Insanity- from 2006

2006- Insanity

I think I had an episode of near insanity today at work. I think it was due to what I was doing at the time. Because it’s all so absurd! I was standing there this afternoon in this clerk’s office talking about doing DCR’s on CAR’s, and all that kind of stuff (and if you know what I am talking about….poor you!) and then I thought, this is crazy!

What has humanity come to when we place such importance on doing documents on how to produce rugs at the optimum quality to go into people’s bathrooms? Not only documents, but entire Manuals, thick manuals at that! Heck, the first time somebody puts them down, they just gonna get pee’d on by their six-year-old. It was so stupid, and hit me with such a weird feeling that I had to physically grab hold of the desk where I was sitting to keep from jumping up and running down the hallway howling and whooping at the top of my lungs. (I restrained myself, however) It was a surreal experience. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone almost and that I was not really real, but just living in a kind of strange and hideous netherworld. I hope I never feel that way again, honestly! It was disconcerting.

Back in my Grandparents time, people worked the land for their food. They had cows and chickens and other animals to help provide what their family needed. Grandma made most of the clothes, and a lot of other things that were used by the kids. There may have been three or four other books in the house besides their old worn Bible. Everyone was kind of left to their own imagination for entertainment. Guess it was really kind of boring, honestly. It was simple anyway. Maybe simple is good! Maybe simple is the setting for which a lot of us are pre-set.

I don’t know exactly when the change happened. I think maybe right after World War II. Things have surely changed though. Technology keeps making giant strides forward like some kind of possessed behemoth running amok here on the Earth like something out of H.G. Wells, trying to take us over. It’s like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only WE created the alien technology, it didn’t come in a pod from outer space!

We have gone from the agrarian age, that age of simplicity and “boredom” (which equals out to time to do things we can’t find time to do today) to the age of information ( which equals out to NEVER having time to do everything we think we NEED to do) in a space of 60 years or so. From my weird experience in the office I am almost positive that our brains (at least some of our brains, mine included) are unable to absorb the pace of technology that has run over us like a steamroller on hot tar. It’s flattened a lot of us! I use a computer; as a matter of fact I am using one to write this. But if you put a gun to my head and said tell me how it works or I will shoot your brains out, I would have to say “Is pushing the Start button a good enough answer?” I can’t tell you how MOST things work, I only just learn to use them out of the necessity of not being left behind in the dust by the scads of younger folks who want to climb over me on their way up the corporate ladder!

I am afraid I have bought into this unreality though. I use DVD players and Nintendo’s, and Computers to play games, and to work and sell things on EBAY, which is a place for selling things in which the customer never gets to touch or feel the merchandise until AFTER they buy it! I use Satellite Radio, my car diagnosis itself for problems and tells me when it needs to be fixed; my Mom has a pacemaker that the Dr. can adjust by holding the phone up to it. And on and on and on we go!! Woo-hoo what a crazy ride!

I wonder now, if we could go back 100 years, after having a taste of this “Brave New World” would we? Before Jet planes and electric guitars, would we? Before electric shavers and microwaves? Before Atomic bombs?

I don’t know about you, but if the Big Red Button was sitting in front of me that said “Go Back” I don’t think I would even hesitate a second before I pushed it. Would you? At least I think it would keep me from running down the hall someday at work, in a fit of insanity hooting and yelping like a hound dog!!

I’ll Fly Away

I have sang the song “I’ll fly away” hundreds of times. In choirs, in duets and quartets. Solo.

“I’ll fly away, oh glory….I’ll fly away”

“When I die, hallelujah by and by”

“I’ll fly away”

I’m looking up at the heavens sometimes at night, as I did the other week looking for shooting stars, and I get strange feelings. I get carried away. I feel like if I could, I would simply float up into the air, and keep on going.

Out past the moon, out past Mars and Jupiter. Out of our solar system and into the Milky Way. Through nebula, and skirting black holes. Past dwarf stars and red giants. To gently go where no man has gone before. But I pull back for now.

I am not finished here yet. Not finished. I’ve things yet I want to do. Little ones I want to nurture and love a bit longer. I don’t for how long I’ll get to. Nobody knows, except perhaps God, and I’m certain sometimes he gives extensions for his own reasons.

Truth be told, I’m really tired this summer. I’ve been dealing with health issues of various kinds practically all season, including a bad spell this afternoon with some rogue PVC’s, and tachycardia. You’d think with all the cardio I do, I’d be fit as a fiddle, but I reckon it’s really simply maintainence I’m doing. No matter though. I’m a survivor.

Robert Frost said it best: “for I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep…..and miles to go before I sleep”.

….or in my case before I fly away.

Have a great week everyone, and when you can manage to, “go home and love your family.”

On Being Old

Sometimes I know when I am seriously in thought I probably don’t look too friendly. I may appear to be scowling, but I’m not…believe me. My mind wanders like a greased pig on slick ice. I’m all over the place. I can’t seem to concentrate on over one thing at a time anymore. I might say “uh-huh” and didn’t understand a word you said. Part of it might be my hearing. I was “borderline” on the last hearing test I took before I left work. Probably the results of a LOT of noisy factories, and some loud Garth Brooks concerts. (That one in B’ham got me…I couldn’t hear normally for three weeks!) OR it could just be selective hearing. Nevertheless, please don’t think me rude..I can’t seem to help it.

I’m praying for a lot of friends tonight. There’s a lot who need it. I hope some pray for me too. Regardless of the fact that I quit going to Church regular, I ain’t lost my religion, my humanity, or my philosophy of life which is live and let live, give when you can, what you can and care about all life big and small.

Perhaps I am getting old because I appear to ramble. Anyway, if I walk by you with my head down and a blank look on my face just holler “hey” and that will get my attention and we will talk. I like you…believe me I really do….I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Things you Keep

Going through things trying to decide: keep, sell, give away?

I come across a hot wheels container with multiple used…some well used, toy die cast cars. I recognize some of them. They are left overs from pre 1987, when we lived at 35 9th street. They belonged to Teddy and Matthew.

I posted a few weeks ago about finding all my tax returns from way back in the day. In 1982 through 1987 we were a one paycheck family, and it wasn’t anything to brag about dollar wise. But we got by.

However, every payday I’d take the kids to the store for a toy. Most of the time the boys bought hot wheels. More bang for the buck at .99 cents each. I can’t remember exactly what Kisi got…by 1987 it was probably teen magazine, with Menudo, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna pictures.

But the boys pretty much stuck to the hot wheels during that era. I can’t tell you how many times I’d clean up their room and put stuff into their big old basketball shaped toy box, and there would be dozens of hot wheels in the bottom. They buried them, burned them, and blew them up…but some still survived. They made roads in the dirt for them, dropped rocks and bricks on them, and let Junior have some. Some still survived. Ted started wanting the ones with electric motors, and even cleverly wired one of them up to an electrical cord one day, and plugged it into a 110 outlet. That little motor ran 1000 miles an hour til it started smoking like a bomb, and blew the fuse.

Ted and I moved on to baseball cards in 1988, and Matt started wanting spider man comic books, so one day before we moved to Elm street in 1987, I cleaned the bottom of the old toy box out one last time and put what was left in the box I found today.

After a little reflection, I decided to put them in the “keep” pile. What else could I do??

Love Your Neighbor

I cannot reconcile some of the posts I read with the commandment that Jesus gave: “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another”. You must…he…said…

He didn’t say love the sinner, but hate the sin. What nonsense!

He didn’t say justify your lack of love due to mitigating factors of your own invention.

He didn’t say to cherry pick this verse, nor that verse, and use it out of context to make some convoluted point that proves absolutely nothing.

I’ll tell you this. I have not melted myself down to the dregs in a hot cauldron these past five years…tortured and searching, and repoured myself into a new mold, to see and hear people say up is down, and wrong is right.

It’s not. You can’t make it so just by thinking it.

Change comes Hard for Some of Us

Change comes hard for me. It’s the Scottish blood I think. At least that’s what I’ll blame anyway.

My Grandpa was a Stewart. About as Scottish as it gets. He loved his old home place at the end of Snake nation road. I can only remember him being talked into riding the 100 mile trip to Trion just a few times during our time together on Earth. Fewer than you could count on one hand. Most weeks while he was living at the “old” place you were lucky to get him to go to town on Saturday and to church on Sunday. Actually going to church was voluntary on his part, while going to town was something Grandma had to fuss at him in order to get him to do it.

I’m sure he would have gladly drawn his last breath in that old house…but the tornado of ’73 blew it off it’s foundation, and in the end Grandpa got sick and lost his memory, and ended up in the nursing home. I still think of him and Grandma quite often, as anyone who reads what I write can tell.

We had a lot of good memories in the old house. Almost all our Christmases were spent there. I gave Eli the last physical thing I had left from those Christmases the other day. It was a tin box which candy canes had come in that had a lion on it. I still have most all my memories from there and then though. Sometimes it takes a little digging to uncover them. I’ll keep doing that now and then as I can.

As Paula and I move from this old house in which we have lived for most of the past 29 years (with a two year hiatus on 7th street) I’m taking many of the familiar things which surround me that trigger memories. Some little physical things which will inhabit our new space with us.

But most of all I’m taking my memories. Raising three kids here…all the joys, and a few sorrows. The get togethers and the holiday festivities. The “long” hallway. The kids and grandkids coming and going. It’s been a pretty good run, and I’m hoping the coming years will be full of new memories…good memories! The only thing changing is just my abode. My love is not changing. My caring is not changing. My heart is not changing. These things will always remain the same…constant…towards those I love.

As Paula Neurauter Bowers says, soon the things which are changing will just become the new normal. We will remain Mom and Dad, Papa and Nana…for as long as we live.

This is simply my little soliloquy for this epoch of my life.

Now…I gotta quit cause my eyes are leaking.

Peace and Love…

On Being Young Again

Has anyone ever thought to themselves….I’d love to be young again? I’ve had that thought before, but I’ve qualified that statement: I’d only want to be young again if it could be “in my own time”.

I would not want to be young again now. Not in this day and age.

I’ve thought myself depressed over the past few years. I cry quite often over various things. A lot of times it’s thinking about the way the world is now. I’m sure that’s probably not unusual for people my age.

I’m often angry over my generation not being able to make a difference for the better in our world. We baby boomers…so numerous, but apparently too self absorbed and shallow to have enough vision to prevent being where we are today. It’s not the loving world the flower children were singing about at Woodstock. It’s the world where “the love of many has grown cold”.

Just tonight in the tiny limited time I saw the “news” I heard of police in a nearby city tasing an elderly woman who was cutting dandelions from the property of a Boys and Girls club with a paring knife. The owners called the police, who ordered the old lady to “drop the knife” and then tased her when she didn’t. Turns out she didn’t speak English and had dementia. There’s a lot of room for some compassion at several points in that story.

I saw a video also of an adult teacher taking down a male student onto a table in a classroom and choking him. How does that happen??

You don’t have to even look very closely anymore to ask yourself what in the world is this world coming to? Oh, I understand it’s always been a pretty rough world…I do understand that, and I understand we see a lot more things a lot more often, and more quickly then they did back in the Wild West, or during the Middle Ages. It just seems so wrong somehow to have a world right now where we could be so much better….yet we won’t. Not can’t, but won’t.

Greed pervades us, and insensitivity and plain old bald faced rudeness populates our “social media”. Hatred towards people who are different, for whatever reason…than what some groups consider “the norm” ignites viral conversations coming from positions of power, and positions of popularity, that I never in my wildest dreams as a young man would have considered possible.

The love of many has definitely grown cold, and continues to do so every day.

I can’t do much about it. What am I…who am I to even know what to do? All that I can do is to try and take care of those people who I love. Try to encourage and educate them to be caring and loving, by giving them all the loving and caring that I can. The little ones anyhow. The grown ones I can only offer advice if it’s sought, and try to be a decent example of someone who genuinely cares. Many days I still just turn out being a crabby old man. I’m sorry…

Where was it I started this? Would I like to be young again? No, no….indeed no. I pray every night as I’m preparing to do now, that the future holds answers which I do not see which will make this world a lovely and wonderful place for my dear ones, just as wonderful as it has been for me. Somehow, someway dear God…let it be so.

Teach Your Children Well

I know that many people hope and pray for better things beyond this mortal life. A lot of the World’s religions promise such in their teachings. I’m not debating or demeaning anyone’s beliefs. I’m coming to think that sometimes hoping for great things in the afterlife blinds us to the possibility of the great things humans might do in the here and now, and in our future.

I know I sometimes steer my boat a little to the negative, but the more I watch the babies of the world and see how smart they are, how quickly they pick things up…the more hope I have for humanities future. I hope for a new paradigm which allows humans to live together without hate and war, with cures for dread diseases, with mankind reaching out for the stars to find and populate new worlds. I think it is within the grasp of the many tiny hands now out there learning to navigate themselves through a world of technology which is already here, and a more complex and wondrous one which they themselves will create…it is within their ability to perform magical works.

So, let us love them. Let us teach them tolerance and virtue. Let us tell them they have no limitations. Let us entrust to them all of humanities tomorrow’s, and I swear they will succeed where we have failed. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

The Old Weave Room

I was thinking about the old Weave room tonight. Back before the air jets and sulzers…the days of the old X1′ s and X2′ s. The old clackety clack of the shuttle’s flying out and back, and the beat up slamming that filling yarn in so tight. That rhythmic beat you could hear before you even hit the front door. “Slamaty..Clamity..Slamity..Clamity” over and over and over again. Hundreds of them in time creating an almost unbearable noise and a vibration that shook deep inside your chest.

I remember no air conditioning, and the sweat falling off in salty rivulets…And the white t-shirts all the men wore being soaked with sweat and dirty and greasy from laying on the Weave room floor up under a loom, legs sticking out in the narrow alleys.

And all the women with their waste aprons shoving those round battreys on each loom full of wound double tight yarn spools fresh out of the spinning room, double checking that it’s the right gauge and thickness. “Can’t have no mixed yarn.” Says the floor boss. You’d get wrote up for that. “Hell with that thick yarn!” Momma says. “Can’t get a break without the battery running out.”

And them’s the good old days.

But when we cut ourselves the blood was red. And some fixer who was caught up would help fill the battries so you could take a break and go to the water house and eat a bite. And the paychecks came home, with one savings bond a week coming out of it. But…in the end the money ran out anyway. And the old looms gave way to the air jets. And things changed and changed and changed some more.

But is it better? I can still hear those old looms in my head. My hearings a little hard, but my eyes are a little misty.

Make America

1619-1865 is 246 years. 1865-2019 is 154 years. We have almost a century left until this country has lived as many years without legal slavery as it did with it. That doesn’t even count another 100 years exactly from 1865-1965 when the voting rights act passed. So in reality that’s 346 years.

Spain, and then Mexico…after it won independence, owned much of the Southwestern US from 1521 after the conquest of the Aztecs, until 1848, when the Treaty of Hildalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War, which the US had instigated. The US got Texas, Southern California, most of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado in that treaty. That’s 327 years the SW United States belonged to the “Hispanics” and 171 years that the United States has owned it. All citizens of Mexico got to choose to stay in the new United States, or go back to Mexico. Most of them stayed, creating an instant cross culture between the United States and Mexico, which has persisted since then. That’s a total of 498 years that Spanish speaking people have been in this area, as opposed to only after 1848 that white Americans started to go into these areas to settle. (The Gadsden purchase of 1853 further enlarged New Mexico and Arizona)

It amazes me that in just a very few short years, history in this country has been forsaken for media make belief. The myth of white manifest destiny over the cultural patterns of this country, and the belief that somehow the stain of slavery and repression has been washed as white as snow in a few short years belies the facts which lie in the history of America, if any would take the time to read it.  Perhaps it cannot be understood.

Perhaps the trend of purposeful ignorance has taken such deep root that it can never be reversed.  It is a shame that we Americans of the last half of the 20th century have been either unwilling or unable to defend the hard won freedoms and openness that our Fathers fought and died for in World War II. We have given them up to Autocracy and Oligarchy with hardly a fight.