Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mark Twain said it best, "If I had more time, I'd have written a shorter letter."

This month I've had a hard time writing. Between the violence in Syria, a mass shooting in Colorado, and the execution of an Afghan woman by men screaming, "God is great," I haven't had much to say. Instead, I've tried to be silent and I've tried to listen to the silence, hoping that the human race was worth running. Then, as fate would have it, I watched “A Thousand Words” with Eddie Murphy and figured out what I wanted to say. Spoiler alert... This post isn’t funny and I'm going to tell you all about that movie. 

First of all, let me say this, I apologize in advance for breaking my own blogging rule and preaching at you. I’m sorry if it’s offensive. I mean that. It’s not my intention, but - as they say about intentions… the road to hell is paved with them. Secondly, please feel free to take everything I say with a grain of salt. And finally, if you haven’t seen “A Thousand Words,” you should. It’s become one of my favorite films of all time, and it basically goes something like this... Through a simple twist of fate, Eddie Murphy's character becomes linked to a Bodhi tree. And, each time he talks, a leaf drops. When every leaf is gone, he dies.

Now, I don't pretend to be wise, but to me the movie makes the following point, “If we only had a handful of words to speak in one lifetime, we’d be far more judicious in how we used them.” We wouldn’t waste them on insults, cruelty, or arguments… and neither would anyone else. In other words, it wouldn’t just impact what we heard but also what we said. And that’s important. After all, wasn’t it Gandhi who wrote, “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”And really, who am I to question Gandhi? He was little, but he changed the world.

With that, I shall try to take my own advice and apply that philosophy to this post. Wish me luck. Disclaimer: When I talk about God, I mean the God of your faith, and when I say, “Him” it’s because I went to Catholic school, not because I believe that God has a gender or a skin color or a favorite religion, nationality, or politician.

This month, we proved Higgs boson. That’s right. The world spent three billion dollars to understand how particles acquire mass. However, please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying, I think that’s fabulous. But it makes me wonder… if it took ten years and that much money to learn about a God Particle, how can anyone think they understand God. And if you don’t understand God, how dare you invoke Him to advocate war on this planet, tell you how to discriminate against people in the United States, or murder someone in Afghanistan. That’s hate. Own it. And where hate exists, God does not. I’m not a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Hindu, and even I know that.

So if God isn’t in random acts of hatred, then where is He? In my opinion, exactly where Bono once said you'd find Him, “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.” So if you aren’t willing to acknowledge that possibility, then at least acknowledge that if I can interpret Him one way and you interpret Him another, that no one can corner the market or be His mouthpiece. 

Otherwise stated, your view, words, and actions are yours. If you murder someone, it’s you. If you deny people access to health care or discriminate against someone because of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender, it’s you. And… to be clear, I don't pretend to know anything let everything about God, but to me - the little voice in your head called your conscience is a small piece of His divinity. That's why I listen to it instead of politicians, religious leaders, or anyone else. That said, I'm not knocking their role or the value they bring. Faith and dogma are hard, and I'm the first person to say thank you for a lesson worth learning, but if they're preaching hate or inciting violence, you should gut check their words with your conscience and wonder if that’s God or an agenda.

With that, let’s hope that as the Olympic Games begin we remember the human race is a relay. You must get from people and give to people. Otherwise, we’re all in last place. Sorry for the rant. I promise, next time I'll be myself. And I truly am sorry if I offended anyone.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

They say yard work can't kill you, but why take a chance.

Do you remember in college when you had a car and your friends would ask for a ride, so you'd say, “Cash, ass, grass, or pass - nobody rides for free.” Well, at forty, that phrase doesn't mean anything even remotely close to what it did back then. These days it means that you pay thousands of dollars to an asshole who landscapes your yard, which causes you to suffer a small stroke, because you spent so much fucking money on actual grass. That’s what it means. And, that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that the yard he planted is full of weeds and the neighborhood association is going to fine us if we don’t get it under control. In other words, I have to start doing yard work… which doesn’t just irritate me… it genuinely horrifies everyone around me… and with good reason. The last time I tried to do it, I sent the following text to my best friend:

mkromd, “OMG. I broke the hot tub. The side wall thing fell off.”
TB, “HOW in the HELL did you break your hot tub?”
mkromd, “With the lawn mower. Hellooooo. How else do you break a hot tub?”
TB, “Do you need me to come fix it?”
mkromd, “No, I need you to come and cut the fucking grass. We’ll call a handyman to fix the hot tub.”

Honestly, I hate doing it so much that it makes me cry. Granted – not as much as it makes the neighbors cry, but still – there are tears. It’s so bad that passersby rapidly usher their children past our home and the people on our street won’t even make eye contact with me when I’m in the yard. And that’s where our story begins.

You see, this month, DB went fly-fishing in Montana, so for the first time since we moved in, the yard actually has fallen to me, and I know that’s wrong. I do. I know that we’re partners and the work should be more evenly distributed. I get it. But it’s one thing to process that logically. It’s a whole different ball game to process it emotionally. Because honestly, you might be surprised to know what I’d do for a Klondike bar, but you’d be downright horrified to learn what I’ve done to get out of yard work.

So, there I was, resolved to take the high road and do my part, when the automatic sprinkler system went off and nailed me. Thank GOD I wasn’t wearing white shorts… just a white tank top. Yup. Once again, my life was like, “Girls Gone Wild,” the mid-life crisis edition. Next time, I’m going to do it in a Burka. Why not? After all, like my dad used to say, “Dear Lord, please give me a sense of humor. If you give me strength, I may need bail money to go with it.”

Talk to you later.