“Becoming Unglued, When The World Looks Different”

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I was thinking about what to write about last Friday. I had a couple of choices at the beginning of the week then I read a Facebook post that reminded me of something I wrote.

In my book there is a story called Kaleidoscope, it’s a story about a family dealing with a member’s mental illness. Henry and Nicole Jackson‘s son Jacob suffers with Schizophrenia. He is a talented football player on the rise to NFL stardom…that rise however is interrupted. Henry discovers that Nicole’s family has a history with this particular mental illness. The couple must now, like other families in america, face a hard really…

unglued 6 I wrote the story for a psychology class. I studied many forms of mental illness, I found that schizophrenia was the most perplexing. It was that thing that as kids we saw displayed most often and the people with it were “crazy people”. Schizophrenia is indeed the classic definition of crazy. Some people here voices, see things that are not there and they respond to them. Of course anyone looking at such a person can see that they’re talking to no one.unglued 4  Unfortunately, the illness causes many to be violent towards others. Think about it, if you saw something scary and thought it wanted to harm you what would you do? If you heard voices that were not your own, how would you react? Now, multiply that by the lifespan because that’s how long a person must live with the mental illness.unglued 5  Yes, there are medications and treatments and facilities for people to have help. But they must still live with it. Some medications make people feel better, normal and after a while they stop taking their medication. The end result? They spiral down.unglued 7

Schizophrenia is one of dozens of mental illnesses…Depression, Panic attacks(anxiety attacks), Bipolar and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) are all forms of mental illness. Like  broken bones, there are many types of Fractures, simple, compound etc. Likewise mental illness has many levels and layers. Over the years some have been declassified and reclassified…Anxiety attacks to Panic attacks to Mood disorders, one can hardly keep up. But the point is that, for many it’s a hellish existence for 60 or 70 years of life. If they make it that far, too many like Robin Williams, take there own lives…unglued 10

I know all too well what it’s like to feel yourself slipping away. To know that you know the face in the mirror yet you don’t recognize yourself or the feelings you have. It’s like smelling the pizza, feeling the pizza, putting the pizza in your mouth but tasting nothing! I lost about a year and a half to severe panic attacks. It was a gradual decline starting with feeling uncomfortable on the crowded train…now I live in NY and I know tourist think that squeezing in a train is fun. But most new yorkers Hate being pressed together like sardines. My feelings weren’t the typical annoyance we strap-hangers feel, I was suffocating. I felt the same way at home when we ate together or in large wide open spaces. I would often jump off the train at the nearest stop just to relax, which caused me to be late. Then on day the flood gate opened…I was on the R train headed to Queens when I felt the train car close in on me, like the curving street scene in Inception. It was just as the train was in the middle between Manhattan and Queens. A sudden fear took me, one I’d never felt, I kept picturing in my mind the water crushing the car. The more I tried to shake the image the worst things got for me. My heart raced, my head began to swim and I could no longer control my breathing. I did all I could to stand up and not cave in to the feelings…thankfully the stop came.

What followed was days and months and soon a year of descent into a pit of despair. The sound of water, talking, loud noises, vibrations, touch…anything would send my body into a panic! My head/brain felt like it was floating away, I wore a hat all day just to comfort myself. Brushing my teeth was near impossible because I felt like I was choking, the same with eating which caused me to loose a ridiculous amount of weight in a short period of time. All of these things and more brought on feelings of my death, which made everything worst still!… To add insult to the injury I received such expert advice! “Why don’t you just…”, “Not enough faith to be healed..” “What are you scared of…?” “It’s in your mind..”  As if the person doesn’t already feel crazy! unglued

You see dear reader, you can see a broken window, arm, leg, a torn shirt, a leaky pot but you can’t put a bandage on an internal injury like a broken mind. You can see the effects of the injury, some more than others, but there is nothing physical for the outside world to see to say “Let me help you with that” No one will reach out to carry your bags of groceries. They will stand aside and whisper…  I am not writing this piece this week as an expert or with stats you can find or supplying a number to a helpline. I am writing as someone who has experienced the pain of becoming unglued. I am a christian, so I put my hope and trust in the words of the bible and Christ Jesus. You may put yours elsewhere and that’s fine.  For me, I had a praying wife that got me through, who held my hand in the hospital, who drew close to me even though she was terrified of loosing her husband, who kept watch over me when I couldn’t sleep, eat or sit for more than a minute. She was and is my teammate through that time. Many marriage fail in a crisis like this but we were pulled closer, we had no others…It’s been 13 years since that lost time.

    I write this week, to encourage you dear reader. Think about that family member, neighbor, co-worker, anyone you may know or whom you may be caring for…with Love. It’s not just a word, it’s action. It encompasses compassion, empathy, insight, a willingness to help, the capability to hold on and let go, to hug or the patience to wait to be able to hug…and much more. It all demonstrates Love. unglued 2 Dear reader if you feel anything like you’ve read about reach out to some one for help. Don’t wait for them to come to you, they can’t see what you feel. One last soapbox thing, that friend or helper shouldn’t be offering you anything that would make matter worst.     Until next time…

                  33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” -John 16:33(HCSB)

 

The Things That We Remember: “Chicken In A Shoe Box””

Yesterday, I was working on chapter 2, my goal was to get my characters on a bus and out of the south. Ultimately they will end up in Chicago, but that trip would prove to be near impossible , as they are fleeing from the south just after the depression era. There wasn’t a lot of money in those days, so escaping would be hard…while they were hiding, they sang a song and for some reason this was the song that came to mind

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior: http://youtu.be/qr-o-kVcR6E

As I got them ready to leave, I thought of ways they could travel. I decided that the bus was the easiest and cheapest way to travel about. Immediately I was transported back in time, I was a kid again with my mother about to board a Greyhound bus. I could hear the engine running, I stared at the the dog on the side of the bus. I was short enough that we were eye to eye. I could almost physically feel my mother pulling on my arm. And then it hit me! The scent of fried chicken sweating in the inside of a shoebox lined with Reynolds Wrap foil. Mmm… the smell of lunch! And it wasn’t complete without the boiled eggs.
Wow, it is strange what we remember and the odd times that we remember them. Just Sunday, I was in the super market with my wife and passed by a display for Lipton Soup.
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I’d asked her if she remembered the soup from her childhood. The minute I asked her, I pictured in my mind, my mother’s hand placing the box on the kitchen counter.
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I could see her hand dropping the lump of seasoning in the water. I had another flashback, I was sick and my mother handed me a bowl of soup. I watched as the tiny thin noodles spun around in a circle. All of that happened while I was still in aisle 5 of the supermarket with my wife. Whoa!
And the other night, I was watching a film about Jim Jones! The charismatic church/cult leader who orchestrated the deaths of over 900 people. Need I say I was sick to my stomach. I was watching the screen when a thought popped into my head “don’t drink the kool-Aid” I remembered it from my childhood. Another thought came nearly simultaneously, I’ll get to that in a moment.
When I was a kid we used to joke about not drinking the kool-Aid, which alluded to Jim Jones’ mass suicide. My wife and I watched in horror as the people were lead and forced to drink the concoction. Then the other thought came to mind… we were sitting in a circle reading the bible and teaching our, then little children, the importance of knowing the Word for themselves so that they would not be easily fooled.
What a strange thing to feel, taste, hear sounds or see pictures that take you back to a different time and place. Not all of what we remember is a good memory, but isn’t still amazing what sensory our bodies can produce. We really are “fearfully and wonderfully made”…
Until next time…

The Thinking Cap Returns

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  Well, dear readers it has truly been an interesting year. Some of what has happened I wish to never repeat! Others I can only dream of doing over and over again. For instance, 2014 started out with me finishing up my first book, a collection of short stories In The Apartments Next To Mine: the college collection. It was interrupted by injuring my big toe exercising. Wait! We started the year with a weekend getaway…

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My wife and I took the two youngest kids with us to Atlantic city. Where my son, sort out his revenge on the seagulls for stealing his funnel cake the previous year. Then I hurt my toe!
    I continued to work on the book, choosing a cover, color, size, font etc…until! Wait.. first we celebrated our grandchildren’s first birthday and then my daughter announced her wedding.
   Then after going through life without a major surgery or breaking any bones…I broke my foot!! Like, “really ,now when my old (older) this couldn’t happen when I was 10!”  I was down for 6 looooong weeks.

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Wedding Day

I letter came in the mail giving me an opportunity to work, which was fine I was tired of being home. However,  I had no idea what I was getting into… I searched for ideas on how to promote the book. I had very little money ($300) and no contacts. I was just about to finish the last chapter editing when… Gout!!! What the heck is that?! I said. Apparently it’s an excruciating, painful, form of arthritis. See, these are the things I can do without repeating. First the left toe gets injured then the right foot breaks…and now that same foot falls victim to gout, which I thought was some strange, we need to cut off your foot disease.
   It was so much pain that I couldn’t think right much less write. I was then informed by my doctor that I needed a colonoscopy! My response, Nooooo!

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File that under, things I wish not to repeat. The experience was fine, no problems with the “procedure” but being forced to sleep while someone is tooling around your entrails is unsettling.
   Well, I scheduled it for, after our family vacation then went home and wrote out my will.
   I published the book and after a much needed rest and vacation I began my temporary clerk job…you know, the one I begged the Lord for. The grass is no greener on the other side. It was a city job, one of NY’s most coveted position, my mom worked 27 years for this city. One week in and I called her for advice on dealing with and navigating through, the mental stress and lack of decorum. I went from being overjoyed of having a little money to buy my wife something nice or that she needed, to sitting at the edge of my bed Every morning sharing out the window dreading going in. I’d get up 6 am, drop up my daughter at 7:50 am, arrive at 8:35 am and at 9 am the barrage of cursing from my supervisor would begin. “@$$# that, @! what anybody says. @$#! $@ that. Bring your @$$# to the office” 
   In all my years of working I have not seen such behavior. (Read my piece on bullying) During November, just after the election is when they start the mass layoffs… I have never been so miserable in the workplace in my life. Neither have I ever been so happy to be fired!… I got my letter last Friday. I told my wife I wouldn’t quit and as usual I did my job with excellence and if I were offered (they didn’t keep any freshman this season) a permanent position, I would have taken it. Yet, still I was happy to leave…
   I’m upset at the lost of income and as a man, we feel this deeply. But I’m am more than thrilled to put my Thinking Cap on again and write. I started the first chapter of the new book in August but haven’t really had time to write…dear reader, I will try to NEVER complain about my life again. I like working for myself, I like starting my day in peace, it’s enjoyable, to use your own talent to create a business and a living. Of course, I’m competing millions of other authors for the same business but that’s what business is all about, even in the creative fields…
    2014 ends with Christmas and New Year’s but in my mind it ended with a beautiful weekend getaway with my wife in Newport, RI. Anyway, my hat is back on and the words have begun to flow. Until next time…
     Merry Christmas and I pray you have a blessed New Year.

“Still Mine”: Growing Old Together

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Still Mine is a wonderfully quiet romantic film about a couple in their very late eighties and a husband who will do anything to care for his wife of 61 years…including going to jail for providing a home for her.

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  The film opens with signs of the wife’s illness, it’s never mentioned in the movie what the illness is but she has some form of dementia. She leaves a pot holder on the stove that catches fire, luckily her son comes for a visit and puts it out. The two oldest of their 7 children voice their concerns about the mom’s health but the dad fans them off…
   At on point Craig (James Cromwell) sits with his wife Irene (Genevieve Bujold) one cold evening and tells her that the water in the toilet froze the night before and that it might do the same that night. As they sit at the table, Irene just stares and Craig tells her that the house “…may no longer work for us…”

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Irene makes him promise that they won’t move until they “have to”…
  At 51 years old and married for nearly 18 years, I truly appreciated the look of love in this movie. Hollywood is producing less and less realistic romantic love these days and even less, full grown adults in love. So, when Irene said “I want to see you…”  “Take off you clothes old man…”  my brown face was flush! as I watched the clothes slide from their aged and wrinkled bodies…there they were naked and in love. They embraced each other with tenderness and my heart warmed with the thought of my wife and I at that age.
   When you hit 50 most Americans head to the hospital for a colonoscopy, when your 20, most Americans thinks they know everything (or at least act like it). When you’re 25 you realize you’re not a teenager anymore and you despise those older than you, because you know you’re getting older. So, most 25 year olds make jokes about their parents being Old.  When you hit 30, you know for a fact, that the clock will never turn back!… when you are 50, you have lived long enough to know that life will soon end and if you are married, then you have enjoyed a wonderful life with someone, while marveling at the aging process. And boy oh boy is it a process!…

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    Irene gets worse and Craig panics when he comes home to see that she’s not there. He searches the town for her and later finds her smoking a cigarette on the beach.
     There was an accident earlier that cause him to move forward in building a new home for them on a small plot of their 2,000 acres of farmland. Unfortunately, government regulations and bureaucracy put a stop to it…but Craig could care less, their home didn’t work for them anymore. Finding Irene on the beach doing something she hadn’t done in years, smoking, propelled him to continue in his defiance against the government bureaucracy. That’s what I lifetime of love will drive you to do.

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   After nearly 18 years of marriage, like Craig, I can’t remember nor imagine life without my wife. We met as adults in good health. Now we giggle as we listen to the other’s bones crack from arthritis,  but we don’t laugh at the pain and swelling. We stare in each other eyes a lot longer these days and every touch of the hand, speaks unspoken passionate love to one another. I’m now a diabetic and she has blood pressure issues. There was a time when I could eat a bowl of 5 alarm chilli and she could eat 2 slices of pizza…Now, I can barely look at anything hot and she can’t eat more than half a sandwich and a salad. I used to love Italian food with mountains of pasta. Now I’m cool with a chicken salad and a kid’s size fruit snack. Life changes, so does the life you share together, but the love continually grows.
      We spend a lot of time figuring out how to care for one another’s health these days as well as enjoying quiet moments alone. I often wonder what life will be like when we are 65/70 years old. My dad is 78 now and in really good health, he bowls in a league and regularly work’s out in the gym. He also jumps rope, granted, he’s not as quick or strong as he was 20 years ago but I see and know very little people my age that can do what he does.  In the movie, Craig is 87 when he builds the house, alone; for his ailing wife.
   If I have even a fraction of their health and strength at that age it would be awesome! As far as love and passion for my wife goes… I try to get home as fast as possible to see her face each day. I love just sitting next to her. I love reading books with her, I love cooking for her, I love praying with her… I’m glad that God provided me with someone to walk through life with.
    Still Mine, gives the audience a different look at love in a different stage of life. A stage where fancy designer names are irrelevant. A stage of life where you find no need to talk every second of the day and where silence doesn’t scare you “I there something wrong with us, are we breaking up? !”  It’s a stage of life where you’ve spent a lifetime together and all that matters, is just being in the room with your best friend. The world needs to see more of this kind of love on display…

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    Getting older shouldn’t be feared, despised or looked at as the end of love, life and passion… because it isn’t!  It just looks different…

“Another Day At The Office”

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Whisper whisper, giggles giggle… just another day at the office.
    I had a wonderful weekend getaway to Newport RI with my wife 2 weeks ago
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We spent the weekend looking at the above view…even a writer can be rendered speechless at such beauty. We faced, somewhere like 25-30 mile an hour winds. But it was still a wonderful break from work, shopping, laundry and yes, the kids we love. We returned home with smiles on our faces…the smile faded, at least for me.
Not 10 minutes after punching in did I regret my choice to go back to work… let me explain before I complain. I went back to college late in life and after graduating couldn’t land a job. I spent a year looking, then decided with my wife to do what I dreamed, write. So the following year I pursued my passion and published to boot!
Before college I worked in retail, construction and my last stop was in a school for children with Autism. I worked in group homes as well with that agency. In all the worlds and different places I’ve worked I have never seen people purposely sabotage another. The language and actions were usually professional. So you can imagine my shock when I was hired to be an extra in “Mean Girls”!
The constant grade school behavior is sometimes intolerable, especially for the faint of heart… at the moment when I was about to erupt in my own defense I was reminded of Christ. He suffered unjust humiliation, scorn, imprisonment and death. So I’m in good company…what’s my crime? I don’t join in with the complaining about my boss or the office gossip. Gone are the days of working for myself. I am without a doubt grateful for the Lord’s blessing of a job, I can however, do without the childish behavior of grown adults.
My wife reminded me the other day that God prospered Joseph while he suffered unkindness in Egypt. Dear reader, keep pushing forward doing your best. And if you get the chance to vacation in Newport, run don’t walk to your car or rental. We hope to return during the warmer months to enjoy an afternoon sail or to just enjoy sitting quietly by the ocean….

Until next time.

“Rats Jumping Ship: Scattering The Workplace Bully”

  There are many things I don’t understand but I do seek an understanding of them all. One thing that baffles me, is the childlike behavior in the offices across America.   A movie came out not too long ago called Bully.
http://youtu.be/W1g9RV9OKhg  The movie focused on school but it appears that bullying is also found in the Workplace…
   A place where adults goes to make money to provide for their families. A place where many have graduated from college and hold multiple degrees. In some cases; at blue collar jobs, workers hold only a high school degree. But in all cases the Workplace is filled with mature adults familiar with manners and social graces… right?  So, how is it that bullying exists in the office?

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    Growing up, we called it teasing and being picked on… since the late 90’s it has been called bullying  or perhaps workplace harassment. Today the term bullying has encapsulated the phenomenon that has exploded with a generation saying, Enough!   If it hadn’t been for the many deaths connected to cyber bullying, it would have probably gone unnoticed…
    Now, before I go on I must say I come from a different generation and I do not understand cyber bullying. My thoughts are, if you post something negative…Oh well! I can “un”friend  you, erase it or just plain ignore you. Unfortunately, the younger generations live in cyberspace and lack the strength and filters to drown out or adapt to the foolishness. Therefore they are quick to become depressed, as a result; far too many young people have committed suicide over public humiliation. As a kid, public humiliation was a kick me sign taped to your back…then again, that was a different generation.
    I started a new job about 4 months ago. Where I come from, when a new employee comes aboard; you usually welcome them with open arms and most of the staff put their best face on display. Not so where I work, the newbies are hated, look down upon and despised.   If you are the type that goes about doing your work with little play and diligence, you tend to make others look bad and therefore make yourself a target also becoming one of the most hated amongst the hated.
   

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Have you ever seen a building under construction or someone move a garbage can and watched how the rats go running off? Or my personal favorite; rats jumping off a sinking ship!  I went into the office the other day and as I was working at my desk one of my supervisors came for a visit. When the person walked into the room there was about 7 others in it. The room quickly erupted with… “Oh my God!” “Why, why!” “Secret service..!” and then the rats ran off the ship’s deck. My visitor joked about “clearing a room”…but I could see a bit of distress in the person’s face. Surely we joke about things to defuse our hurts and it can’t be easy being in a supervisory position, I know because I’ve been there but that’s not the issue here. I did some digging around and discovered that this person started at the very same level as I. Within a year,  rose up the ranks and surpassed folks that have been working in the building for years. Can you say, ouch! But was this person’s promotion well deserved? My suspicion is, that it was. Guess what, since I’m somehow tethered to this person I am no longer liked.  Oh dear me! The people that I would often say good morning to no longer responded… well, I stopped wasting my time.

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Day after day I sit and endure the whispers… “He’s working hard for that” (meaning a full-time permanent position) or “secret service” “spy” and of course when my visitor comes “Why is ____ here?!” Always said with venom, bitterness and distain! On top of all that,  there’s a constant flow of juicy gossip that continues for 8 hours. The drama is always about someone else talking about someone, talking about someone else…and the people in the room, are the chief disseminators of the news!

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   The culture of the organization is such that it cultivates such bitter division and no one seems to care.
    There is a guy who looks different, he dresses kind of gothic and has been the butt of many jokes, even from a supervisor during the morning meetings… I looked at him one day and thought of all the school shootings done by boys who look like him; who were tired of being singled out and bullied. Yes, I asked him if he was okay with everything he said something like “it’s not that bad…” it is to me! The kid doesn’t come to work to be treated like trash.
   I know I am not alone in this, there are so many more in this country that go into the office to work, get a pay check and receive a bonus of affliction to boot. It’s a crying shame. I guess the school kids never grew up after all…
   I don’t understand how this behavior has become commonplace on the job. People younger than I seem to have a harder time dealing with it and I feel deeply for them. You see, I’m bothered by the level of childishness. But like I tell my kids, cowards talk about you not to you. The knuckleheads can say what they want behind my back because they lack the courage to face me and my friend. None of the people where I work have said anything to my visitor face to face (or to my face)…this dear reader, should tell you the level of their cowardice…whether they are in cyberspace or the Workplace.
    I am sorry that you go through it daily. But please dear reader, hold your head high. Don’t keep it to yourself and by all means find and get the help you need, including filing a complaint. I wouldn’t be too concerned about how you look doing it. Firstly, they already look at us sideways. Secondly, the bully has been allowed to get away with it for too long. You’ve had enough courage to go in every morning, take courage and stand up for yourself.
    Those poor kids that shot up the schools, the college students that committed suicide, the adults that skip work or drink themselves half to death…got it wrong. It’s not the only way to handle it. Cry if you need to dear reader, wipe your tears and take courage. My faith tells me that God is the defender of the weak.
  

“Moms’ Night Out” From Bad To Worst

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Oh what a night, as the old song goes. I will not giveaway any spoilers, my wife will probably read this before she gets a chance to see this film. I watched it during my lunch and dinner break at work on the phone. It was extremely difficult not to laugh out loud in a room full of people who might think me crazy. With my BOSE QC15 snugly strapped to my head and my hot Lentil soup steaming from my thermos, I ponied up the diner counter top style table, put on my reading glasses, slapped my elbows on the table…and tuned out, leaving my co-workers to their own entertainment.
     There were a few close by, but I was huddled in corner snickering like a school girl. On second thought, I live in the Bronx where people regularly talk to themselves…well, it looks like it since there’s no phone to their head. Anyway, I wouldn’t look that crazy laughing out loud to something no one else can hear.
     Well, there is plenty to laugh at…but one of my first uncontrollable outbursts caused me to pause and text my wife, “I can see Noah doing that!” Noah is our 1 1/2 year old grandson. What happened? You ask.  The kid (off camera) got his head stuck in the potty! Noah is the adventurous grandchild…praise God he belongs to our daughter. We are far too old to be chasing kids and Noah is the child they wrote the riddle about “why did the boy throw the clock out the window…he wanted to see time fly”
   So, quite naturally I thought of him wearing the potty on his head as a hat.    It doesn’t matter if you are a single parent or are married like some in the movie…if you have children and your bag is filled with gum, keys, baby wipes, cell phone, bottles and paper “toilet protectors” then you most definitely will get this movie.
      Like all parents, these ladies just want to go out…or do they? Yeah, we experienced ones, know how this works; you leave emergency contact information then you’re out the door. Then you spend 2 hours thinking about and talking about your little ones or not so little ones. Unfortunately, on these ladies night out, they can’t eat because of a schedule mix up. So they go somewhere else…oh wait, their van is stolen…a baby is missing and gets worse.
    What I love most about this film is it reminded me of my own family. My earlier days of parenting and a huge reminder that no parent is perfect, all while laughing at ourselves. The film was beautifully crafted without vulgarity. Yes, it has been labelled a faith (Christian)-based movie. But really who cares,  when was the last time you laughed at a “comedy” that didn’t begin and end with sex jokes, cursing, someone kicked in the “jewels” or somebody’s clothes off. It’s become standard Hollywood… you only really notice when it’s absent. Truly, I have stopped watching comedy because it’s not funny. But the antics in this film will make you laugh without feeling guilty or sending your kids out of the room. In fact, they could sit right beside you!
     The pastor’s wife caught dancing with an arm full of beer bottles…”Awkward!” My daughter used to say. Most people would say “that’s not such a big deal” perhaps it isn’t, but in this instance, it was Christians poking fun at themselves…
   I enjoy watching movies and going out to catch one and this is one film I didn’t regret spending my money on. Hey, when you get the chance check it out and let me know how you liked it…

“Why Ferguson Is Not My Reality” :My American Experience Part 3

When I started writing this 3 part piece it was right after the Ferguson Missouri shooting. I had been watching the news while away on vacation. I don’t often watch the news or check emails nor my cell when I’m on vacation with my family. But it had been about 2 weeks since the story broke.
I was flipping through channels, it was cable TV, we don’t have cable at home and I am glad for that.

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I watched scene after scene of police in riot gear and protesters yelling, screaming and throwing things at the cops. Then there were the people being interviewed.

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One guy had the audacity, to have his hands full of stolen loot, to say he doing it because of police brutality. As the camera turned I saw young and old black men with handkerchiefs over their faces shouting about there being no peace.

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There was another group of people with arms locked slowly walking forward, asking people to move back behind the lines. They were also asking people to go home. They meant the non-residents who came and agitated things…
I didn’t understand it then or during my parents young days neither do I understand it now! Why is it, that when things go wrong in mostly poor and predominantly black areas of a city, do people rob stores, damage property not owned by them and expect the outside viewing public will be sympathetic?
People destroy the very business creating an opportunity to work,  they destroy the people, family…businesses that service their underserved neighborhoods. Personally, I would close my business and take the financial hit. Because if you’re mad at someone, then you should take the fight to them. Not to the guy standing next to you ordering dinner for his family. But that’s not what happens….People destroy their own homes! “Stupid is as stupid does”- Forest Gump
Then folks like

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Sharpton roll into town chanting that ol’ negro spiritual “No Justice,  No Peace”. Poor guy, he’s shuck with Jackson (and others like them) In a Star Trek like “time bubble”…1960. Their “dead language” tactics cause more harm than good,

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Yet family after family are suckered in by their foolishness.

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You see, I grew up, as well as many in my generation; in a less exposed and much more free time in America. Now, isn’t ironic that, that generation is in charge of squeezing out most of our freedoms. The very kids that grew up riding bikes without helmets create laws and such, that today’s kids not only ride on the sidewalks! But they dress like NFL players to do so.
We were less exposed to the rape of “little Ann” a block away. Our parents were responsible for relaying the message to us and were in complete control of our safety/well-being. We kids & teens may not have known about it for a week. But by then someone had the actual facts and the parents knew who the rapist on the block and in the area was. Leaving us to be free to play, fight, laugh or go see a movie (in groups).
Today, however, everything both good and bad is sent instantly to everyone…kids, teens, adults and seniors unfiltered.  It’s interesting how the World Wide Web was supposed to bring the world closer. Too many times dangerous, damaging and negative information is regurgitated. Causing the massive American populous to be discontent, angry, rude, un-American,  unsympathetic, so on and so on. Not too long ago people read reputable newspapers and asked the people “in charge” to get their facts. Now, far too many have a Restless Leg Syndrome reaction to the beep and vibration on their phones, tablets etc.
I had no reaction to the events in Missouri around my children, save to point out the foolishness of the looters and so-called leaders.  Even though shootings and such happen in this country. It is not the whole of the American experience. It is not like that in “Every” state,  county, city or town. Not every cop is sadistic, though too many give the great ones a bad name. Just like saying “All” blacks listen to and like Rap. It’s just not so. But movie after movie, tv show after tv show and YouTube clip after clip show it… so it must be true!
This is the same process that fuels the unfiltered passion and rage of our youth. I am in constant battle with the pop culture to instill a “critical thinking” mind in my children.  As well as a sense of a larger world. All but one has a passport (we have 6), 2 have traveled to foreign countries to help others, 4 have traveled to different parts of America to help others. My youngest son (now 16) at 13, spent his summer vacation on a Native American Reservation in Arizona building porches. Next year, he’ll go with his school to New Orleans to help there.
I told them to keep their passports current just in case a job opened up in another country. We also save and taught them, those with children, to save through out the year for a vacation outside of where we live…why? To experience other people, cultures and different parts of our country. The same way my mother did; pre-internet 60’s and 70’s.
It paid off, I have a broader view of the world. It started with a library card…I’d ride my bike (no pads or helmet) about 8 blocks away, obeying traffic rules and using my hand signals daddy taught me; I didn’t read much then but I rented “Big Band” records to hear my daddy’s music.
When you only see one representation of yourself, of your community, of your country and if it happens to be a constant flow of negative images, messages and information you’re bound to hate yourself…
That’s why Ferguson is not my reality, not my American experience…

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