisted living or rehab centers.  Now, does anybody really think there’s any rehab going on in those rehab centers? Heck no!  They put you in a bed aside a total stranger with a severe case of flatulence, they feed you food that Grandma would have thrown to the hogs in the pigsty, they make you participate in silly games or arts and crafts, and than you die.  Old Mr. Irrelevant gets two or three lines in the obituaries, ashes get tossed in the ocean, and in about a month people will ask, “What ever happened to old man….ah, what was his name?”

Irrelevant, totally irrelevant.  Unnoticed, unnecessary, unconnected.

Phew!  Well, I’m glad that pity party is over.  Was it as much fun for you as for me?

“Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that we know.  It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communications to our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy.  It is a  maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.”  Bill W. AS BILL SEES IT

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the doormat

angry emojiI’m sure you have seen innumerable variations of me laying in front of the entry door to your friends’ houses.  We come in all shapes, colors, materials, configurations, and sizes.  Some of us are woven, some are shaggy, some sport a “WELCOME”  in large white letters. I am a luxurious green astro-turf square about 2 feet by 3 feet with a lovely white daisy in the corner.  My well-to-do cousins cover the playing fields in various stadiums.

Yes, my task is to collect the grime and dust off dirty shoes as they enter the house.  Most visitors are considerate enough to wipe several times before crossing the threshold, although a few will step over me in attempts to avoid my purpose in life which is to keep my owner’s sanctuary free of unwanted mud and dirt.  Although just a lowly piece of manufactured green astro-turf, I see and know every one who enters my house.  I am the front door sentinel who extends a welcome and says good-bye.  I am just a doormat.

I recently overheard my owner exclaim excitedly, “What am I, just a doormat?  Do they think I am here for them to walk on?”

I don’t understand it.  I am a proud doormat who provides a  valuable service to everyone who enters the house.  Without me the home’s floors would be filthy.  Without me the soles of visitors’ feet would probably never get cleaned.  Without my lush grassy texture people would miss the massaging action of my fibers.  What’s so wrong with being a doormat?

I guess humans simply don’t like being used as a doormat.  They don’t enjoy being stepped upon and used indiscriminately by selfish visitors.  Being a depository for other people’s dirt, grime, and bad habits doesn’t fulfil their reason for existence on earth.  Humans were not created to be good doormats.

That makes me happy.  It’s job security.  As long as the people in my house place value on their inherent integrity and as long as they maintain a reasonable level of self-esteem and respect, I don’t need to worry that I will be replaced with a talking, moving, thinking human model any time soon.

Next time you visit my house, don’t mistake the owner for me.  He’s the bald-headed guy living inside.  I’m the bright green piece of astro-turf with a daisy laying outside the front door.  I am much prettier.smiley 3

O Tannenbaum

Ever had an ugly Christmas tree?  I mean, even the prettiest of ornaments could not cover the scraggly, lopsided, double-topped stick that Grandpa dragged home from the woods the year the crops were bad and our household was on a Christmas budget that did not allow for a “bought” blue spruce from the neighbor’s tree farm. Grandma whined, but, the tree went up as usual in the living room’s front window for all ugly treepassersby to see.  The saddest thing about that tree was that no amount of thrown tinsel and no arrangement of the strings of lights could justify calling that smattering of pine branches a Christmas tree.

The lights in those days were the kind that would heat to an unsafe level making it necessary to sit in the room at all times when they were plugged in.  I often wondered what fun it would be to watch that burning bush being scooted out the front door. My imagination envisioned Grandpa, a diminutive man, in the aftermath of the tree fire, being scolded by his 250 pound spouse and being chased with a broom about the house much as I had seen in my favorite cartoons on TV.

We have made great advances in the season’s lighting options.  Neighbors vie to present the most impressive outdoor light show in festive colors and themes.  The lights rock and bounce to the rhythm of the accompanying Christmas tunes much to the delight of young and old merrymakers who wind around the streets in a procession of vehicles.  Bulbs of the led variety shine brightly and safely on artificial trees which are often equipped with those strings of lights at the factory source.  Pre-lit is the tree shopper’s buzz word.

All colors, all shapes, all lengths of lights to choose from and all wonderfully convenient….when they all work.  Yes, every American male knows what I’m saying.  Long, irreverent hours are spent checking each of the 2500 bulbs on the string of lights trying to determine which one is not properly plugged in causing the entire circuit to remain unlit.  We sit on the floor muttering about that smug, smiling, underpaid factory worker in China who assembled this mass of wires and bulbs knowing that somewhere in America  a befuddled man will be sitting teary-eyed on his living room floor holding his string of 2500 unlit lights.  Often, we head to the WalMart for another cheap string of lights rather than endure the frustration of trying to fix the unfixable.

Perhaps that is the answer to our dilemma.  None of these ornaments and lights purchased today were ever intended to give long-term enjoyment.  They are not going to become heirlooms for the grandchildren to enjoy as are my beautiful icicles, glass Santas, and stars which my grandmother purchased at the local 5 and 10 cent store almost 100 years ago.  Today’s mass-produced ornaments “Made in China” will probably not find a very special place in the grandkids’ hearts or on their Tannenbaums.  Like many of us, the decorations are seen as conveniently disposable.

I don’t believe that God cares much about lights that don’t work or ornaments that end up in landfills.  But, I know God does not make disposable people.  Each life is a valuable heirloom to be cherished and held dearly in our hearts.  God does not see undocumented visitors/workers as illegal people.  They are his children who have legal status in his kingdom.   God does not make worthless people.  Each has immeasurable worth in his eyes.  God is not about fancy glass ornaments, expensive presents, and bright lights.  God is that small glow within that lights the world.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine this Christmas season.”christmas emoji 3

 

to facebook or not to facebook

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…..that, my friends, is the question of importance this morning.  On the one hand, Facebook is informational and I’m able to follow the groups and organizations such as SPLC, AU, Media Matters, and my Congressmen which keep me informed about issues of significance in my life.  On the other hand Facebook is filled with a litany of stupidity and ignorance that somehow also creeps into my daily routine.

Friends on Facebook?  Yeah, right.  I am “public”, anybody can read me.  Of those who follow me are 7 people whom I do not know, and one girlfriend from the foggy days of the 1970s.  She scares me more than any of the others.  Assuredly, I can access the privacy settings and make myself virtually inaccessible, but, what’s the point in that.

No, as a blogger friend has noted, it should be called “Fakebook”.  I like that.  It just rolls off the tongue and it is a much more accurate description of what a man can expect when he signs up.  Although, during the 2016 campaign, my cadre of Facebook “friends” showed their true colors and most of them deleted me.  Hmmmmmm.  maybe there is a redeeming value in Fakebook.

I am virtually friendless on social media but, I now know who the loyal people are in my life.

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