Category Archives: Life Lessons

Assistance, Please

I’ve been mulling what follows over for 48 hours. Arriving at no easy answer/resolution, I turn to my fellow PPPers for any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations or other input you might offer.

As many know, I reside in a townhouse situated within an apartment complex. Given the length of time here, my walks, and general interaction from sitting on the front stoop, I meet many residents. Some, I know by name. Most, I recognize. As the property manager (newly hired, relatively) said last week, most know who I am.

One of the latter is a young man I’ll refer to as W (he’s a writer). W and his spouse (“S” hereinafter) reside in a townhouse in the building to my South.I’ve not met S.

Thursday evening W knocked on my door looking to bum a cigarette. No problem there. As we were standing outside, I asked W how things were as it was apparent he wanted to talk. He responded with a not very good. He then told me that in early November, the little boy (about one year old) that I had met earlier this Fall had died suddenly. My head reeling, I made the appropriate noises and told him about my wife’s death four years ago. As we talked, it became clear that even though the boy was not W’s child (biologically), W had been very attached to him. W then mentioned he was in counseling with an appropriate individual whose name I recognized. We continued to talk, with me listening and offering such bits of learning I had to offer. During this time (about an hour), W’s cell phone rang multiple times, irking W. He finally answered, and after that conversation, he and I continued. W was quite agitated.

W acknowledged he was working through his grief, having moved recently to the anger stage. W then went on to tell me S refused to get any help, preferring to habituate various bars nightly for the purported purpose of becoming and remaining numb. Further, S had locked W’s car and taken the keys (which is why W was out of smokes). The rationale was to prevent W from potentially harming himself. I think otherwise, but whatever. Then, S calls again, and got most disturbed by the fact W was not home, but rather out talking with a neighbor. S kept getting louder and louder, finally terminating the call. W said S doesn’t like their next-door neighbor, who has been trying to help. The feeling is mutual; I’m acquainted with the neighbor (who has an adorable 15 month old daughter).

The next day, W and S’s neighbor came by. She related that there had been a terrible argument after S had returned from the bar (“shit-faced”, she called it), and S had threatened her earlier that day. After she clarified that W hadn’t been talking to her, S went ballistic and wanted to know with whom W had been talking. She didn’t know, but had a feeling it was I involved. So she could stay truthful, I neither confirmed nor denied. Her parting comment was that anyone who had been talking to W needed to be on their toes.

The question(s): If W comes back, I intend to do my best to help in any way I can. Should I refuse to so do? If S shows up shit-faced and threatening, 911 gets called by me. No further discussion on that. However, if S comes by and just wants to talk (without W) about the boy’s death, should I listen or suggest S find another outlet? If I was still practicing, the answer would be easier.

Any advice, etc., offered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

N.B. Full disclosure: W’s mother (single) has seen me during my excursions and has bugged W about who I am. I’ve told W the bare details, and he wishes to introduce the two of us. If his mother is the woman with whom I had a conversation two months ago utside W’s front door, I’m interested.

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Filed under Ethics, family, Life Lessons

LACK OF EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT

It started out to be a way to bring into prospective what is most important in life and relationships, but ended up being more disturbing as a whole about a younger generation of men.  The general question, is if you are far away from everything that you know in life what do you think you would miss the most?  Would it be a car, movie, game system, places to eat or someone that is in your family which would you miss the most?  The first person gave a simple answer; he said everything and not one thing in particular.  This was like saying that everything, including a human being that is thought of as a loved one, is equal and there is no real emotional attachment to anything over another.  After a while of thinking about it, I asked another young man in the family and got basically the same answer.

This reminded me of a recent incident, where my daughter asked her soon to be ex-husband whether he was at the house because of her and his sons or simply because he had no where else to be? His answer was because he did not have anywhere else to be.

Three young men of about the same age and all lacking an emotional attachment to those who they should have this attachment to. That the human beings were of no more importance then the objects they also enjoy spending time with.  A wife or a child is not more important to them than a good cup of coffee or an enjoyable game to play.  Simply something that they enjoy spending time doing or having around at the moment.  They boil down the only reason to be in any relationship as a convenience of the moment.   They aren’t saying their loved one would be missed, but rather that they could be replaced and are not a special selection among any other who would also perform the same functions as someone to talk to or be around.

The ability to have emotional attachment gives us the ability to see others as special or even fellow human beings. That goes beyond those outside of our family and in a sense our own value as human.  Lacking it is what enables everything from theft to mass murder like in the case of Hitler.  If this had been shown in only one individual it is a matter of concern but in three in the same generation and from different families is alarming and makes me wonder if it is a symptom of the generation?

Emotional attachment is a key benchmark of being a human being and one of the foundations of the very concept of humanity.

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Filed under Life Lessons, Thinking/Considering

PERSONAL OBSERVATION ON A PERSONAL MATTER.

 

Tobacco being an expense and not having gotten any unemployment for the last five weeks.

This morning I was reduced to digging out a relic, my dad’s pipe and a bag of tobacco.

Fortunate for me my son-in-law has better taste in pipe tobacco then dad did and the bag was left by my son-in-law.

The pipe really is a relic, twenty years ago my dad had broken his pipe and I was smoking a pipe then.

So I had given him one of mine, since I had about ten different pipes I was really into smoking a pipe!

Well this morning I load the pipe and started to light it when I noticed I was having trouble.

The bowl seemed out of line and turning away from me.

I finally took it from my mouth and looked it over, dad had done his remodel on it!

He liked straight stem and I like to have a downward bend, he had done some craving and then taped it to suit him. The problem was he was right handed and I am left handed.

Being in my right mind often sets me at the mirror image of how everyone else does things.

Left justified instead of right justified, once I moved the pipe to the other side of my mouth everything seem to line up just fine.

Does that ever happen to you, something that once belonged to a parent and it was passed down.

But it brings out a difference between you and them?

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Filed under family, Just Plain Fun, Life Lessons, memories, You know you're getting old when . . .

Run, Colton, run!

The police in the Bahamas have captured the “Barefoot Bandit,” Colton Harris-Moore. After two years on the run, the 19 year old fugitive is behind bars, after having been arrested after a high speed boat chase. Harris-Moore was taken into custody in shackles, true to his nic, barefoot.

There is a Face Book page, dedicated to Colton Harris-Moore, with 71,000 friends. Tee-shirts have been sold with the message “Run, Colton, run!” and “Fly, Colton, fly!”

(Harris-Moore has allegedly stolen five small aircraft, taught himself how to fly and crashed landed in the Bahamas after a 1,000 mile flight in a plane he stole in Indiana.)

Colton has become a folk hero over the past two years.  Like Bonnie and Clyde before him, his exploits have made front page news and earned him a rabid following. It should be noted, of course, that Colton has not been alleged to have killed anyone.

So, why do we tend to glorify outlaws?

The afore mentioned Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, Jesse James and Billy the Kid have all been given a place in American folklore, despite their violent pasts. Even D.B. Cooper has his fan club. BTK was a folk legend until he turned out to be just Dennis Rader.

We glorify outlaws, in my not so humble opinion, because they do what we fantasize about doing – running from the law and getting away with it.

What does our fascination with outlaws say about us?

On one hand, the American thought is “hang ’em high!” or “lock ’em up and throw away the key!”

On the other hand, we celebrate the outlaw. We root for him (or her) to continue to evade Law Enforcement and continue with their illegal activities.

Which will it be?

Colton Harris-Moore is likely to get twelve or more years in prison. Will his Face Book admirers still be around when he is paroled? Will the “cult of personality” that surrounds him still be foursquare behind him or will they have found a new “outlaw” to rally behind?


(The thread photo is not of the author. My beard is white.)



William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under Life Lessons

Lessons learned from a novel

To Kill A Mockingbird was published on July 11, 1960.  The book was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962.

To  Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. It was instantly successful and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936 — when she was 10 years old.  The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality.

The book has valuable lessons about an evil that needed to be brought into the open and defeated.  I’ve heard it said of this time, “We liberated not just black people, we liberated white people.”  Surely, Harper Lee contributed to this liberation with her book.

What defeats evil?  Is it kindness?  Could it be knowledge which seems to tame, if not defeat, fear?  Is there a lesson you learned from To Kill A Mockingbird?  How do the lessons the novel offers relate to problems in our world today — immigration, embracing the different cultures of all countries, fears of the unknown?  What other current issues could we relate to this timeless novel and the lessons it offers?

fnord

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Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons, Original writings

I TOLD HER SHE IS NOW OFFICIALLY A MOTOR CYCLIST.

The surprise I got for my wife was a scooter, we had seen it at a garage sale and she loved it.

But I also knew she would not get it for herself, one thing that many men would love to be able to say about their wives. Mine is not prone to spending money or wanting things that are expensive that is just for being able to say they have it.  For years she has denied herself many things she wanted but would not get because of it cost money.  When it comes to spending money she makes me look like a Bush conservative.

So after going to the bank to discuss the matter with our loan officer which seems that height of arrogant considering the situation we are in. I was able to add to the existing loan with no increase in what we were already paying a month.

She loves the scooter riding it to work everyday and taking to just going for a ride to enjoy the day.

Gee sounds kind of familiar somehow?

Well she told me after I got back of an incident that happened, one that is so familiar that I myself have lost count as to how many times it has happened to me! I have a couple of pieces of advise to those who decided to ride a motor cycle on the streets. You ride like you are invisible because that is exactly the way it is.  There is a reason that it is a old saying and one that came about since motor cycles became common place.

“Honestly Officer…. I did not see the motor cycle!”.

Another is simple logic and can save your life, what is the first thing on the car setting at a stop you should be watching? It’s the wheels, if the car is going to move the first thing that will move is the wheels.  If the wheels start to roll the car is going to pull out in front of you!

She told me it happened that she was approaching a side street where a car was waiting to pull into traffic, suddenly the car pulled out right in front of her! The woman driver seem to have been watching the traffic and waiting but then just pulled out.  I replied, “And she seem to be looking you right in the eyes didn’t she?”.  My wife said, “Yes she seem to be!”.  Again this kind of thing has happened to me so many times I can not tell you how many times.

She said my advise which I had given her just before I had left gave her the time to be prepared and stop in time. As she approached the corner she started watching the wheels and when they started moving she was ready.

My wife is now officially a motor cyclist, all that is left is to dump the scooter either through hitting loose sand or because of not noticing a bump or pot hole in the road. Then the test will be does she get back up and on or say this is not worth it! Of course to my thinking it is worth it and she is getting to that point.

I wonder how long it will be before she starts talking about wanting something bigger?

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Filed under Just Plain Fun, Life Lessons, Woman Power

It’s Tee Time!

Sports can thrill and inspire, but of late, sports can be equally frustrating and disgusting. Anymore, it seems you can follow sports stories in the gossip columns and police blotters as much as you can on the sports page.

Nominally, this column is about golf, but it is really about heart.

The US Open begins Thursday at the famed Pebble Beach course in Monterey, California. Being one of four major golf championships, the US Open will feature the best names in golf, Tiger, Phil, Padraig, Miguel and Vijay. Tom Watson will be there. So will Erik Compton.

A dozen golfers will tee off with a realistic expectation of contenting for the championship. Erik Compton is not one of those golfers. Actually, he will be extremely fortunate just to make the cut. He barely even made the field at Pebble Beach, having had to survive a 39 hole qualifier just to make it to his first major championship, but Erik Compton plays with a lot of heart.

In fact, he’s on his third one.

Erik Compton is a thirty year old journeyman golfer from Florida, married, with a 14 month old daughter. He received his first heart transplant when he was twelve, his own heart having failed due to cardiomyopathy. That heart began to fail in 2007 and Erik suffered a heart attack. In 2008, he received yet another heart transplant.

Erik Compton’s playing partners this weekend will include Jannine, the fifteen year old victim of a drunk driver, and Issac, a former student/athlete that fell victim to a hit and run driver.

There will be no storybook ending this weekend. Erik Compton will likely be just one more golfer that tries to follow his dream of winning a US Open championship. Come Sunday afternoon, it will Phil or Tiger or Miguel in the final pairing, pursuing the title and fame and fortune. Erik will probably be watching it on television in his motel room.

Erik Compton’s wife and daughter, along with his parents will join many fans in the gallery, watching him play Pebble Beach.

Also in the gallery, will be the parents of a young man named Issac.

(The thread photo is the Eighteenth hole at Pebble Beach.)


William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under Life Lessons