They Weren't Prophets

When I was younger my stepfather was fond of ribbing me about my political positions. I presume he chocked my ideas and ideals up to my uninformed youth or an unhealthy gullibility about the nature of government. Whether it was gun control, the rights of the accused, the nature of foreign policy or climate control, he almost always fell back on a handful of similar arguments, arguments I have often heard echoed by conservatives of all stripes:

'The founding fathers wanted/intended/wrote X and so X is therefore correct.'

This position is all well and good but is it really relevant to talk about the current state of America in terms of what men two centuries in their graves thought when compared against the realities of today?

The founders didn't live in the twentieth century. They didn't have the internet, aviation, mass media, telephony, urbanism, nuclear weapons, factory farms, labor unions, germ theory, mass transit, space travel, data mining, ballistic missiles, universal suffrage, universal literacy, twenty-four hour news, power grids, health codes or even a standing army.

The founders didn't have to contend with Rove v. Wade or the multinational corporations. The founders had never heard of global warming or embryonic research. They didn't have to battle overpopulation and they'd never heard the word 'nonproliferation.' The framers certainly knew what abortion was but they didn't make a national issue out of it. They didn't care one lick about gay rights. The founders didn't have to contend with a vocal, violent, apocalyptic death cult that actively desired to conquer and subjugate the world in the name of Jesus and that was disproportionately represented in governing bodies across the nation.

Most importantly, the founders were trying to found a new nation rather than perpetuate one that was already hundreds of years old. Thus, they were allowed, and should be understood to have made mistakes. y

While the men who founded our country had plenty of good ideas that have persisted through the intervening decades, they also had a large share of bad ideas as well. They believed that human beings could be owned like livestock. They believed that only white land-owning men should be allowed to vote or hold office. They believed that senators should be elected by their state legislatures rather than by citizens. Let me also remind everyone that the current version of government, as created by the founders, is a second draft. They had to scrap the first government and start over when the original version collapsed after less than twelve years.

The words of the founding fathers are not and should not be treated as scripture.

The history of our country is defined as much by the struggle to shrug off the founders' bad ideas as it is by the attempt to live by the good ones. With less than two decades remaining until the country's semiquincentennial, it might do us all some good to think and talk about what we want our country to be in the here and now rather than concentrating on what a gaggle of rich white elitists wanted for a fundamentally different place nearly a quarter of a millennium ago.

I should also note that, in the past fifteen years or so, my stepfather has substantially liberalized his thinking, probably as a result of spending those years with my mother.

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Just Food for Thought

Suppose you drive an older, but not classic, automobile. It's got some dents and dings but is in fantastic running shape for a vehicle of its age.

Now let's say that you see a late model, high dollar, luxury car about to commit a blatant traffic violation, running a yield sign, for instance. If you were to brake, they will pass on and no one would be the wiser. If you do not brake they will side swipe you and, legally speaking, it will be entirely their fault. There is little risk of injury as the speeds involved are quite low.

So, given that any serious damage to your car will lead an insurance company to total it, do you slow down and let them sail on by or do you take the opportunity to make a rich asshole that can't be bothered to read street signs buy you a new car?

Just a hypothetical question.

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Clutter, filth, disarray.

It mucks up the doings of an orderly world. Common objects become impossible to find and one's own house in an embarrassment. A disheveled home is a sign of a lazy soul that screams to all the world, "I don't care," and not in an admirable way.

If only I didn't hate cleaning even more.

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There's a Hole in the World Tonight

Proximity is such a delicate and powerful thing. At times, all that we feel and all that we know is defined in the space between. We are conscious of the one beside us only by the gap that separates flesh from flesh and mind from mind and soul from soul. The very experience of humanity is one of opposition, of separation, of being one and not the other.

My Queen and I, in an age I thought I had forgotten, would stand apart but not so far that the remainder of the world could tell. Like universes bent upon one another in many dimensions we would hold ourselves apart by the vast gulf of millimeters. We would experience a closeness no touch can equal. She would lean to kiss, but only tease and pull away, knowing that I would follow. I would follow her scent, her breath, the tickle of her hair and the feel of her gaze. We would loose ourselves and worship one another in a fraction of an inch. We would feel one another across a cleft as narrow as a synapse as one perceives distant thunder, barely felt but shaking the very Earth. Ours was not a knowledge of touch but of electricity in Jacob's ladder, of spark and fuel.

Love is knowing difference in another as part of one's self, of bridging the galactic hair's breadth between souls without moving.

Anger is love disappointed.

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I am More Angry than I Have Ever Been.

I'm seething, practically foaming at the mouth. Rage saturates me as if a dragon had exhaled into my veins. I want to spit blood. I want to break something or someone. Pure, unadulterated fury.

I awoke today to find that my car had been broken into.

The window had been smashed and the back seat rifled through. This, unto itself, is troubling but not altogether unexpected. I live in a major urban center, after all. Such things are simply a question of when, not if, they will happen. I've been here for about five years so I suppose I was due.

If they'd stolen my car stereo, I would have understood. If they'd stolen the printer that was in the back seat, I could handle that. If they had stolen the cash out of the glove compartment, that would have made sense. Though, after checking everything, after having the police go over my car, after close examination of everything in the vehicle, it seems they only stole one thing.

They stole my parachute.

Of all the things that someone could have taken, they stole my fucking parachute.

Am I pissed because, unless it's recovered, I'll have to rent gear to jump until I can afford a new rig, a bit, yes. Am I angry because it's the second most expensive thing I own after the car, itself, just a touch. Am I put out because this will hugely slow down my progress in the sport, yeah, somewhat.

But, what really infuritates me is that there is no reason for a common criminal to steal a parachute! They probably don't even know what it is and, even if they do, it has no use-value to anyone but a skydiver. If the thief isn't a jumper, he or she couldn't do anything with it. While rigs are expensive bits of machinery, they're next to impossible to sell if you don't know where to go. Pawn shops won't take them. Sports consignment stores don't deal in them. This person would have to actually know or be a skydiver in order to unload it and, if that skydiver is local go Georgia, they couldn't possibly jump the rig because the first thing you do when gear is stolen is call around all the drop zones and tell them about it.

I see three possibilities:

1. It was stolen by a crackhead or some other local lowlife. They thought it was a backpack and took it thinking they would get whatever was inside. When they tried to open it and realized that it wasn't a bag, they discarded it. I've already checked all the dumpsters for a quarter mile radius on exactly this contingency. I don't like to think about this possibility too much because, in such a case, it is almost certainly gone forever.

2. It was stolen by a crackhead or some other local lowlife. Whether they know what it is or not they're going to try and sell it. I've gone into all the consignment shops and such in the neighborhood pursuing this and I'm going to start calling pawn shops in just a few minutes. The police will also check on this once a police report is generated but that won't be until tuesday.

3. It was stolen by a skydiver who knew exactly what it was. This is the possibility I find most troubling since this would be a serious offense to the skydiving community. Though, if this is the case I'm pretty likely to get it back since the USPA keeps records of stolen gear and they're going to try and jump it or sell it eventually.

So, if you find yourself in the VA Highlands or L5P part of Atlanta and you see someone wearing a black and gray Javelin skydiving rig, beat them to within an inch of their life and then call me to come get the rig. And please don't get any blood on the canopy. It never comes out.

And the worst part, my car was in the parking lot of a church.

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"Do you ever get sick of it?" she asked.

"Sick of what?" I say, peering over the lip of an over-sized beer.

"Sick of the movie thing. Sick of the fourteen hour days and all the weeks on the road and all the stress and not getting anything for it except a crappy paycheck and a line on IMDB?"

I furrow my browns, "Sick of life?"

She smiles and snickers. "Don't you ever think about getting a regular desk job, nine to five, pension plan, getting to go home before ten at night?"

I mull on this and take a hefty swig. "No," I say. "I have never contemplated suicide."

I don't think she quite understands my meaning.

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Mongoose D-40 Saves a Beleagured Soul - Old Repost

Traffic doesn't matter.
Heat and humidity do not matter.
Gravity does not matter, only rubber and pavement.
Work and debt and rent and bills and lapsed 401's and cash in pockets and the price of petrol and financial responsibility do not matter.
Whatareyougoingtodowhenyougraduate? and other pressing questions of life importance that normally weigh down like millions of tons of seawater on a decaying galleon, send resumes, network, find a job, entered an uncertain field, should have been a lawyer, eight years on college, never going back to a cubicle, got to schmoose and everything you thought when you finished high school turns out to be a lie. These things to not matter.
Tomorrow does not matter.
Destinations do not matter.
*pump* sweat matters
Boss doesn't like the haircut but they're probably going to fire him and I'll be stuck with a devil I don't know not a devil I do and I couldn't care as long as they don't make me get a new set of uniforms for the fourth time in a year, doesn't matter.
Premature balding doesn't matter.
HVAC in the apt never quite works right doesn't matter.
Haven't had a full night's sleep in weeks. This doesn't matter.
*pump* Lactic acid matters
Weather doesn't matter.
I'm a bad Pagan and I know it. Doesn't matter.
Father was a genius that had accomplished more than me by several orders of magnitude at this age, been on the stage before the queen and performed at the Smithsonian when the best I can muster is four hundred head for a Halloween Rocky Horror, does not matter.
*pump* Aerobic breathing matters
Can't give up the past. Doesn't matter.
Crooked teeth, no insurance, doesn't matter.
No helmet, doesn't matter.
*pump* The next mile matters.
De Jour means something different in English than it does in French but no one seems to realize this.
Politics do not matter
Not quite the normal kid, never beaten up on the playground but not quite right either, mind like a glockenspiel/kaleidoscope/Henry Miller novel/bad infomercial/ brick wall/ boobytrap/ freight train/ broken toilet/ rococo sculpture/ lollipop/ and something else that escapes right now but be sure it's either pedantic or a complete non sequitur and all the little things that would eat that mind alive if not for fifty one minutes between 5600 Rswl Rd and home, five times a week. Doesn't matter.

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Make A Wish.

"Make a wish," she says, handing me a penny, an ancient, greenly corroding thing only barely recognizable as currency.

I take it and she smiles that panoramic, toothy smile, her eyes receding as her cheeks rise. I regard it carefully as the subtle oxidations make dust on my fingertips. Lincoln is barely recognizable. The memorial is a blur. The date is a hazy guess at best. Placing it atop my fist I aim for the second tier of the fountain and send the rotting coin spinning end over end like a planet's cross section revolving in time - lapse. I miss and it bounces off the knee of a gaudy and acid eaten cherub. It drops into the first tier to join a myriad of other coins.

"What did you wish for?" she asks.

Her jaw drops as I hop over the side of the fountain and into the pool, soaking my slacks and bringing the park's passers-by to a halt. My slacks will dry and the park goers, well, I could care. I dig in the layer of coins on the pool's bottom, drowning my shirt sleeves as well as my pants.

"What on Earth are you doing?" she cries.

Still digging about the coinage, I reply, "I wished for my penny back and I'm not content to leave these things up to fate."

That single green copper disk is not making itself apparent so I nick one from the bottom at random. Money is meant to be a fluid exchange of value, after all, so I suppose one is as good as another. I climb out of the fountain and smile back back at her, crooked teeth and dull eyes but earnest, at least. "You're a clown sometimes." she says and I smile wider.

A policeman approaches and, in the most officious voice he can muster, "Looking for something, sir?"

I hold the penny up and examine it, much newer than the first, no corrosion, all the scoring perfectly distinct, shiny. I look from it to him, "No, officer, I found exactly what I was looking for."

I take her hand and we wander, damp and giggling off along the path and back into the city, a penny's laughter richer.