These Are Crazy Times…
We’re Living In Today
Our conversation had begun with two ordinary guys thanking each other for their service to the country. He was an ex-marine, and I was an equally proud ex-army man. We could tell by the monogrammed hats we were wearing, we had both served in Korea. We spoke to each other as if we were past members of the same social club.
As he spoke I found myself in agreement with almost all he had to say. We found ourselves in a condition of mutual wonderment. “Has it always been this way?” he asked. These are some of the craziest of times neither da harv nor the stranger had ever lived in.
While not yet at wit’s end, it became a chance for a pair of old guys to commiserate. It had started out with the two of us overhearing this gal talking about the drug problems being suffered by many families today… It wasn’t to be a joyful conversation to kick off my day. It seems like, with a little practice, a guy can jam a lot of anguish into just a few minutes.
“What weird times these are, what with inflation, and crime running rampant in our cities, the war in Ukraine, Covid-19, and so many other things for us to be thinking about. And lest we forget China, Russia, Iran, and our borders being violated on a daily day and night basis.”
All that came from the minds of total strangers, as part of nothing more than a casual conversation at our neighborhood Costco. If I were to direct a play, about a family living in some very tough times, I might describe what these actors were portraying as they all were living within their daily lives.
Director: To the actors at their first table reading
Scene: Costco, Westlake Village
Two Blue Collar Strangers In Conversation:
Up and Back Comparing Notes
A common laundry list: a family member with a severe drug problem, years of political tumult, turmoil, confusion, disorder, unemployment, neighborhoods in a state of fear caused by crime in their community… Often, too much to think about. Though those who are made to think, find ways to learn from those men and women who write books.
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”
Socrates was the guy who taught Plato how to educate himself and a pretty big group of Greek guys who through the years would get together and do a lot of thinking. Rumor has it they invented whatever they happened to need at the time.
One of the guys, who was really good at math, helped out a buddy of his by discovering angles and how to use them… He was the guy who established the right angle. They called him Pythagoras. He was really good with numbers! (Yah think?)
But, guess what… your thoughts would be as good or even better than mine. What if it had been decided to call it a “wrong angle” instead? What differences, if any, would have changed the world we know today? Perhaps the famous leaning tower of Pisa would be leaning in a different direction?
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts”
– From “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare
But if life is a stage—all the world cast with its players, our portrayal taking place within these United States of America, da harv aptly appointed to direct the show—well, then, I would council our cast of actors and we will begin with some fruitful nostalgia. I’ll embark by encouraging all to return to the year 1965.
- In January of 1965, one of the greatest leaders and heroes of perhaps all recorded time died. As encouragement and inspiration to all, I recommend reading the speeches Sir Winston Churchill delivered to his people in 1940. The United States had not yet entered WW2.
- The Watts riots of 1965, Los Angeles — a city afire.
- Immigration Act of 1965
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 UCLA Speech: On April 27, 1965, in what would come to be known as his “Segregation Must Die” speech, Dr. King acknowledged that it was a fact that some progress had been made.
The above is nothing more than a scratch to the surface of the unimpregnable skin that Americans have learned that will, and can, ultimately block out the evil vermin who seek to destroy what we have built into the greatest country of all generations to share forever.
But, in order to justify one’s beliefs, each individual must discover for themselves. I’ve discovered the more I read, the more truth comes to bear as a deterrent to evil. Few writers can manage more than a modicum of exaggeration in what they scribe. Politicians appear to have the most ability to deceive. However deceit doesn’t last forever; in most cases, the falsehoods begin to appear as soon as they’re elected—or defeated, for that matter.
Then in America
Our people were up,
in and out
all around town
known to the world we lived in
They came with the territory
Life’s ordinary pebbles
To be shaken
loose from the roads
we, the thinking people,
decided on our destiny
Pebbles, always to be swept away
There was far more to 1965 than this missive will reveal!
Many years passed
Then came da harv
No time to cipher
For his theories
To be cast
So he borrowed
From the others
Swiftly he could read and write
His only plight
Paper hadn’t been invented
Tablets of sand notwithstanding
Each day when the rains came
Who might scribble
Or dribble on
His written lyrics
Neither right nor wrong
Straight nor tilted
Leaning or centered
Both sides elated
Much of his dribble
Scorned by some
Receiving many ducats
From princes and lords
The common folk
Never did partake
They had not yet learned to read
Nor were they allowed to vote
For all the commoners
All was at stake
And two men completed their conversation. Both showing smiles of a time well spent… a partial day in their lives… to be recalled if they choose for as long as they remain on life’s stage.