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This is not Bigotry

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

I am going to avoid forming friendships with two groups in the future. One group is the Jewish cult of Hassidic people. The other group is black people. I know how it can look like bigotry, but I am not against any kind of people in general. Let me explain.

I have had friendly relationships with three black people; two women and a man. All three disappointed me. They took advantage of my sincerity, my ability, and in general, they each, in separate friendships, disappointed me. Of course I will meet with and talk with other black people, but I will shy away from forming any kind of friendship or relationship. I have befriended three different black people in three different environments. They did not know each other. Each one, in ways similar to the others, betrayed my affection.

Similarly, I am never going to form a friendship with a Hassidic person. I have done business, and formed friendships with three Hassidic families. We enjoyed many conversations, teaching each other things from our separate societies. Each was a separate relationship, in business and in friendship. Of course, they knew each other, because they are all connected within their division of the cult.

In spite of very comfortable relationships, each of the Hassidic businesses cheated me. They refused to pay bills, even bills that I had to pay to my suppliers. They would pretend the colour was wrong, or the type was wrong, and used that to justify their thievery.

I did some research into how orthodox people can be crooked. What I learned is this; they have a connection with god, and their allegiance is to god. That’s why they pray 4 or 5 times a day. Their connection with society, however, is unimportant. It doesn’t count, as long as they’re in god’s good books. If one is not a practicing orthodox Jew, one does not qualify for honesty.

All religions, in one way or another, are built with the same self-importance.

Changing The Lives Of Others

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

I’ve blogged in the past about being blamed for ruining some peoples’ lives. I debunked the accusations by pointing out that they were getting a free ride from me, while they had little to offer in return. Therefore, when I moved on, and spent less and less time with them, they blamed me for ruining their lives. I guess they were pissed off that they were going to have to get their own cars, boats, cottages, and all. Tough!

I might be able to claim some positive points because I’ve changed some lives for the better. A family was fragmented, there was an ocean between some of them, and when I was attracted into it, several benefits ensued.

I was divorced, and had put a little free ad on ‘Friend Finders’, and it was very effective. I was enjoying several dates each week, and frequent sleepovers. One day I received a response that was different from most.

“I am a doctor in Budapest,” she wrote. Obviously, she was of interest. I thought of her as exotic. In truth, I always hoped to date a doctor. I assumed she would be knowledgeable about the body and how to enjoy it. I also have always hoped I’d have a European lover. I feel that Europeans are more sensual than are North  American women. It’s just an assumption based on personal experience.

This Hungarian doctor was planning to visit a city where I’d lived. She was taking a rare trip to visit her only child, a son, during the Christmas holidays. The boy had moved with his father to my city, for a better life. The boy was just 20, and worked very hard to support himself and his father. He also educated himself and got a job. His father was a chemist, but ill health kept him from working.

The lady doctor is very intelligent, and did a lot of work to communicate with me in English. To help her understand my writing in the many emails she received, I spoke the same words as I wrote, so she could follow the meanings. We began to fall in love on line, even before we met. I was not eager to marry again, and I was having a very satisfying social life. Still, the doctor proved to be wonderful.

To be sure of our feelings, I went to Budapest when the doctor was back home, and stayed with her for six weeks. It went well. I went home to sort things out, and moved to Budapest. I was not able to diminish my love for her because she was so damn smart she was able to patch any leaks I might cause in the relationship.

There was some more flying back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean, some high drama getting Hungarian permission to marry, and finally the paperwork was done. Several more adventures took place, but I want to get to my point.

The doctor retired, she married me in a village on the banks of the Danube, we flew home the next day, and the day after that we moved into our cabin in the forest.

As a result, the loving mother who had been separated from her only child for two decades now had Mom close by. He had me, her Mom’s husband, as a helping hand when his father was unable to.

His life more stabilized, her son married. We moved to a house in the village where her son and his wife lived. They had a baby. My wife was a grandmother, living a couple of blocks from her grandchild. Her son and his wife each had important day jobs, so my wife and I got to participate in raising the child. She spent every weekday in our home, being cared for and taught every day.

After the baby started school, we still had her for about 3 hours every day after school.

So how did I make some lives better? Well a 40 year old son had his mother with him most every day, after 20 years apart. His mother has a grandchild that is with her for part of about 300 days a year. The child’s mother can pursue her goals and have some personal time.

I’m happy as hell, because I love being part of the child’s life, and being accepted as her ‘Papi’, or grandfather. Her biological grandfathers are unable to see her often. My own children elected to be childless, so the stepchild is a dream come true.

As for the marriage, we’re in the 15th year of our honeymoon.

The Human Need for Stupid Stunts

June 10, 2017 1 comment

Bernie and I were both 17 years old. He was a couple of months older than I was, and we were close pals. In fact, our steady girlfriends were identical twins, one with him and one with me. We eventually married the twins, but that’s another story.

One night, Bernie and I went out to the quiet, wide highway 400 to do a stupid stunt. It was in the 1950s, when cars were huge. I was driving my father’s massive, cream coloured ’57 Buick Roadmaster. Bernie was driving his Aunt Lillian’s dark blue ‘53 Cadillac Coup de Ville. We roared up the empty highway at 3:30 one morning. We went side by side, Bernie on my left, me on his right. I powered down my window as did Bernie’s then girlfriend, and I reached to her and she took my hand. We roared up the road at about 100 miles an hour (160 km/h), two feet apart, holding hands, for no reason except the big V8 engines could do it.

The drive for stupid stunts must be quite strong in some people’s DNA.

In Toronto and Montreal, and perhaps other cities with subways, young people leap onto the exterior of the subway car and cling to the side as the train roars through the dark tunnels. I haven’t heard if anyone’s been killed or injured yet, but it is inevitable. Why do they do it? Perhaps they believe they’re showing courage and skill, although it’s actually reckless and foolish.

We scuba dive amid predators; we race cars; we ride motorcycles across deserts; we sail boats across oceans, for sport. Some of us need the challenge, the risk, the adrenaline dose that comes with pressure or anxiety.

I’ve done a good deal of auto racing, and ridden some motorcycles, and even did a fair amount of hang gliding. I enjoyed all of it, although I don’t really know why, except for the ‘stone’ one enjoys when the adrenaline sharpens all the senses. We see better, we hear more acutely, and our bodies feel fit and strong. I now get a good feeling from reading, writing, drawing and commenting on others’ works.

If one lives past the age of reckless foolishness, one learns the value of deeper activities.

Locked Eyes with a Stranger

June 3, 2017 Leave a comment

I’m sure every mature person has experienced it. You’re walking up a busy downtown street after work. You’re satisfied with how your day went, you’re in no hurry to get home, so you’re enjoying a summer day in the city, as the sun gravitates to the west. A black person (male or female, depending on your preference) comes around the corner in front of you.

Your eyes lock, and in less than a second, the minds of both people scan through a list of familiar analyses. “That’s interesting; good looking; kind of sexy; nice body; moves well; I would have sex with that person.” You pass shoulder to shoulder in silence. The moment has passed.

A man walks into a large store. He seeks some parts for plumbing repairs, but can’t find the plumbing department. He sees a woman, and on her back she’s wearing the store’s logo, so she might help. He touches her shoulder.

“Excuse me,” he says. She turns and their eyes lock. In that instant, flames seemed to fill both chests. It’s amazing, immediate passion for both parties. The woman tries to turn her eyes away from his eyes, but they spring back for a second look. At the same time, the man is trying to ignore the sexual impulse and speak. At last the woman looks away, and the man asks her for directions to plumbing supplies.

The woman is tongue tied, and can barely say “Come.” She moves past him and leaves her department to escort him to plumbing supplies. Following her, he sees that her shape and movements are as enticing as her face and eyes.

She is wondering, “what am I feeling? I could get into trouble with this man”. He is wondering, “this is incredible. Should I make a move on her? I think she feels the same. What if it’s only me, and she just sees me as another schmuck customer”.

She arrives at the plumbing department, waves her hand in the direction of the aisle and takes off back to her department. He gets his plumbing parts and leaves the store without seeing that woman again. He never forgets her, and wonders if she also remembers the moment. She does, and both individuals regret that they let the magic moment pass.

A woman is standing at the vegetable display in a large supermarket. She is opening the small plastic bag that the store makes available in fruit and vegetable departments. From behind her, a man’s voice says, “how does one open these things?” The woman turns, holding her own bag, to demonstrate. She sees his face, their eyes lock, and in an instant, each is aware that they would accept the other as a lover. But not in a vegetable department of a supermarket.

She licks her fingertips and deftly slides the thin plastic bag open. The man copies her actions and opens his bag. He wants to carry on with her, but fears rejection. He goes to the fruit department, and doesn’t see the woman again.

If I Had Power

June 2, 2017 Leave a comment

There are some things I would do with power. Some rules would be made about television commercials. Some rules about society in general would be made, too.

Television commercials for automobiles, directed at adults, must stop showing the vehicles in dangerous, high performance attitudes. Four-wheel-drifting on the salt flats is not how you should sell your van. It is not a performance vehicle, and there should not be scenes that make it appear macho to dangerously abuse the family car.

Television commercials for children’s toys and treats must stop making the crappy little plastic palaces and whatever, appear to be magical. Mnemonic devises, like clowns, dragons, and superheroes must not advocate for a toy or a treat. It is abuse of the little person’s mind, and when Mom gets the crappy toy, and it comes out of the box and does whatever it does, it is very little like the example in the commercial.

Television commercials for household products must stop making  everything look impossibly perfect. Sellers of cutters, choppers, and dicers must admit that the blades do not last forever. Perhaps they don’t last very long at all. And when a product is offered for $29.99…  “But wait! We’ll include a second gimmick at no extra charge! What’s more, at no extra charge we’ll include attachments to spin, curl, and cook with your gimmick.”

Go to hell, you TV hustlers. Nobody needs two tub scrubbers or two waffle irons. Just offer the damn things for $15.00 each, and see how it works out for you.

If only we had the television opportunity that they have in England. They can buy an annual license that gets them entertainment, news, and sports, commercial free.

Females Are Better Than Males

June 2, 2017 Leave a comment

I have to admit it. Not that men are nothing, but women bear a greater burden and a greater responsibility in society.

I recall a difficult time in my first marriage. Our second child was a daughter, as was our firstborn. However, this second child had a birth defect, called either Riley/Day or Disautonomia. The child was not responsive to anything, and had difficulty swallowing. Her mother had to give regular blood donations to keep her baby alive, and care for her in every way. Diapers, bottles, crib, bassinet as one needs for a healthy baby. The baby often spent nights in the hospital.

The phone rang at 8 on a Sunday morning. It didn’t wake my wife and daughter, so I got up quietly to answer the call. It was our baby’s pediatrician, calling to tell me that the baby had passed away in the early hours of the morning.

I returned to bed and lay still and silent until my wife awakened. I kept telling myself that the child’s death was best. A disabled child is a burden to itself and its family. This was best. The doctor was a family friend, and as I lay there, I wondered if he had unplugged the baby’s life support equipment so nature could do its thing.

When my wife woke up, drowsily, an hour or so later, I held her and told her that the baby was dead. She wept, she dressed, and she went to start breakfast. Our daughter would be asleep for a while. I showered.

In that whole misadventure, worst thing I had to do was tell my wife that her daughter had died. She had nurtured the baby with all she had, although it was hopeless. She also had the courage to become pregnant again, before it was determined what remote, rare disorder had taken the infant. When we learned that there was a 25% chance that the next child would be similarly afflicted, she stuck with it and we had a healthy son. I had that one traumatic moment. She had endured months of it.

Females are better than males.

Too Damn Lucky

May 23, 2017 1 comment

The birth of a new person creates a considerable disturbance in the lives of the parent(s) and other people. Some newborns have the misfortune to be born into a dysfunctional family, or an impoverished family, or to a drug-addicted hooker. Those people come into society already in a deep hole, out of which they must climb. They must, to rise within their environment until they can escape it. It’s a forbidding quest.

Some people, myself for instance, are born into poor families that intend to not stay poor. We lived above a corner ‘smoke shop’, my parents, my grandparents, my uncle and me. I was surrounded with love and protection, and had no idea I was poor. I was comfortable and well fed.

My father was smart and ambitious, and by the time I was four, we lived in a lovely little house, outside of downtown. It had a front lawn, a back yard, a concrete driveway and a cute garage. My mother had roses growing up the sides of the garage, and a blossoming cherry tree in the middle of the yard.

My father had been partners with his brother in a small, downtown lunch counter. After a year or so, The Second World War came along. My father took a job in a scrap yard. After he learned the ropes, he bought a classy suit and a pickup truck. Mornings, he would put on the suit, look great, and go out to manufacturers to buy their scrap metal. At midday, he returned home, ate lunch, put on work coveralls, and returned with the pickup truck to fetch the metals he’d bought. He then sold the load at a profit, to an established scrap yard. Soon he had a scrap yard of his own, with cranes and trucks and railway sidings. Stuff was happening.

Then came a large home, cars for my father (Buick), my mother (Pontiac), and me (Corvette). Also, a lakefront cottage, and several boats. We had rowboats, speedboats, sailboats, and my father’s large cruiser. I don’t know how dad did it, but I was certainly a beneficiary.

After a while, he sold his scrap business and started a lumber business. He was a restless man, always seeking new, unlikely challenges. After the lumber business, he became founding president of a new department store chain. I didn’t benefit so much from that plateau, because I was grown up, out of the house, and getting my own life going.

All my life, I’ve been too damned lucky.