After I woke up this morning and discovered I hadn’t been blasted to cinders or covered in 500 feet of water, I lay for a moment and contemplated my/our new lease on life.
I mean, really, although most of us poo-pooed all the hubbub about the end of the world today, there were some seeds of doubt – weren’t there? To illustrate my point a bit, I took the liberty of going to a news agency’s site (to remain unnamed) and without prejudice plucked the top 10 headlines from it’s entrails. First, the world news:
And just to show I realize over here in the States, we have our fair share:
Stocks set to tumble
Police: Man torments girlfriend by killing hamsters
Now, any who know me also knows I’m not a doom-and-gloomer. And I might note that there is also – especially at this time of year - hundreds of heart-warming stories out there that serve to offset the horrifying ones, to some degree. But. The balance is shifted between the two sides like never before.
I remember when I was a child, I experienced the same phenomenon as any kid – hearing my dad lament about the “good old days” when life was simpler, things were cheaper, people didn’t do such crazy things, and so on. And I also recall thinking “what’s he complaining about? It ain’t that bad.” That’s because dad, like any good father, shielded his kids from the atrocities lurking in the world, at least until it was time to educate us a bit on what was waiting.
Now, as a parent, I fully understand why. Reading the news – or walking down a city street – today is not for the faint of heart. I’m not going to enumerate further the various horrors any one of us can experience at the drop of a hat. All of you are more than aware. What I WILL say, though, is I believe it’s happened because we as a society have swung away from two things that taught us how to be basically decent beings: God and family. The Ten Commandments laid out a basic set of rules by which you couldn’t go wrong as a person. And the parents taught how to live by those rules.
Now, much of life is learned by a child’s peers, or video games. Sad.
We’ve made a mess of our world, we surely have. And now, as I sit here sipping coffee and breath my own somewhat dramatized sigh of relief that I don’t see a wall of water coming toward my window (although there ARE 15 hours left in the day), I’ll say a bit of a prayer, giving thanks for what I have, and for what years I have left.
By the way, anyone who has read the bible and perused the part that mentions the Apocalypse realizes that no one – not even the angels – will know when it’s coming. God will simply decide it’s been enough, lean over and hit the BRS (that’s very old computer techno jargon for Big Red Switch), and that will be that.
No, he’s not doing that today – but could anyone blame him if he did?
I would like to thank my good friend Superphoenix (http://superphoenix.wordpress.com/) for this honor :)
11 random facts about me
1. My wife and I are paranormal nuts and plan on buying some equipment and conducting our own investigations.
2. I didn’t start writing until I was 54 years old. Until then, I had written no fiction whatsoever.
3. I was married July 14, 2012. The third time is a charm. She is my best friend, and the love of my life.
5. My father’s adoptive family have their roots in Germany. However, in the United States, the entire population of the family can be traced to three men – a father and two sons. They settled in Western Pennsylvania in the mid-17th century. They had to leave Germany because they had poached on a count’s land, and when caught, one of the count’s dogs was killed in the ensuing pursuit.
6. I will see Australia one day.
7. Genealogy is another of my passions, and I have traced one branch of my family to 1595. Three of these family members were brothers, and they were in a militia unit that participated in The Battle of Lake Erie, in which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry soundly drubbed the English Navy, and turned the tide of the War of 1812. Their father had also been in the militia – during the Revolutionary War.
8. When I retire, I’m going to write full time, along with editing professionally.
9. I’ve either lived or worked for extended periods of time in Washington, D.C., MIssissippi, Massachusetts, Louisiana, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, California, Alaska, New York, Indiana, Ohio, and Japan.
10. My favorite author of all time is Dean Koontz.
11. I’ve been riding trail bikes and motorcycles since I was 11 years old, have owned four street bikes, and will one day own a Harley.
My answers to the 11 questions:
1. What is the first thing you heard and saw when you woke up in the morning today?
Our cat Chirp. It’s Sunday, and he was on the bed, in my face, and telling me that I had slept long enough.
2. What is the one location that means for you-heaven on earth?
About 20 miles from my house is a little coastal community called Folly Beach. It has a pier that goes out into the ocean 1,200 feet. My wife and I were married on the end of the pier, and it’s our favorite place to spend an afternoon or evening, watching folks fish and frolic on the beach, the gulls wheel and squall, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a dolphin.
3. Of all the movies that you have seen, name a villain that you would rather have saved and why?
Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel, the leader of the rogue military squadron in “The Rock”. Hummel had led countless black ops in Viet Nam and other conflicts, and had seen his troops killed and buried – or counted as missing in action – with their families receiving not so much as a thank you for their loved one’s service. He and his mercenaries took hostages in Alcatraz and pointed missiles at San Francisco to call attention to these atrocities, and wanted only an acknowledgement for the sacrifice of brave men. He ended up dying for his beliefs – and the injustices remained. It bothers me most because although the story was fiction, its basis is probably true.
4. One fine day, you get up and decide you want to get a tattoo done. What would it be and on which part of your body would you get it done?
I actually did this, when I turned 50. I was studying karate, and got a tattoo of two long, sinuous dragons, their bodies wrapped around my biceps, their heads toward one another, and the yin yang symbol above them.
5. Which song aptly describes the current scene in your life? Please share with us the first two lines here.
“Back in Black”, by AC/DC. It’s a long story, but three years ago, I experienced a rebirth, and now feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life. The first two lines are:
Back in black, I hit the sack
I’ve been too long, I’m glad to be back
6. If you were approached to be part of a remake of an action movie – which movie would you choose and which character would you like to play?
I’d love to be Indiana Jones in a remake of any of Harrison Ford’s movies. They were all a mixture of adventure, travel, and delving into dark secrets while touching on history and foreign customs and beliefs. That’s an ideal combination for me.
7. If you had a chance to rewrite the fate of Romeo and Juliet, how would you end the book?
You know, I don’t think I’d change a thing. That play teaches some very valuable life lessons. Juliet’s decision to kill herself teaches that occasionally it’s best to sacrifice yourself instead of accepting circumstances with which you simply can’t agree. And Romeo shows us a dedication and love for Juliet that few of us – if any – have the good fortune to attain. Their decisions are a great example of pure love.
8. Remember your first love… name one trait (physical) of that person that still makes your brain get all fuddled up.
I don’t have to remember her. It’s going to sound odd, but my wife is my first love. And it’s her eyes. They’re a beautiful shade of brown, and dance with a light that makes the rest of the world go away.
9. Imagine yourself to be suddenly in possession of the key to this treasure trove – a cross between Scrooge’s money bin and Genie’s treasure cave — what will be the very first thing that you will buy with that money/gold?
The first thing would be mundane. – pay off all my bills and debts. The next one wouldn’t be – a brand new Mustang Cobra for me and an SUV of her choice for my wife.
10. You have foreknowledge that your city is about to be attacked by aliens in the next one hour. What’s your action plan?
The same as if anyone invades. I’ll go straight to a gun shop, buy four semi-automatic assault rifles, four 9mm pistols, and an ample supply of ammo for all. By then it’ll be time to rock ‘n roll…
11. In times when troubled thoughts invade your peace of mind, what do you do to soothe yourself?
Only a few miles from our place is a city park with a large lake. It has several good fishing holes, but there’s one in particular that’s my favorite. It’s right next to a marsh with a large population of cranes, egrets, and ducks, and has shade trees that house squirrels and song birds. There’s typically little in the way of traffic nearby, and it’s relatively secluded. It’s there I go to think and reflect (with a fishing pole, of course.)
Now, my Liebster Award nominees
Virginia Lori Jennings
Lorraine Jean Bush
Tim (T.W.) Dittmer
And my 11 questions to these fine folks:
1. What’s the one thing you like most about being an author?
2. What’s the one thing you like least about being an author?
3. You’ve just won a sweepstakes, and the prize is an all-expenses-paid vacation to any destination you choose. Where are you headed, and why?
4. You get a phone call from an author who wants to collaborate with you in the writing of a novel. Who do you want to be on the phone?
5. What’s the one thing that you want to accomplish before you die?
6. What’s the one happy memory that stands out from your childhood?
7. Which one person has been the biggest influence on your life?
8. What’s the best decision you ever made in your life?
9. What’s the worst decision you ever made in your life?
10. What is the best book you ever read and why?
11. You’ve been asked to play a monster in a horror movie. Which one would you want to play?
Of course, the rules are that each of you prepare a post listing 11 random facts about yourself, answers to my 11 questions, then pass on the award to 11 of your pals. Get to it :)