Monday, December 6, 2010

Merry Christmas My Ass 12/6/2010

Today is December 6th. I was hoping to go much deeper into December before getting hit by my first “Merry Christmas” blitzkrieg. But I took one across the bow early this morning from the volunteer that serves coffee and pastries at the VA Hospital in Charleston. I can forgive her because some of the people that she serves today won’t be around at Christmas.

Throughout the day, I heard several other such greetings in the periphery but as they were not directed at me, the rules of engagement are that I did not have to respond or acknowledge. I find that the key is to keep moving in a serpentine manner and pretend to be otherwise engaged.

That strategy served me well until I made the tactical error of visiting Walmart. At the entrance was the dreaded Salvation Army Bell Ringer. I did not expect an encounter this early in the campaign and was not prepared. I tried unsuccessfully to avoid eye contact, much like with a rabid dog. I thought I had gotten safely out of range, but those people are trained to project their “Merry Christmas” greetings so that even with the cover of several other shoppers, I knew it was directed at me. I felt the laser sight of her eyes on my back. It was like a Scrooge seeking missile. Though I did not turn around, she knew that I knew that I was hit. She confirmed the kill by ringing that infernal bell.

As Skooter and I were entering the elevator at my residence, I could not get the door closed before one of my neighbors entered. Believe me; I tried as desperately as if Jason Voorhees was pursuing me. I knew from past Yule-tide attacks that she was a loose-cannon “Merry Christmasser,” who has been known to snipe as early as Black Friday. I was trapped in the elevator like a fart victim. She began the conversation with a benign weather comment. Skooter apparently did not receive my telepathic command to attack. It is my understanding that the business end of a 40 pound Beagle attached to one’s leg will temporarily curb Christmas spirit. But Skooter, selfish bastard that he is, failed me miserably, as he tried to charm her out of a treat. Eye contact was inevitable.

I had to exit first, so I considered a preemptive strike with either a “Have a Nice Day” or a i-jung chagi to her knees. Since she lives in the same building, and I see her nearly daily, perhaps she would realize how ridiculous it was to “Merry Christmas” me with 18 shopping days left. But she not only “Merry Christmassed” me, but there was collateral damage: “You and Skooter have a wonderful Christmas.” Oh no she didn't. Though traumatized, I managed to drag Skooter to the safety of our home. If I can teach Skooter to use the toilet, I may not venture out again until 2011.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An "Odd Job" Market - 10/24/2010

It has become increasingly evident that I need to go back to work, at least for a couple of years. There is going to be a gap between the end of my liquid assets and the time when I can collect my 401Ks and Social Security (if there will still be such a thing). My military retirement will sustain me, but not at any quality of life that I desire. It is not really a gap as much as a chasm, possibly an abyss.

At the time when most young men were starting their life’s work, I was beginning a twenty year hitch in the military. At the time when most 40 year-olds were entering their peak earning years, I was retiring. I have piddled around, taking employment doing various things, for the past nearly 20 years, quitting each when I began to get bored, which was often on my first day on the job, and finding something else the next day, equally as unfulfilling. I am at a disadvantage as I have never really been involved in a job search. Since I was a young boy, jobs have always found me. But in the current job market, employment is not seeking me out.

I guess I am kind of hard to place. I know a little bit about everything and a lot about nothing in particular. That makes me a decent conversationalist, a great Trivial Pursuit player, and a decent Jeopardy contestant, but unfortunately not a sought after employee. The fact that I can do a crossword puzzle with an ink pen is not a skill that necessarily looks good on a resume. In spite of my lack of specialization, I have always seemed to be successful in most jobs that I valued enough to apply myself to. But everything I have ever done has been a job and just a job. I have never felt like I was doing anything satisfying or fulfilling. I read about people who love their work and can’t wait to get started every day. I greatly envy them.

I am most suited to do office work. I can type like a sonofabich and due to my obsessive compulsive disorder; have almost a maniacal ability to organize. I love the concept of a place for everything and everything in its place. I am a great filer of shit. My attention deficit disorder causes me to multitask even when it is not appropriate to. I am great on the phone if I remember to hold it up to my good ear. Unfortunately, my post-military job experience is mostly in sales and marketing, which I freaking hate. So I have had to create a resume that is a work of fiction that James Patterson would be proud of. I can accomplish all the tasks listed at a high level, I just haven’t yet.

With that in mind, I made the rookie mistake of putting my faux resume online. I was under the mistaken impression that and were legitimate sources of employment. I receive almost daily contact from companies offering job and investment “opportunities,” but no real employment. Many of these faux (I love that word) jobs are disguised as real jobs.

There is no end to insurance companies I have never heard of, multi-level marketing schemes, and “can’t miss” franchise opportunities. They all seem to have an opening in “my area” and “after reviewing my resume,” think I would be a perfect candidate. I should earn a minimum of $5,000 a month working part-time from my home or $150,000 a year as a commissioned sales rep. Of course, since none of these companies actually hire anyone or pay a salary, there is no limit to the number of commissioned sales persons they can have on staff.

I generally respond to all of these “opportunities” in a very negative way. Sometimes by email but if they leave a number I call and speak to them directly. It is kind of a fun way to spend my idle time, berating someone, and challenging them to tell me where “my area” is or which particular qualifications on my resume led them to contact me?

My idea of employment at this stage of my life is linear: In that I work “X” hours per week at “Y” hourly rate to equal my weekly pay “Z.” (X x Y = Z) - a ton of withholding. I have yet to find a position like that where “Y” is more than $8.00 an hour (which I will work for if it includes unlimited free golf).

I recently went to an interview (not from an internet job site). It was for a receptionist position, which sounded perfect for me. When I arrived at the office, I was given an employment application and directed to go into a conference room to fill it out. In the conference room were about 15 other applicants, all of whom looked like wait staff of a local Hooters. Knowing there was no chance in hell of me getting the job, I decided to have some fun with the application. I listed myself as a 75 year-old black, former astronaut, CIA operative, mafia hit-man, who graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1960. My special certifications/skills were that I could flatulate on command and could drive a combine.

When I was called in for the interview, I was sure that the guy interviewing me would laugh at my application and excuse me. He did not. He appeared to be looking it over carefully, though obviously not paying a bit of attention to it. He actually asked me questions and made notations on the application. He then said that everything looked fine and he would be making his selection the next day. He would call me if I was chosen and, if not, he would “keep it on file for six months.” I am sure he had already selected a hot 20 year old and was going through the motions.

I could be unemployed for a very long time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Not Rocket Science - 10/15/2010

Songs will be sung around the campfire by my descendants about my lack of practical skills. The only quality more legendary is my total lack of patience. Both of you who have read previous blogs will recall the cassette deck event and the carburetor rebuild debacle, among others.

I am certain sleep would not have come easily had you known that I was once entrusted by the United States Air Force to prepare missiles for flight and nuclear weapons in a ready state. I don’t know if I used to be more competent, but I doubt it.

Knowing what I know about myself you would think that I would no longer embark on tasks requiring any adroitness, dexterity or aplomb. You would be wrong.

I sleep on a Sleep Science Memory Foam mattress, which is the absolute best sleep system I have ever stretched out on. I know you have seen the advertisements where one person is jumping up and down on one side while their “partner” is defusing a bomb on the opposite side. From the first time I laid down on it, I knew I would never own anything else. I love this product so much I could do a commercial for it, but I am sure the image of a fat bastard like me wallowing around would send sales plummeting.

The mattress comes with a: “Luxurious Soft, removable and washable, Jacquard cover”. This is a totally truthful declaration. It was this statement that encouraged me to venture beyond my skill set. I examined the tag and it instructed me that it was machine washable in cold water and could be dried using the air fluff setting (no heat). I understood the purpose of this care was to prevent shrinking. I am not a complete dullard.

There is zipper all the way around the mattress for easy “removal.”


I removed the mattress cover and as there were a couple of small stains of unknown origin, I applied Spray and Wash and washed as instructed. As the cover is quite plush and “luxurious” as previously stated, I was expecting that it would take some time to dry using the air fluff setting. I was not prepared for how long it actually took to dry. I slept on the couch like a married man that had erred.


I am not certain if I was awoken by the pain in my arthritic knee from curling up to allow Skooter his three quarter share of the couch or the distress neck was experiencing from my head being elevated far beyond my normal position. Once I could get myself into a standing position I went to check the dryer as I had put it on an 80 minute cycle prior to retiring. Still wet. Though I was tempted to add some heat to the process, I kept my cool (so to speak). Eventually, the cover, though still damp, was dry enough to reinstall. My plan was to run the ceiling fan on high after I ensconced the mattress, to complete the drying. It made sense to me.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the degree of difficulty I would experience trying to refit the mattress into the cover. The mattress is 10 inches thick and the stability that it is famous for is because the foam is compressed into a solid, very heavy, mass. It is nearly impossible for one person to maneuver it sufficiently to plant it back into the cover. This is a fact that I suspected when removing the cover but had reached the point of no return before I fully realized it.

I wrestled it until I was totally exhausted, turned on the ceiling fan, cooked dinner, and retired to the couch.


I awoke is more agony than the previous morning due to the added structural damage I received from mattress wrangling. Sometime during the night Skooter moved to his bed (which he seldom sleeps in). I am not sure if he moved voluntarily or was kicked off the couch by my jimmy leg.

The cover was now dry but my bedroom was now about 50 degrees from the cool night aided by the high speed fan. I pulled out the owner’s manual for the sleep system and there was really no new information to help me. I now had the cover positioned pretty well but not well enough for it to zip. I was afraid to force it as I did not want to risk tearing it or stripping the zipper.

In the manual I found a number for tech support. I thought, “what the heck?” The fact that a mattress required tech support should have told me I was in over my head. But I dialed the number and as you might suspect I got somebody in India and when I told him my situation I think he put me on speaker phone so all the other outsourcers could enjoy my distress. As you can imagine, he was no help at all, and the consensus from the Mumbai office was that nobody every removes the cover. He did indicate that the successful re-installation of a cover that he had heard of but had not been verified was done by a team and not a single person.

The next couple of hours were pretty intense. Skooter begged to go out on the balcony as I am sure he thought I was going to have a stroke. I managed to get the bag on the mattress and zipped, but I am not sure that the memory foam has any recollection of how things used to be. The cover is not perfect, but we live in an imperfect world. Once I got the fitted sheet on you could hardly see the lumps. Job well done. I am putting this one in the win column.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homophobe or just straight? - 10/12/2010

Yesterday, some moron called me a homophobe. So today, I have decided to create a post designed to separate the men from the boys, so to speak. I am going to explore gayness. Well, that was a bad choice of words. I am going to discuss male homosexuality. I do not claim to be an authority on this subject as everything I know about the gay lifestyle I learned by watching “Will and Grace,” American Idol, and The Winter Olympics.

The observations I make here are my own opinions and if you disagree, I don’t really care. The first comment I feel inclined to make is that I don’t think being gay is a choice. I think life is hard enough without choosing to complicate it in such a manner. I have seen elementary aged children that I took one look at and my GAYDAR went full scale. You have too. I have observed a man walking into a room and PING. They did not practice walking that way or talking that way.

I have nothing against gay people. I think that homophobic people are those that are not certain of their own sexuality. And those that try to quote some ridiculous Bible references are grabbing at straws. Those same verses condemn masturbation and eating shellfish. I will see you all in hell. That being said, I don’t think it is necessary to flaunt gayness by parading down 42nd Street, making out in Speedos. That would not be appropriate for heteros either, but I would be more likely to tune in. I believe everyone should be proud of who they are, but they don’t have to make everything into a broadway show.

Gay marriage is a huge political football. Though I think this issue is based more on economics than on love and marriage. Having paid my taxes as a single person for many years, I can understand the motivation for wanting to be able to file jointly. I have never understood why single people should bear more of the tax burden than those that can’t control their procreation. I am penalized for keeping my DNA to myself. I have considered marrying a woman I don't even like just so I can file a joint return. Families use more of the services of our infrastructure and should pay more taxes. But that is another blog.

I say, let them marry. Why should they be exempt from the “joys” of marriage? I can assure you that they would soon change the name of their lifestyle to something other than gay. Relationships are easy until you have a mortgage and a home to jointly keep up. You see how I used joint there?

As to whether gays should be allowed to teach our children, I don’t see why not. For some reason, it is vastly believed by the heterosexual community that all gay people just get in a big pile and randomly fornicate. I think that gay relationships are similar to straight associations, except the sexual roles are less strictly defined. I don’t know for sure if there are designated pitchers and catchers or if there are utility players. Excuse that baseball metaphor, as every event in my life can be summed up in either a sports or a Seinfeld allegory. I don't think one's sexual orientation affects their ability to try to teach Algebra to a class of dunderheads.

The big issue now is the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell." I served 20 years and worked with several outwardly gay people. I never noticed that it affected their job performance. I was under the impression that in the Navy they had been asking and telling forever. I will tell you this: if a person wants to serve my country, and possibly die for it, I do not care if their sexual preference is farm animals.

The gay people that I have known (not in the Biblical sense) have by and large been good people. There was a time when our local Ruby Tuesday’s wait staff was composed primarily of outwardly gay men, who only used their closet to store their wardrobe and countless pairs of shoes. Service was never better. I bought my BMW from an outwardly gay man and it was his gayness that sealed the deal. I am a disciple of the stereotype that gays take good care of their apparatus (sometimes I kill myself). I was correct. He had 10 years of service records, chronologically filed in a folder. This may not have been due to his gayness as much as his OCD.

As far as I know, none of my children are gay. The don’t ask, don’t tell, policy has always worked for us. But if they had been, it would not have changed the way I care for them, treat them, or love them. Yeah, I do prefer that they are not gay. So sue me. I am also glad they are not outlaw bikers, covered in tattoos and piercings, or are crack heads. I am sorry if I have now offended my crack head readers. I hate to be labeled as a crackaphobe too.

I love comedy. I LOL and sometimes LMFAO at jokes about gays, old people, handicapped people, rednecks, blacks, Mexicans, jewish people, lawyers, democrats, and particularly Arabs. To me, nothing and no one are taboo. So if my humor offends anyone’s delicate sensibility, I don’t really give a damn. "I'm here, I'm severe, get used to it." Please refer to the title of this blog before commenting.

I do want to thank the misguided soul that called me a homophobe for curing my writer's block and inspiring a blog post. It had been a while.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A life well-lived. 9/22/2010

I am sitting at my computer listening to accompanied by Skooter alternately snoring and passing gas. The only difference between us is the snoring.

In the past 24 hours I have I started and discarded half a dozen writings, not really committing to any of them. As this blank Microsoft Word page stares back at me while I wait for the combination of an energy drink and Vicodin to inspire me, I realized what I must write about today.

I just passed my fifty-eighth birthday with as little fanfare as the previous fifty-seven. It is depressing to do the math as to how many more of these events I can expect. I am not sure why I should be so inclined as I have wasted so much of my life doing nothing of consequence. I sometimes believe it is a curse being blessed with innate intelligence that has not translated into success, through my own lack of ambition and imagination. Don’t worry, in spite of my self-loathing, that is not what I am writing about. At least not today.

I am going to use this page to celebrate; who I think is one of the most amazing people who has ever blessed this cruel and beautiful planet. You have heard of this person, but unless you are a fan, as I am, you probably don’t know his whole story. I am sure I am leaving some things out, but I will give you enough information to make you say “wow.” Any of these accomplishments would fill a life for many:

World Class Athlete: Appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" for his achievements in collegiate rugby union, football, boxing, and track and field.

Phi Beta Kappa, graduating BA, summa cum laude in Literature.

Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, Bachelor of Philosophy in English Literature.

Army Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Ranger.

Offered and declined the position as a professor of English Literature at West Point.

Grammy Award Winning Singer/Songwriter – wrote some of the most beloved songs of all time.

Golden Globe nominated actor. Appearing in nearly 100 films.

Posed for Playgirl magazine.

In addition to these accomplishments, he somehow found the time to drink a bottle and a half of Jack Daniels daily until he quit in 1976 (no easy feat on either account), date Janis Joplin, Barbara Streisand, Carly Simon, marry 3 times, and father 8 children (no whiskey dick there) .

At this point, the more astute of you know that I am talking about Kris Kristofferson. He is now 74 years old and has led a full life for several men.

You would assume that discussing this amazing person would inspire me to action and get my own life re-energized. You would think that. Nope, I am going to join Skooter for a nap. Kris made me very tired.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Through the Eyes of an Artist - 9/4/2010

This afternoon while Skooter was walking me, I saw a lady snapping photos in my neighborhood. A short discussion revealed that she was from the Midwest and this was her first visit to the south. She said she found the scenery breathtaking. Being a Seinfeld fan, I know that “breathtaking” can be interpreted many ways (Lobster episode). She told me that she was an artist and planned to use the photos she was taking as subjects for a series she planned on painting, called “Southern Exposures”. She caused me, for the first time, to actually look at where I live. When she had gone, I snapped a few photos with my crappy cell phone camera. I was motivated, but still too lazy to go in a get my camera.

I have always appreciated living on the water, but have never paid much attention to that which I see every day, but don't really look at.

All of these were taken within a couple of hundred yards of where I sleep, grill, and sit at the computer.

She was looking through the eyes of an artist. I don’t look at the world through the eyes of an artist, primarily because I have no artist skills. I peaked as an artist when I made a turkey from the outline of my hand in Kindergarten. But today, this chance encounter encouraged me to focus on the scenic splendor that surrounds me every day, but I take for granted.

Reflecting (as I always do) on this revelation, I realized that I should apply this same concept to my own life. I am mostly disappointed in my “little” life. I let days, months, years pass without appreciating the simple joys that I experience. They go relatively unnoticed. As this woman taught me, “every photo doesn’t have to be the Grand Canyon,” I suppose every hit doesn’t have to be a home run. Sometimes you win by dribbling one through the infield. As a person who has not hit many out of the park, maybe I should be happy just getting to first base once in a while. I am guessing this metaphor will be lost on both my readers, but it sounded good when it was inside my head.

Will this lesson stay with me? Probably not. It may just be the combination of an energy drink and OxyContin that has provided me with this clarity. Perhaps there was no woman there at all. There usually isn’t.

Even my dumpster is surrounded by beauty.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Delusional - 8/17/2010

I have watched American Idol fairly faithfully since its debut. Well, up until this past season when it seems America ran out of talent in the under 30 demographic. The only person I saw that even remotely impressed me was a strange and exotic looking girl who was eliminated fairly early, Siobhan Magnus. The contestant that got all the attention was Crystal Bowersox, a very unmarketable, one-dimensional singer, and her name was about the only thing interesting about her. I liked her until I realized that every song she sung was going to sound the same. I couldn’t even tell you who won; it was such a boring season. I think Simon realized that when he bailed, thus for all practical purposes, ended the show’s run at the top of the ratings heap.

Realizing that it is primarily 12-year old girls and middle-aged women that actually call in their votes, I have never been too concerned about who wins. Often the winners end up performing at shopping malls (that gray-haired guy that’s name no one can recall) and also-rans end up with fame and fortune (Daughtry). I am also very skeptical that actual votes are tallied and results are not just determined by the producers. Surprisingly, there is no independent third party validation to assure legitimacy. I am not a conspiracy theory guy, but they do seem to end up with at least one major surprise towards the end of each season.

But I don’t want to discuss that aspect of the show. During the first few weeks of every season, they air the auditions, where thousands of hopefuls are gathered in a handful of cities across the country. These episodes tend to be freak shows and train wrecks that I cannot look away from. Many of the contestants know they are just there for the fun of it, national exposure, and to see just how obnoxious they can be. They realize they have no talent and as much chance of being the next American Idol as Rush Limbaugh keynoting the Democratic National Convention.

What I wish to discuss here are those poor souls that believe they are talented but are every bit as bad as those trying to be bad. They are totally delusional and heartbreak and tears result when they are told by the Simon Cowell that "If you sung like this 2,000 years ago, people would've stoned you." These young people are devastated by the rejection. My thoughts are always, “don’t they have parents and friends that love them enough to tell them the truth?” I don’t believe in dashing kid’s dreams, but at some point reality has to set in and somebody who loves them has to say, "you sounded like you were being strangled," before Simon does it in front of 30 million viewers (not verified). I was blessed with three very talented kids, but if one of them would have said, "Dad, I think I am going to go on "So You Think You Can Dance," I would have very tactfully produced a video of them dancing and squashed that notion immediately. A parent knows. I always thought that maybe some of these sad-sacks were actors that were paid to add that element to the show.

That was until my return trip from Spokane last Tuesday when I met one of these psychoneurotic youth. This is his story:

He told me his name, but I forgot it immediately, as I do most everything people tell me that I have no interest in. But almost everything else he informed me about was worth my time and attention, if only for entertainment value. He was traveling to Austin, Texas from Spokane to audition for American Idol. While that was not a shocking thing, as thousands of other hopefuls were simultaneously converging on that Texas City. What caught my attention was how certain he was that he would not only continue on to Los Angeles as a finalist, but would eventually win the title. The audition process was merely a formality. He was 17, a rising senior in high school, and traveling alone for the first time in his life. He was obviously very anxious about flying and stuck to me in the gate area like failure adheres to the LA Clippers. I was relieved to find that our seat assignments were half a plane apart.

However, plane was delayed just long enough for him to relate much more of his story to me.

(Side note: The plane left a half-hour late but arrived in Denver on time. How does that happen? Do they lie about how long it takes to give them some leeway? Why don’t they fly that fast all the time?)

I knew immediatly that he was blogworthy.

He had already secured a four year “free ride” to the University of Texas to play baseball, football, and basketball. The greatest athlete in my lifetime was Bo Jackson and he only played two sports.

So you might imagine this kid as 6’6” 250 pounds of solid muscle. Well, I estimated him at 5’8” 180 pounds, with the muscle tone of Marilyn Manson. I am 57 years old and barely ambulatory and I guarantee that I could push him around a football field like one of those inflatable Santas in my neighbor’s yard every Christmas. He would look more at home at a Magic the Gathering tournament than any athletic field. When I inquired as to why he was wearing a Texas A&M jersey (rival of UT), he said, “they wanted me too, but I chose Texas because I am majoring in Culinary Arts and Crime Scene Investigation.“ Who could argue with that logic? Everyone knows that the University of Texas has the best culinary arts/crime scene investigation program in the country.

Still wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, I inquired as to his position on the Central Valley High School football squad. His reply was, “anywhere they need me.” Those of you that know my lack of ability to hold myself in check would have been very proud of my restraint. Though it raced to my tongue, I made no mention of Bobby Boucher. For those of you that are not football savvy, I can assure you that the University of Texas, one of the top football schools in the nation, does not give scholarships to a utility player unless he has mad size and skills that can be utilized throughout the program. His reply to a similar question about baseball was much the same, “catcher, pitcher, outfield, sometimes third base.“ Again, major colleges generally like their recruits to have a position. I am pretty sure that his position is “left out.”

Though I am not Dr. Paul Ekman, I have a pretty good feel for when someone is lying to me (except for women). I am certain that this young man believed everything he said. He could have passed a polygraph with flying colors. There was a certainty in his eyes that made me sad for him. I liked this kid. but will not be surprised if one day he is on a clock tower with a sniper rifle.

Before we parted, I asked if I could take his picture in case he won Idol and was famous. He said, “Sure, in fact a lot of people have already asked me for my autograph for when I win.” I did not listen to him sing, but I think he is very fortunate that Simon is no longer on the panel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My God's Better Than Your God - 7/28/2010

My daily walk on the beach not only improves my health but my clarity as well. I get daily ideas for blogs, songs, and smartass Facebook posts. Unfortunately, since I have the memory of the east wing of a nursing home, much of this genius is lost before I can get home and write it down. But this morning was different. I had an epiphany.

I have an idea that will immediately improve the world more significantly than any innovation since fire. I am surely to win the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. I am so sure of this that I am contacting JG Wentworth for an advance against the cash award. My idea:

Gather all documents, scripture, writings, and doctrine from every known religion: Christianity (including Mormonism, Protestants, Snake handlers, and Catholics), Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Shinto, Rastafarianism, Scientology, Atheist, Satanism, and whatever others exist.

Edit these texts to find the following words: know, truth, factual, judgmental, infidel, certainty, right, sanctimonious, absolute, sure, real, exact, fact, true, certain, undeniable, veracious, genuine, hate, intolerance, virtuous, superior, faultless, infallible, irrefutable, perfect, unquestionable, supercilious, greater, higher, prophet, superiority, occupation, reality, arrogant, bigotry, fanaticism, holier than thou, self-righteous, pious, Holy War, narrow-mindedness, presumptuous, convert, judgment, kill, righteous……………….

and replace them with: believe, faith, hope, guess, speculate, fantasy, delusion, suppose, myth, conjecture, wish, peace, tolerance, clueless, confused, bewildered, superstition, mystified, opinion, fabrication, stumped, fable, puzzled, coexist, lore, cooperate, open-mindedness, fairness, unknown, benevolence, legend, compassion, indulgence, patience, understanding, leniency, rational, WAG, story, acceptance, assumption, hypothesis, theory, thesis, temperance, pidooma, sensibility…………………….

Without a doubt someone will read this post and nod their head in agreement, thinking it is true for all beliefs except theirs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Dog Can Smell Your Soul - 7/26/2010

My baker’s dozen of regular readers know that my boon companion is my Beagle, Skooter. Those that know Beagles realize they have an amazing sense of smell. They are often used for drug, cadaver, or bomb dogs. Skooter has a special ability.

I wish I was as good of a judge of character as this canine. He has divided all humans into three categories immediately upon meeting them and deals with them thusly:

1) If he likes them he can be very charming, sidling up to them and offering himself to be petted, stroked, or otherwise attended to. He will repay these kind gestures with a loving look from his big, sad, brown eyes. He may nuzzle them or even offer a lick, though his is not generally a licker. Chances are he may just stand by them and relax.

2) Some people he will totally ignore and even change course to avoid contact with them. He has sensed that they are not deserving of his favor but has not yet made a full determination. Through time, they can actually earn their way into the first group. They are on super secret probation and only Skooter knows why.

3) The third group of people has been instantly entered into Skooter’s shit list. His hackles will rise. He will snarl and bark at them and no amount of coaxing will change his mind. If he was looking at the devil himself, the reaction would be no different. If they had a pocket full of treats he would not alter his perception.

You may say that Skooter is exhibiting prejudice and bigotry, making an instant, baseless, judgment on the worth of a person. I think that Skooter’s position is that there are enough good people in the world for him to waste time on the bad. Not a bad policy in my opinion.

I can only speak for myself, but sometimes I am so eager to be petted, stroked, or otherwise attended to that I have often not been as selective as would be prudent as to whom I offer my back to. Historically, I have often been metaphorically stabbed in that back. Sometimes just a flesh wound and other times a near fatality, cutting into major organs. Usually the attack comes after I have squandered time, emotion, and resources on this schlemiel or schlemielette.

Skooters method of sorting humanity has served him well. He has never, to my knowledge, had a less than satisfying association with humans of his choice, while in my custody.

He does not choose by race, sexual preference, gender, economic status, or national origin. I believe he can smell their soul. Two people can approach him and he will select one (or none) to give his brand of affection to. Once they are accepted, they are members of Skooter’s inner circle for life. And I have to be honest. Those that he has embraced have proven to be worthy. Right Mike?

Skooter does have a trace of bigotry however. He pretty much dislikes all children. They are only eligible for categories 2 and 3. They tend to get in his face before he has had the opportunity to evaluate them, thereby forfeiting their opportunity. Oh yeah, and if you try to reach into our car, uninvited, all bets are off. He has to appraise you on his terms.