Love For Sale?

I’ve written lots of poetry.  I’m pretty good at it.
In poetry I’ve only sworn two times, and that’s no shit.
Well, three times now, if you count that. It’s normally on love,
With cotton candy, fluffy pink, sunsets, puppies, white doves.
Or, pick your favorite images, romantic thoughts I think,
Sometimes I’ve even written true unspoken, secret things.
I read about a guy who’s selling all his love for free,
But frankly, ladies, I’m married, and I need the money.

I think I could write something on the reasons I love you,
And trust me, love, I do love you; every word would be true.
I’d celebrate your beauty, your intelligence, your charms,
And tell you how I’d feel the happiest within your arms,
The places just the two of us could escape from the world,
The way I love your little quirky laugh, like ice cream, swirled.
We could escape just by looking deep in each others eyes,
And I’d sell you my poetry, and let you set the price.

If I were to try that, I might get rich selling, I bet,
My customers, all lovely women whom I’ve never met.

~Deon Mumple, March 26, 2015

Why Am I So Sick Of Everything?

When I was young, say, 8 or 10 years old, I kept up the struggle to be optimistic in spite of everything life handed out.  And a lot of what it handed out was shit.  There was food on the table, and it was damn good, as my mom was a great cook.  Mom stayed at home most of the time and dad worked two jobs at any given time to support our family of 6, and it was almost always enough.  I was never made aware of our limited income, except when I went to the store and wanted something.  I did all right in school in spite of bullies.  In the modern day, knowing what I know I suppose I would have put the bullies down fearlessly, but back then I was this timid kid.  But I was optimistic and I thought I was smart and had a good future ahead.  I had no clue what I wanted to do when I grew up, I just figured it would all pan out well.

I’ve been coasting watching a slow decline over the years.  I worked hard for a marriage, I worked hard for two kids, and I’ve worked hard to keep it together, but the edges keep fraying.  By “the edges” I mean everything, and by “fraying” I mean shit falls apart.  Everything from cars to plumbing, This is natural and I should just roll with it and deal with it, but it’s happening faster and faster.  Perhaps when I was younger I had the energy and patience and time to deal with shit, but frankly, I’m tired of everything.  It’s taking a toll on my home, my kids, my wife, and me.  There isn’t enough money for what I want.  There isn’t enough money for what I need.  I have a number in mind, of how much is enough, but it’s pie-in-the-sky.  And no, the number is not 3,141,592.65 although that would be a nice start.

I could just be depressed.  I’m a bit like a robot or a zombie or something.  A robot, if you only count I’m going through the motions without any meaning or purpose or end in sight.  A zombie if I really am looking for something and I can’t die to free myself from the endless search (for brains).

Work is boring.  I’m not going to divulge any details but it’s a minute by minute struggle to focus and there is no joy in any of it.  I dread the next assignment, the next task, the next mind-numbing stupidity.  I also dread the tiny tiny paychecks that haven’t grown over the past seven years.  When they did grow, it was immediately swallowed by insurance increases.

At home, I’m going through the motions.  I’m running out of any real passion left since it wasn’t reciprocated when I was trying.  Push me away all the time, almost every time, and eventually you’re going to either hear me, or feel me, say, fuck you, you aren’t worth my time.  I don’t have the energy I used to have to stay up and take care of chores like dishes and other quiet housework.  I sit on the couch and watch television until I fall asleep or until I fall into my cold bed. I’ve surrendered to the realization that although she is physically present, she isn’t there.  She’s asleep and if I do anything except sleep, my advance is batted away like a line drive to some poor schmucks head in a baseball game.  I’m the schmuck.  Fuck this, what’s the point?  Why keep trying?

She’s always been impressed with money, which is why I was amazed she married me.  I had none, still don’t have enough to impress her.  I somehow doubt that even if I had what I feel would be “enough,” she’d still be distant.  Maybe even more.  A woman at work touched me today and I realized how much I miss it.  She asked permission (!) and then fixed my collar.  That was it.  I don’t want the woman at work, fine as she is.  And she is.  I want my wife back.  I want my life back, but I want it better than it ever was before we started slipping away from each other.

What I want is freedom from this shit.  EVERYONE I read wants to be free from their shit.  There are so many blogs out there where people are looking for a greater degree of personal freedom, Which doesn’t bode well for the hope that someday I will find myself free, after seeking out and finding whatever opportunity wasn’t ready to knock until I did the knocking.  I used to knock on doors to see if they would open, but they would tease me and slam shut and I reached the point of fuck this, what’s the point?

What I need is a windfall that releases me from these constraints- the rising cost of living modestly, the increasing speed with which things fall apart.  I need a season of repair and rest.  An extended season.  I want to fix it, or replace it.  I want to have time to write more of what I want, drink more of what I want to drink, eat more of what I want to eat and less of the crap I’m eating now on this so-fucked-I’m-helpless survival budget, and then after eating more, time and liberty to exercise more.  I don’t want champagne and caviar and lobster, but I bet my wife would like that.  Damn good thing I like rice and ramen and mac and cheese.  But sometimes even that loses its flavor in my mouth and I feel sick.  I want a fucking huge ribeye steak and a bottle of pinot noir and no time limit.  Once every week or two.  I don’t think that’s much to ask for.

I wake up in the morning and regularly have stress attacks. On weekends when I don’t have to do anything I stay in bed longer and when I do get up, there’s no stress attack.  I wonder how many days of not having to get up would make the attacks go away.  I force myself into the routine of morning, and then into the routine of the day.

I want to get up in the morning and choose what I want for breakfast and either cook it myself or go out and get it, and bring my wife with me to get whatever she wants.  I liked doing chores, when I had the energy to do them.  I like breakfast, but I don’t want it at the crack of dawn.  I want it at 9:30, after a cup or two of coffee.  Rich guy fantasies.  What do rich guys want?  I want to find out first hand.  I want to wonder where I want to go today, and then pick a spot and go, instead of being unable to have any choice.  I get up, I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, I go to bed.

I don’t want to be a recluse.  I just don’t want to do this any more, and until I figure out what I really want to do, I want to be rich enough I don’t have to do this any more.

In short, I’m more than just sick of everything and this is more than a simple tantrum or a rant.  The woman in the old commercial used to call out for “Calgon” to “take [her] away.”  And then she’d be in a beautiful bubble bath.  Yeah, I don’t want a bubble bath.  I want a lot more.

Swearing Losing Impact?

Damn those stand-up comics!  I love them but they are stealing the grandeur of a well-placed expletive.  FUCK!  The New York Times reported it in a recent article.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE comedians.  Lewis Black can tell intelligent stories laced with rage and expletives and common sense better than almost any other man on stage.  And Craig Ferguson has perfected the art of the buddy-swear.  He’s a genius, hilarious in what feels like a normal monologue, like he’s talking to his best friends, although there are 1,000 of them in the audience.  He even addresses the friendly nature of his swearing in monologues occasionally, including “Does this need to be said?”  He says some people swear because they’re angry, but when he swears it’s all just chummy, never intending to upset anyone.  My favorite is Craig.  He used to be on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” replaced by some poor guy I haven’t bothered to look at yet.  He swears so freely the censor for the show covered his mouth with a flag and would overdub some expression over what he really said, from the early “Ooh-La-La” to “Crikey” to “Whats-a-comin-a-goin.”

Cable TV characters are also famous for swearing, but I want quality, not quantity-leading-to-overkill.  Who can forget the femme fatale of fuck, the mistress of malediction, the supreme swearer, the beautiful bitch of blasphemy (and here I use bitch as a term of the highest endearment), the divine diva of damn, Debra Morgan from Showtime’s “Dexter.”  Oh My Fucking Flyingspaghettimonster.  She is the fucking queen mother goddess of swearing.  If you missed it, get the DVDs or watch it on Netflix.  Jennifer Carpenter is brilliant and beautiful.  Not to mention, even when she’s not swearing, the acting is fucking amazing.

This show opened my eyes to what swearing could be.  Until Debra, I never heard anyone ever refer to a baby as “A baby?! A motherfucking roly-poly chubby-cheeked shit-machine, are you kidding me?!”  I never thought anyone drank as much coffee as I did until she drank, in her words, “a metric fuck-ton.”  And I never thought anyone loved coffee as much as I did until the character sipped a cup and said, “Sweet Mary, mother of FUCK, that’s good!”  There were some other minor characters on the show who used expletives, and I’ll admit I was confused about one.  I looked one up from Spanish and was twice confused because the term was used as profanity at least once, but then as a term of endearment countless times.

You’ll notice I don’t swear as often or as freely as some might.  And you’ll notice there are some profane expressions I don’t use, and you should know that is by deliberate choice.  I don’t think some expletives are appropriate.  Or perhaps on some level I fear for my soul.  You be the judge.  It’s just me:  I don’t favor blasphemy that references the name of God at all.  I wonder how people would feel if I swore using the names of OTHER gods.  I wonder if using them would be considered blasphemy of some sort.  I’m just afraid to use a certain prophets name, or the god he wrote the book about, for fear of being beheaded.  There’s nothing funny about getting a machete to the neck, or other death threats, just for saying a word or a name.  I don’t use the expressions considered blasphemous from my religion, but I also don’t go around murdering people for using the word God or the name Jesus or Christ or some combination of those.  So pardon me for objecting when people want to defend the name of their god or their favorite prophet to the death (of someone else).  I wouldn’t give a seventy foot subterranean alien fuck if the death was of the person who objected, but no!  They want to come after the speaker and end his or her free right to express himself or herself.  I won’t be saying the “A” word or the “M” word, or even the “Q” word, you all know what they are, just because I like wearing my head firmly attached to my neck.

Imagine it!  Someone says “JEREMIAH’S LAMENTATIONS!”  And someone gets all offended, beyond offended, way past pissed off, and wants to kill the speaker.  I mean, Holy Fucking Speech Police, what the hell is wrong with some people?  Don’t kill me for THAT shit.  Unless your god is a real pussy, he or she or it can defend his or her or its damned self.  Holy Sci-Fi, I just envisioned a god that looked like a pussy and it would be monstrous, like some Lovecraft Cthulu myth, and it only ate the willing…

Oh, there’s an interesting option, using Biblical character and book names.  I rather like “Jeremiah’s Lamentations.”  Or “Sweet Ezekiel’s Angel’s Engines.”  Because you just know that guy saw a UFO and some aliens or something, have you read it?  Really.  Start with chapter one, that’s some freaky-deaky shit.  Figure THAT out if you can.  There’s a fairly awesome, interesting article that goes into some detail with a scholarly attempt at dissecting Ezekiel’s vision here.  Think what you want, but  I don’t think he was on drugs or hallucinating.  Or the old faithful “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat,” that once was much more common.

There are people from the Harry Potter fandom who have come up with “Wizard Swears,” which are hellaciously hilarious.  Wickedly Witty.  It’s just my opinion.  For the love of Gandalf!  “Hagrid’s Butt-Crack,” to name but(t) one.  By Elric( of Melniboné)’s Herbs, that one’s almost more awesome than a Succubus’ Suck.  (I imagine.)  I found another thread that has some funny ideas.

But SHIT! (how very common and mundane that sounds to me now!)  If the research is accurate, when I swear for impact, it’s lost that fine edge for the greatest impact.  I think I need to invent some new expletives. Or maybe we can bring back some old ones, or maybe I need to switch languages, but I think it’d have to be something uncommon.  Everybody knows the more common Spanish or German ones, and maybe a few Italian or French ones too.  Russian?  Polish?  Indian? Japanese?  Mandarin?  Swahili?  Oh, Swahili would be funny.  Or Igbo or Hausa maybe.  (I’d need a pronouncing guide, phonetic spelling, and a definition or explanation, and for some idioms, an explanation of why it’s considered profanity.)

At the risk of inviting you to swear at me, and leaving OUT the more common blasphemous ones please, because who hasn’t heard of those, what’s your favorite?

I’m in The Wrong Line of Work

Clearly I’m in the wrong line of work.  I want a job where all I have to do is say nice things and then add a request for money at the middle and the end of my message, and people hand me money.

I think I’ve heard this guy on TV.  His name is Creflo Dollar, and he asks for money and gets it.  I wonder if that’s a birth name or a name he took, seeing as how he is in the business of dollars.  I heard the guy and switched channels because I hate the industry.  But come on.  I need this kind of cash.  Readers are shaking their heads and agreeing with the same wishful thinking.

If only I could just ask for money and have people hand it to me!  “Have a nice day. Please send cash and God will bless you for blessing me!”  I understand that ministries have overhead costs.  Staff salaries.  Electric bills.  Water bills.  Carpet cleaning.  Janitorial cost.  Microphones, other technology.  Music expenses, instruments, licenses, etc.  But really?  A jet.  Yeah I want some things too.

I want free time.  That costs money because I still have to pay my bills for water, electricity, gas, car payments, and food.  And then with my free time, I want to buy a camera and set up a youtube channel.  And then because I’m a musician and a writer in whatever free time I have already, I want the resources needed to create music, and to publish my writing.  You all can have a hand in creating the life I want for myself and my family.  Since time is money, and I have neither, if you send me money, I can have time.

I have these mild mood swings.  I just have to wonder if my depressive stage is sometimes, or partly, caused by being exhausted from having to raise my own money, rather than just asking for it.  And then when I’ve rested enough because I’ve let things I usually work on slide for a while, I have enough energy to clean the whole kitchen, vaccum, sweep and mop the floors.  If people just sent me money I wonder if the mood swing would just go away.  I wonder what annual charitable donation dollar amount would make that happen.  I’m willing to bet you that if you donate enough, my mood would level off somewhere high on the happy side.

Clearly, professionally, I’m in the wrong line of business.  Fuck it.  Folks, Jesus loves all of you and I need enough money to not have to work for a living any more.  I can’t hire a chauffeur driven limo, a chef, a nanny, or a housekeeper, because my budget is for a rusting old car and I have to drive and do everything for myself.  I don’t want an airplane of my very own.  Just a nicer car, wardrobe, decent coffee…  If you send me money, eventually I’ll be able to get a new laptop computer and I can keep sending out my encouraging messages.  I’ll send one every day that my budget is met by donors.

Oh, and I hear that some lottery winners say they had a better life before they won, and money has been nothing but problems.  Bull shit.  If your life was better before you won, you fucked it up yourself, and the chances are good it was fucked up before you won.  FOLKS!  IF MONEY IS YOUR PROBLEM, SEND ME ALL YOUR PROBLEMS!

I’m certain Creflo will agree with me that God loves you.  And I do to, as long as those donor dollars keep rolling my way.  And I’m also certain Creflo would agree with me that God would bless and encourage you if you send me (or him) a blessing.  He’s only asking for a few hundred thousand.  Tell you what, make us both the objects of your blessing:  I’ll split it with him and all the other overly perky televangelists too.

Hey, if I have time, I can read my Bible more and see if there’s a message in there that I can share with you too.  Send the money, and for every day that’s paid in full, I’ll blog a Bible message, or share one from another good blogger.  Nah, I’ll research it and write you one myself.  And it’ll be truth straight from the Bible or your money back.

I wonder if Creflo runs a blog.  And if he does, I wonder if he writes it himself.  Maybe I could get on his staff and write one for him.  I’ll leave off the expletives.  If you know him, have someone on his staff let me know where to send an application.

Go Home.

I hate cliches and catch phrases, but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

I cannot believe what is happening in America.  We are becoming more and more lawless every day.  Ferguson Missouri is a flashpoint for stupidity.  I am not interested in a race riot, or a race war, here in the United States.  I want us to get along with each other and be friends.  Why, in the 21st Century, is this even an issue?  Why are sociopathic idiots free to roam the streets?

It’s a setup for martial law under the command of the U.S. Army National Guard, and strictly enforced curfews.  Do we really want to live in THAT country?

To the protesters:  You’re getting part of what you want.  The only thing you aren’t getting is blood for blood, and you can’t prove a case of executive or judicial prejudice because, admit it, you weren’t there.  The police officers are resigning left and right, dropping off the force that swore to serve and protect you.  Maybe some of them felt guilty, so they quit.  Maybe they felt afraid of you lawless lynch mobs.  Admit it.  Now that two policemen have been shot in cold blood, that is what you are:  a lynch mob.  Thank God they are expected to survive what you brutal beasts did to them, you fucking animals!  So after the police who have been trained resign, because they don’t feel able to protect and serve and still go home to their families, you’re still rioting in the streets demanding blood.  Some of you have decided that if you can’t get the blood you want, any blood is good.  So you’ve shot and tried to kill two innocent people in exchange for one man who may or may not be guilty, but who was tried and found not.  Now go home and wait for the friendly remaining officers to knock on your door because they figured out it was your gun that was used in the attempted murder the two cops in cold blood, and they figure you pulled the trigger.  When they come, please surrender peacefully or expect consequences.  You’ll probably get off light, because they didn’t die.

We still live in a civilization governed by law.  If you don’t abide by those laws, expect consequences.  To the attempted murderer or attempted murderers:  I hope they catch you, and quickly.  The men you shot and tried to kill were only symbols to you, but they didn’t get to go home to their families after your little party, and you did.  They weren’t guilty of anything except showing up for work, and for that you tried to execute them.  You didn’t even know who they were.  I hope they lock you up so you don’t get to go home to your families, ever again, sometime very, very soon.

I do not want lawless mobs running the streets at night.  If you are unlawfully assembled, I want you sent home or locked up.  I would prefer that you go home.  I do not want destruction of property, looting, burning or any other kind of chaos.  Since the other policemen are resigning, maybe all you protesters should go sign up, get recruited and trained to serve and protect, and show us how to do it the right way.  Or are you afraid of a little friendly protest party?  If you’re afraid of your own party, I think my suggestion should be implemented:

Go Home.

If This Isn’t A Hate Crime…

I’m just angry about this.  I know what I said in my last post, but F-U-C-K!!  I’m just ANGRY!  There are trashy people in the world.  There are selfish people in this world.  And there are trashy selfish people with a false sense of entitlement and self-importance in this world.

Read it for yourself and then see if I’m wrong.  I’m the last person who should shame someone for being fat, but Kezia Perkins needs to check her privilege AND her FATTITUDE at the door of the world before she’s let back in.  She doesn’t play well with others, at all.

She’s retained a lawyer somehow, who for reasons I will never understand, took the case to defend this woman.  If the civilized members of society prevail, Ms. Perkins will be in jail for a long time.  If the case is handled correctly Ms. Perkins will be charged with more than simple assault.  This was a hate crime.  The victim was 71 years old, and the perpetrator was 32.  With her illegal, stolen handicap tags, and her invalid drivers license, Ms. Perkins wanted not only to drive, but also to park in the handicap reserved spot the victim legally drove into.  And in her sense of puffed-up, egotistical, selfish entitlement, she then proceeded to assault a frail 71 year old who was genuinely handicapped, because it appears Ms. Perkins wasn’t all that handicapped after all.

The lawyer retained by Ms. Perkins, Mr. Cole J. White, stated “We maintain Ms. Perkins’ innocence relating to the charges.  This was an unfortunate accident that came about after a misunderstanding between two individuals.  Ms. Perkins is, herself, disabled, however the fact that her disability is not immediately noticeable led to confusion between the two women.”

“Confusion,” my fat ass!!  The lawyer is speaking on behalf of his client, who is clearly full of shit.  Farbeit from me to accuse the lawyer, an educated professional, of being full of shit.  I would never think that.  Ms. Perkins claimed the confusion, the misunderstanding, and her lawyer is speaking her words on her behalf in a legal-ese language.  And I understand.  As her spokesman, he tells her side of the story.

The disability should be apparent from the video surveillance cameras in the parking lot.  The cameras clearly show that Ms. Perkins confronted the victim in her car for stealing a handicap spot that Ms. Perkins had been waiting patiently for.  I’m certain Ms. Perkins asked the victim, in as kind and gentle words as she knew, to kindly move her car so that Ms. Perkins could move her own car and occupy the parking spot.  When the victim declined and got out, Ms. Perkins attempted to assist the victim back into her car so she could move it, and accidentally broke the victim’s femur and her hip replacement by accidentally bumping into her with her chest, whereupon the victim’s hip and femur were broken by the evil concrete pavement.  Ms. Perkins certainly has no culpability here.  From the interview statement, she clearly had no feelings of guilt or personal responsibility about the event.

Hopefully this “misunderstanding” will be clarified in court.  Ms. Perkins misunderstood that to park in a handicap spot, one must have legally obtained handicap permits on display.  Ms. Perkins further misunderstood that to legally drive, one must have a valid, legally obtained drivers license.  And Ms. Perkins misunderstood that conflict resolution is not best obtained by bumping people with your chest.

I wouldn’t pull the race card except for the ferocity of the crime.  I think it could probably be proven that Ms. Perkins does hate white folks.  But unfortunately that would require that witnesses to the assault, and her prior behavior and conversations, demonstrate her dislike for whitey.  There might be a social media post or two about that on Ms. Perkins’ account.  I hope the victim’s lawyer takes the time to do some research and is successful in charging Ms. Perkins with a hate crime.  It might keep her away from civilized people for a longer period of time.

What’s The Right Way To Say This?

I’m listening, friends.  I may sound like the worlds biggest pagan most of the time, but I’m listening. You can send anything you want my way and I’ll offer the world’s most honest opinion.  One of my friends sent me something to review and I’m about to give it.

The email came from one of my more evangelical friends, who passed on the email as she had received it from one of her friends.  And while the content is fine and the message is fine, the context of the friend’s email put me off.

__________________________________________
“…many years ago by a black pastor.  Just found it on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffzB_HK9sNU …”
__________________________________________

What’s the right way to say this?

I looked it up.  His name was Doctor Shadrach Meshach Lockridge.  He was an enthusiastic speaker, and if his pastoral skills were a match to his preaching, if this small snippet is representative, believe it or not, even I might sign up.  He was not just “a black pastor.”  He was an educated man of letters with a speaking skill not often matched, if the churches I’ve been to are representative.  Some people stumble over their notes, say things that aren’t in there as if they are, fake their enthusiasm or their drama, put on a big show every weekend and then go back to their humdrums, or maybe they seem boring to you.  Sorry, boring pastors.  If it doesn’t seem alive and believable, I’m not going to come back for a second helping.

Well meaning people.  I’m not really offended at the intent.  I’m trying not to be offended at the content.  The intent was to introduce me to a way of looking at the Jesus of the New Testament, as promised in the Old Testament.  The content was off-putting somehow.  If she had just said “by a great pastor,” or “by a great speaker,” or “by the famous Dr. Lockridge,” I would have had no difficulty with the message.  But, “…by a black pastor.”  I don’t know the right way to say this.  I wish I did.  It’s simple enough to suggest that the introduction was, to me, dismissive, a little disrespectful.  I would like to use stronger words to describe how unflattering the description was, but I don’t know the right way to say this.  The problem is, the video and its’ description were very probably sent intending to be positive and not intending any offense.

But.

He was a doctor.  With not just one doctorate.  He was an author.  He preached around the world, and in his pastorate it was said that he reached over 100,000 people.  Look at him.  I’m no preacher.  I’m more like Pontius Pilate introducing Jesus in John 19:15:  “Behold the man.”  Do what you want with him.  Easter is coming, so I have to apologize.  I have my mind on that a bit.

People have all kinds of reasons to be dismissive of other people.  They don’t look the same (skin color, really, this is the 21st century!), they don’t act the same (as nice), they don’t sound the same (as educated), they don’t look the same (as wealthy), they don’t think the same (as philosophically programmed).  But to be dismissive is to behave as though someone else is less important, less valuable than you are, and that is not right.   If you think you’re superior, your inferiority has blinded you.  If you think you’re inferior, you’re lying to yourself.

How would the Jesus of the Bible have introduced Dr. Lockridge?  In spite of my own personal feelings about Jesus and his opinions of me, I think he would have said, “This is my friend, Dr. Lockridge.  Give him your full attention.”

I have long lamented the passing of various people. They come onto the planet, they make a significant contribution of incalculable value to our culture, and then they leave, and I never get to meet these people.  Others don’t have the opportunity and after fighting to make their contributions, lose the battle and never get their ideas out.  Some become famous.  Others do not.  Some live out their days and no one notices them.

I try to make it a habit to notice people, and to genuinely care about people. I confess I don’t always succeed.  But there’s a guy at work who cleans, and that’s his full-time job.  I know his name.  If you have a guy, do you know his name, or if you have a woman, do you know hers?  Does he smile the obligatory smile when you say hello, if you bother, or does he engage you in conversation?  The guy teaches me.  He’s an example.  And his position is so small, I wonder if no one else notices him.  But he’s quiet, and patient, and beautiful.  And great.  I’m so happy I noticed.  I’m so happy I had the chance to meet him.  I think sometimes the cleaning lady or the homeless man would have something valuable to say, if we would listen.

The homeless man should teach survival skills and philosophy.  They’ve mastered the art of scraping an existence out of nothing.  The cleaning person should dispense their wisdom as well, about a life of endurance and the rewards of repetitive tasks done well.  These people may not have the book-smarts to earn a degree, but they have gathered wisdom.  And we should not be dismissive of them, or of each other.

I confess, I’ve done it myself, and fractured what should have been a good friendship, in the past.  I was tired, I wanted to move along and get done what I wanted to get done, and the person I kind of dismissed was going on and on and on in his excitement about what he was doing, where he was living, he had just gotten married, a lot to digest.  I SHOULD have invited him to lunch to catch up.  Instead I kind of said I needed to get back to my tasks, in a kind of abrupt way.  Ugh.  I’m sorry.  And I had to go to the bathroom.  He was miffed, and never spoke to me again.  If you’re reading this, not that you ever would, I’m sorry.  I moved to another state and have no way of reaching this person, but I know what I did.  Maybe he’s forgiven me by now, or forgotten me or written me off or whatever.  Fine.  I don’t always set the best example.  I was rude.  I have learned from it, for what it’s worth.

I’ve also been dismissed.  Ever been overlooked for that promotion you deserved at work?  I have.  Ever been overlooked in spite of your credentials or abilities, and another person took the spot you thought you deserved?  Or took the spotlight for something you did?  I have.  Ever been lied to about something important, only later to think back and remember how much that actually hurt you, emotionally, financially, professionally?  I have.  It’s disrespectful  It’s the other person telling you that you are beneath them, they can do what they want and you are just a pawn or another stepping stone on the path to their personal greatness.  You were only put on the planet for them to take advantage of you.  It’s like being mugged, except it’s done in plain sight and it’s not “criminal.”  It’s just “wrong.”

Doctor Lockridge, and a host of other great people, I will never have the chance to meet. But I’ll just offer this as my own wisdom:  Don’t be dismissive.  Tell the truth.  Be polite.  Be nice to everyone, from your bosses bosses boss, to the homeless guy who asks for a dollar to buy cigarettes or a bottle of whiskey.  You may not really like a person. You may not really like their behavior choices, things they may do.  You may not like how they look.  It doesn’t matter.  Be nice.  In a digital world, things are fast, things are said thoughtlessly.  I’m not going to take offense at the friend who shared, or really of her friend either.  No offense was intended.  The message was sent with positive intentions, so I’m not going to act like I have a chip on my shoulder.  That’s a set up for more thoughtlessness.

I’m just going to say that while I may not have the same perspective of Jesus that Doctor Lockridge had, I respect what he said and what he did.  After all, James said, “Don’t just listen to the Word, and deceive yourself (into thinking you’re fine). Do what it says.” (James 1:22).    Doctor Lockridge put his words into actions, at least that’s what I’m reading from his biography.  And that is very respectable.

Hey, friends!  (And enemies, if I have anyone who thinks of themselves that way)  I received a wonderfully presented message about the character and nature of the Jesus of the Bible.  The man speaking is the late Doctor Lockridge, who was a famous preacher.  Click on his name above to give it a listen.  It’s worthwhile.  It doesn’t sound like a “performance piece” to me.  It sounds like Doctor Lockridge is a friend of Jesus.  It sounds like Jesus is very real to him.

After you listen, if you like it, you can hear more of the same at a nearby local church.  And if they don’t preach how you like, find another church and give that a try.  We are all created equal, but we’re not all given the same abilities.  Doctor Lockridge was a gifted speaker.  I’m sure you can find a gifted speaker near you.  Give them your full attention, even if it’s the homeless gentleman or lady on the street, or the person who cleans your office bathrooms.  It will encourage them to be acknowledged, even if it’s a local pastor.  And it might even encourage you too.

I did it!  No swears.  Maybe Doctor Lockridge has made me want to do better about that.