There’s a big friendly guy at church. He’s always smiling through a somewhat unkempt beard, shaking my hand and asking me how I’m doing. Pretty much the greeting to which no one expects a reply. “Doin’ good, how ‘bout you?” He knows I’m retired from the Army. The Sunday following the week-long celebration of John McCain, he asked me if I watched the televised funeral. The first thought that popped into my mind was, do you mean the preliminaries or the main event? Instead, I just gave him a polite but blunt nope. He got a disheartened look on his face and has hardly spoken to me since. I never shared my opinion of the late Senator with him or for that matter anyone outside a very tight circle. Suzie-Q and me. My opinion likely differs from that of the general public yet my nope was sufficient to get me the cold shoulder. I refuse to sign up for group think. I believe anyone that does is willing to be led in directions they’d rather not have gone once the destination becomes clear. I try hard, and it is hard, to remain an independent thinker in a world where that’s inclined to piss everyone off.
I suppose I could find a mountain top and live out my days in blissful ignorance chatting with the squirrels. I reckon that wouldn’t make me any nuttier than the rest of the world. In today’s America people who you believed to be genuine will turn away from you quicker than you can bat an eye simply because you do not sign up for the general narrative. The group think narrative they’ve bought into. The emotion driven fact less narrative. It is just not a friendly atmosphere. I believe we are destined to be at one another’s throats meaninglessly wasting the brief time we have in this world to actually accomplish some good. We’ve largely abandoned any moral authority. Abandoned the truth. And sent all of that to lead us from Babylon on the Potomac.
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Mark Twain
Just because the world deems it okay, doesn’t make it okay with me. And you can begin your list here. Without getting down to the nitty gritty, some things cross the line. They may be acceptable under the law making it acceptable to most people. Just because man’s law says it’s okay, doesn’t make it okay with me. Your hero may be my villain.
It’s neither comfortable nor healthy internalizing one’s thoughts. The nod and smile are rather disingenuous agreement even when the purpose is to maintain civility. People do not seem too interested in what you truly think or how you arrived at where you are. They ask what you think, but really don’t want a truthful response. Remember that time your wife asked if the dress made her butt look big? It’s sort of like that. What they are looking for is some sort of reassurance that I’m typically not equipped to provide. I’m an introvert. Always have been. It’s why I have these self-chats. I reckon that’s okay because I am married to an extrovert extraordinaire. Opposites attract. She provides the smiles, greetings and hugs. I provide the scowls. It works out well for us. I often remind Suzie-Q that if not for her no one would ever approach or speak to me. I have not been able to lose that get away from me look that forever affixed itself to my face back in the 80’s. When I was an Army Drill Sergeant. Still, being an introvert means I’m conditioned to make sure my brain is in gear before I put my mouth into operation. So, when I look at you and tell you I think your idea is as ate up as a soup sandwich I’ve given it some thought. At least a very brief thought bounced off a lifetime of experience.
Time for more coffee and little self-reflection. Try it. You may figure out the world you believe in only exists inside your head and that people in general are not as they appear.
“This nation is like all the others that have been spewed upon the earth – ready to shout for any cause that will tickle its vanity or fill its pocket. What a hell of a heaven it will be when they get all of these hypocrites assembled there.” Mark Twain.
© 2018 J. D. Pendry