I haven’t had a tirade in a while, so I thought I’d just have me one; I have a been visiting your planet for some time, kicking it on this marble and I have seen a lot of changes in society and human culture. Some for the better and some for the worse. I was raised in the South and in church. Some of you will read that and think, “so what, I was raised in church in the West or the North...” Some of you will read that and know exactly what I mean. In the South, church (or Church as we’d call it) was a big deal. We went Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. In the summer we had VBS (Vacation Bible School) for a week. You might even have a revival...that’s a whole ‘nother level of sanctification! I went through 12 years of public school. We had what they called “corporal punishment”, in other words the teachers could spank you. I was scared of my teachers, especially Mr. Jim Curry, a legend at Brown Elementary School! Hands down, one of the best teachers ever. Not in a weird, creepy way but in that way where you knew that if you received a spanking from a teacher, and survived, it really meant 2 spankings...because your parents would find out and another spanking was in your future. I had the most loving, caring, supportive parents you could ever ask for. In actuality, I probably received about 4 actual spankings my whole life. (My sense of humor leads me to expand but I digress!) The point is, I was raised to understand that a spanking represented a moral failure on my part and that was unacceptable. Letting my parents down was unthinkable. Today, as I look back on my childhood, as a father, I try and understand if the spanking or fear of a spanking was the actual deterrent. I doubt it. I’ve been punched in the face, burned with hot tar, had my heart broken and all of them were much worse than the hardest spanking I ever had and yet I remember my spankings as a child. They count with the greatest pains of my life because they represent me letting down my loved ones.
So I connect the dots. I’ve owned and fired guns since I was 12 years old. I am a very good shot, in case you wonder. I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never been in a gunfight. I’ve never been in a situation where I wished I’d had a gun. I have, however, had a couple of situations where, if I’d had a brick I would have been extremely satisfied. I grew up in an era when I parked my pickup at school with a rifle rack in the back window, with my deer rifle in it. No one called the FBI or the CIA and reported me as a threat to society. At the most, a teacher might ask me if I got anything.
I connect the dots; recently my family and I were subject to a case of road-rage. A guy felt that I had cut him off and proceeded to cut in front of me, slam on his brakes, get out of his car and charge my car, screaming at me and cursing in front of my daughter and my wife. My instinct was to fight but I was also aware of my daughter and my wife, so I locked the door and allowed this guy his aggression. (If you happen to read this [Williamson County, white BMW, first 2 letters of your Tennessee tag HQ, white guy, 40’s, short hair], which I doubt since you are obviously a caveman but if one of your keepers reads this to you, you idiot, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s arrange a meeting to “discuss” our traffic indiscretion.)
I played and still play video games. I was lucky to be here for their birth. I watched the Three Stooges every Sunday morning; eye pokes, frying pans, smacks to the head... Saturday mornings were for watching professional wrestling. It was broadcast from Nashville and from Memphis. Jerry “The King” Lawler, Nick Gulas, “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, Tojo Yamamoto... I watched these guys hit each other with chairs, do pile drivers and suplexes. Sure we tried the piledrivers and suplexes in the back yard but never in anger or with a hurtful intention. We were playing wrestling. The Las Vegas Leg Lock, made famous by Ric Flair (WHOOOO!) was the penultimate move.
My point, if I have one, is that I don’t think it’s video games, gun control or television that’s responsible for where we are. It’s our readiness to put it on society, or the environment or politics or schools or music or television or...whatever. I’m not your conservative example. I’m a tattooed, earring wearing, “MF- bomb” dropping rock n’ roller. I’m intentionally not using the F word in this scribe so that it might make it into someone else’s post. Here’s the thing; Gangs, drugs, juvenile delinquency, school shootings, etc. These things are not society’s fault. They are our fault. TV is not a babysitter, the mall is not a babysitter, school is not there to raise your kid, the next generation of children are the next group of leaders. With no moral compass they aren’t prepared to do anything. They watch us constantly and we give them The Kardashians, McDonalds and Honey Boo Boo. They look to us and we give them dirty politics, sequesters, cynicism and high fructose corn syrup. The landscape is different now and will be 20 years from now and 1,000 years from now. The trick is, 1,000 years from now, historians will look at us, in the early 21st century and say “Wow, what morons!” or “Wow, we need to replicate what they were doing!”
The crazy thing is, if you live here, even if you don’t have kids, they are watching you. I had some mentors in my life that had no kids but they influenced me deeply. I know, ypu’re thinking “FU-They ain’t my kids, I live the life I want to!” Great, when you’re old and in the home, cause you have no family, they’ll be the ones pushing your wheelchair to your meals and giving you sponge baths. Wouldn’t it be good if the person cleaning you with a sponge, when you’re too old to defend yourself, was a good, gentle person?
Preachy! A tirade cloaked in pontification! Is my blog gonna change the world? F**** no!! Tomorrow, if you give your kid a Egg McMuffin, sit them down in front of the E channel while you get ready for work and then drop them off at school and see them “later” I won’t be surprised or feel like a failure. If you buy an arsenal and consider yourself prepared for Armageddon, I won’t consider my words to have fallen on deaf ears. If road-rage over comes you and you cut somebody, I’m gonna shake my head and be ok.
Moral?: “Come on, we are better than this. As Andy Griffith once said to Jim Lindsey, on an excellent episode of The Andy Griffith Show; ‘act like you got some smart.’” Abraham Lincoln was more elegant with his reference to “the better angels of our nature”. Ghandi said “be the change you want to see in the world.” Ric Flair once said “I’m Ric Flair! The Stylin’, profilin, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealig. wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun!”...Not sure if that applies but it sure sounds cool!