Before I jump into the actual blog-story, I wanted to quickly say that I will soon return to my ongoing series on A New U.S. Constitution. Do not worry. Those of you awaiting Part 3 won’t be overly discouraged or disappointed that I might have forgotten. Because I knew you were. 😉 I’ve been wanting to post this quick musing for many months now and thought NOW would be just as good a time as any. Therefore, let’s jump right in… or as they say in football/soccer, “Get stuck in!”
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The other day I was having a half-serious, half-joking discussion with a friend. She had asked how life was going for me. I replied to her with a question, as I often do, so as not to waste anyone’s time. I asked, “Do you want the prim-n-proper, standard, social answer, or do you want the brute truth?” She asked for the unadulterated truth. I appreciated that greatly, as I always do with people like her, that she wanted nothing diluted, nothing sugar-coated. And as she desired, here was my answer.
I told her that I was sick-n-tired of having to shave, trim, cleanup, and remove body-hair and whiskers at least every 6-8 days from anatomical places I’m convinced were NEVER meant to have primate-hairs growing out of them! At least, not on my metro-sexual body! No, no, and NO! It is all so damn annoying! I think hall of fame comedian Billy Crystal talked frequently about body hair in places it was not meant to be, ever! I told my laughing friend, I want to overhaul my ears, just replace them with new ones or relocate all the damn jungle-hair growing profusely out of my ears and side of my skull, and move it all to the top of my head and shrinking hairline on my forehead! I mean, I’m dead SERIOUS now!
Then I took a slightly different tack. I explained to her that I want to just go down to the local auto “body parts” store and purchase everything I desperately need replacing on me! “Um, yes. Do you have any hairless ears in stock?” She pointed in that direction to show me. “Oh really!? What about full hairline replacements? You’re probably all sold out on those, right?” As we walked, she informed me that they might have exactly what I’m looking for. I began to get really excited about this NEW Body Parts store! But then the most riddling thing happened.
We walked through the Men’s Intelligence & Brain aisle.
Now, I want to preface this next bit. Please remember that I live in a highly charged, super Red (Republican), Conservative, ultra-religiously bigoted part of the nation: Texas. That right there should give you adequate context to the remainder of my story. ☺️
As we moved further into the store, the shelves we came upon were crammed full of all sorts of gifted brains, from floor to near the ceiling! It was incredible. Every where you gazed you saw discounted, clearance sale prices on overstocked men’s brains. Hundreds and hundreds of highly intelligent brains everywhere! There were even Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Mark Twain, and many other famous replica brains marked down super cheap! The store-clerk told me that they’ve been TRYING to move these men’s brains for 5-10 years, but we just can’t sell them, not even one. Astounded, I couldn’t imagine why these men’s brains were not flying off the shelves!
Then we entered the next section of the store.
On either side of the aisle were empty shelves. Dust, then more dust on these shelves. It was as if there had been a crazed rush of Black Friday shoppers had cleared out all stock of whatever was in this section. I asked the kind, helpful store clerk… “Why are these shelves utterly empty?” She replied matter-of-factly…
“Oh, this is the men’s giant penis, or jumbo-dick section. We can NEVER keep this section stocked for barely even half a day.”
I said to myself, Pffft.Yep, that’s about right in Texas and the Deep South.
Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always
I want to apologize in advance for some of my language here and my anger at human indecency in the United States this year.
I really, really was hoping that for the last 3-5 weeks I could avoid having to write this, to go here to what I am about to attempt to drive home to far too many naïve, inconsiderate, well-intentioned(?) Americans who despite their general goodness, STILL are not thinking outside of themselves, the bigger picture of just how many other Americans are suffering the loss of loved ones. What makes our nationwide gross naivety, embarrassing gross obliviousness to one of our nation’s highest death-counts in our entire 244-year history? Allow me to put this in the most polite way I know how:
During one of the world’s most deadliest pandemics, with necessary PPE’s, distancing and/or quarantining/lockdowns from high-risk exposures, and finally by following the top expert’s warnings and medical-viral protocols, it’s monumental consequences could have been reduced, probably reduced greatly!
In a number of those 233k cases the odds for surviving could have been easily increased! Yet, too many unaffected Americans—of a specific demographic and political affiliation—wanted to minimalize the pandemic in January–March 2020 and right now they still want to minimalize the near QUARTER-MILLION DEATHS (233,000+) as something other than a historically unprecedented F*CK UP by not just our federal, state, and county leaders across the continental 49, but by perhaps half or more of the American population—332-million citizens total today—who don’t seem to get it, they refuse to get it, or worse ignore those 233,000 families and extended family members! By the time I get this blog-post published, that death-toll will have already climbed significantly. Wrap your brain around that please.
But allow me to put this self-inflicted 2020 American catastrophe and popular insensitivity in proper perspective.
If you have a faint heart or a hint of humanity for mass deaths caused by wars, terrorism, natural disasters, or pandemics, then I advise you to skip the following slide-show of some of our nation’s most horrific losses of life since 1776. WARNING, some images may be graphic and disturbing:
At this current rate we will surpass in 2021 the total American deaths of World War II: 419,400. Once that number is passed only the American Civil War remains as this country’s last greatest loss of life. Do we really want to surpass the most appalling four years this country has ever endured, bar-none?
You might be asking “Professor, deaths from a pandemic, from an invisible killer-virus similar (in terms of risk and death) to other global diseases or cancer or heart disease are not the same thing as world wars, large military conflicts, terrorism, or natural disasters.” Perhaps. That’s a logical yet premature response. I’d immediately ask Is this not a war on a virus to stop and minimizeas much as possible the number of casualties this pandemic steals?
When a war is waged between two or more nations, do they not rally all their mental, physical, and material resources of their people to win the war? Do they not rally with each other to defeat or better prepare for the next horrific, natural disaster? So why wouldn’t we do the exact same thing? Why wouldn’t we do everything possible to wage war on this lethal enemy as aggressive as possible?
This maniacally invisible hostile who cares nothing about who we humans are is wiping out over a quarter-of-a-million Americans, innocents who were not given the/our best chances of winning or of surviving? To add insult to injury with a smack, it is not the dead that must suffer years or decades after COVID-19 takes those loved ones, it is the living who must endure the torment that their loved ones probably did not have to die or suffer permanently for the remainder of their lives.
So yes, how is this war, this fight against COVID-19 any different than those above images for lives that did not have to die or contract permanent damage?
On the contrary and despite America’s epidemic indifference to the loss of so many innocent lives, following below after this paragraph are examples of what many of us rudely brush over about this Pandemic War. With already too many orphaned kids of their parent(s), or grandparents, or uncles, aunts or cousins, 233,000 dead Americans and counting represents only a portion of all the suffering. Sons and daughters who lost their elderly parents. Grandchildren who lost their favorite Grandpa or Grandma. Dearest close friends or coworkers—who have unnecessarily lost their favorite coworker, boss, or job—must also face the looming reality of bankruptcy or homelessness. Here’s an idea of what I mean by American indifference to unnecessary loss of lives and permanent damage or suffering…
Tuesday night, October 27th here in Arlington, TX, the site of MLB’s World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, third baseman Justin Turner had to be removed from Game 6 in the bottom of the 7th inning after he had tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantining were the rules, the protocols of MLB and all the teams and players BEFOREthey started the 60-game season in July 2020. Everybody with the league, including all 3,000+ players agreed to COVID-19 protections and rules. Duh, it was for the safety of everyone involved in the bizarre 2020 season. It was for the safety of everyone’s family members too. Despite this necessary protection for all lives, here is what took place when the LA Dodgers won the World Series:
And yet, this is what Justin Turner decided to do for himself, and his teammates let him do, encouraged him to do with no regard for their own safety, their teammates, everyone’s family members, and let’s be clear… no regard for the children there on the field for pictures and celebrations! This gross indifference essentially represents the entire bulk of Americans in that specific demographic I mentioned above.
But there’s more. Unbelievably, there is MORE blatant disregard for the highest possible safety of fellow Americans, teammates, coworkers, family members, and yes… small children too. A revisit of photos I’ve already posted in previous blog-posts going back to early Spring 2020:
The ripple-effect of this ignored Pandemic War stretches so VERY MUCH FURTHER than simply the 233,000+ American deaths! The emotional toll and permanent change for so many families will likely never be fully appreciated, fully known, or fully empathized if so many in America unaffected by this killer pandemic continue and continue to brush-over, minimalize, and constantly dream-up excuses or justifications to be unsafe and disregard, no… basically say “I don’t give a f*ck about YOUR safety or chances of surviving this deadly pandemic war. I will do whatever tha hell I want.” Though some Americans do not explicitly verbalize it out loud, their actions say it.
I must ask some really idiotic questions: When there exists a chance of you or a loved one surviving a highly risky undertaking, say like climbing Mt. Everest, or going into a wild, remote woodland with nightly temperatures of 20-30 below zero and grizzly bears, or joining your military for an ongoing conflict against formidable enemies trying to kill you, do you not want the best chances of survival? If there is any significant chance you could survive life’s dangers, say a 75%, 50%, or a “decent chance” of returning alive, intact, and unharmed, who WOULDN’T take the best odds possible? Is how you might die, leaving all your loved ones behind, important to you? Important to your wife, your own kids and how they might suffer in the aftermath?
And yet for most of 2020 there have been too many Americans who answer those questions with their middle finger, the F*CK YOU bird.
This insane thinking and self-absorbed snubbing for the safety of fellow Americans, let alone our own family members, has got to stop! Why? First, I can’t believe anyone would seriously ask that question! But for those dimwits who don’t get it and most of all simply Out of Respect For all the American fatalities from COVID-19 that didn’t really have to die early, and their suffering family members—whose loved ones seem to not matter to all to these thousands or millions of moronic Americans not yet personally affected—I can only say in utter bafflement and rising resentment:
Are you a human being? Do you not have any empathy or respect to how this Pandemic War has permanently affected millions and millions of American lives!? Are you F*CKING KIDDING ME!?
Where did America’s common decency disappear to!?
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
It was known as the war to end all wars. In all the history of mankind the scale of destruction and death of World War I had never been seen or remotely imagined. From all the major world powers fighting in 1914, an estimated 65 million men put their nation’s uniforms on and set off to the front-lines to obliterate their enemies. In the end, more than 10 million men would be killed; 20 million would be maimed for life. Thirty-million families lost husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, or the return of their permanently disfigured bodies and minds.
L’absurdité de la Guerre – The Absurdity of War
From the very first shots fired the war spun quickly out of control. By the summer of 1914 European empires were realizing an era of unprecedented scientific and mechanized advancements as a result of the Victorian industrial revolution. The killing efficiency of these new 19th century national armies wiping out swaths of soldiers in a matter of minutes had never been seen on any battlefield at any time earlier. Central Europe was literally a 600-square mile butcher’s block of human and animal limbs and carcasses scattered everywhere in pools of mud, blood, and disease. The poet-novelist Robert Graves wrote:
“[the bodies] we could not get from the German [barbed]wire continued to swell…the color of the dead faces changed from white to yellow-gray, to red, to purple, to green, to black.”
The stench of death is unlike any odor known. I know; I’ve smelt it. Overlooking these unbelievable scenes one looses any remaining hope for humanity’s survival. None of the warring leaders and monarchs had any conception of what killing-machines were being set in motion. The fact that most of them thought the war would be ending by Christmas 1914, shows how arrogantly disillusioned they had become with their national status and power. Too few thought the apocalypse had arrived but watched as masses of ordinary people and soldiers were lead to their deaths.
In some of the darkest hours however, there are some that rise above their circumstances.
In a letter to his brother Nickolai in 1886, Anton Chekhov – thought by most historians to be one of Russia’s greatest writers – described eight simple principles of human decency.
Respect others as individuals, no more.
Have more compassion for others beyond beggars or pets.
Respect other’s property, even pay their debts.
Do not be devious. Fear lies as you fear fire.
Do not solicit sympathy from others.
Do not be vain, thinking you are above certain others.
Value beauty and talent; nurture it, doing your part to grow it.
Develop your aesthetic sensibilities, doing your part for the greater refinement of the whole.
Chekhov would conclude that any level of pomp and arrogance was only as noble as the least of your fellow man. That was his standard of a true civilized human being and people.
On Christmas Eve December 24th, 1914 bitter enemies in opposite trenches of Europe’s Western Front despite the hatred their national leaders, families and military commanders felt toward their enemy, decided not to fight, but to sing. The Germans lit candles and in beautiful harmony sang “Silent night…Holy night.” So moved by their cheer, the British soldiers responded with carols of their own. This goodwill inspired many soldiers on both sides to toss gifts of food over into their enemy trenches. The German side applauded the British singing then the Brits cheered and applauded the Germans. One miracle act of goodness led to another, then another. By dawn Christmas Day, chivalry and kindness were as out of control as the war. They even played a football match together around the large cannon-shell craters and wired obstacles.
I often understand the causes of war and killing: it is the utter failure of peoples or their leaders to do everything humanly possible to resolve dispute, or it is merely the greed of egos and the ignorance of those who follow them. In the end, in every single conflict throughout all of mankind’s history, the price of war and killing is too high and never completely measured for generations to come. In certain obvious cases today it never ends.
Yet on a small level, on an individual basis, when humans can step back and understand the person facing them on a personal level, not as a total stranger who is being led by a delusional greedy ego-maniac monarch or king, that spirit which Anton Chekhov speaks about can and will courageously step forward. The real miracle of this 1914 Christmas between “enemies” was that a few good men did not bow to the fear of a firing-squad or court-marshal by their superiors. Instead they recognized the moment was greater than themselves or their nations — as is almost always the case in any situation of dispute. When people view strangers as anything other than another human being, a human being who also has parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters all with the same basic needs as you…the higher perspective, the higher road comes to focus. What remains is the decision to take it.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 was a supreme act of humanity and goodwill by a group of courageous men in uniforms surrounded by the most despicable acts of nations. Such a truce had never before taken place. And for no apparent intelligent reasons, has never happened again. Though I am not a Christian or a religious man during this time of year, I am the biggest fan-fanatic for humanity and the potential brilliance of the human spirit.
Peace on Earth, goodwill to all men and women. Happy holidays everyone.