Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
John died yesterday at almost this exact hour. He was at the pinnacle of physical health. The man could flip himself and land in the exact spot he had just stood. Nothing short than amazing can really suffice when describing the guy. The fact that he didn’t make the U.S. swim team at the age of 56, amazed me. Only because the person who had beaten him by no more than the breadth of a hair was Michael Phelps. John even told me about surfing down waves which were bigger than six story houses.
Yet it was the way the guy talked sometimes that made you think. He had a way of reasoning things which were only true insofar as they were publicly accepted. Reasoning by means of good honest virtue and moral values was something that he would overlook. His logic, though sound, just felt wrong. It was the same feeling you got when you heard about insurance companies which terminated their obligations to terminally ill people; human F#@%^*! beings. The same type of companies which would sometimes shift entire parts of their operations across borders lines to save pennies on the dollar.
What John did left you with the feeling that something immoral had taken place. When something wrong is done, there’s an effect; a feeling that something has been set awry. It is as if the tiniest of pigments in a picture became the negative of itself and then spread its contrary influences throughout the photo; eventually coming back full circle. Everyone knows what it feels like to do something wrong.
Yet John would do things which, just the same, felt wrong. Sure, he’d reason this way and that and you really could see how his argument would stack up. But, it just felt off; like you yourself were somehow tainted by the act.
You can imagine my further amazement when John knocked on my door; not but five minutes ago. As I’ve said: John died yesterday, so, to see him at my door was nothing less than a dumbfoundingly amazing experience. When I had finally broken through with the shock of it all I managed but one sentence:
“Yes, I know. But I must have a chat with you my friend, please have a seat.”
I somehow managed to remember how to walk and stumbled over to the couch. I caught my breath and looked again. There he sat next to me, someone who had always been so far away from me was now sitting at my very feet.
“You’re dead.” I repeated.
“Yes lad, we’ve established that already. You might want to start with the questions: I’m afraid time is not a luxury here.”
“Why are you here?”
John stood up from the couch and I saw the very two eyes which had looked at me this entire time flash.
“I’m here because this has to be done.”
My heart started to race again. I looked at him looming above me; time stopped. As I exhaled one more time, “I don’t understand.” was what trickled from my lips.
“It’s like this lad: everyone brings it upon themselves; all the consequences of their actions. Ya see, it's like this: I had thought of myself as an individual, and was, at least in some way. The thing about it was that I was only an individual as far as I was concerned, I almost always overlooked the entirety of the big picture."
"I still don't understand. What's that got to do with me?"
"Good question neighbor! Well, there's basically three different ways. Number one: you bring it on yourself; which normally culminates in an untimely death, or an unfavorable one. Let's see, the second one was: an accident; usually the product of someone's ill deeds. Or, the third way: it's just your time to go."
"So what happened to you?"
"Number one. I had spent my former life finding ways to justify my ill deeds. I stood idly by and watched coworkers fired for minor and trivial reasons and never stood up for them. I walked apathetically by the homeless, did my best to pay as little of my taxes as was possible, I argued against welfare programs and much more because I wanted as much of my money for myself. And why not? I earned it! Neveryoumind about the countless people working the enumerable jobs that helped me on my way. I owe them nothing. The Mexican factory worker who assembled my car for a substandard wage. The fast food employee who has no health insurance, retirement plan, or vacation time. Let them worry about those problems," he roared. "These are not my problems!"
His anger and outrage then subsided and he sat back down and looked at me with all the remorse and regret of a man who realized too little too late the error of his ways. "I spent my life believing that I owed nothing to anybody, that my life was my own product."
A tear ran down his cheek and I watched the dead repent. "But it isn't so. I could have never done the great things in my life without the workings, both seen and not, of others who are less fortunate than myself. I never realized how empty a place this would be without those who clean my house, prepare my food, pick my fruits and vegetables. The seemingly trivial acts and jobs of the masses which had propelled me to such heights and gain such achievements. I never even gave them an acknowledgement or a sincere thanks."
His eyes flashed one last time and looked deep into my own soul and grinned a most deep and foreboding smile. "You knew of my affairs, didn't you? You heard me reason this way and that and allowed yourself to do nothing. In a way, you are just as responsible for my ill doings because you never stood up for what was right and just. And so; have allowed me to take advantage of the world and bend it to my advantage." My breathing stopped. "You heard how I had kept thousands of dollars from the government and asked, 'How?' My heart stopped. "You did nothing when those who needed money asked for it." The world went dark and the final words I heard were my last. "Your inaction has caused far more damage to this world than mine have because more people in this world do nothing than those who do something. You have brought this end upon yourself."
And so I passed from this world into the next. Not because I sinned, but because I didn't stop the sinner. I've given my words to a demon who's agreed to pass them on, only because it gave him a laugh. He scoffed asking me if I thought this would change anything. In hindsight of my life and the history of my former world, I suppose it won't.
Monday, May 10, 2010
To 've been here so long and not 've felt.
He's drowned everyday, never learns from mistakes.
Day in and night out, at the bottom spirit lakes.
After tens of millennia, it's never come to pass.
Sorrow's never taken a swimming class.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Branded and polished by seamless guilt.
I look to keep my stores quite full,
with actions that are not all too cruel.
He asked for a mile and I gave him an inch,
then whisked him to jail in a clever pinch.
My name is the same but my faces are many.
Righteous are those who avoid my company.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Then thought gave birth to shape and fresh earth mixed with vigor and will. The concoction came to life and brought forth the beginnings of warm watermelon afternoons, savory midsummer's salad, and oh, so delectably salted edamame.
Today it's earth and seed.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I had hauled butt up the 5. My Nixon watch informed me that I was about 15 minutes late, the tide was going up. Big thanks to the Lodown model. No thanks to Balour Drive, the street I was supposed to have taken a left at. Unfortunately for me the street sign never reflected my headlights and I drove by. I came to the end of Santa Fe in Encinitas and flipped a female dog. Five minutes later I’m walking towards the community center, and moments after that I’m the late guy coming into the meeting.
Not that many people made it out tonight, 40 max. The speakers are, however, motivated by the conviction of their undertakings. One statistic after the other, which would otherwise come off as mundane and bland, are delivered with sincerity. And it’s not that hippie, save the world sincerity that comes off as lofty and unrealistically idealistic. Theirs is legitimate.
New oil rigs loom just over our horizons and we can stop it. This is just legislation, ideas to sell underwater oilfields to companies who already own more than they drill. The companies would have us believe that the technology is safer now. The fact is that no oil rig in the world is impervious to a bad storm. Hurricane Katrina damaged 124 platforms and spilled 741,400 gallons of oil. As one person in the group pointed out: Even if we could remove oil without spilling a drop; we cannot exclude the enumerable detrimental effects that burning the refined dino droppings does to us and those around us.
But who cares right? Only 40-something people showed up, which indicates what it means to be a member of this species. Statistics and facts of what has happened elsewhere is bound to happen here with this kind of support.
Then it hits me, these people here are our leaders. They’re the first ones on the band wagon, warming up our seats. The point I made earlier, the one about; Even if we could remove oil without spilling a drop. This point was made by Bruce Bekkar of Del Mar. He’s part of the Energy Committee of Del Mar. I look around more and really see who’s at this meeting. People who are just as serious and sincere about stopping AB2719 as the speakers are. These are organizers and go-getters.
Know what else? The solutions are easy. Drop a line to your assembly member, congressperson, or senator; better yet, drop by and say, “Hi.” Make a phone call. Tweet for crying out loud. Even my mom has Facebook. Tell people that you do not want to see a new oil rig at your local beach. Let them know that this isn’t a coastal issue it’s a Californian one.
So, sound the first alarm. A ban on offshore drilling expired in 2008 and AB2719 seeks to capitalize on it. We could be seeing new rigs within three miles of our coastline soon. We know now that we can no longer say, “out of sight and out of mind.” It’s time to get up and head this one off at the pass.
Oh, and by the way, who’s your representative?