Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Wisdom of the Not Necessarily Accepted Masses

“Sally forth into the unknown, I say ye. For there are twists and turns the like you can never envisage within the confines of your low mentality. We are on the very precipice of enormous happenings which will transport mankind to either the gloriousness of Paradise or the malevolent nether regions of Hades.” I turned from the rack of tabloid magazines in the Wal-Mart Supercenter on the south side of town to find the origin of such ominous tidings. Before me stood a rather slight older gentleman wearing, of all things, a suit of green with a large western belt buckle flaunting an array of green stones in the shape of a shamrock, an equally dark green beret, and a pair of those plastic shoes someone is getting rich selling to people with the holes in them and an open back, also green. On his face, he wore a pronounced Van Dyke goatee surrounded with a several day-old growth of beard. Small reading glasses hanging low on his pointed nose, apparently secured to his face by a huge growth on the left side of his face. His eyes, also green, glistened with merriment that was, at the same time, unnatural in demeanor and mischievous in deportment.

“Excuse me?” served as my only reply.

“ Now boyo, I’d be knowing yer no’ that daft. You look at those tomes and with the know ‘n in you that there is some distress in their implication.” A impish broken-toothed grin came on his face.

My first reaction, after the surprise of his appearance was, one of quiet reservation. I have spent the larger portion of my life with a unique ability to attract people of questionable sanity. I share this trait with My Dear Sainted Mother. The family mission statement as passed to us was one that taught my sister and I that we should never meet a stranger. A favorite joke around the holiday tables is the idea that Mother Dear could get stranded on a deserted south sea island and the monkeys would find the words to begin a conversation.

My particular generational evolution of this questionably enviable character asset/defect is that people of debatable sanity seem to find me wherever I go. I can be a room with a thousand other individuals, all of which are in the room for the first time and having no or limited knowledge of events, two things are going to happen; first, someone is going to ask me what is going on, and second, the one person in the crowd that is most apparently suffering from an unhealthy state of mental health will be standing next to me talking as if we had been life long bosom buddies. My reaction is always one of quiet resignation. I listen and attempt to understand what I hear. I believe all persons are important, and it is not my bailiwick to decide whose opinion holds merit. I try to be kind to those I encounter. Simply because it is the right thing to do. Another behavior gleaned from my Dear Sainted Mother.

This person seemed to have information for me, that he thought held some import. I folded my hands behind my back so as to present a welcoming attitude of supplication. He looked me up and down, and asked me quite directly, “Why haven’t you donated to Barrack Obama’s campaign?” I found myself stunned by the question. I retreated to the cliché answer of not being able to afford such a donation. He then asked me how I could justify spending three dollars on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ten or twelve times a month when I know that as a diabetic such consumption in detrimental to my health. He continued on to chastise for such a decision when my personal beliefs are that Senator Obama holds the key to the change we need in this country.

I did not question his words as they were true. I have become consumed with this election, and the future of our country. I write often of my dissatisfaction with the state of affairs, and have not taken the most sensible step. I have not declared my position to my own satisfaction. I am officially giving my endorsement to Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

Not that this is a monumentally important endorsement. I do not for one second believe that my opinion is of such significance as to change the balance in this election. I just thought that if a crazy guy in Wal-Mart can hold me accountable for the rights I imagine myself to be a champion of, then it might be prudent of me to take that needed step to at least have the courage of my convictions and open my big mouth where it might reach the greatest amount of people. I don’t know how wide this page is being distributed, but it is available. More than that would be nothing but making sure I show up to vote. I am not ready to give up my Cherry Garcia. Peace.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

These days

These days I am trying to get through the end of the school year, write every day, and do something about the sunburn on my head. There is not much more to life these days. I am, these days, of a disposition to do none of the things that I find necessary for the betterment of mankind. I am not writing every day, school is not going to ever be over, and my sunburned head is my own fault. These days, I am pretty much screwed, blued, and tattooed.

My writing is haphazard at best. This disturbs me to no end. I am never going to be this generation’s answer to Stephen King, Mark Twain, or W.E.B. Griffin if I don’t get off my lazy ass and get to work. I laugh at these analogies my mind creates. I do not want to be Stephen King. I just want his money. Well, not his money per se, but a regular royalty check equal to or greater then those he receives. Unfortunately, his genre is not my type of writing. It scares the crap out of me. He is my favorite writer in that his prose comes alive in my mind as no other writers work. When I read his work, I can literally visualize the characters and monsters.

Mark Twain delights me and creates great bell laughs in me. This is something to see considering the girth of my stomach. Besides, I do not have that refined a sense of humor. I have no desire to spend the time Mr. Griffin spends in research, but I do devour his books as if they were potato chips.

I do want to get around to writing everyday, and not whine about my inability to do so. I know that the times I spend writing give me the greatest contentment and, as such, really should just shut up and write. It is not the keyboards fault that I have to live life in order to write. It is my fault if I do not share what is in me with the world. I am just getting over the thrill of my first for-pay publication. I am ready for the next step, and I want to define that step. I really would rather write what is there and worry later of what I should charge for it.

School is going just as it should. The students are alternately giving me a hard time, or cooperating totally depending on what is in their oft-times scrambled little heads. We have had some incidents that are quite disturbing and that always serve as harbingers of things not desired. One of our kids is in a particularly bad place and it has affected us all. Legal and moral issues prevent me from discussing this further, although I really want to shout over a large bull horn my rage and indignation. I do not get to do this, though…I am an adult and a professional. Man, it really sucks being me in this situation. I am, as you all know, a self deluded champion and crusader of the oppressed. I want to liken myself as the masked man riding into town of a great white horse and saving the universe from dastardly deeds performed by maniacal villains. In truth, I am just a guy that gets to hug a kid who feels bad about himself, and cry about his situation when no one is looking. Being me sucks, at this particular moment in history.

As to my sunburn. About a year and a half ago, I decided I had grown tired of combing my hair and shaved it off. I am not much of an outside person, and most of the time my head is cold. This is not an entirely unwanted state of affairs. Yesterday, I participated in my first school field trip as a teacher. We went to a rescued tiger sanctuary nearby. It never occurred to me that I needed a hat. I haven’t worn a hat for years. Not since I gave up the manual arts in employment and began my life as a great thinker, philosopher, teacher, and all around pain in the ass. Well, I walked around and had a grand old time. I ate lunch next to my young friend who is having a hard time. I shared my cookie with him, and spoke with the other students about how cool the tigers were. We all chose one who we wished we could take home. My young companion and I both wanted the largest one for ourselves. All 800 pounds of raw meat devouring, sleep-20-hours-a-day lazy ass cat. Kind of like having a houseful of teenagers. My friend said that he would have to quit school and get a job, and I realized that if I had that gargantuan feline to feed, I would probably lose the weight I complained about in an earlier post.

We left the location and went home early. I lay down to take a nap and woke up feeling terrible. My blood sugar was through the roof, and my body felt as if that big cat I favored had thrown me around in a similar fashion as the rag toy he played with while observing him in his cage. I looked in the mirror and attributed my red face to the blood sugar. I felt bad all night, and still felt that way once I got to work this morning. First thing, one of my kids told me that I was sunburned and it occurred to me that I had not had that particular malady in many years. I have a perpetually tanned left arm from when I drove a truck. The rest of my body is ghost white. I think I need to get out more, or at least buy one of those cool Alan Quartermain hats for when I venture into the jungle that is the entire world outside. Perhaps a little fresh air might do me some good. Perhaps it might prevent me from writing these depressing rants which probably serve as the chief reason I still take anti-depressant medication.

See? I told you it sucked being me right now. Not to worry…I go see my shrink tomorrow, and the next is a paid holiday. Things are looking up. Peace.