Health

“I don’t like to rely on hope. You never know how that’s going to go” – Edward Unspooled by Craig Lancaster

Hope. Now there’s a powerful word. Many have said that without hope we have nothing.

Actually, without your health, you have nothing. If you have your health, you have everything.

While we may hope for many things, we pray for good health. And therein lies the difference.

“The persistence of hope, only second to love, caused people to make terrible decisions, or worse, it stopped them from making decisions at all” – “The Hollow Girl” by Reed Farrel Coleman

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Michael

“The only thing you can really count on is that things change” – Edward Unspooled by Craig

Michael Ajiboye is the foreman of the Patterson yard I’m working. He is from Nigeria. I’m still not sure why he now lives and works in Texas. We’ve had a few intriguing conversations.

A few weeks ago he shared with me how he learned to fly as a teenager in Nigeria. He often flew with his Dad who was a licensed pilot. Apparently his Dad also liked the sauce and would fly FUI (flying under the influence). Sometimes he would pass out at the controls and Michael had to take the helm. Loved that story.

Today we talked about his enlistment in the Nigerian Army in the early 1990’s. Wow. What a story that was.

Liberia was embroiled in a civil war. The United Nations and an organization of West African countries (ECOWAS) sent a peace keeping force there to enforce the peace. Michael was a member of that force.

Peace did not last long and suddenly this peace keeping force was involved in a very nasty war. He spent 2 years in Liberia fighting that war. He was wounded 3 times and several of his fellow soldiers were killed. He summed up that entire experience with “It was horrible”.

Most soldiers are reluctant to discuss their war experiences and I did not want to press Michael for more details. If you’re interested, google Liberian Civil War.

Everybody has a story. Some are tragic. All are interesting.

These are a few men of that Nigerian army. Michael is not in the picture.

“The lies we tell ourselves are always the worst lies of all” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

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Parallel Universe

“Did you know that Jellyfish have been around 600,000,000 years without a brain? That’s giving a lot of us hope.”

I just love TV shows like NASA’s Unexplained Files, Space Deepest Secrets, and How the Universe Works.

A real cure for a big Ego is to spend some time pondering the significance or lack thereof of human existence. Just try to understand the meaning of our lives against the backdrop of space. The exercise should blow your mind.

Wow. Where did I get the notion I was something special? That any of us are? What was I thinking?

Anyway, one of the series has been exploring the possibility of a parallel universe. Just suppose there is such a thing and that you are living another life in that universe. Per one of the astrophysicists, that life would be much different than your current one.

And that is the conundrum. Would I rather live that life or the one I know?

Hmm. Well, if I could pick and choose certain aspects of my life that would be challenging.

I suppose I would alter a few of the choices I’ve made. Naw, probably not. After all, many of the mistakes and hard times eventually led me to a happier time and place.

I know one adjustment I would make for sure.

From the age of about 65 on we would spend our summers in the mountains of Colorado and our winters in a warm place like Texas – or San Diego – or Costa Rico. Anywhere the average temp is 65-75.

Mr. Parallel Universe, can I do that?

“How human it is to see a thing as something else.” – Underworld by Don DeLillo

 

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To The Grave

Shakespeare put it, “the past is prologue” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

Could you carry a hatred to the grave?

Get over it. Move on. Forget about it. It’s not worth it. Etc.

All that advice. Given freely and rather glibly. With nauseating hubris.

Enough time and we can forgive many, if not most, transgressions. I guess.

Human beings are capable of horrible, unforgivable, words and deeds and often do the unthinkable. For these, there is no possible forgiveness

So it’s my responsibility to get over it? Forget about it and move on? I don’t think so. I’m not God. That’s his job. Not mine.

It is my right, my obligation, to abhor those words and deeds. Absolutely. Unequivocally.

Consequences. Comes with the territory. Do bad things and bad karma will surely follow. Must. Otherwise…………the definitions of good and evil slide towards irrelevance.

So……….a few examples of egregious acts – words – deeds – institutions etc.:

July and August in South Texas.

The University of Oklahoma football program. To the grave.

Gate Guard Shacks.

Jerry Jones. For destroying the Dallas Cowboys.

Ahem……

“You can’t believe for somebody else. They bury your faith with you” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

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The Hot Tub

“That was the worst thing of all, time to think. Time to think was life’s petri dish” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

My old buddy Cliff is working a fracking rig just north of Laredo, by himself. A 24 hour gate. A busy gate. No time to shower – sleep – eat a decent meal. Snakes and illegals.

Bad karma.

With temps hovering around 104, Cliff’s days are probably numbered. Poor guy. And so young.

As a good friend, I felt compelled to do something. I could ease his mind. Offer some moral support. That kind of thing. As a good friend. You know.

A concerned call:

Bob, how’s it going?

Fine Cliff. I’m worried about you.

Me. Why?

Face the facts Cliff, working that gate down there in that heat – well……………how long can you hold on? Really.

Huh?

You’re in denial Cliff. At the most, you’ve got about a month. Anyway, as your friend, I want to do something for you.  Just one less thing for you to worry about as you prepare to meet the big guy.

Have you lost your mind?

Listen to me Cliff. I don’t want you to fret about who will take care of your Hot Tub after that final day.

I’ll have my cousin Luigi pick it up and move it over here to my estate in South Texas. I’ll take care of it and enjoy it in your memory. Just sayin.

Cliff??????? Are you there?

Lost him. Must be a weak signal.

“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death” – Wittgensteinm

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Tombstone

“Politics and theology were never far apart in Massachusetts Bay. And that was the source of the trouble” – America’s Hidden History by Kenneth Davis

Have you given some thought to your imminent epitaph?

I would hope that kind words would etch my stone but that will not be my decision.

My preference would be – “He was among the chosen and lived a long life”

Seems the longer I live – the more I think I understand.

That’s important to me. I really want to understand what the hell is going on?

Wonder how long I need to live to understand women?

Is that even possible?

And please ladies, I am not a misogynist. I am, simply, a baffled male.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” – American History of the Pioneer Spirit by Richard Ketchum

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80 Trips

“The place that knew us yesterday will know us no more forever” – Days on the Road by Sarah Herndon

The average American lives to be 78.8 years old. Thus, those that get 80 plus trips around the sun are among the chosen few.

Given that time just seems to disappear, it won’t be that long before I statically run out of trips.

Sure hope I’m among the chosen.

I feel that way now because I’m in relatively good health. Matter of fact, I feel terrific. I can still take care of myself. By myself.

I have a loving family and a few very good friends.

Wonder my thoughts if I had poor health and had to deal with constant pain. I don’t do pain. Low threshold for that. I can envision giving up.

On the other hand, if I don’t get a handle on my lust for gadgets, this could all be a moot point. I think I’ve pushed Gaby to the edge. Better back off.

Especially if I want to be among the chosen.

“Nobody, nobody ever, was too young to die.” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

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Small Talk

“It’s hard for an empty sack to stand upright” – Franklin by Thomas Fleming

One of the joys of this job is the conversations I have with an eclectic cast of characters that pass through here in the course of a week.

Michael – I heard that you are a pilot. True?

Yes. I learned to fly in Nigeria.

Interesting. You took lessons or what?

My grandfather was a pilot. Had his own plane and flew all over Nigeria. Often I would go with him. Sometimes he would pass out at the controls.

Really. Wow ………………… Bad heart or what?

He was drunk. And believe me, when the pilot passes out at 10,000 ft., you learn how to fly real fast.

Moving right along.

“There were some things it was just better not to know” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

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America

“Like childbirth, the birth of America was messy, bloody, painful, and sometimes tragic. Yet it remains miraculous – America’s Hidden History by Kenneth Davis

Either this country was born by the blessing and design of a benevolent supreme being or because of an unimaginable coalescing in a single moment and place in time the vision of brilliant people yearning to be free.

No matter how or why it happened, I live in awe of those original Americans.

One of my favorites is Benjamin Franklin. What an experience it would be if I could go back in time and spend just one day with him.

A few of his quotes and thoughts. Enjoy

“Who is wise? He that learns front everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.”

“Common sense aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.”

“Nothing dries sooner than a tear.”

“He who has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged”

“The individual, who surrendered himself or herself to any extreme, whether it was political passion or physical vice, was, in Franklin’s view, sinning against this greatest of all human values, freedom” 

“In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith but by the want of it”

“He’s a fool that makes his Doctor his heir”

“In short, I conceived that the great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the value of things……” 

“After a youthful flirtation with atheism, he had become convinced of the existence of a God whom all nature cries aloud through all her works”

“Have you lately observed any defect in the laws of your country of which it would be proper to move the Legislature for an amendment? Have you observed any encroachment on the just liberties of the people?”

 “A benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance”

 “The individual, who surrendered himself or herself to any extreme, whether it was political passion or physical vice, was, in Franklin’s view, sinning against this greatest of all human values, freedom”

 And from a different source:

 “Before the American Revolution, no people had ever explicitly voted on their own written Constitution.” – America’s Hidden History by Kenneth Davis

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Fact

“Objectivity is bullshit anyway. It’s like calculating pi to the last digit. Humans are incapable of it” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

Dallas. 5 cops killed by a lone lunatic.

Everywhere, emotions racket up to an extreme level.

The races separate. Pull apart. Seeking a distinct orbit.

Emotions boil. How could this happen? Have we all lost our minds?

No. We have not lost our minds. Our minds are what they have always been.

“Do any of us change, really, even if everything else changes around us?” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

People who are stunned by the Dallas incident need to catch up on history. We have been doing this to ourselves for ever.

Whatever minds we have, we have always had. All the way back to Adam and Eve.

A sad and disturbing commentary but………….there it is.

“Humans ae like hurt machines. No matter how hard we try not to do it, we seem to inflict hurt on one another as naturally as we breathe” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

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