It’s been a long, strange trip, to be sure. Having come this far, I suppose I’ll have to keep on to the end. That final moment of my destiny is still a ways off, but is growing larger in my mirror every day. That’s the most accurate simile, I’d say; destiny isn’t the place we travel to, it is the stalker, always behind us, ready to pounce should we hold still too long. One learns to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror, and hope against hope that we don’t get a flat…..hmmm, a bit morbid for so early in the day. Let’s see if we can’t find something a bit more cheerful to start with……
Everything needs a little oil now and then.
Here is a little piece of truth that should be part of everyone’s bag of basic knowledge. It’s a rather universal statement, for it applies to any number of situations in life, and not just with those involving machinery. One may look at human relations as an engine, of sorts; it certainly acts like one, with people as the moving parts. When two parts come in contact, a little oil always makes things move more smoothly, without potentially harmful friction.
We thus can see that in society, good manners and polite speech act as oil to a machine, allowing each part to perform its function without fear of breakdown in communication. The people who struggle with this are those who are unwilling to get their hands dirty, refusing to apply the needed oil to the points of contact. Thus they never can perform to full potential, for their engine is tearing itself apart, all for want of a bit of oil……
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Philo
Here is another piece of highly intuitive advice from one of the ancients; Philo lived around the time of Christ. I like this because it highlights a little-known facet of reality; everyone creates their own “devil”, and spends much of their time fighting against its influence over their lives. It can only be a hard battle, for our personal devils know all our weaknesses and vulnerable points, and have no compunction against using them freely. There is no feeling of guilt too strong, nor any regrets too old to throw into our faces during attempts to assume control. They fight dirty, and make it difficult to not give in, and resort to similar tactics.
Once one has crossed that line, there is no return, and the inner battle is lost. We must defeat our own devils using only those tools we know to be honorable; to lie or cheat, even for a presumably good cause, is an immediate and automatic failure. Better to die, than to allow our inner demons to control how we face the world at large…..honor demands strength of purpose, and the only reward is the ability to sleep at night with a clear conscience…..
1. To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
2. The best way to succeed in politics is to find a crowd that’s going somewhere and get in front of them. — Brown’s Rules of Leadership
# 1 is usually pretty easy for most politicos, it’s not hard at all to rise above one’s principles when they already live in the gutter. # 2 is Rick Santorum to a T; his posturings and outrageous attacks on the administration are obvious bait for the far right’s ultra-conservative religious fundamentalists. One can easily spot the manipulative statements from Rick’s camp; they are the statements that A) make divisive, antagonistic remarks about personal, not political issues, and/or B) have little or no relation to reality as is commonly accepted by society at large.
I don’t figure that the White House is particularly worried over the election in November; all the apparent choices in the opposing camp are proving themselves adept at shooting themselves in the foot, and at alienating large groups of voters at a time through bigoted and ignorant statements. It’s almost as if the Republican wannabes hired Democrats as their campaign advisers; events could not have gone any better had they been planned that way. Let’s hope the trend continues, and the right wing continues to show how out of touch with the American public they really are…..
What Congress means by ethics is best explained by the tailor’s story: “Suppose I sell a suit to a young man for $200. He tells me that his family is footing the bill and that if I give him a receipt for $400 to give to his parents, he will pay me $100 on the side. The question of ethics is: Do I keep the extra $100 myself, or do I tell my partner and split it with him?”
Once again I am saddened by a joke…. I’m sad because it isn’t funny any more. It’s absolute truth, and a perfect analogy for the political scene in today’s society. Worse yet, the money they are stealing is mine, or another taxpayer’s; far be it from them to ever put their own money at risk.
This tailor sounds like a viable candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives. He couldn’t be any worse than Mr. Gingrich, the first Speaker ever to receive an official reprimand from the House Ethics Committee for infractions of Congressional ethics (whatever they are…). Another sad part? None of the political liars and cheats who are outed in the papers ever spend any time in jail….. and that’s definitely a crime…..
“The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” — William H. Borah
“I’ll tell you what kind of guy I was. If you ordered a boxcar full of sons-of-bitches and opened the door and only found me inside, you could consider the order filled.” — Robert Mitchum
If for nothing else, one could enjoy this just for the chutzpah; Bob certainly had no problems with self-esteem, did he? Actually, I read this many years ago, and for a long time it was one of my most cherished wishes to be able to say this about myself. There is a certain charm and attraction in being held up as an example, even if the example is less than savory. There is also a lot to be said for the fact that folks who have this sort of reputation don’t get bugged very often, once word gets around that doing so is liable to get your tongue handed back to you as an accessory instead of a built-in tool.
It does get a bit lonely at times, since very few folks are willing to take the time to get past the outer crust, but the friends one ends up with are those that will stick. The wishy-washy need not apply….. curmudgeon training also teaches one how to appreciate one’s own curmudgeonliness, (not a word, according to SpellCheck, but I’m using it anyway; it’s self-explanatory…) for the time it can save; one finds that those who are nice to others all the time spend a lot of their own time dealing with those people, and bear the risk of drowning in sugar. As a practicing curmudgeon, all that super-sweet nicey-nicey shit is cut off at the pass; ignore them long enough, and they go away, leaving us in peace to pursue our own lives….. happy as a pig in mud…
It’s always a bit of a shock to realize I’m done for the day; this process tends to capture my complete attention for the first two or three hours of the day, and reaching the end is somewhat of a surprise. But, in a good way….. it promises to be a nice day outside; I think I might take a long walk & breathe a bit….. y’all take care out there…..
I just sits.