Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is That All There Is?

Oh, you know, I hate to use my PEW's insanity as a muse for essays, but I have to credit her downright nutty-ness for inspiring two bits this week. I present the following response to the similar thread as mentioned in yesterday's posting, with her response indicating how far she can take a simple request and simply run it up the flagpole. It's lucky I type fast. So, without further a-doo-doo, here's Swan Song, version 23948, in OhMy!-nor . . . gents? . . . . anna won anna too . . .

On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 6:59 AM, <> wrote:
Let's see you weren't Jewish and then you were and supposedly unitarian, you're no longer xxx and instead mostly xxxx, and now you're perfect in every, wow....the things you did are unforgivable and you pretend you didn't, which is I guess how you survive. I don't forget.

Dear _____;

You, or whoever gets to read all this sorry-ass stuff at some point, presumably in paperback, will notice how I manage to avoid dragging you through whatever my imaginary mud might be or even the actual  "things you did" that are "unforgivable." You know what those things are and I actually hate to have to accept the possibility that it tears at your mind that you weren't more careful or callous. But it doesn't matter, because that was long ago, a few incarnations back, in another life.

Had the spiral into insanity been broken, and I will point out that it was all in your hands as the alpha-mother, it would have worked out. I don't want credit for trying to do the right thing and I don't want an eternity of suffering for the wrong things, either. To take it a little further, your point of view, if I can be generous enough to call it that, is skewed by inappropriately rabid levels of ire so that it's not actually possible to either reconcile or to forgive. No one wins at such games, except for the short-term satisfaction of scoring a single tactical point. Emperors, kings, presidents, generals and diplomats all understand that hatred is ultimately destructive and counterproductive and not likely to reflect well on their respective office.

All major religions have reconciliation and forgiveness at the core of their systems. Though neither of us are religious, such practices are typically integrated into the secular world in the cycle of human relations. It is reasonable to expect that, after a time, the warfare must end and the healing begins. It's how we all manage to get along. Otherwise, I'm sure the Hatfields and McCoys would still be shooting at each other and clearly that's just no darn good.

I survive by trying to accept that things are as they are and that people are, for good or ill, how they are at this point in time, and that includes me. It helps to recognize that one is not the centre of the universe but only one fraction of roughly six billion people currently on this planet. This individual existence is only one of many generations who have gone before. Each of us and all of us will pass through the arc of time and sooner rather than later, our individual and collective experience will simply and finally fizzle out. No matter how much drama, real or perceived, may exist in one's life, the sun will still rise, and set, and rise again. And with the start of a new day brings the potential of a new beginning, a chance to try again, perhaps to win and maybe to lose, but in the end, to live.

There's a Peggy Lee song written by Lieber and Stoller that pretty much nails it for me. It's mostly spoken with the choruses sung, as if she's telling us a story with a certain palatable amount of wistfulness mixed with a dash of unhurried regret. Toward the end, she says and sings:

Then I fell in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes.
We were so very much in love.
Then one day, he went away. And I thought I'd die -- but I didn't.
And when I didn't I said to myself, "Is that all there is to love?"

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing

I know what you must be saying to yourselves.
If that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh, no. Not me. I'm in no hurry for that final disappointment.
For I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you,
when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself,

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing

So, I keep dancing. After all, what else is there to do?


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's Ain't Easy

This was written in response to something typically vile from the mother of my child after I made sure to ask her whether I could have the kid stay over a Monday since I was being robbed of Easter with her yet again, probably the last one, too, an important and traditional holiday for my now-dead mother and a point of rememberance for a time where we would go to my mother's tiny apartment in Brooklyn, where she lived with my saintly Polish cousin, gather around the table and eat good Polish food, and just enjoy, herein redacted to protect the innocent:

(She's) not under my control now. I can only encourage her, help her and try to motivate her.  I let her know that I follow the rules and that that she should follow the rules. I also let her know that people that don't follow the rules are potentially dangerous to themselves, certainly not trustworthy, and, if possible, should be avoided as immediately as she is able, with as much distance as is possible.

I will be telling her what to do as long as she listens and as long as I have an opinion from which I think she can benefit. I'm only afraid that she won't keep her own sound counsel and thereafter make good choices. I fear her good nature will fool her into trusting those who should not be trusted and who will waste her time, energy and emotion for their own nefarious purposes. The world can be a very nasty place, even for the well-initiated and the price to be paid by the meek is great. What's worse is that for every person who lacks unreasonable circumspection because, after all, why should they come to harm, especially from someone they should ostensibly trust, there is a skilled hunter waiting to make them their own. These denizens are efficient because they are absent remorse - there's no hesitation in subsuming the victim, no pause, no mercy. Yet, I believe it's better to be the meal rather than suffer without a soul.

So am I worried about losing "control" over (her)? Let's see - I don't hunt her down by phone or text except when I am concerned about her and when I do get her, I'm mindful of the fact that she may be involved in something else and I don't utterly demand her attention at that moment - I let her be. I don't pry into her private conversations with others or try to deconstruct her relationships. I protect her privacy and I encourage her to be self-aware. I also encourage her to be active with people on a one-to-one basis and to make choices. If these actions were inverted, THEN my motives would be suspect.

I miss (her) every day. But, it's part of life. Parents are only a launching pad. But as such, I intend to keep trying to be the best at it I can be, because that's my kid and my responsibility is to help her hopes materialize, no matter what. And that's one way I can stay just a little bit closer, but not too close, behind her, but further and further back, ready to catch her if she starts to fall and needs a hand. Even if that's my only job, that'll be enough for me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Slobidarity, Yes

During a time where the middle class is just about at the midpoint of its disappearing act, one would think that there should be a grass-roots revolt by the oppressed merchant and proletariat classes, but no. The Tea Party, or Tea Baggers, as Bill Maher likes to call them, inexplicably employ sufficient leverage to scare the centre even out of John Boehner. And that rightward momentum of the movement itself flies in the face of logic: middle-class, middle-aged  people facing effectively stagnant income, reduced benefits they either need now or will need at retirement or when they get sick busily campaigning against their own interests.

One would think it's the perfect time for unions to step in and up the ante and not just with the occasional display of a giant inflatable rat. And if the unions are worried about small-shop viability, there's no shortage of bedraggled, disenfranchised workers out there. Wal-Mart alone employees 2.1 million people across the globe.

So, say you want to start a union at your place of work. The logical first step would be to find out a bit of general information about unions and how they can help in the process. Of course, you'd want to limit your exposure in getting "caught," and what better way than making semi-anonymous contact by e-mail?

I tried it. The result in the the screen capture above. And this was through the national AFL-CIO / Teamsters site. I followed up with a call, which referred me to someone else, who gave me the number of a local organizer, who's number was disconnected. So, in the solemn quest to find out whether I could organize my imaginary workplace, I exposed my theoretically soon-to-be unemployed underbelly to quite a few people, something a real and frightened worker would probably not do.

My mother was a union worker only because she couldn't work without it. The story of the growth of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union has its roots in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Into the mid-50's and into the very early 70's, the unions saw the great arc of their cumulative success begin a long march into the sea until today, where they seem less than relevant, since the shift of American business has been to non-smokestack industries and so many "traditional" jobs have simply gone away, either overseas or as victim of technology or forced efficiency.

With all of this motivation, history and new opportunity, the unions, like the left in general, cower and shirk, still, apparently, not ready for prime-time. Oh, well. Welcome to Wal-Mart!