Monday, May 21, 2012

Connecting the Dots, and We're ALL Dots

I had originally wanted to title this post, "How many Cars Will be in Your Funeral Procession", but I thought that a tad too long and it will come up again in my writing in another place at another time. But, if you take a step back and ponder the relation of these two titles in the context of having friends, they will both end up in the same place. This is how I was struck this past weekend when these two ideas converged in my brain and nestled in for a swim in the cosmic ooze that is my mind. The first idea, the one about how many cars in your funeral, came to me while I was watching a television program a couple of weeks ago. Two guys were at a crossroads when a black sedan pulled up and blocked them from proceeding. Although the point of the funeral procession represented only a delay in their travels, too me it said something quite different. Although I was not counting the cars in the procession, it seemed to me to drag on for quite sometime and I began to wonder. Did the corpse in the hearse really touch the lives of that many people? Did it really know that many people? Are some of those people just using a funeral to play hookie and get drunk at the after party? But then it kind of hit me, how many people will be in my funeral procession? Who will be in the cars that hold up traffic? Will there be anyone at all? Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like a macabre like feeling or a moment of self pity, it was just an observation that made me think to myself more deeply that- one, I will be dead and won't give a rat's ass, and two, I would only want a handful of people in the procession to begin with. Not only to my credit, but also to my detriment, I have shared with some my views on death and how I view the passing of people. Some of you reading this may know my views, most probably do not- I am not going to write them down here, it is a spoken story best shared over drinks. But the point of the matter is that I believe I have come across a very valid question that I need to think about. Who do I want in my funeral procession? Although this post is going to be short, you may be asking,"Dustin, why did you name this post something about connecting dots?" Good questions, gentle reader. I titled as such because of the people in my funeral procession. See, we all go through life bumping into people, making friends, making enemies and sometimes meeting someone in an airport bar while waiting for your departure. Either way, these are all of the dots we connect during our life that make up the portrait of who we are. Think of it as a web, a geometric design, think of it as a Mona Lisa, it is quite inconsequential what the picture in your mind looks like, it's just who you are. While I write this, the picture in my mind is like a connect-the-dot rabbit that my youngest daughter might have done. Some of the lines are really heavy and and wavy while others are hardly visible and straight to the point. When I take a step back and look at the picture in the context of the friends in my life, there are only a couple of the really heavy, wavy lines. The rest are just short, squiggly things that muck up the bigger picture. But is in those heavy, dark lines that I see my bestest of friends and the intricacies of the relationships in the waves and imperfect design that is my picture- my life. It is a true comfort to know that I have those heavy lines in my life and, although I may only have a car or two in my procession, at least I will have known that the dots in my life were well connected. Peace to my dots!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Bedeviled Compromise

I am not quite sure when this became a dirty word or, better yet, a line in the sand over which political battles are waged, but one only need to take a quick glimpse into the world of Washington, D.C. to realize it is a word not recognized. The entire premise of political maneuvering and agility is based on the idea of give and take, to acquiesce a portion of your larger goal in order to achieve a better position than that in which you find yourself is the art that our forefathers used to forge this great nation. With the exception of an enemy state, the idea of not compromising the smallest bit is akin to authoritarianism and extremism. Although I can draw no better example as that of John Boehner who is the staunchest of the ‘no compromising’ right winged tool shed, I am sure that there must be a liberal who, also, has taken to a similar stance. From whom do these people draw their power to act in this manner? Do their constituents agree with this? It would be difficult to believe that they would. In one instance we can all stand back and watch this mayhem rock our country and we can all take an observer’s chair to the backslide of our credit rating as we approach yet another vote on raising the debt ceiling. We can sit in that chair and point the finger at the other side and proclaim they will not budge. Blame the politicians- they deserve it! But in another instance we can stand up and take responsibility for what we have allowed these people to do to our country. Taking responsibility for what we have done, though, means taking a huge hit to our collective ego. That would mean that the country would have to take a step back, put down their pointer finger and admit that we made a mistake in letting our country’s image be tarnished by these people. It would mean that we did not take action when action was needed and let them continue to tell us that they have the power to make these decisions without consulting the people they serve. I will say that compromising is not comfortable. Compromise is outside of our comfort zones, but it is a place in which these elected people need to get acquainted. Do you remember having to work something out when you were in kindergarten? It does not appear they do… Remember folks, we put them there and we can take them out of office.