31 July 2011

Finding God of a Sunday

My fathers of old were Jewish.  Of course, because those Jewish fathers ended up marrying women who were not Jews, I suppose that means that I am not a Jew in the traditional way.  I certainly have a Jewish heritage and I have been told it comes out to play occasionally.  One can feel all one wants about parents and grandparents as far as honor and gratitude, but that heritage will always be there, buried somewhere in the genes, ready to pop out at an often inconvenient time.

As a Latter-Day Saint by choice, I have made covenants with God.  In my studies, the covenants are the same as the ones that Abraham, Issac, and Jacob made, so though any number of Jews would point out my loss of Jewishness some generations ago, I and my family continue to be children of Abraham (can't take away your genealogy) and continue to make covenants with God just like our fathers of old.

That is why the offer of my Christian friends seems like a big let-down.

I know their words of salvation are heart-felt.  They authentically think that following their particular flavor of Christianity is the only way to God and that all other possibilities are a quick road to damnation.  Of course, what makes the words and rites of one Christian denomination better than any other, it all being devoid of authoritative covenants with God?  They come to my door occasionally, preaching strings of scriptures that lead to different conclusions and commandments.  They say my covenants are nothing, that their particular incantations and/or confessions are all that there is and all there can ever be.  For some groups, it seems that behavior is meaningless, where among others, behavior is everything.  There are even differences in what day of the week is appropriate to do special devotions.  It seems Christendom is rather rudderless, bobbing along aimlessly with no hope of arriving anywhere but at some random shore if it makes landfall at all.  I surely think that God would have a better plan and an actual course that leads to a specific destination.  If Christians could get to heaven through sheer bible-thumping alone, it would be done, if only they had any concept of where heaven was or even in what direction it lay.

So, they come to one of the covenant people and tell me how deluded I am and that the saying of a phrase or singing a hymn or reading a certain "chain" of scripture will "save" me from some terrible fate. Apparently, the covenant between God and Abraham is lost to Christians and cannot be of any effect any longer for anyone in their eyes.  When I tell them of the covenants that I have made, like the covenants of Abraham, they dismiss them without much thought at all.  In their confusion concerning the right thing to do to follow Christ back to God, they can agree at least on something:  A practicing Mormon and an observant Jew cannot be saved.  To them, I must be doubly-cursed, and no wonder they spend time trying to help me!

I really have to say here that I like my good Christian neighbors.  They are fine people.  I am glad for their beliefs in being and doing good to their neighbors, being upstanding citizens, not lying, cheating, stealing, or murdering.  I wish there were more of them, just like I wish there were more observant Muslims, Buddhists, and other practicing believers in any higher power - they just seem to be more pleasant people to be around!

Yet, I will trust to the covenants that I have made, both as a child of Abraham and as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I have faith that my ancient fathers were "saved" through the Messiah as God promised in the Bible and that I can be "saved" as well by following the same Messiah and abiding those long-standing promises.  As a Latter-Day Saints, I have made those covenants again, standing upon my own legs (upon the shoulders of my righteous ancestors) and seeking a greater weight of blessings from God.

With happiness, I proclaim that the Messiah has come and will come again.  He is called Jesus Christ and he marked the path and made the way possible so that his siblings (us) can return to God, our Father.  Abraham and Issac and Jacob looked forward to his coming and taught that forward-looking to their children.  In like manner, I look forward now to his second coming and teach my children to do likewise.  I teach them the covenants that our forefathers and I have made with God and encourage them to make those covenants as well and live their lives according to them.

So, when my well-meaning neighbors come to "save" me, I hope they are not too offended when I cling to my and my ancestors' covenants with God and refuse to set them aside.  When I have had spiritual feasts from my obedience and resolve, why would I choose to set that aside to eat the scraps that Christians insist is the best that God is willing to give?  I am often called stupid or foolish, but I am smart enough to recognize a practical famine after I have had the full buffet!

I invite my Christian friends to claim covenants that Christ himself offers to you.  You can receive the bounteous blessings and opportunities that God wants to give you, far beyond the dreams of Christendom.  You can visit this website and learn more about your potential as a literal child of God!

28 July 2011

I Remain George Bailey

Well, I pulled a stunt with NHS Shetland and my job application and found out that I didn't even make the short-list for consideration.  Ah, well.

So, now I have a perfectly good passport and no where to go with it!  Perhaps something will come up that will still need it.

I guess my days as another modern-day George Bailey will continue for a while longer!

Yes, I have about the same outlook at George Bailey, knowing I could do bigger things than this but trying (often unsuccessfully) to deal with other constraints that both keep me down and help to ground me in a more honorable life.  I just love the dichotomies of life!

26 July 2011

Living Comment-Free Next to a Bear

I was just looking at other people's blogs and all the interesting comments that get attached to each post.  I suppose "interesting" is a bad word to use as I find many of them inane and just pointless.

When I started this blog a few days ago, I decided against entertaining comments.  I have seen too many creative people eaten alive by trying to interface a bit too much with their readers.  I once read the blog of a writer that I enjoy (the writer, not the blog) and it seemed like he was having such a time in the give-and-take of corresponding that he didn't have time to actually write books anymore.  He was busy answering endless questions about what his favorite food was and describing his writing process over and over again.  All this chatter just seemed to be hero worship and buzzing static, which I could never personally manage to work with or even alongside.

I long for the experience of writers from a hundred years ago.  You write a book.  It gets published.  You write and publish a few more books.  You made a good deal of money.  You buy a nice little retreat far from people, perhaps an island.  You may or may not write any more books.  Years later, People find your half decomposed corpse in a nice rocking chair with an shredded afghan pulled around your lap.  Maybe a Bear got to you.  Your chair facing toward a scenic landscape out the window.  Heavenly life.

You may notice that in my vision, People only show up after I am dead.  I like to keep People at a distance.  A few hundred miles seems good.  That is my vision for the future.

Okay.  Instead of working with single-mindedness toward my dream, I got married and now have six kids.  My wife likes People, at least some of them.  I now feel obligated to live in town, surrounded by People (rather than Bears).  God must have something else in mind for me rather than my plan, which I have apparently botched terribly so far.

So, in favor of trying to reclaim a few bits of my visions and dreams for my life, I choose not to bother with comments on this blog.  It took some time to convince Blogger that I didn't want comments.  It seems to think that blogs are all about the feedback, which I obviously don't want.  I think I disabled that feature somehow, but if you cunning readers come up with some way to circumvent my anti-response efforts, rest assured that I will ignore any comments you somehow force onto this blog.

Of course, please click on the ads, buy the books, and use the Amazon store to enrich my quest to acquire some distant hovel and rocking chair.  I may also need some money for that lobotomy for Lisa so she will actually be content with rocking beside me until the Bear comes and ends it all.  I suppose you can email if you really feel the need, but I may or may not respond.  I wouldn't want to get your hopes up...

As an aside, I would probably go stir crazy in that cabin and tear up the landscape for some diversion.  The Bear would likely feel compelled to put me out of my misery!

I don't even like bears.

If I Were My Wife, I Would Hate Me

I got up this morning and I was depressed.

I recently applied for a job in Shetland and I have jerked myself back and forth ever since about whether I should take the job or not.  Of course, I haven't heard back yet from the HR folks, but it is a bit early for that, along with being a bit early to be making all these interesting plans as if I have already been offered the job!

So, the roller coaster ride begins.  I get happy and excited about a new challenge.  I get down because it might not happen.  I get happy and excited that it has every chance of happening!  I get down because it seems like the problem might be with the UK Border Office and I don't want to mess with that.  I get happy because stupider people than me do this everyday and they get through the Border Office gauntlet successfully.  I get down because my research tells me that my son Matt is too old and I see no way that they will let him in the country.  On and on I go with the roller coaster ride and my poor wife Lisa must just want to run away sometimes and find more stable people to live with.

I need to remind myself to thank Lisa for putting up with me.  I think I already did.  Numerous times.  This morning.

However, I think that it would be a nice gesture to actually not force her onto the Jason Nemrow Ride-O-Insanity so often.  Just to be a little kinder.

Of course, I wouldn't be this creative and philosophical nutcase if I didn't do the roller-coaster and I wouldn't be as entertaining to everyone.  I must say that even Lisa laughed at my travails this morning, so the humor value must make up somewhat for the whiplash!

Oh, the agony!!

25 July 2011

This is Not My World and I Really Don't Want It to Become So

[No one should let me do anything intended to be humourously informative.  I am atrociously bad at it.]

My name is Jason Nemrow and this is not my place.

Where I am standing right now is a place where I don't feel like I fit. Frankly, there are only a handful of places that I feel relatively good in and those good feelings happen because there aren't a lot of people around. I feel better in the wilderness. I feel better in open grasslands with nobody in sight. My mother calls it being "asocial", which is to say that some people don't seem to need other people as much as expected. Not that you aren't the most wonderful people in the universe, but I can live quite happily not enjoying the pleasure of your company.

There is another word for this "out-of-place" asocial feeling, sort of. I don't want to offend autistic people, but this is one of the diagnostic criteria for the autism disorder. One of my sons was diagnosed with autism in 1995 and a few others of my children have been described as having behaviors allied with autism, like ADHD and anxiety, so I have a bit of knowledge of these things, if only from the experience of living with such people. I have often been accused, and have accused myself, of having a mild form of autism. So, for over ten years, I and my children have been people who officially don't fit in with society. This autistic-ish "don't fit in" concept is the reason for my post today and for my own interesting exploration which today I share.

Learning the Ropes

I really didn't have good access to the World-Wide-Web until 2004, when a contract I was working on put a permanent connection to the Internet into my home. My knowledge of autism from those "pre-Web" days was from reading books written by people with lots of letters after their names - books I could find in the nearest mass-media bookstore. Most of these highlighted the "disorder"-liness of the autistic "condition" and gave strategies and interventions for "fitting in better" with the larger society. Many also described the work that was being done to prevent autism or find some "cure" for it. It is the idea of "experts working on the problem" that seems to be highlighted in the popular literature and be really important, especially to parents of autistic kids in the first few years after their child's diagnosis. As time passed, I found that the focus and aim of these books were diverging from my experience with autism and how I chose to deal with it, or rather I was diverging from the established books! Once I began typing the world "autism" into search engines on the Web, I discovered a whole new world of autistic adults that had a whole different perspective on their "condition" than the ones presented in mass-media. I also found that, after about ten years of the "official" position, that I was thinking along the same lines as these "webified" autistics. I will take a risk here and reveal why I think this shift of view happened to me and perhaps to many other autistics.

The Attitude Toward Autism in the "Literature"

The books I read early on talked about the closed-off "fantasy world" "shell" that the autistic child seems to live in. Many people see this "shell" as something the autism condition creates, trapping a happy, normal, and typical child inside that screams to get out. In my experience, the "shell" is a defense mechanism created by the autistic child to protect them from a reality that is incomprehensible and curiously hostile to them. The kindly experts and the parents they influence provide a specific goal in this regard: force the child out of their "shell", kicking and screaming if you have to, and make them "fit in" the real world appropriately. The term appropriate is very, very important in the lives of those who work with autistics (it is the most significant word in the official diagnostic descriptions of the autism spectrum disorders) and the search for appropriateness can become the obsession (the second most significant word in the descriptions) of an eager-to-please autistic like me, pressured day-after-day by a very demanding and unrelenting dominant culture. One can never know what is actually happening in each autistic brain, but I can report my own experience with this pressure.

Spreading My Own Flavor of "The Way Things Have to Be"

I have spent my life being very dishonest to myself and everyone around me and I will continue to be dishonest because that is what I must do to be permitted to live in this vaguely-bigoted society that I was born into. I have personally created millions of masks and worked over my lifetime to know which mask was "appropriate" in which circumstance. Sometimes I do a good job looking like a typical person. Other times, my store of masks cannot cope with a situation and I get angry at my inability to appear appropriate. The only time I can let my masks down is when I know I am completely alone, which this society doesn't tolerate very often at all. The point in "keeping up appearances" is to help other people feel comfortable so they will treat me nicely, and I am typically well-rewarded for the times I do a good job. A few times I have tried to be myself just to my wife, but it nearly destroyed our marriage. I hope she is honored (she tells me that she is and I have to trust to her word) that I have a special set of masks that I only use when I am with her. I hope the rest of you understand the personal sacrifice I and other autistics make every second of our lives so that you fine people don't need to be too embarrassed by our presence in your world. As a father, I will demand that my autistic children develop the dishonesty I have just laboriously described because the society around me forces me to do so for my "own good" (or society's smugly demanding convenience). It may sound sickening to some, but it must be done in the name of appropriateness, which seems sadly to be what passes for the highest societal virtue.

Speaking for a Person You Can't Understand

Besides the mention of social problems in reference with diagnosis, not much is said in the mass-media about the feeling of an autistic "not fitting in". Books are typically written by experts and parents who deal with non- or semi-verbal children and reflect the fact that what the autistic person is actually feeling is often unknown. The only things experts and parents can know of these children is their own outside observation, colored by their own outlook on things. Many of these children cannot answer such esoteric questions of "feeling" or their answers are colored by an inability to "appropriately" communicate such a thing. Often, it is just supposed by experts and parents that autistics would prefer to be normal (what constitutes "normal"?) and all efforts are steered in that direction. I had no idea how other autistic people felt about their experiences until I met articulate autistic adults on the Internet. Many of these autistics would reject a proposed "cure" and merely seek a rather socially-cost-free acceptance of how and who they are. These autistics can actually tell their own stories, to the chagrin of their "professional advocates", and I discovered that their reports were hauntingly similar to my own experience. Many of them felt as "out of place" in society as I have felt all my life.

People are Autistic - Deal with It!

I don't mention these things in order to solicit your sympathy. I do it in this case to point our that some people have vastly different lives than what would be considered typical and that most "typical" people go through life stunningly ignorant of this fact, often by nearly violent choice. To them, everyone is (or should be) pretty much like everyone else. Truly different people, like me, sometimes have different pains and sorrows, hopes and dreams, and often vastly different capacities, which I don't expect that normal people (which I often call locals) can really relate to adequately. We don't have something as superficial as hair or skin color separating us - we are fundamentally different and my difference may give me certain advantages.

Pavlovian Canine Obedience School for Autistic Children (PCOSAC)

Strangely, people like me can often relate decently with the way a local is likely to feel in a given situation because such local perspective gets crammed down our throats via formal or informal behavior training, which I call the "Pavlovian Canine Obedience School for Autistic Children". Most "intervention" to deal with autism are thinly-veiled behavior modification programs that demand that autistics spend their lives obsessing over things like walking a straight line exactly 12.5 inches from the right-hand curb of the street. Although such things might help the autistic person keep from splattering their own blood and entrails on a local person's beloved car, it makes for a tragically tiny and uninspired life. Normal "local" people get wide lives full of opportunities while my compatriots are forced to weave bizarre "social straightjackets" for themselves.

Of course, there is no comparable school for the "local" kids. This world and its society are created and sustained by the adults they will naturally become one day. Let me be just a little more clear: I have to live in a world that suits locals, but they seem to have no desire or interest in carving out a bit of existence that would actually suit someone like me.  Because my perspective is not drilled into everyone else, a local hasn't a hope of understanding how to relate passably to someone like me (though some get paid handsomely for saying they can).

The Potential Upside of Autism

It is like I am an adequate bilingual living in a predominantly English-speaking town - I can move decently among two kinds of people but English-only locals cannot. I have the upper hand because I have a rich autistic life (if I am allowed to live it) and I can also move around tolerably well in your local culture (because you forced me to do so through behavior modification), though in a noticeably diminished way. I enjoy a thousand dual-citizen advantages! I can have a deeper understanding of things, born of my rich wanderings in places you cannot or choose not to go, where a local boy can only draw on his limited one-culture "this is the way things are done around here" experience. So, you need not pity me!

Frankly, I often pity the poor local. You cannot ever share in the autistic-like capacities that created the likes of Albert Einstein or Issac Newton or Bill Gates. Locals really lack the tools for building that kind of genius in scientific or technical endeavors. In a twisted way, I have to thank locals for working so hard to force me to understand your world, because I can honestly say that I feel badly for you. You have taken great pains to teach me how incapable you can be!

Making a Better World for Everyone

But this post is not about how I realized that I might be on the autistic spectrum or how sad you might feel about being left off of it. We are all on this planet, whether we want to be or not, and we should give everyone else on the planet a bit more latitude toward making their own lives pleasant. There is nothing more sinister than to see an adult pushing a child to do something they are not suited for, typically for no better reason than the convenience or pride of that adult. Autistics, like any other oppressed minority, are accustomed to being shoved about, being told to behave in ways that make no sense to them, being shouted at in a emotional language that they don't understand, and being "acclimatized" by force toward a world that ignores their peculiar gifts and potential contributions. These things have less to do with our being autistic but much more to do with our hoping to feel a little welcomed. After all, it was people like me that brought you television cameras and receivers, radios, computers, game consoles, and iPhones. You'd think locals would be a little grateful for the creative ability behind their favorite toys.

My Favorite Martian

My explorations on the Internet have revealed that those who are either autistic or associated with autistics have come to a meeting of the minds on one thing at least: people with autism act like aliens. Now, the tender-hearted can flinch at the discrimination in that statement, but many of those on the autistic spectrum, including myself, find this to be a very accurate and poignant description of our experience. We do feel like aliens (or foreigners or strangers) and others (sometimes with unmasked cruelty) concur that we seem that way to them. There must be some truth to it, to have such agreement among such disparate groups. Therefore, armed with this apparent truth and the fact that I can be clinically included with a group that is often considered as such, I present myself to you as an alien, a stranger to your world, a foreigner to your ways, who lives (almost) secretly among you. Some of my interests during this post are to ask you to treat me and those like me as you would any visitor from a distant place: with a little consideration of our strange ways and a little respect for the unique abilities that you seem to lack.

This is Not My World

Of course, being an alien, it goes almost without saying that this is not my world. It is obviously not set up for a person like me. It is set up for local people, and I will tell you why I think so. I feel correct in saying that it was people unlike me that put many of this world's draconian social standards into place. I know it was not people like me, for if I had done the job, I would have ordered things toward making people like me feel more free to chase our obsessions and create new things. To a great degree, this is a world that has been fashioned to better suit needs outside of my own. As I said at the very beginning, this is not my world.

In case you hadn't noticed, there are some pretty satisfied people here on this planet. They seem to have lots of money and toys, act in very powerful ways, and like getting lots of attention. They only sacrifice when they must to keep less rich, less powerful and less popular people from stealing these things and killing them. They certainly won't be sacrificing as much as you or I. Society and culture certainly seem to favor them and their way of thinking and living, to the pain and horror of many. This seems to be their world, or a world that they have worked very effectively to establish a hold over.

The Palace of Thugs

It is like when a band of children find a secluded, vacant building. They establish themselves, bring in food and drink of questionable worth, import raunchy entertainment, and immediately start in on that paragon of human pursuits: establishing the "pecking order". You soon have a handful of kids that domineer and bully over all the rest. They have the best of the stuff and they only share the crumbs if you become their "stooge". Everyone else hangs about trying to look "cool" while accepting abuse just to be around the "really cool" kids-in-charge. Being "in" the building is much better for them than never being allowed near the building, which is the fate of the "dorks", "nerds", "geeks", "goths", and a million other kids. It all seems like the "fun" will never end, but then, The Responsible Adult enters the building and everything gets cleaned out. The bullying kids and their stooges are carted off to reform school where they belong; the "in" kids get a good whipping for hanging out with thugs and are sometimes never trusted again; and everyone else enjoys their much-improved lives without having to deal with megalomaniacs. The building gets razed and a nice apartment house full of nice people takes its place. Even in the movies, this is typically what happens.

Now, think about this world you live in. It is a lot like that building. It is sort of run down and unkept. The nice stuff that was in it has been either broken or defaced now, as anything will become when left in the care of thoughtless children, no matter their age. If you think I will mention the thoughtless treatment of autistics here as some sort of metaphor-within-the-metaphor, I just did. I always think of the beautiful buildings that were constructed in the past that are now abandoned heaps in favor of slapped-up mirror-image monstrosities that will cave in on themselves in twenty years. You don't bother to build nice endurant things in a world of raging children because they will just tear them up.

The Pyramid Scheme

I might as well focus in on these children in the building. Left to themselves, they always turn to destruction, mindless recreation, and a mean kind of universal loathing. Then a human pyramid forms with the most cunning, evil, and brutal kid at the apex, twisting the rest to their will by whatever means seems interesting at the moment. Though your local world prides itself on the sophistication of their pyramids and the inability of anyone to overturn them, it is still exactly the same structure that can be found among any group of five-year-olds. From my vantage point off in some "alien" corner, I can report that the pyramids I have seen seem sturdy and, though the names and faces on the various levels may change, the structure never has, so far. Kids will be kids, it seems.

There will always be the "mid-level managers" in these pyramid systems, "stooges" to the higher folks and getting a real thrill from stomping on the poor souls beneath. These people are the ones that cop the familiar plea that they were "just following orders" while enjoying the perks and rewards that fell from the table of their superiors. Parents, teachers, and experts can easily fall into these relationships with their charges, finally able to dish out some of the abuse that they had to take in a younger day. Of course, this is reprehensible even in local society, except when doing the "angel" service of twisting autistics to society's will.

Most locals spend their time inside the figurative building where society has taken up residence. It is often painful and lacking in happiness to be there, but one always hopes for the chance to be noticed, to have the kid at the top of the pyramid see them and perhaps (well, never) bless them with a place in the upper strata. Of course, such climbing in the pyramid scheme necessitates some other person's social death, one way or another, and it is always entertaining for the mighty to watch a dozen pride-starved maniacs fight for the one open seat on the next level. In the local world, this fight manifests itself when one buys a house they can't really afford, just to "keep up with the Joneses", or when you lose what few morals you have left by lying about a coworker to get a promotion at work. "I worked hard to get where I am." Yes, they certainly did and there are broken bodies and souls strewn around to prove it.

The View from the Alien Seats

I have an interesting perspective as a person who was always outside such buildings. I am an alien, you remember, and aliens have no place in "decent" society. Honestly, as an adult, I am now very glad that I am socially inept and was never invited to participate in the "stupid pet tricks" that locals seem to inflict on each other. Though I have my own alien problems and concerns to deal with, I at least avoid the embarrassment of getting caught wearing a "jock strap" on my head as a dare when the adult suddenly rounds the corner.

It is true that the adult will come. He usually gets called "God". I assure you that he is coming and he isn't coming to ask everyone to just get along and pick up the place. He is coming to tear your playhouse down and get rid of (that is a euphemism for "kill") the riff-raff. Unfortunately for many locals, everyone still in the building when he comes will taste some punishment and he doesn't often listen to "just following orders" excuses.

"Saving the Earth"

Now, I understand that this is not my world, but most locals perceive this as their world to do with as they please, and who am I to argue that point? Environmentalists are the worst for flinging guilt and blame about in the name of "saving the earth", as if they knew anything at all about the subject, much like some parents and experts do all kinds of havoc in the name of "saving" the non-verbal autistic children. As an alien, I feel I am in a better position to relate to the feelings of a non-verbal things like the earth and I say it probably looks forward to the time that the noisy kiddies get carted off to reform school. The earth will feel much better when the derelict buildings are demolished, the pyramid-schemers are swept away, and only nice people and nice apartment houses and such grace its surface.

No matter what anyone else thinks, this is actually God's world. I am likely here because he hasn't evicted me yet. He evidently hasn't evicted you yet, either. You may think that he will never get around to it, just like locals think they will never really have to pay off their credit cards. I assure you that all payments will come due, God the adult will enter the building, and he will clean house, no matter what the kiddies have imagined to themselves.

Some Advice

It would be unkindly of me not to offer a bit of advice after painting such a dark picture of the predicament. I will try to set a better example than many of the locals who get such a kick at mocking people like me that are outside the perverbial building. That isn't very kind, but I won't be following that lead, which is at the crux of my advice: don't follow where society leads.

First, you must leave the building right now if you are in there, and you might as well consider yourself in the building whether you think you are or not. Most people are almost inextricably tied to the culture that raised them and it can be difficult to break free of it, I am told. As I was never really a part of the "local" culture, I wouldn't know. You must break free of society so that you may see it as I do, from a position a few steps away. It may horrify and embarrass you deeply, but you will be a better person from the experience.

Second, you must encourage those around you, especially those you care about, to come out of the building as well.  You must be prepared to be ridiculed and savaged for doing this, as you are asking people to commit social suicide.  I mean, I get strange looks from people who discover that I haven't watched television in years - imagine how people will react if you actually turn about and paddle backward against the established flow of things!  Now, it is routine for me to be a social outcast, but I know others will mask their terror at such a thing by making you look and feel stupid.  You will have to lead out and show them that there is still oxygen outside of the building!

Finally, you must never turn back.  There is the old story of Lot's wife, who turned back after leaving the ancient Sodom and its alluring poison of sodomy.  She wasn't resolved to her new and better course and she longed to return to the familiar and evil.  God turned her into a pillar of salt for her longings.  Now, don't forget that God was also burning the city and all its inhabitants, so getting out of the building that society has built doesn't seem to be enough - you have to stay away and get rid of your taste for those things.  That is your only way of escape from that burning / house-cleaning / demolition that is coming.

A Final Word

Well, as I said at the beginning, this is not my world and I really don't want to become a part of it, no matter how much parents or therapists or "do-gooders" try to do me a favor and drag me into it.  I hope you see that I am working to entice you to reject this world as well.  Whatever perks you have will not compensate you for the pain that awaits those who hunker down in the building and embrace the things of this world and its ways.  You don't have to be an autistic to escape, though that helps and I must thank you locals for taking great pains to convince me to stay away! Do yourself a favor, follow my lead, and make sure this is not your world as well.

Thank you for you attention.

22 July 2011

Words to Strip From the Vocabulary

After I got rid of offense from the vocabulary of children in a previous post (vaguely Orwellian, I know), I recall how I excised the word fair from the household some years ago.  I made the kids stand up at the dinner table if they used it (which is not effective for hyperish kids like our twins), typically in phrases like "That's not fair".  The kids just used riaf (yes, fair spelled backward) as a substitute for "not fair", but it put the point across that one should not be expecting equal treatment, no matter what society promises.

Of course, this bothers lots of people, but my point is that you should not be expecting something that you are never going to get, as it just breeds a long stream of disappointments that tear the happiness from life.  Also, it may prevent the universal sin that many people have of being demanding, especially in matters that make other people's lives miserable.  The only thing worse than being unhappy is to build your own happiness from "happyy bits" you have torn away from other people.  You must help other people be happy, which will actually add to your happiness as well!  (Sounds syrupy, but it is true.)

Wanting the best for yourself and of yourself is one thing, demanding it from others is quite something else.  Of course, as parents training children, one must impress upon them how they must behave.  You can't treat children (especially your own) like little adults with rights they have not learned to handle!

On Being Offended

Everyone always focuses on a person who is being offended, their tender feelings, and moving mountains in defending that tender heart. I think it is high time we spend a bit more time on those who offend, what makes them so offensive, and either helping them or, more often, ourselves to change.

Now, I am certainly not advocating for some "anything goes" attitude about something as important as how people live.  There are such things as community standards and these need to be honored when we are out in public.  It is sad to see some glorified "do-good-er" from a far-away, culturally-denuded place come to an area and immediately begin working diligently (as only "community activists" can) to remove aspects of life that, here it comes, they find offensive.

As an eleven-year-old, I attended a tiny country school in a village called Grady in the arid grasslands of eastern New Mexico.  I was not a hunter, nor were my parents or grandparents, but it became obvious to me that everyone else in this area, where my mother's family has lived and worked for four generations, obviously love hunting quite a lot.  School was even interrupted during the late fall as the Hunter Safety Course came to town so that all the school children could attend before the beginning of the big deer and elk hunts.  This was a ranching and apparently, a hunting village.  Although I never participated, I tried to be supportive of the local cuture in my own ignorant way.  We got along well enough in spite of our cultural differences.

Now, a nice couple moved in from California, attracted by the cheap land, wide open spaces, abundant sunshine, and the cool, starry nights that are punctuated by coyote (a native wild dog) calls that are almost the calling cards of the American Southwest.  I suppose all was well until this gentle couple ran up against some local traditional cultural event which offended them:  the school-sponsored annual coyote shoot.

You see, in eastern New Mexico and most of the rest of the western US, coyotes are a menace. They chase down and kill livestock upon which ranchers and the economy that surrounds them depend.  Every time you eat a hamburger or a steak, it is because a coyote didn't manage to get to some cow first.  Since ranchers originally came to this area, killing a coyote has not only been legal year-round (there is no "season" for it as with other species) but has been rewarded by government payments.  Supporting the local economy is just that important!  In Grady, it is a major annual fund-raising event to kill as many coyotes as you can and bring the carcases to the government agent for payment.  At least, that's my understanding of it.

Now I know a bit about California as well;  I was born and raised in Orange County until I was eight-years-old.  I knew that beef came magically from some butcher shop and that it was wrong to kill any animal because they are all part of a beautiful circle of life upon which humans are evil predators.  Or so I was taught by Disneyland that was only five miles from my home.  I don't really think I had seen a dead animal, except on TV or as occasional street-kill, until I moved out to live in my mother's homeland on the prairie.

I can imagine that these nice California folks had taken many trips to "the West", slept in some fine B&Bs, watched the long stretches of yellow, brown, and red from their speeding automobile, met the cheery tourist trap operators along the interstate, and fallen in love with dressing in leather clothes, donning turquoise jewelry, and going "native American earth-mama" like Hollywood and popular culture portray.  Now that they finally sold their over-valued California home and bought their surprisingly large bit of "retirement" prairie, they get all upset about what it takes to live and work in a real ranching place.  Their precious coyote calls are occasionally silenced and, like paying admission to see a horror movie with a deceptive and enticingly romantic trailer, they started complaining loudly and demanding that things change to suit their postcard dreams.

Well, politics being what it is, the school had to pull out of the event it had sponsored for probably almost 100 years, all for offending two Californians who had arrived a few month earlier.  Fortunately, a local group of families held the event anyway and just gave the proceeds to the school - the culture has managed to limp forward somehow against the wishes of tourists.  Although probably angry at getting trumped in their desire to rescue the majestic "Santa-Fe-watercolor" coyote from those satanic ranchers, the "hippies" have come to the village and made their mark in destroying a culture and way of life.  I am sure they congratulate themselves often when they write home to their California friends and report how they are "civilizing" the heathen Westerners.

Of course, I don't know that couple at all and can be sure that I paint this situation unfairly, but it highlights the biggest problem I have with the whole concept of "offense":  the hideous things offended people force everyone around them to do.  If it wasn't so acceptable to be offended, this would be recognized as the most brutal tool of the passive-aggressive behavior!

I am against acts of force categorically.  I think much time and discussion should be invested into any decision to force any situation on others, especially if the person wanting force to be applied is new to the scene and not a real contributor to the local culture.  Of course, that is what a democratic government is designed to do: inflict the standards of one group on another through force.  However, we constantly hear a cacophony of shrill voices chanting that they are offended by one thing or another that other people are saying or doing, and that means something has to stop and has to stop right now.  I would even go so far as to call "taking offense" a variant of ethnic-cleansing and race-baiting.

The word "offended" should be excised from our vocabularies.  We should punish our children when they use it and we should ignore or (better) shun adults that say such unintelligent and over-emotionalized things.  So much wickedness and hemogeny (a terrible evil all its own) is bred by outside influences "tut-tutting" the ways and means that have served a people well for centuries.  So many places, livelihoods, and ways-of-life have been eliminated by the far-too-often whined and Disney-esque emotional offense.

So, the next time you go out of your way to placate someone who is being offended, remember Grady and that something that contributed to their life and livelihood has been stolen away from them, just to please the convenient sensibilities of some outsiders.  Don't let it happen and don't ever allow yourself to become offended!

21 July 2011

A Transition

Well, I have finally decided to enter the blogging world, after many years doing websites.  We will see how this format works for me (and perhaps you).  I will be gradually adding things as I figure out how I want to do this.  I will definitely be changing the format of this blog, you can be sure!

For the interim, you can look at my website.  Also, if you have some ability for it, you can check out my far more dangerous gopher site.

Until next time...