Get Out of My Tepee

“My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see.” – Muhammad Yunus

Maybe you’ve noticed.

Chances are if you live in Oklahoma you have.

We have thousands, maybe millions, of blue eyed, white skinned Indians living in this great State. That’s right. Obviously white, obviously Caucasian or European people, are now claiming to be American Indian.

They are on TV all the time.

What’s this all about?

The other day I had this guy in the Van who claimed to be American Indian. Cherokee specifically. He had 1/32 Indian blood. So he said. What? That means he is Cherokee?

Folks………….there is absolutely NO WAY anyone in their right mind would ever believe this guy was American Indian.

Even stranger, he went on and on about his CULTURE. HIS CULTURE. About how his people had been done wrong. By the white man of course. He’s 99.9% white.

Said he wouldn’t carry a $20 bill because of whose face is on it. Not only that, he had a case re George Washington for his treatment of American Indians. His people His culture,

Who is this guy? Is he right in the head?

Bet real, bona-fide American Indians get upset with these interlopers.

“No man is considered just and virtuous who does not know whence he came and whither he is going” – Napoleon Bonaparte

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You never know

“I’m not afraid of chaos and I’m happy talking to strangers. I really love not knowing where I’m going.” – Fiona Shaw


Not a big fan of chaos. Fact is, I kind of fear it.

However, I’m not averse to speaking with strangers.

Not initially anyway.

Once they reveal themselves thru speech or body language I quickly decide to proceed or not. Suppose we all do that.

Sometimes, meeting a stranger is a home run. That was the case with William Cash.

Picked him up at his Physician’s office for a trip to his home way in the backwoods of Eastern Oklahoma. Way out there. So far out there my GPS didn’t work. Plenty of time to chat.

So William……got to ask…………….are you related to the big guy…..Johnny?

Image result for pics of johnny cash

Matter of fact, I am his second cousin.

Wow. Cool. So did you ever meet him?

Several times at family functions.

What was he like?

Real nice guy but kind of quiet. I also met Willy Nelson and B.B. King. Had breakfast with Willie once. The waitress told him he looked just like Willie Nelson. He told her he gets told that a lot. Never let on that he was Willie Nelson.

And that’s the way our conversation went during the 45 minute ride to his country Hacienda.

He was also a professional diver and had worked on the construction of off shore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

A diver in an armoured diving suit stands on a launch and recovery platform on the support vessel, attended by a crewman.

A very interesting and engaging guy.

You never know.


“I definitely see the value in not knowing everything and having mystery in life and mystery in people.” – Adam Driver


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“Time washes away all traces of what had been” – Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen


I’m at that age when family and friends are dying much too frequently.

Lost another good friend last week. At 68, a too young friend.

Parked her car, got out, died. Just like that. That quick.

Nothing I experienced earlier in life prepared me for this stage.


“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives – the death of genuine feeling the death of inspired response the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself.” – Norman Cousins

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“Shrinking away from death is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.” – Carl Jung

Do you agree with this quote?

I’m not sure I do. On the other hand, I’m not even sure I understand it.

It probably depends on one’s idea of a good life that, to me, would include relative good health and comparative independence from want.

Given that, why wouldn’t one shrink from death?

I surely don’t want to die. I’ll go kicking and screaming.

Seems to me accepting death is unhealthy and abnormal.I understand there are exceptions. Untreatable, unrelenting, horrible pain for example. Still.

I love Mark Twain. His quotes are spot on.

Except this one.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain

 What say you?

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The Sea

“There’s something about the water-that solitary kind of peaceful feeling you’re on earth, but not quite.” – John C. Reilly

Image result for pics of ocean

For sure – there’s something about water.

It kind of freaks me out. Scares the living you know what out of me.

Especially the ocean.

Don’t like the sea.

Too big. Dark. Menacing.

Image result for pics of ocean

Maybe I drowned at sea in an earlier life.

Terra Firma for me.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Hate Speech

“He severed the umbilical cord to the rest of humanity” – The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

That’s what I seem to be doing. Severing most ties to the rest of humanity.

Hell, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Seeming intelligent people, some dear friends, just can’t help themselves.

What’s the point of publicly exposing your unsolicited prejudiced political views on Facebook or other public forums?

Do you really think your rants are going to influence anyone?

Change minds?


Yes I have strong political views. But they are mine alone. Not for public consumption.

And, let’s face it. No one cares what I believe, especially if they don’t agree.

And no one cares what you believe either.

What we really care about is how YOU treat others.

So please, keep your hate speech to yourself.

Otherwise, our friendship might be altered.

“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” – Irving Berlin

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“Man’s mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth” – Desiderius Erasmus

 Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam was one of Europe’s most famous and influential scholars. A man of great intellect who rose from meager beginnings to become one of Europe’s greatest thinkers, he defined the humanist movement in Northern Europe. So they believe.

Reading who this man was and what he was known for and as, raises questions. At least in my mind.

Seems to me we humans often try to define intelligence. I’m not sure we are equipped to make that judgement.

Desiderius believed that man was very susceptible to falsehoods. I believe man is far more susceptible to his environment and that is what shapes our ability to comprehend the complexities of life. Whether we do it well or poorly.

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing” – Socrates

I believe Socrates was a very wise man. He recognized the truth. The real human condition.

Mark Twain was pretty sharp as well.

As was Will Rogers.

In my humble opinion.

What a man does with what he has is the clearer measure of intelligence. That’s what I believe.

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Hell Week

“No matter who tries to teach you lessons on life, you won’t understand it until you go through it yourself”


What a week. So glad it’s over.

Monday. Picked up this 60 year old woman. She must be the Devil’s lover.

It began as follows:

Pulled up in front of the medical facility on time.

Parked at the patient pick up point.

No one in sight. Called the patient to let her know I was waiting.

Patient: (in an aggrieved tone) Where are you? I don’t see you.

Me: I’m at the patient pick up point.

Patient: I don’t see you.

Me: Well, maybe I’m at the wrong building. Give me a minute to move to that other building.

I start to move and suddenly this wild, crazy woman is chasing me screaming something unintelligible and obviously not very nice.

It was her. Turns out I was at the correct spot and on time.

She got in the van and proceeded to give me hell for the duration of the ride.

It really got to me and ruined my day.

The following day a computer glitch caused me to miss my last pick up. Two hours late I finally got the assignment and raced to pick the rider up.

Inside the facility I locate the woman. She’s 72, on dialysis, has breathing problems and had just finished two weeks in the hospital. She was not a happy camper.

Feeling terrible I profusely apologize as I escort her to the van.  Get to the Van only to discover that I had locked the keys in the Van.

Now she and I must endure another hour wait for a lock smith to open the Van. Imagine if you will my feelings of embarrassment, frustration, and humiliation as we wait.

Wednesday. My last day of this awful work week. Ten hour day but at least my problems will be over and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

Get home. Get out of the Van and drop the Tablet on the cement drive way. It shatters.

Got to call the boss and fess up to my clumsiness and futility. He’s upset and understandably so. The predictable end to a horrible week.

Well, it’s over. Got to cheer up and enjoy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday. Late. Gaby is baking my favorite pie for Thanksgiving. Mincemeat.

As she’s taking it out of the oven, she drops it. The beautiful pie now looks like a bowl of beef stew.


It’s OK though. It still tastes wonderful. Just a different presentation.

We can live with that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

And please God, quit picking on me.


“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter” – Mark Twain

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The Talker

“Tis better to be alone than in bad company” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman

Ever been around someone who talked all the time. Incessantly. No pauses. A running monologue of irrelevant observations and mind numbing platitudes till blood oozed from your ears and your organs began to shut down.

I have. Just this past week.

I had the unfortunate responsibility to train a new driver. God got even with me for some past transgression. Having endured the madness, I’m sure I have a free pass through the pearly gates.

So for three straight days I was locked in the van with Jimmy. Eight hours a day. Twenty four hours of unimaginable hell.

Medical Transport is not rocket science. However, there are protocols each driver must follow to execute the job.

We use a tablet to receive assignments. Pick up and drop off times, addresses as well as names and other pertinent info must be accessed and various sign in techniques must be learned. All involve working with a tablet and a unique computer program.

The first two days the trainee works with only the computer. The last day they do everything and the trainer merely observes.

The first day began the nonstop assault on my nerves. Talk, talk, talk. Condescending statements. Questionable observations. All delivered with a dull, irritating voice void of modulation.

The second day more of the same. At some point, as we were cruising the freeway at seventy mph, I actually considered opening the door and exiting the vehicle.

The third day I just lost it. I crossed the threshold. I was no longer a functioning human being.


Jimmy: Have you ever eaten at McDonalds?

Me: Are you serious? Every American, at one point in their life, has eaten at McDonalds. Why would you ask me such a stupid question?

Jimmy: Well, I was going to show you the first McDonald built in Tulsa.

Me: I couldn’t care less. I don’t want you to show me anything. Shut up and drive.

Jimmy: I went to grammar school just over that hill.

Me: (Silence)

Shortly we were cruising a major 6 lane highway in the middle lane doing 80 MPH. While he droned on about some innocuous subject he kept drifting in and out of the lane next to us. One driver in that lane had to slam the brakes to avoid a collision.

He was oblivious as he obsessed about the condition of man.

I asked him if he was aware he was drifting in and out of the lane?

Did not respond. Instead he began to discuss something else.

Jimmy: I think people should calmly discuss feelings and opinions respectfully so we can all learn from each other.

Something in my physiological system slid sideways. Alarms went off. Pulse quickened. Body chemistry changed. I began to drift in another dimension.

We are dangerously drifting in and out of our lane at 80 MPH and the driver is insane.

I lost it.

Me: I don’t give a damn what other people think. About anything. Do you understand? Furthermore, you need to stop talking and focus on your driving. I am not going to listen to anything you have to say. What you think.

If you so much as blink in the next 3 hours I am going to kill you. Got it?


“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense – Mark Twain

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Attention Getters

 “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country” – Kurt Vonnegut

99% of the patients we transport are just trying to get through the day. Not given to conversation. Riding in silence. Resigned.

We pick them up. Drop them off. And on to the next one.

And then there are the attention getters.

Make you ride higher in the driver’s seat. Kind of unconsciously force you to increase pressure on the accelerator.

For instance:

Picked up Margaret at the OU psychiatric hospital for transportation home. 42 years old.

Margaret: Sorry I’m late. Had issues and the session took longer. (1 hour longer)

Me: You okay?

Margaret: Yeah. Got my meds. I’m OK. Sometimes I just want to hurt somebody. You know….really mess them up.

(Long pause………………………….)

Me: (quick look in the rear view mirror. She seems sort of agitated. Hard lines on her face.) It’s Ok Margaret. I didn’t mind the wait. I get paid by the hour. (trying to keep the atmosphere light)

Silence. No response.

A very long 10 minute ride. A real uncomfortable situation. Quick, furtive peeks in the back. Hoping she took her meds.

Then there was Samantha. 31.

Picked her up around 10 am for an appointment at the OBGYN clinic. She waddles up the sidewalk. Obviously very pregnant.

I joke……Birthing is not allowed in the van.

Better get going then. I’m 9 months pregnant and this one is real close.

Wow. OK. Hit the road Jack. We are out of here.

So is this your first?

Nope. My 5th.

(Oh My God. Don’t they get easier and faster with each successive one? This one will probably pop out like a champagne cork. Damn…..I didn’t sign up for this.)

(Hit a bump in the road. Was that a moan from the back? Why are my hands shaking?)

(Got to get a grip. Avoid all bumps)

(Oh my God… bladder is talking to me. Not now. Please God. Almost there. Just 5 more minutes.)

In the end….we made it.

“If you are unable to feel fear, you cannot be courageous” – The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo

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