Archive for the ‘Human Nature’ Category

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Village Voice Empowering Pimps!

March 18, 2012

Everyone should read this NY Times article. I think a general boycott of the Village Voice is in order and I like reading the Village Voice. I for one will not read it again until they stop this deplorable practice.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/kristof-where-pimps-peddle-their-goods.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

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Jack Kerouac is a Friend of Mine

March 14, 2012

I made reference the other day to Jack Kerouac being important to me,  it did not take long for curious readers to inquire as to why.  I’ve dusted off some old thoughts on it and post them in response.

Jack Kerouac was a friend of mine.  OK, OK so I never knew the guy, we are kindred spirits nonetheless.   Hell, we even share the same birthday.  I have been told I am the last of the true bohemians.  That may or may nor be true.  If I am a bohemian, it would be out of character for me to say, either way.

So many people think it romantic in some fashion to live a life of reckless abandon.  Other’s feel it is just plain stupid.  I don’t accept that I am doing that.  I live true to my own self and make no apologies for it.  I am a poet at heart; it defines the very core of me. I take life in, allow it to affect me, to change me, and then write about it.  Not all poets change the world, as Jack did, but we do start the quiver in the snow that leads to the avalanche of change.  That is enough for me.

Jack and I differ on one point, being self-destructive.  I am not sure he understood that his life was self-destructive.  Moreover, I am not sure he would have cared – it simply was who he was.  As for me, my only vice is coffee (flirting with women is not a vice).  I drink it by the gallon.  Black is best but I will take some cream if I have to drink the swill from Starbucks.  Unlike Jack, my influences from the world take time, his happened in a thunder-clap. Being self-destructive seemed to be part of that; it just goes against my nature.

Jack shook the world with mighty jolts, his time called for that.  His writings challenge us to look at things with a different prospective.  How boring would life be if we were all stuck in “Ward and June Cleaver” mode?  We have Jack, and all the bohemians of his day, to thank for it not being so.  They opened the door that would lead to free-spirited sixties.

As a poet, I seek the smaller patches of snow to turn loose, the ones that live high on the mountain, the ones that take time and great effort to reach.  You see, my mind is more singular in nature; my poetry is about the smaller things in life.   For me, it’s about seeing the world in a single flake of snow.  Jack saw a world full of complexities and railed against it.  We both see the need for change.

It is for certain the world needs change, to always change.  That is what bohemians understand.  I don’t want to change the entire world in a day; I just want change to start.  I am grateful to Jack for all he did. I’m not sure without him; I could live the life I do.  Even if you disagree with the choices he made, you have to admit he did change how we see the world – in this way; he will always be a kindred spirit and a mentor. This is I say Jack is a friend.

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On My Day

March 12, 2012

I was born fifty years ago today.  While my mom might see this as one of the more important days for that reason, the rest of the world may need a bit more to truly appreciate March 12th as a special day.  Of course, many may point out their own birthday with its special events too, but that is for them to do.  Besides, it’s my birthday after all so just go with it.

Today, March 12, 2012, is the 72nd day of the year.  Normally, it is the 71st but with leap year and all, it moved down one space.  Even so, regardless of leap year, there are 294 days until the end of the year.  You know, thinking about leap year, one has to wonder why we did not just expand the length of a second a bit to make up the difference so there would be no need for leap year.  Oh well, we are sort of in it now and it would be more trouble than it’s worth to change.  Today, the moon is waning gibbous, which means it is less than full and more than half-lighted, but getting smaller as it moves to a New Moon.  While the exact duration changes depending upon your location, in North America, today has between 11 and 12 hours of sunlight.

The weather on March 12th is somewhat unpredictable as these days in March precede the season changing from winter to spring.  For instance, on St. Simons Island, GA (where I grew up) the record low temperature is 33°F from 1969 and a record high of 90°F just two years earlier.  So some years you can work on your tan while other years you feel more like character from Nanook of the North.

OK, so as interesting as all that may be, it does not make March 12th all that special.  Here are a few more interesting points about it:

  • In 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Guides, later known as Girl Scouts.  FYI – that’s 100 years ago today!  Just think of all those wonderful cookies!  That in itself makes today special.
  • In 1911 Capitan Albert Berry performed the first documented parachute jump from an airplane.  His account says he fell over 500 feet before shoot opened.  That must have been a heart-stopper.  It is scary to jump out of a plane today, imagine being the first to do it.
  • The House and Senate vote to accept Hawaii as the 50th state.  It was not officially admitted until August 21st, after residents voted on statehood but the day House and Senate agree on something must be special.
  •  In 1789, the US Post Office was founded, special thanks to Ben Franklin.  Who does not like getting a letter?  They are much better than email.  Why not celebrate today and write a friend a letter?  I bet it makes you feel as special as it does them to receive it.
  •  In 1970, the voting age is lowered from 21 to 18.  Again, it is the House and Senate thing but this time we throw in ¾ of the states too!
  • In a strange coincidence, two figures from two of the greatest rock and roll bands got married two years apart.  Paul McCartney (The Beatles) married Linda Eastman in 1969 and Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones) married Bianca Morena in 1971.
  • In 1945, Britain celebrates the first Empire Day.  Not sure what to make of this one but sharing my birthday with Empire Day does sound special.
  • In 1933, FDR gives his first “fireside chat.”  Just think how nice it would be today if one of our leaders would simply explain what is going on without all the rhetoric.  How special would that be?
  • In 1903, the New York Highlanders become members of the American League.  You may know them better as the New York Yankees.  Lou Gehrig is one of my childhood heroes.  It is nice for me to share a point in common with his team.

The list of famous people born on March 12th is pretty impressive too:

  • 1962, Darryl Strawberry, born in Los Angeles, California.  He played right field for the Mets, Dodgers, and Yankees.
  • 1960, Courtney B. Vance, born in Detroit, Michigan, actor, Hamburger Hill, Law and Order CI
  • 1956, Dale Murphy, born in Portland, Oregon, slugger, Atlanta Braves, 2 time NL MVP
  • 1948, James Taylor, born in Boston, Massachusetts, vocalist and guitarist, Up on the Roof
  • 1947, Mitt Romney, American Politician
  • 1946, Liza Minnelli, born in Hollywood, California, singer and actress, Sterile Cuckoo, Cabaret
  • 1940, Al Jarreau, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, jazz singer, Moonlighting
  • 1939. Barbara Feldon, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, actress, Agent 99-Get Smart
  • 1932, Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador to United Nations, 1977 – 1979, Mayor-D-Atlanta
  • 1931, William “Buckwheat” Thomas, actor, Little Rascals
  • 1922, Jack Kerouac, Beat writer, On the Road, Mexico Blues
  • 1921, Giovanni Agnelli, CEO, Fiat Automakers.  This has to be special, Fiat owns Ferrari!  Without question, my favorite car.
  • 1831, Clement Studebaker, automobile pioneer.  We do not hear much about Studebaker today.  The stopped making cars in the 60s, still there is one small slice of the old company left – AM General.  If you do not recognize the name, you sure will the product they make, the Humvee.  Another notable vehicle from them is the Jeep of WWII.   Another point, go Google “Studebaker trees,” it will show you something really neat.

Of course, this is just a small sample of the many, many famous people and events that are tied to March 12.  If I had to pick one that reflects me most it is being born on the same day of the year as Jack Kerouac.  That explains a lot actually.

So, there is it – my special day; my gift to you.  Go out and enjoy it and embrace the wonderful world out there.  I only ask that you take a moment and look around to see it.  Better still, perhaps this will inspire you to find out about your special day and its wonderful ties to you.

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Water, water, everywhere!

December 30, 2011

When I travel I like to read the local newspaper.  Now, being in Houston, the local paper of choice is the Houston Chronicle.  According to its page in Wikipedia (Houston Chronicle), it enjoys the ninth largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States and managed the advent of the internet very well as their website receives over 75-millon views per month.  It is an article in today’s edition (Horswell) that brings something to mind.

In her article titled City Lost Millions to Water Leak, Cindy Horswell touches on many key factors regarding wasting a natural resource, in this case – water.  She rightly points out the cost of pumping, treating and dispersing water, only to have it wasted by a leaky supply system.  Such problems in a water system incur cost while failing to deliver revenue to offset them.  It is not a small amount of water, the article cites the city’s own data showing over 18-billion, yes that’s billion with a “b,” gallons of water lost this year.  To put that into some sort of perspective, that is around 900,000 average-sized swimming pools worth of water.

The article brings a specific problem into focus; the water system’s infrastructure is in need of major repairs.   Cost is always an issue but the story is correct to point out that past neglect leaves Houston with a much larger problem today.  If taken seriously, the water system can be fixed.   Moreover, providing funds for ongoing maintenance and repair needs to be a constant priority to prevent a second round of staggering leaks and the cost to return the system to a manageable state.  900,000 swimming pools of waste is simply unacceptable but as bad as that is, there is another problem brewing, one the city council cannot fix – waste by users.

Waste in home and commercial use has two basic forms, wasteful use of water and leaks. Wasteful use refers to things like brushing your teeth with the water running, wasting about 1.3 gallons with each brushing.  Much like the issues Houston now faces, leaks are primarily caused by not properly maintaining infrastructure.  Home and businesses owners fail to make needed repairs and face the same sort of increased repair costs in the long run.

While the amount of water wasted per home or business might be small, the overall waste for all homes and businesses is staggering.  Take the brushing example; let’s assume 40% of Houstonians leave the water running while brushing.  For the larger Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area and its 6-million people means that 40% would waste 3,120,000 gallons per day or 1,138,800,000 per year.  Just from something simple like brushing!

As for leaks, a 2 drip per minute leak on a single faucet wastes 69 gallons per year.  If we assume 25% of homes in the Houston area have at least one faucet that leaks, 27,577,540.5 gallons wasted annually. That’s 27-million gallons wasted over silly, simple to fix, faucet leaks.

As bad as faucet leaks are, they pale when compared to a leaky toilet.  Most toilet leaks are caused by worn-out flapper vales.  This is the big rubber flap at the bottom of the tank.  A leaky toilet wastes around 200 gallons per day.  If 10% of Houston area homes have leaking toilets, that adds up to 31,973,960 gallons per day or 11,670,495,400 gallons per year.

Of course, these are but a few of the more obvious examples of waste and leaks and only takes the 1,598,698 homes and apartments in Harris County  (U.S. Census Bureau) into account.  Commercial businesses most likely waste much more.  The point is waste is not limited to the supply system.  Business and individuals collectively have just as large a role to play in water conservation.

Many arguments are made for and against particular ways to conserve water.  Avoiding that argument, here is something we all can agree on – cost.  Using the numbers calculated above and the price per 1,000 gallons used in the newspaper article ($2.81), Houstonians spent just over $36-millon this year in wasted water; a whopping 12.8-billion gallons.  Again, that is billion with a “b.”  Add that up with waste at the water system level and Greater Houston wasted at least 30-billions gallons of water in 2011. Using the pool example, that is 1.5-million pools worth of water.

Houston faces substantial cost to repair its water supply system and it must be done.  Still, that does not end the problem as waste at the system level is only part of the problem.  There is much lower hanging fruit to be had for all of us at the individual and corporate levels saving as much, if not more water.  As the Chronicle’s article concludes:  “Our water is precious and growing scarce.  It’s not that limitless supply that we used to think.”

Bibliography

Horswell, Cindy. “City lost millions to water leaks.” Houston Chronicle 30 12 2011: A1, A15.

Houston Chronicle. “Houston Chronicle.” 29 12 2011. Wikipedia. 29 12 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston_Chronicle&gt;.

U.S. Census Bureau. State & County QuickFacts, Harris County Texas. 2010. 30 12 2011 <http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/48201.html&gt;.

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Samuel Dealey, American Naval Hero

December 11, 2011

World War II is full of heroes, as all wars seem to be.  Still, given the scope, scale and especially the sacrifice of our entire nation, the heroes of World War II stand apart as even the average soldier and sailor would be heroic, judged by the standards of other wars.  Samuel David Dealey is just such a standout when it comes to heroes.  His story speaks directly to the spirit of America and the ability of Americans to put country above self.

Born September 13, 1906 in Dallas Texas, Samuel‘s father died when he was six, causing his mother to move the family to California for a time.  He returned to Texas and finished high school and spent two years studying at Southern Methodist University before transferring to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  Sam was not the most dedicated student to say the least.  His studies lapsed at Annapolis in 1925 for a time.  He buckled down in 1926 and graduated in the middle of the pack in the class of 1930.  By all accounts, Sam was a smart young man who simply did not apply himself.

Entering the fleet in 1930, Dealey served on several ships (including the USS Nevada (BB- 36) and the USS Wyoming (BB-32)).  In 1934, Samuel made a decision that changed his life; he joined the United States Submarine Service where both his talent and bravado served his needs as well as the Navy’s.  Rising quickly, in 1941 he took command of USS S-20 (SS-120), an experimental submarine, stationed in New London, Connecticut.  He was serving on S-20 when war broke out with Japan attacking Pearl Harbor.

Due to his success on S-20, Sam was assigned to USS Harder (SS-257) a new-construction submarine as its commanding officer.  Many of the improvements tested while he commanded S-20, including the diesel-electric drive, were used on Harder.  After commissioning and shake-down in New London, while in the Caribbean, Harder survived an attack by US aircraft that mistook her for an enemy submarine.  After that, she sailed to Pearl Harbor to join the fleet in mid-1943.

Movie lore often obscures the true acts of heroism as they usurp notable achievements to advance their plots.  Separating fact from fiction becomes very hard.  Such is the case when talking about Commander Dealey.  You see, Commander Dealey earned a nickname during his time on Harder.  He was known as “The Destroyer Killer.”  It seems a requirement for World War II submarine movies to include what is known as the “down the throat” shot.  This is when you fire at a contact that is heading right for you and dive under them as your torpedo slams into them.  Commander Dealey did not invent the maneuver, but it can be argued he perfected it.   During his fifth war patrol, Dealey and the crew of Harder sank five Japanese destroyers in four days.  His tactics we so successful the Japanese thought the island of Tawi-Tawi was surrounded by numerous submarines and abandoned it as a base of operations.  The fact is, the numerous submarines they feared turned out to be just one, USS Harder.  For his actions during this war patrol, Commander Dealey was awarded the Medal of Honor.  The citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the USS Harder during her fifth war patrol in Japanese controlled waters. Floodlighted by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Cmdr. Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surface and, within nine minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amidship. Evading detection he penetrated the waters of  Tawi Tawi with the Japanese fleet six miles away and scored death blows on two patrolling destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by the concussion of the first exploding target and the second vessel nose diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high-speed. Sighted by a large hostile fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow towards the lead destroyer for another “down-the-throat” shot, fired three bow tubes and promptly crash dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the Harder passed beneath. This remarkable record of five vital Japanese destroyers sunk in five short-range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Cmdr. Dealey and his indomitable command.

In another act of daring, Commander Dealey placed his submarine nose-first against a reef off the Woleai Island to rescue a downed and injured pilot.  Using he engines to keep the submarine against the reef, Harder faced continued sniper and machine gun fire, as well and horrific rip-currents along the reef.  The crew used a rubber raft to cross the reef and retrieve the pilot.  Without his and his crew’s extraordinary efforts, the pilot would have fallen into enemy hands.

In the end, Commander Dealey simply took the fight to the enemy.  He was well aware of the danger he faced with the tactics he used.  Though successful as they were, sadly, USS Harder was lost to enemy action during her sixth war patrol with a loss of all hands aboard, including Commander Dealey.

While much controversy surrounds the reasons for this sixth patrol, nothing can diminish the bravery and sacrifice of men such as Commander Dealey and his crew.  They join the fifty-one other submarines, 374 officers, and 3131 men lost in World War II.  During the war, the US Submarine Service lost a higher percentage of men and any other service.  Remarkably, the entire service only made up 1.6% of the sailors in the US Navy but accounted for over 54% of Japanese ships sunk.  The submariners of World War II put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis.  Commander Dealey exemplifies the spirit and love of country these special men had, to borrow from Winston Churchill “Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners.” 

During his time as Captain of Harder, Commander Dealey was awarded the Navy Cross with three gold stars, the army’s Distinguished Service Cross (presented to him by Gen. Douglas MacArthur), two presidential unit citations, and a Purple Heart, all in addition to the Medal of Honor.  He was responsible for sinking over 15,000 tons (16 ships) and damaging over 27,000 tons of enemy shipping.

Today, if you visit the submarine base in New London, you will see most buildings are named to honor a hero of the submarine fleet.  Dealey Center, the base cinema complex, is named in honor of Commander Dealey and dedicated to the memory of him, his crew and the USS Harder.

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Orwell or Huxley, Different Sides of the Same Coin

May 22, 2011

While many writers influence society, few if any, impact modern political thinking more than Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.  Born only nine years apart, both men grew up in the pre-World War I British Empire.  Moreover, Huxley, for a short time, taught French at Eaton College to a young Eric Blair who later took the penname George Orwell.  From this point on, their lives moved in cycles of circular motion rather than parallel, at times agreeing, at others times diametrically opposed.

Both men wrote about social injustice of sorts but approached it from differing directions.  In Orwell’s mind, government controls society in a totalitarian fashion.  In fact, the quote “big brother is watching” comes from his novel 1984.  Huxley, on the other hand, sees personal liberties eroded by a society jaded and overwhelmed with excess exposure and stimulation of unimportant issues.  Perhaps, in the end, we will find both are true with the multinational, multicultural society we have today.

It is common today to see comparisons of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World boiled down to Orwell fear of a government that bans books and  Huxley’s fear of  a society that chooses not to read them.  While in a broad sense the comparison is true, it does lend itself to Huxley’s fear of people whom cannot be bothered with knowledge in-depth and satisfy themselves with the cursory.  In truth, both theories are intertwined and simply different parts of a larger perplexity.  That is, we as a society are satisfied with filling our minds with stupidly numbing trivia, all the while our freedoms erode.  It is the modern-day equivalent to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.  We are more interested in who Arnold Schwarzenegger screwed over a decade ago than the very serious issue of our national debt, or the wars we are fighting overseas.

Perhaps we are well on the way to the world Orwell predicted in 1984 and it is with the compliancy Huxley points out in Brave New World used as the roadmap.  For a government to control its citizens, as in 1984, they must be pacified.  Nazi Germany pacified its citizens through fear and intimidation but their primary passivity stems from a post-World War I government that simply degenerated into chaos.  This chaos created apathy and set the stage for a government with totalitarian goals.

With a different set of particulars, are we not on the same road today?  In Orwell’s thinking, such a government keeps the truth from its citizens.  In Huxley’s thinking, there is no need as its citizens are only interested in the superficial.  For instance, when the Cable News Network (CNN) began in 1980, it started the 24-hour, continuous news cycle.  As other broadcasters followed, competition required stations to via for ratings and advertising dollars.  Soon, daily news was more about keeping viewers with entertainment than news itself.  Soon, the line between the two blurred and now a valid news item becomes mixed with trivia and intrigue.  We no longer see the difference and our government freely hides information we need within the background noise we don’t.  We are setting the stage for an apathy that will allow our government to steal our freedom as easily as pickpocket unknowingly steals a wallet.  By the time we figure it out, the wallet of freedom is long gone.

That is not to imply some vast conspiracy on the part of governments or corporations.  No, it is our own unwillingness to seek information in-depth and question what we see that drives us to fulfill this Orwell-Huxley future.  If we watch shows like Jersey Shore instead of 60-Minutes, we will see more shows like the former and even the latter will change its format to include such fluff to remain relevant.  That is not the fault of government or broadcasters.  It is our fault; it is societies fault.

When we wake up and find an Orwellian government in place, it is because we now live in Huxley’s view of society.  We need to step back from our over-stimulated, under-informed lives and demand more from our government and news organizations in the way of valid information.  Otherwise we will go beyond Orwell’s bad dream and enter a Kafkaesque nightmare.

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Mr. Murphy and the Problem of Size

October 13, 2010

Even in life’s sad and most trying moments, humor finds its way in, not the Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First” humor, but the little things we did not see coming.  Maybe it is a way for humans to deal with heavy emotion; perhaps it is more luck.  Regardless, even years later, it is the lighthearted moments we often recall.  Soon after my father passed away, just such a moment occurred.

A few days before, I had to face the fact Daddy was dying.  He had cancer and that is not a pleasant way to go.  I can sure understand how people, who are touched by this evil, feel drug companies are more interested in prolonging treatment for profit than earnestly seeking a cure.  Still, this was the situation we were in and the family was gathering as families do at times like this.

For me, I took a leave of absence from work and headed home.  One night, I was awoken by a phone call and by sunup, I had thrown a mixed bag of clothing together and was on the road.  I lived in North Carolina at the time and home, St Simons Island, was about a six-hour drive.  Perhaps it was my haste in packing, or maybe I just did not accept my father was dying and had my mind elsewhere, but for whatever reason – I did not pack a suit.  Basically, I had toiletries, jeans, and shirts, not much more.  Strangely, I did pack my dress shoes.  Since then, I’ve asked myself a thousand times how I could pack the shoes and not the suit to go with them.  I guess some questions in life never get an answer.

Coming home during a time like this is bittersweet.  The last thing my dad needed was a bunch of family members sitting around crying and feeling sorry about things.  It was enough to know we were there for a reason and enjoy the time left.  Besides, contrary to common thought, it is a very busy time; at least it was for me.  Every day some little project needed attention.  Being busy was a blessing of sorts as it kept my mind off the inevitable.

That is the way with things inevitable – they happen whether we want them to or not.  When dad passed away, all the emotion held inside found its way out and seemed to make up for lost time.  I have always handled stress, but this time, stress handled me.  Stress took me to a surreal world where seconds lasted hours and days seemed beyond measure.  Still, there was a lot to do so I marched on, it is what my father would have wanted, and the family needed everyone rowing in the same direction.

During this time, where my hour-long-seconds had control, a small seed took root.  It was more a feeling than something I knew but I was absolutely sure I had forgotten something.  As the time past, and my seedling grew into a mighty oak, the harder I tried to remember, the deeper in fog the issue slipped.  It slipped, that is, until late in the afternoon the day before my father’s funeral and the fog cleared and I understood what that oak tree had been trying to tell me all along – I had no suit to wear.

While it’s true the fashion police would certainly let me off with a warning, I was not about to show up to my own father’s funeral in a worn pair of jeans and a Crab Shack tee-shirt.  It’s not like the tee-shirt had holes in it or anything.  OK – the jeans might have had holes, but not the tee-shirt.  Still, having “Where the elite eat in their bare feet,” scrawled across my chest somehow just did not seem right.  So, off to town I went, surely I could find something “off the rack,” as it were.

Now, I’m as fair-minded as the next guy, but who gave this Murphy fellow permission to go around making laws to begin with?  Regardless of how I feel about Mr. Murphy, I discovered there is really no way around his law “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”  First store – closed.  Second store – everything required tailoring.  The drama went on and on, at each store, something stood between me and a proper suit of clothes.  All I purchased for my trouble was more stress on an already stressful day.

Finally, I went to Belks.  I figured I would throw myself on the mercy of the clerk and hope for the best.  There he was, the slim, well-dressed salesman with effeminate features and manners.  I have all the style sense God gave a bowling ball, so I was really happy to have someone other than a teenager with strange colored hair to help me.  Mr. Murphy must have been asleep on that point.

Within a few minutes, there were several jackets laid out.  We, well the salesman, decided I should go with a jacket and slacks rather than a suit as we could find pants that did not require hemming.  Still feeling stressed, I relied on his judgment completely.  Then it happened, we were selecting pants and he asked “what size?”  Guys tend to think of things like clothing size as if it were some sort of quantum physics, understanding it is just beyond most humans.  I would be happy if everything was small, medium, or large.

There I was, trying to figure out what size pants I wear.  Normally, I think it would have been an easy question to answer.  Certainly, I understood it.  Finally, after what seemed many more of my hour-long seconds, I knew I had to say something; I blurted out 32.  The salesman placed his hand on his hip, gave me that knowing kind of frown, and said, “Oh please, I’ll bring the 36s.”  I laughed and laughed.  I literally laughed until I cried.  I laughed so much the salesman started laughing with me.  There we stood, in Belk’s Department Store, laughing like two hyenas.

You see, as much as Murphy would like to control things, perhaps divine providence uses him to set our lives up where something small and silly, like the salesman’s comment, is just the cure for horribly stressful situations.  In my case, it returned my mind to a sense of normalcy and allowed me to face the following day’s events.  I took my jacket and proper fitting 36s and went home.

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