Big Red Button

I think I had an episode of near insanity a few years ago while I was at work.  I think it was due to what I was doing at the time. It was all so absurd!  I was standing there in some clerk’s office talking about doing DCR’s on CAR’s, and all that kind of techie stuff (and if you know what I am talking about….poor you!) and then I suddenly froze and 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 peoples bathrooms?  Not only documents but entire manuals, and thick manuals at that!   Heck, the first time somebody puts those rugs down, they are just going to get pee’d on by their six year old son.  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 almost felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, and that I was not really real, but was instead living in a kind of strange and hideous alternate universe.  I honestly hope I never feel that way again!  It was disconcerting.  It made my skin crawl.

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 entire house besides their old worn Bible.  Everyone was kind of left to their own imagination for entertainment.  I 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-wired.

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. It’s like something out of H.G. Wells is trying to destroy us.  It’s like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only this time WE created the alien technology, instead of it coming from a pod in outer space!

We have gone from the agrarian age, that age of simplicity and “boredom” (which equates to time to do things we can’t find time to do today) to the age of information (which equates 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 that office that day, 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 do use a computer.  As a matter of fact I am using one to write this blog.  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 whisper:  “Is pushing the Start button a good enough answer?”  I can’t tell you how MOST things work, I have only learned to use them because I don’t want to be left behind in the dust by the scads of younger folks who are growing up in this “brave new world.”

I am afraid I have plunged deeply 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 had a pacemaker that the Dr. could adjust by holding the phone up to it.  And on and on and on we go!!  What a crazy ride!

I wonder, if we could go back 100 years, after having a taste of this electronic age, 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 a 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 around and around some day, in a fit of insanity hooting and yelping like a hound dog!!

Pity for Potter

A few months back I was thinking of Christmas.  Isn’t it funny how it takes forever for Christmas to get here every year, and then….bang!  It’s gone in a flash.

Every year right after Halloween, I start thinking of Christmas movies.  Usually right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade they play “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart.  Most everyone has seen it, and know how it ends.  Stewart’s character George Bailey finds out at the last of the movie because of the way he has helped people, and had compassion for them throughout their lives, he has many more friends to help him out in his time of need than he ever thought possible.  He ends up with more than enough money to pay his debt to the bank off and everything ends up happily ever after.

But…what happened to Potter?  Potter curmudgeonly old rich banker who from his wheelchair was one of the meanest, nastiest characters to ever to grace a movie.   I often wonder about his life after the end of the movie.  Henry F. Potter, the stingiest and most immoral man in Bedford Falls.  Did he repent his ways after George Bailey won back the Savings and Loan?  Did he double down and continue to torment George Bailey and his family?  Did he die from frustration?

I looked up the meaning of pity and it reads as follows:  “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.”

“her voice was full of pity”

Synonyms   compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy, fellow feeling, understanding;

George’s Father “Pa Bailey” told George near the beginning of the movie that he pitied Potter.  He had been fighting against him for a lifetime to try and keep him from taking over his business, and yet he did not hate him, he pitied him.

I have heard many people say that they don’t want other people’s pity.  The pride that we bear, sometimes false pride, prevents us from accepting the pity of others.  But look again at the meaning of pity.  I know that I have had times when I have needed the sorrow and compassion of others.  Without it I may have been lost.  More people should forget about their “hubris” and accept the compassion of others.  Pity people like Henry F. Potter.  I pity him, even though he is just a character in a movie.

But, more than that, I pity those who are like him in our world today, in our country….in our home town.

My first gut reaction to the “Potters” of the world is often anger and the need for retaliation, but that is my pride…my own hubris getting in my way, getting in my eyes and my mind and clouding my judgment, clouding my need to think things out and do the right thing.  Pity me for that.  And continue to have compassion for anyone and everyone else who needs it.  It’s the only way to really live your life.