November, 2010


29
Nov 10

Making A List

Howdy.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Good I hope.  The fact you are reading this blog it is safe to assume you survived your turkey coma.

Now that Thanksgiving has sailed past us, we now officially enter the Christmas season.  I like this time of the year.  For me it’s Christmas time but there are lots of great religious holidays during this time of the year.

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up — they have no holidays.

- Henny Youngman


Regardless of your faith this is the time of year when everyone seems to have a holiday to celebrate.  Celebration seems to make everyone a bit more tolerant.  It’s hard to be happy and angry at the same time.

So now that its Christmas, it is time for the proverbial “list”.

I don’t mean to be arbitrary with my next statement but… you need to have a list and you need to make it early.

There are some people who play this, “Oh just get me anything” game.  They may be sincere but not having a list makes if really hard for people who want to buy them something.  Since this is the season of giving… give people a break and make it easier on them… give people a LIST.

I can talk about people like this because I was that way.  My usual quip was, “Oh just get me whatever you think.  I really don’t need much.”

Oh brother!  Give me a break.

This year has been different.  I made a list and it was like all my family took a collective sigh of relief.  They knew what I wanted and what to get me.  There is no guessing if I will like it or have to wonder if it is something I can (or will) use.

I didn’t realize how significant it was until they almost made my list an event.  They called it, The Unveiling.  So the list was unveiled before Thanksgiving (Black Friday sales) and it was quickly emailed to various family members.

This is a fun story about making a simple change.  But there is a truth here that has profound implications.

Like most things in life you learn the significance of something after you make a change.  If I had any idea how much this would have been appreciated and received I would have taken the time and energy and put some thought into creating a Christmas list years earlier.

But that’s the point.  We don’t know the impact or importance until after the change.  It’s as though our minds are clouded to reality.

Unfortunately much of the time the lack of changing simple things is because we don’t see the need or see it as a priority.  If we do see something as a priority to be changed then two reasons dominate – laziness and ego.

The lack of a Christmas list for me was primarily my lack of seeing it as important.  If I did see it as important then the issue for me would be one of laziness than ego (although my wife might argue that point).

Now if I want to be really honest, the creation of the Christmas list became important NOT because I thought it would be appreciated by my family but because there were some things I wanted that elevated the importance of the list.

Pretty self centered huh?  Hey, I never said I was perfect.

Well, I am learning and this journey I am on keeps getting more exciting.  A life open to growth is always invigorating and never gets boring.  But growth always demands change.

Change is the payment we make to grow beyond where we are.

Just so you know, I’m not a complete slug.  The Christmas list took on a different level of importance because I decided to take a risk.

Because of my desire to grow and stretch myself, the past six months has been very odd.  There has been something bubbling inside about taking up painting.  So I decided to give it a go.  So my list has all types of art supplies to get me started.

My goodness… me of all people.  I would have never guessed I would be writing as a creative outlet and also take the leap of trying to paint.  Fun stuff.

In a few months I will let you know how it is going.

Also, for you women who have men in your lives, I have a Christmas gift suggestion that you must take to heart.  I will share it Thursday.

See ya.


25
Nov 10

Thanks

Aren’t you proud of me?  I have posted this blog bright and early on, of all days, THANKSGIVING.  Those of you who read the last blog know the significance of the timing of this entry.

Yes it is Thanksgiving.  So I am sure you are expecting some sweet, heart tugging, sentiment about the significance of this day.

Oh my, you know me all too well.  I will talk about Thanksgiving but it won’t be syrupy sweet.

Most of the world celebrates the same holidays as we do.  But Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  It is a holiday where we intentionally stop to express our thanks and gratitude for the good in our lives and the blessings we enjoy.

Side Note: Some might say that the Fourth of July would fit into the category of being uniquely American.  Yes, to some degree, but most countries have a holiday that marks a significant political event, e.g. Bastille Day in France.

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I really like Thanksgiving for all the reasons everyone else does (family, food, faith, etc.) but I like it for another reason.  It is the only holiday that everyone is united on.  I mean… how can anyone argue with being thankful.

Thanksgiving and being thankful crosses every political, racial, socio-economic, and cultural group.

This should be a particularly fun and interesting Thanksgiving.  My wife and I met some new friends this year that moved to the US last May from Europe.  They are experiencing all the holidays American style for the first time.  This is their first Thanksgiving so we are making it as traditional as possible.

Side Note: Just so you know, I am talking about traditional food.  No I am not going to dress up like a pilgrim with clunky shoes and a belt buckle on my hat.

Although I think my wife would look pretty hot dressed up in a stylish black flared dress donned with apron and bonnet.  But I have a feeling she will pass on making this fashion statement.

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So it will be fun seeing Thanksgiving through the eyes of people who have not experienced a holiday where being thankful is the center point.

In prep for the blog today I tried to find a really good video, poem, quotes or something as a capstone to this blog on being thankful.

It was crazy.  Virtually everything I found fell at the two ends of the continuum.  At one end of the continuum were the videos that were so schmaltzy and sickeningly sweet that I almost lapsed into an emotional sugar coma while watching them.

The other end of the continuum were the videos that could be categorized as absolutely bizarre.  They were either insanely goofy or had a political agenda for being a vegetarian or for turkey rights.

So after much searching I found a video that for all intent and purpose has nothing to do with Thanksgiving.  Well, kinda.  The people are thankful and they are expressing their thanks.

It’s a short fun video about “thanks”.

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YouTube Preview Image

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I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Blessings to all.

See you Monday.


23
Nov 10

No Excuses

A day late.  Yep, I was to have this blog entry ready yesterday, but as you can see I’m late.  I didn’t have the blog ready because it is Thanksgiving week.  Don’t ask me why this is an excuse but it sounded good in the moment.

Excuses are an amazing creation by the human intellect.

Dictionary Definition

  1. to regard or judge with forgiveness or indulgence; pardon or forgive; overlook (a fault, error, etc.)
  2. to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of
  3. to serve as an apology or justification for; justify
  4. to release from an obligation or duty
  5. to seek or obtain exemption or release for oneself

Ok you get the picture.  These are tiny words strung together to legitimize why you didn’t complete or execute something you were to do.  It is amazing the excuses people make.

I was never a prolific excuse maker but I did make a lot more when I was younger than I do now.

I understand why people make excuses, they don’t want to look bad or disappoint someone else for not completing something.

The only problem is, excuses do the same thing… only worse.  You still look bad and disappoint for non-completion but in addition, people come to expect nothing from you… except excuses.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

-Benjamin Franklin


But if you are the type who needs excuses let me give you a few tips.

Tips for Making Excuses

First of all it helps if you have some apparent personal reason for non-performance.  For example, Stupidity.  If you are stupid your excuses provide a higher degree of logic to the other person and thus create a greater natural tolerance.  Stupidity if used well goes a long way.  Frankly, some people are gifted at being stupid.  (Just take a look at the Jack Ass movies.)

Bad excuses are worse than none.
-Thomas Fuller


Another great tool for excuse making is procrastination.  Procrastinators are terrific at excuses because they have successfully mastered the ability to make excuses to themselves.   To a procrastinator excuses become an art form.  This level of procrastination requires a quick and logical mind to come up with seemingly logical reasons for not doing something.

But there is one more amazing perk for mastering procrastination.  Being a procrastinator provides one of the greatest excuses available… I didn’t have time.

The beauty of “I didn’t have time” is… it’s true (in a twisted sort of way).  The amount of time allotted was not sufficient to complete the task.  This allows the procrastinator to mentally salve their psyche which adequately shields them from the reality of their ineffectiveness.

I have one more tip for those who are prone to making excuses.  It really helps if you tie the excuse to something that touches an emotional cord with the other person.  It has to be something that strikes the empathic note on their heart.  It’s amazing what you can get away with if you can make people feel sorry for you.

The true excuse artists learn the subtle unique soft spots of the person they are trying to con.  But if you don’t know the person there are a few universal empathy points to exploit.

For example, you can never go wrong with a family illness, or something regarding children or animals, and throw in a hardship of some sort as a nice topping.  But don’t over do it… too much and you create suspicion.  As I said earlier, there is an art to making excuses.

I ran across a couple of quotes that I thought were interesting.

Life’s rewards go to those who let their actions rise above their excuses.
-Lee J. Colan, Orchestrating Attitude

No one ever excused his way to success.
-Dave Del Dotto

So, I am posting this blog on Tuesday instead of Monday because while I was caring for my sick grandmother, her cute little dog ate my computer mouse.

See you on Thursday, THANKSGIVING.


18
Nov 10

Truth Hurts

Hi all.  I am sure some of you may be getting tired of the verbal rampage I have been on the last couple of weeks.

Today is going to be it for the topic (for the time being).  I have no illusions that I have even come close to addressing the topic little lone make an impact.  I can only hope that I am a bit more open and sensitive.  Hopefully I have made you think as we muddled through the issue also.

Ok, are you ready to do some deep wading?  Put on your high waters and let’s go.  Also, you don’t need to worry about any emotional outbursts from me today.  I am over my crisis.

In the last blog entry I shared that I thought everyone on all sides to the race issue have been bombarded with lies or misinformation.  How do people that have been conditioned with lies or misinformation find common ground to bridge a gap?  Especially a gap as volatile as race.  It will not just happen on its own, it must be intentional.

First there has to be the desire to bridge the gap and secondly we need to be willing to find truth.  We begin to discover truth by identifying the lies and points of misinformation we have been fed.

I think there are lots of people who have the “want to” in bridging the gap but few are willing or able to step into the murky dangerous waters of discovering truth.  It is not the place for the casual or faint of heart.  As mentioned in an earlier blog… one needs to have skin of armor to thwart the painful darts of ignorance.

So where is truth?  I am reminded of the movie A Few Good Men… “I want the TRUTH!”,  ”You can’t handle the truth!”

Maybe that’s reality.  Maybe we can’t handle the real truth.  Searching for truth means that I have to be willing to be wrong.  And… I don’t like being wrong.

Okay, enough of the philosophizing.  What are the beliefs that I have that may be in error?  The first thing is to discover what I really believe.  That is not as easy as one thinks.  Then and only then can one begin to invite truth into the picture.

The complexity is this: set beliefs are usually based on some measure of truth.  That’s why blanket statements will get you in trouble pronto.

A couple of examples (this is where I get in trouble):

  1. Some blacks may believe that whites are determined to keep them from progressing. Yes, there are some whites that want (and will always want) to keep blacks from progressing.  This is a truth that someone can legitimately build a belief on.
  2. Some whites may believe that blacks use the “race card” for everything and are not willing to look at their individual responsibility. Yes, there are some blacks (in my opinion) that readily use race to avoid personal responsibility for actions.  This too is a truth that someone can build a belief on.

So here you have an example of two beliefs that widen the racial gap and each have a kernel of truth to them.  The interesting thing is that although these beliefs are on opposite ends of the continuum, the path to truth is the same.  The same questions and assumptions apply to both sets of beliefs.

The first step of finding truth is being willing to ask yourself some hard questions.

Personal Questions

  • Can I accept that my perspective may be skewed?
  • Am I willing to momentarily set aside my default assumptions?
  • Am I open to data that may impact my assumptions?
  • Am I willing to assume the positive side of the belief if the information leads me there?
  • Am I willing to look honestly at both sides of the issue

There are two sides to each issue that need honest scrutiny.  For example, those of us that are white need to honestly be open to the fact that the percentage of whites who are locked on keeping blacks from progressing may be higher than we believe.  Conversely we need to believe that fewer blacks may have that belief than we think.

Now if you are black the challenge may be the opposite scenario.

The point is each of us individually must push against the gravity of society that forces us into beliefs that widen the gap.  The fringe groups in their emotional hysteria give the impression that the majority of people believe the way they do.   They are vocal bullies promoting their position.

Making an impact on social gravity requires intentional effort and I really believe we can make progress.

Hopefully one of these days when I see a young crying girl I will feel more comfortable reaching out to the hurting child.

I really appreciate you tolerating my discourse of the past few days.

See you Monday.  We’ll tackle some truths that are more upbeat.


15
Nov 10

Questions Please

I made it.  Yes, this entry is posted late on Monday… but Monday all the same.

Last time I talked about the fringe at both ends of the race continuum that hinder constructive dialogue.  They are the hate mongers that will do anything to keep sides polarized as they promote their extremist position. 

Before we can make any headway we in the middle territory have to be willing to test our beliefs and assumptions.   We have to be willing to admit that we probably have faulty thinking and be willing to open our mind to information that flies against everything we have heard or believe.

Confession:

I can’t do this.  I am really struggling.  This issue is so complex that I just sit here totally overwhelmed wrestling and wondering how to address the topic and make some sense.  I have sat here for nearly two hours and I only have a couple of opening paragraphs to show for it.

I need help. It is taking everything within me not to turn off the computer and say I quit.  But I can’t.  I have to try.  I won’t guarantee it will make much sense but I will try.

 

Ok, my meltdown is better so I need to move forward. 

I was planning to begin by asking the questions that blacks would have of whites.  Then it dawned on me… how in the world would I know?  I can guess.  But then that would be pretty presumptuous wouldn’t it? 

I haven’t lived in a world where my skin was the minority.  I wasn’t raised with the warnings or messages regarding white people.  I have been told that most blacks are taught not to trust white people.  It would make sense why they are taught that but I how would I know?

Although I don’t know a lot of things, of this I am sure.  Both blacks and whites have been taught a lot of stuff that is wrong.  We are saddled with history and messages that corrupt the way we think and undermines our ability to find common ground. 

My guess is the black culture has unfairly categorized whites just as whites have unfairly categorized blacks.  If my assumption is accurate then it means that there is a stronghold of racism in the black community toward whites as there are strongholds of racism in the white community toward blacks.

Now don’t everybody get all prickly because I am talking like this.  If we’re prickly then we get defensive and then we emotionally clam up and close off.  When we close off no new information is absorbed to pierce our thinking.

The sad reality is that when we are all brainwashed with faulty or misshaped information our minds are branded with beliefs that are in error.

There are two phrases that I use often in regards to the power of the mind and the way we think. 

1.  Actions follow beliefs:  if we believe something then our actions reflect that belief.  If one believes that blacks or whites can’t be trusted then we will never let our guard down to allow trust to take root.

2.  We look for evidence to validate our beliefs:  To validate what we believe we look for evidence to support the way we think.  If not careful we will take one piece of information and make broad generalizations to reinforce what we believe.

The spiral circles downward.  People have to stop the insanity by first looking at themselves and testing their beliefs.

So I would like to hear from some of you.  What questions do you have?  What beliefs do you struggle with? 

I think I will do better responding to some of your questions than trying to tackle the broad issue in general.

I think it would be great if we got some questions from both sides of the issue. 

Hopefully some of you will be bold enough to speak up. 

See you Thursday.


12
Nov 10

Extremes Kill

Yes it’s Friday and I am a day late.  My bad.

No niceties today… I am jumping directly from salutation to topic.

Addressing the issue of racism continues to be very uncomfortable for me.  It feels like I have stepped into a societal blender and at any moment someone is going to get touchy and push the ON button.

Click.   Whirrr.   Yaaaaa!

I enter the waters carefully but not hesitantly.  I know this is something I need to talk about if I am going to be true to my mental commitment to the crying girl.  I had lots of appropriate reasons not to reach out to her the day I saw her on the street, but I have no excuse to not address the larger issues.

The only way to approach the issue sanely is to target my remarks to a defined population.  Let’s face it, racism is an extremely volatile and emotionally charged issue.  And where there is teeming emotion, extremists flourish.

Extremists are those who reside on each end of the continuum.  These are the people that are locked in their beliefs, unshakable in their opinion, and rabid in their hate.  One hopes that light will pierce darkness but they are neither my focus nor effort.

My focus, as I write, is the 70% in the middle ground who are people like me that genuinely seek truth and unity.  There is no question we are on different points on the continuum but the key factor is that we are working toward the same end whereas the extremes are working in the opposite direction (polarization, distrust and hate).

An individual cannot conquer those on the hate and separate fringe.  It is the growing mass in the middle that reduces their ranks by encroaching on the territory on the edges.

One of the difficulties for those of us who occupy the middle territory is the challenge of staying above the chaos created by the exaggerations and lies of those on both ends of the continuum.  They poison the well of dialogue and thought in the attempt to undermine any possibility of the majority finding common ground.

There will always be those at each end of the continuum you cannot win.  But you can minimize their disruption by keeping their numbers low and the voice in the middle strong.

So to the 70% I suggest that we hang out and talk through a few things.  Hopefully I will see something I have never seen before and grow from this learning process.

If we are serious about this, something special can occur.  As we talk through “stuff” and come closer together, our hearts and minds will become more united and our voice grows louder.  The voice in unison slowly begins to dominate and change occurs.

For our examples we need to look at people in history that have tackled overwhelming challenges of this nature.  The heroes before us had to have thick skin.  The thick skin allowed them to crawl through the thorny dangerous underbrush and begin clearing a path.  These people could not allow themselves to be overly sensitive or impulsive.

Yes, this is a sensitive issue with lots of thorns.

As we begin to find our way one of the immediate thorny issues for me is terminology.  Seriously.  When I started writing about racism in the last blog I used the term “black”.  I immediately found myself backing off and becoming tentative.  I didn’t know if “Black” or “African-American” was the appropriate term to use.  If is there another descriptor that would be more appropriate, let me know.

Side Note: Tentativeness is a killer of progress.  It kills any attempt to crawl through the underbrush.

Tentativeness causes one to choose my words so carefully that the message becomes so vanilla that the point is lost.  I must be attuned but I must not allow myself to worry I am going to offend.  My heart is right and if I say something that is insensitive or wrong please correct me.

Terminology is just one of many issues that illustrate the complexity of the issue.  I must not be tentative as I jump in the fray.

Yes, I know that I am leaving you hanging but I have to go.  Hopefully I will see you Monday.

Ciao.


8
Nov 10

Color Me Gray

Hi, good to see you again.  I didn’t know you would want to be seen with me again after I revealed my teenage sortie into the world of dirty movies.

Okay, are you ready to step off the ledge with me again?  Here goes.

Today I address the fourth element that made the scenario with the crying girl (10/14 blog) so challenging.  For some reason this is the toughest for me.

Element # 4:  Race

If gender magnified the complexity a hundred times, race multiplied that a thousand times more.

The girl was black, I am white.  The only scenario where it would have raised more societal red flags would have been if the races were reversed.  Very sad and undeserved, but true.

This race thing has become a very confusing and heartbreaking issue to me.  And it makes me mad, really mad, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Side Note: I know that somewhere during this blog (if not already) I will offend someone… not from intention but ignorance.

If you are a black person reading this I will most likely say something insensitive or racist and not even know it.   Please accept my apologies.

If you are a white person… I’m sure I will offend you too.  Some may think that I’m making it a bigger deal than it needs to be and others will think that I should be more accepting and understanding.

The race topic is one of those subjects that top the Pucker Chart.   The Pucker Chart is any topic that when broached makes your butt pucker.  Things like politics and religion fall into the category also.

Personal Historical Context

Uggggh, I detest this full disclosure stuff.  Strangely I am much more embarrassed and ashamed to talk about my past regarding racism than I did talking about the sexual exploration as a teen in the last blog.

Growing up it was typical to use phrases that were derogatory toward lots of groups.  I hate to admit it but I used the “N” word and also derogatory names for other culture groups like the polish, Mexicans (Hispanic now), Indians (Native Americans now), Japanese (Asian now), etc.

I also told jokes at the expense of each of these groups.  Some really bad jokes, very embarrassing.

I am not a racist now… but then again I didn’t think that I was racist then.  Unfortunately that was state of our country at the time.  I am in no way justifying or legitimizing this behavior.  It is just a factor that feeds the complexity of the issue.

Another thing that feeds the complexity of racism is the justification that occurs when humor is used to poke at the differences between groups.  For example, I made jokes about people from the south, Canada, Yankees (not the baseball team), poor people, rich people, Catholics… basically anyone that was different.

I do know the difference between natural fun hearted bantering and harmful jabbing… intent.  Some people may try to make it a finer line than it is, but if you’re honest with yourself you know if there is an edge.

As I stated earlier, I am not racist.  But the reality is I am sure there are things of a racial nature that I am totally blind to.

Now is where I probably get into trouble.  I reflect on the racial division in our city, state and country.  Although there appears to be more opportunity, the divide seems to be greater than in the past.  So as a starting point I thought I would share some things that I feel pretty certain to be true.

I am certain that….

  • Racism is worse in the US than I think it is
  • Racism is not as rampant or bad in the US as some think it is
  • To change racism in our world it must start with me
  • It is my responsibility to be open and work on me regarding what I need to learn about my racism and not anyone else

The rest of the racial issue is up in the air.  I have some beliefs and I want to test those but I cannot say that I am sure about them.

But this I know… I am certain about my intent.  My heart is right even though my head may have some faulty assumptions and misinformation.

I do not want to prolong this topic but I will tackle a few beliefs in the coming blogs to see what I need to learn regarding racism.

See you Thursday.


4
Nov 10

No Longer Innocent

Welcome back.

In the last blog entry we tossed around the first two (of four) elements that made the situation with the crying girl such a dilemma.  We talked about the elements of location/environment and the age factor.

Shall we tackle the more prickly parts of the girl crying episode?  Let’s get on with it.

Element # 3:  Gender

This factor magnified the complexity of the problem a hundredfold.  If I were a female, helping the girl would not have been as much of a challenge.  Let’s face it, when a female approaches another female and reaches out to her, suspicions don’t pop front of mind.  But if a man approaches a girl… the antenna shoot up, caution is observed and suspicion reigns.

Sadly, it’s warranted.  There are enough examples to issue sufficient evidence of the predatory dangers in our society.

Fair Warning: Very honestly much of this blog entry will not be pleasant… not pleasant at all.  I will need to talk about the untalkable.  Those things that we know go on in the shadows of our society with the hopes that it will stay a safe distance from our nice picket fence world.  We wouldn’t want anything distasteful or dirty to disrupt our lives would we?

Or even more insidious is, if we ignore it… it will go away.

Let’s be real… there have always been people (mostly men) who have sexually taken advantage of the innocent.  I remember veiled snippets of conversation talking about the “the dirty old man” down the street or the shadowy whispers regarding certain extended family members.

Yes, it’s always been here.   But now it is worse… much worse.  Some will argue that it is no worse than it has always been.  The only difference is that what was talked about in the past with hand over mouth is now talked about more openly.

I beg to differ.  I do agree that we are more open about the topic but historically there have been natural barriers that kept at bay the natural progression down the path that ends in the exploitation of innocence.

Here are just four of the historical barriers that in my opinion have been lowered easing the progression downward resulting in the increase of abuse.  The compromise of all of these appeals to and titillates the baser nature vs. calling to our higher nature.

  1. Accessibility:  the ease of obtaining sexually explicit material or information
  2. Extreme:  the types of images available mark the worst extreme imaginable
  3. Sexual saturation:  advertising, movies, TV, etc. that hyper-sexualizes everything.
  4. Societal norms:  eased standards of what is accepted and tolerated

Real World Context

I’m sure you have your own stories but allow me to share some of my personal experiences that provides context to what I am saying.

When I was a kid I remember on occasion friends would pass around a few pictures of naked women.  We would huddle together and examine our treasure trove of exotica and joke and laugh.  The pictures by today’s standards would be considered very tame soft porn.

If you wanted to get something more risqué you would need to go to the seedy part of town and try to find a store with a limited selection of magazines.

I remember one time two friends (Gary and Mike) and I really took a risk.  We heard about a theater that (stop, look to your right and left to make sure no one sees, in whispered tone)… showed dirty movies.

We snuck off and ventured into the dark land of smut.  It was the Riviera Art Theater in Chattanooga thirty miles away.  It was tucked away on the bad side of town.  We of course made sure no one was around when we made our dash from our car to the ticket window.  It felt like an eternity as the old bent up attendant looked us over and issued the tickets.

It was amazing.  We were engulfed by a 60 minute film with a crappy storyline and two short scenes where a naked woman running across a field exploded off the screen.

Funny Side Note: We got back to our town and my friend realized that he had dropped his wallet at the “hell hole” theater.  We panicked.  We knew for sure we were busted.  We made every promise to God possible not to be caught… and we weren’t.

Looking back on all of this it feels so very innocent.  And in some ways it was.  God made us to be sexual beings.  A preacher acquaintance said that God must have been in a really good mood the day He created sex.

In hind sight I don’t think God got too bent out of shape by us exploring what sex was all about.  But thank goodness there were enough boundaries in place around us that limited our exploration ventures.

Today is a different matter.  The unthinkable and untalkable beyond the realm of decency is accessible and accepted.

Horrible Side Note: Our society (USA not a third world country) has an epidemic of sex slavery.  I ran across an report by ABC news that said there are at least 100,000 kids between the ages of 9 to 19 (average age eleven) held in sex slavery in the USA.

Does this disturb you?  It does me.  Frankly, I don’t want to hear about this stuff.  I want to conveniently tuck away disturbing information like this in a little compartment somewhere in the back of my head and discount the reality.

Like most people I want things like this kept in their proper place because it’s too distasteful.  What’s even sadder is the reality that we want to keep things like this at a distance because we don’t want the reality forced to our attention.  If it comes to our attention then it demands that we do something.

Awareness demands action.

I have done a pretty good job at keeping the bad stuff in the world at a safe distance as not to disturb my life.  But then the situations like the crying girl surfaces reality and slaps me in the face.

The reality that as a man who really want to help a young girl is blocked because of the deterioration of the world around us.

It angers me is that I feel penalized for the failures of others.

This was a heavy blog entry today.  Be forewarned… Monday is looking pretty heavy also.  I hope you join me.


1
Nov 10

Geronimo

Hello again.

I have no idea what kind of crowd I am going to attract as I attempt to freefall from the lofty heights of philosophical theorizing to the practical reality of a crying girl.

Some of you are wondering the same thing.  I am beginning to believe that a few of you are showing up today with a morbid curiosity to see if I will plummet to my demise.  It’s kinda like the subconscious buzz people experience when watching something dangerous like a risky trick at the circus, NASCAR, or a mother taking twenty kids to Chuck E. Cheese.

So now I stand at the edge of my precipice, with my toes off the edge, leaning forward, looking down and wonder… “What the hell have I gotten myself into?!!!”

Seriously!   Who am I to even think that I can begin to bring any sense to the evil in the world little lone try to impact the enormity of the problems.

But here goes… I take a deep breath… my head and shoulders lean forward… I allow their weight to pull my body from security… my feet follow… I’m off the edge… too late to turn back.

Geronimooo o  o  o  o  o   o!

The Crying Girl

I will need to break up the girl crying scenario into the miscellaneous pieces.  Although they are very intertwined it is the only way I can do it any justice.

Side Note: For this to make any sense you will need to scroll down the page and read the blog entry on October 14 entitled Heavy Load for a Little Girl .

Okay, back to the crying girl.  There are four key elements to the situation.  The first two complicate the situation but did not contaminate it to the degree as did the last two elements.

  1. Environment/Location
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Race

Environment/Location: The girl was walking down the street in a lower-income residential area with very few people around.

If the girl were in a mall or in a neutral location with lots of people it would have provided an environment where my helping would have been more likely.   A public place with lots of people naturally provides a level of security for both me and the girl where behavior can be monitored.

Although behavior could be monitored, motives would be subject to question.  Thus you begin to see the insidiousness and complexity of a corrupt world, where motives are easily questioned when a hurting person is being offered care.  And the sad reality is, there is good reason for motives to be questioned (hey… not my motives but motives in general).

AGE: The girl was about twelve and I am, shall I say… older… not old, but older.  Needless to say it’s obvious that I am an adult.

The interesting age dynamic of this situation is that the closer in age to the twelve year old or at the other end of the spectrum the older a person is, would have allowed the greatest opportunity to help.

Both ends of the spectrum would have projected a level of innocence to the matter.  If a peer approached it would be seen as a friend helping a friend.  If a really old person assisted it would have a greater likelihood of being seen as an action from the heart of a grandparent.  Either end of the spectrum would have minimized perception of evil intent.

In the next blog we start swimming in murkier waters.

See you on Thursday.