Social Comment

The following ramblings are my thoughts about life.. and it's pursuits.. Those writings that have an author noted, are not original, however, the sentiments are mine as well. The rest of the writings are original.

Well, Just What Did We Expect?

Our society has changed immensely in the last thirty years. I am a member of the "hippie" generation and although I was not one of those demonstrating against the War in Vietnam, nor was I one to preach of "free love" and "if it feels good... do it" ..... I am guilty by association. These lessons have been bandied about so long that they have become a de-facto standard in our way of life.

The results are devastating and pervasive. When a person does not do well in school, we excuse it by saying that they have a learning disability. When a person brutally murders another, we excuse it by saying they had a bad childhood. All too often we see the accuser attacked, regardless of the guilt of the accused.

We have built this library of stock excuses for peoples actions and created a society where consequence is a non-issue, yet we are horrified when people actually go out and act as if their actions can easily be excused and that there will be no punishment.

I believe that the whole problem stems from the fact that life is far too easy these days. When the major item on our daily list was simply feeding the family, our day was consumed with this task. It was our primary concern, we did not have time for trivialities and justice was swift and unforgiving. If there was wrongdoing, people got to the bottom of it as swiftly as possible and did not allow for excuses. If you murdered someone, you knew that if you were caught, you would die. In the old west of the United States, this deterrent worked well, for history shows us that there was little violence and little patience with crime.

The liberals keep arguing this issue on and on and on and on... and I am sick of hearing it. The premise of the argument is that in order to be a civilized society, we must "understand" the criminal element. This is just the horse-hockey I would expect from my six year old. It ignores human nature completely; it ignores history completely; and it ignores the examples of swift justice that we have in the world today.

The idea of criminal behavior is no different than the bully you saw in the sixth grade. The ONLY thing he understood was a punch in the nose. He would pick on you and pick on you, but if you stood up to him and dotted him right in the eye, he may have walloped you, but he would also find someone to pick on who WOULDN'T fight back. This is human nature and it doesn't take a PHD to understand it. It is fine to understand it; as long as there is action to go with it. I hear people bemoan the fact that our jails are overcrowded..... Well no kidding, there is little or no punishment for crime. Where is the surprise? Aren't we getting just what we should be expecting? Nature is simple cause and effect; human nature is no different. Where is the surprise? Where is the surprise?

Gary's Proverbs (some are original)

Life is lived in forward.... and learned in reverse.

Life is a tough teacher... It gives the test first.

If the eyes saw no tears..... The soul would know no rainbows.

Touch my heart and I will remember... Touch my soul and I will never forget

Live Life, Think In Gray, Act In Black And White, Dream In Color

A Wish Changes Nothing... A Decision Changes Everything

Stagger me with the truth.... Don't insult me with a lie

Fanaticism and Ignorance are forever busy... and need feeding

A Dream... Is A Wish Of The Heart

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take...but by the moments that take our breath away

Without Dreams ... There are No Tomorrows... Just More Yesterdays

Ignorance can be treated... Stupidity is fatal

Food For Thought

What in the world is happening with our kids today? Let's see...I think it started when Madalyn Murray O'Hair complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school---the Bible that says thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, and love thy neighbor as thyself, and we said, OK. Remember Dr. Benjamin Spock, who said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem? and we said, OK, we won't spank them. Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And our administrators said whoa, no one in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and we won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea. Then someone else said, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents. And we said, that's another great idea. And then some of our top officials said that it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, as long as I have a job and the economy is good, it doesn't matter to me what anyone does in private. So now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. Does it have anything to do with "we reap what we sow"?

On Religion

Want to get controversial? Just bring up.. religion. Want to start an argument? Just bring up.. religion. Want to alienate friends? Just bring up.. religion. Want to start a war? Just bring up.. religion. One has to wonder, why this particular subject evokes such responses in human beings. Certainly, religion holds deep-seeded beliefs and generally, when emotions come into play, reason exits the building.

Isn't it indeed curious, that more people have been killed in the name of religion, than for any other reason known to mankind. After having twice read and geniunely studied, I have often wondered about the Bible. It occurs to me, that if a person lives their life as the Bible sets forth, then that person will be a damned pretty good Joe. I wonder also, that if the Bible is God's 'user's guide', why then, didn't He have it written in such a way as to have only ONE interpretation? Why are there over 13 major religions, eg major interpretations? For an all-knowing all-powerful Being, this would seem to me to be quite the oversight.

Perhaps.. perhaps.. there is another reason. In my estimation, when I finally cross the pearly gates, God won't care too much what religion I was.. In fact.. I don't think He will care if I participated in a reglion at all. I believe God is much more fundamental than that and He will be much more interested in just what kind of person I was. Religion.. is a man-made creation.. and isn't it funny, just how many religions are so intolerant of another interpretation? I doubt seriously that God shares that conviction. Isn't it ironic that religions often teach tolerance except when it comes to... religion.

More On Religion

I look at all of the religions of the world and at the same time, all of the interpretations of the Bible. I must ask myself a question at this point. If I were to write a book for my "children", wouldn't I write it on their level, in such a manner as to leave only one interpretation; the one in which it was intended? I must also ask, how can an all-knowing, merciful God write a book of rules that could be interpreted 13 different ways? I must also question the accuracy of the present document, in light of the knowledge as to how many times it has been translated down through the ages. What about women in religion? What religion allows, or much less, encourages women to hold prominent positions in the church? Religion is Man's creation, along with all of the little rules, not God's.

God has put us here, knowing our needs and has given us everything we need to fulfill them. I cannot believe there is some supreme plan to guide our destiny. This surpreme plan would suggest an awfully stupid god. A plan would nullify and make useless our self-will and imagination that He gave us. How could a God who created a colorful, living forest, create a schism such as this?

Just a Thought

It matters not what God takes away from you. What matters is what you do with what is left.

We are better than the Ancient Romans, Aren't we?

The ancient Romans were known to place slaves and others into the arena, pitting them against each other, against animals and against celebrated warriors. This was great sport and thousands of people turned out to watch the spectacle. I have seen the Collesuem, the thing is ENORMOUS, built for massively large numbers of spectators. The masses cheered at the carnage and violent death of the loser. This voyeuristic passion seems to be a deeply inbred characteristic of human beings. Today, we would not think of such things.... Would we?...

Today, we have a plethora of television shows that air during the day that display people airing their private laundry for money. Very often these events lead to violent conflicts between the participants; meanwhile, the audience cheers and jeers at the spectacle. The show captions read like dime novels... "I was sleeping with your man"....."My sister had a baby by my husband"... While, thus far, no one has been killed on stage, we are not far from doing what the ancient Romans did. There has been one incident where a man was killed after a show for telling another man that he was in love with him.

The bottom line.. Aren't we doing exactly the same thing as the ancient Romans? Aren't we cheering and jeering at the suffering of others? Isn't the real danger here in the fact that human beings tend to slowly extend the limits of that which we do? Where will we stop? WILL we stop? The Romans couldn't seem to and there is no evidence to convince me that we are any wiser than the Romans in spite of the fact that we SHOULD be; we should have learned from their mistakes. Ignore history and you WILL repeat it. QED.

On Education

An educator imparts knowledge and opens new avenues of thinking without clouding those avenues with the debris from learning.


A wolf is still a wolf, even though it doesn't eat your sheep.
A pint can't hold a quart. When holding a pint, it is doing the best that it can.

On Computers

HARDWARE: Product that if you play with it long enough, breaks.
SOFTWARE: Product that if you play with it long enough, works.

On Nature

Nature builds and destroys in search of that which can endure. 2/14/86

On Racism

By far, most problems in the universe will not go away by simply ignoring them. Racism, however, stands alone in this regard. If the human race could arrest the temptation to point the damning finger, then we could all get about our business and bigotry would simply wither and die from starvation. Diseases like bigotry can only survive when they are fed, generation by generation. Racism is something that is taught to the young, we are not born with this. Take a look inside a day care center sometime, you see a room full of children, no color, no race, no ethnicity, yet these same children will perpetuate racisim and someone will program their beliefs into them. If parents display a racially neutral attitude, the children will mimic, learn and adopt the same behavior; t'was ever thus. Fanaticism and ignorance are forever busy; and need feeding.

I am so tired of hearing black "leaders" spouting proverbs about what terrible inequality there is in this country toward blacks-- of course they always add in other minority groups almost as an afterthought. Some Blacks seem to have forgotten that this country went to war with itself over this very issue. The Civil War was not a war waged by the black man, it was whitey against whitey. There is no doubting that we have a society full of injustice and are far from perfect, but we have a society that allows and encourages those who would change destiny, to do so.

Martin Luther King was just such a man, a man who chose to do something for the good of mankind-- MANKIND, not black mankind. Dr. King recognized certain commonality in all humans and that there was, at least in those days, a common moral playing field.

On African-Americans

Those who call black people African-Americans would not consider calling one of my white features African-American. Since we know that all human life on this planet originated in Africa, then those who use the African-American terms are drawing a line in the sand; Anyone whose ancestry came from Africa before the time-line, is NOT an African-American; anyone whose ancestry came after the time-line IS an African-American. Isn't this the definition of racial predjudice?

Isn't it time we put an end to this foolishness? Everyone in this country can trace his origins to other countries. Why do we need to differentiate each other on this basis. Is this not racism? Hyphens in languages serve to separate words and ideas; does it not follow then, that hypens in racial issues tend to separate us as Americans? There are so many divisive forces at work in the human character, that we certainly do not need to invent more. I hear more racist remarks coming from blacks today then I have ever heard coming from whites. Haven't the tables turned? Aren't many blacks guilty of that which they claim to abhor? Drawing any lines in the sand based solely on race, is surely and inescapably racism. Don't we as humans have far greater issues to deal with than these mindless debates?

Racism is a Learned Response

Racism is a response learned as one grows up and all children learn from what they are exposed to as they navigate the road of life. If they are exposed to racism or any prejudice at all, they will absorb a certain amount of it. This is, without question, a fact of life. It's simply called learning. As we teach our children the operational procedures of life, we naturally expose them to our prejudice. There are a great number of things that we ultimately have in common with our offspring. We cannot choose which of our beliefs, beliefs that we have shared with out children, that our chilren will adopt. They may like flying airplanes, like mom, or they may like green beans like dad. These are the types of prejudices we all share. Racism is yet another, and if we share it with our children, then there will be those children who will adopt a racial prejudice. I was watching my white daughter at play with a black boy. They played for about twenty minutes and when they were finished, I called my daughter off to the side and asked her if she noticed anything different about the little boy. I swelled with pride when her reply came; "Yes, he needs a haircut". The blatantly obvious fact that his skin was a different color, was just that, so obvious that it didn't even enter into her thought processes; As it should be.

On the Sheepishness of People

The world is caught up in finding reasons and rationale behind everything. Sometimes, the simple truth is that there is no reason. From time to time, in my business dealings, I come across those who will promise to have the world in your lap by next Tuesday. Tuesday comes and goes with no sign of a delivery. Then comes the inevitable period of avoidance, because they know they have broken a promise and don't want to face you. Once I do get back in touch with these folks, I tell them, "look, we both live in the same world and sometimes we just get too busy, yet want to accomodate everyone, but it simply isn't possible. I would rather have you tell me you can't get to me for 3 weeks and be able to count on that date, then have you tell me I'll have it tomorrow, knowing that that is just not possible. There are also occasions where you just don't want to deal with my request, fine, just tell me and I'll be on my way."

On the Mind

A wondrous instrument indeed. I cannot help but wonder if we will ever master the full capability of our mind. We have seen, experienced and heard of some astounding things produced in the human mind. Some that seem very far beyond reason, yet the idea that some things seems beyond belief is not a new one. Further, that some of these things later become well known facts is also not a new concept. Intelligence has nothing to do with being smart. Each and every one of us is fully capable of doing moronic things. Conversely, we are all capable of performing feats of brilliance now and again. This applies to all of us, including the mentally handicapped. The measure of intelligence is the amount of information that the mind can bring to bear on a given problem in order to formulate a solution or solutions.

Wisdom is the ability to sift through the available information, the amount depending on intelligence, and choose the pertinent information to formulate the "best" solution. This is exactly why our nations leaders should possess great intelligence and preferably an equal amount of wisdom.

But how is wisdom arrived at? There are two ways to achieve wisdom. One way is by amassing information through straight repetition. The other is by intuitive thought based on an ever increasing balance of information that can be brought to bear. My Grandmother was indeed a wise woman, although not necessarily an extremely intelligent one. She did not know about quantum physics, but could sure provide brilliant solutions to everyday problems.

People Who Enjoy Being Abused

These people have a deep unrequieted need in their soul. They will stay in an abusive relationship because they still love the person they fell in love with (whom is now gone) and they live for the stimulation provided by the immense exchange or rise of emotions. They don't like being physically slapped around, however, this at least provides a different level of emotion than they are feeling day-to-day. They are so starved for an emotional response either in themselves or in the abuser, they virtually welcome any emotion at all, good or bad.

On Slavery

There is a growing sentiment in this country regarding Civil War reparations. The idea being proposed is that all Whites in the country should reimburse the Blacks for the transgressions of our ancestors. While there are a number of arguments made on both sides of the issue, what is never mentioned is the following;

Most slavers in Africa were black. At that time, the average life span of a white in Africa was less than a year, therefore the white slavers would pay black slavers to capture slaves and bring them to the boat.

Slavery had been utilized virtually since the beginning of Human-kind's inhabitation of the planet. It was the United States that finally had the backbone to stand up and say "No, this is not proper behavior and we must do something to stop it". The country went to war over this issue (among others) and was nearly destroyed because of it. I don't hear anyone acknowledging this fact. One of the strong suits of our nation is its' adaptability to new ideas by those who would wage the war of change. We certainly do not have the perfect society, but we do have a fertile land, where outdated idealisms can be plowed under and replaced by newly planted ideas.

On Knowledge

And although a man feels insecure in the presence of that which he does not yet possess, he may gain a more important security in pondering the self-esteem that comes in the wisdom of knowing simply how much he has left to learn and wondering at the vastness of knowledge that he will never possess.

On Lying

Of all liars, the smoothest and most convincing is memory. Doesn't it follow then, that no man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar? Surely, too, morality is moral only when it is voluntary. Truth, beauty and freedom! Should not one concern oneself with these to the exclusion of all else? For the silence of the uncommittted is deafening and are not the cruelest lies told in silence? The liberty to do as one chooses, to live, to love, to create in peace and contentment - to follow the dictates of conscience, these are indeed worth pursuing and worth fighting for. To find perfect love, to woo it and to win it, secure in the knowledge that it is final and complete, is difficult. For love is the slowest of all growths and in the end one must accept whatever end arises and go on...


The Human Experience

When there is no fun in anything anymore, then things are only what they are. It's just like a long dentist appointment; and that's the way it goes until something exciting happens like falling asleep. People put that submissive glare in their eyes so everybody doesn't know their mind is asleep. They sit around and eat fruit and watch the clock run out. Some people come home from work and read the paper for half-an-hour, watch TV for an hour, shower and hit the rack. They have taken all of the spontaneity out of their lives and reduced themselves to the status of a gear in the piece of machinery. They have found a routine that works well for them and they stick to it for security and out of fear. They are afraid to allow chance or change to come close to them, for fear of losing. I would go to hell for being a bit lusty, rather than live in the holocoust of fear.

Saturday - August 18, 1979

A Wedding Vow

As God witnesses my troth, may you accept my life as proof of this love I declare. I pray that you accept that which I offer to our life as it were your own. I want that I might be giving of myself, and thus, merit your goodness as my spouse and may I relentlessly honor your most private thoughts and troubles and be granted the insight to see your anxieties and share their burden.

A Comment

So bold is he who fancies a word
of black on destined souls.
Tis he who bids the clock to run,
tis he who robs the young at heart
None other sells a pauper short
Or lays the men in low
Wherefore did'st odd demon depart
To fawn on raptures' delight
To yearn for heart felt plight
Or a lad's young folly
No crueler blow can 'ere be struck
Than such as this in woe
Tis he who be the mortal foe
Tis he who then our wrath betrothed
Then come and go to set his feelings nigh
To feel himself what his heart hast wrought
To him be learned of a lesson well-taught.


On Law and Liberty

When law becomes so intent and entangled in legalities, that justice becomes simply a useless (or better yet - an unused) by-product, isn't it indeed time for us all to re-read (or simply read for some) the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? When technicalities or precedence or anything at all, especially man, stands in the way of Justice, then God help us, we have forgotten about "Liberty and Justice for all". Too serious? Patriotic nonsense? I sincerely hope there are not too many people who think so.

An Eye for an Eye

An "eye for an eye" is only good for people with three eyes.

On Responsibility

To blame destiny for the slings and arrows of misfortune is only casting stones at the sun. Is it not oneself who dresses oneself in the morning? Do we not transport ourselves to work? Who then, can we blame, except for ourselves for our downfalls in life? Luck? Luck is simply a word we create for how things turn out. If we have laid the groundwork properly and things turn out well, we say we've had good luck; If we have failed the preparation, we blame it on bad luck. Bad luck is only the ghost of our shortcomings. Our mortality inhabits our every thought. It dominates our every emotion and directs our very lives. Does it not follow then, that luck, as an abstract concept, is real only when we give it a real place in our minds as an excuse for our failures?

On Wisdom

A wise man knows the value of silence.

The Smile

A smile is a valuable article. It provides that minú te era of comic relief, that offers to us all a brief escape from this all too serious mortal boil, er ah, coil...

We Must Remember

All of the Dachau's must remain standing; the Dachau's, the Belson's, the Bougenville's, the Auschwitz's; all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time, when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard. Into it, they shoveled all of their wisdom, their logic, their knowledge; but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this; the moment we cease to be haunted by it's remembrance, then we become the grave diggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone, but wherever men walk God's earth.

Rod Serling

A Most Important Question

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s,but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello". I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Author Unknown

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older Black woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her - generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole

Always Remember Those Who Serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.

Author Unknown

The Supreme Gift

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood.

Author Unknown

The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

Author Unknown

Our Quest

For the children, this is our reason.. our quest...
We experience...taste... relish.. life... for the children...
For the children... we know... will continue...our quest...
What we have left...we have left.. for the children

And to them.. we owe this debt...
This debt of life.. of peace...
We spend our lives...learning.. yearning...
For the peace.. for us...for the children..

For the children.. we must find the peace..
The peace that surely lies in mankind..
Sleeping... raising an eye... not yet waking
Our quest.. for the children.. lies in ourselves..

Our quest cannot fail.. we must find the peace...
To make this gift.. we must first possess it...
Let it encompass our souls.. for the children
And teach them of it.. our quest.. for the children...

Only In America.....

... can a homeless combat veteran live in a cardboard box and a draft dodger live in the white house.

...can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance...

...are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink... drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions. people order double cheese burgers, a large fry, and a diet coke... banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters... we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and leave useless junk in the garage... we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place... we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight... we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well: "poli" in Latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "bloodsucking creatures"... we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

To All Moms, From All of Us

When the skies darken and we know not where to turn,
when we are lost and alone in the middle of a crowd,
when we lose our friends to that villian of time,
there's always mom.

We can curse and cause mischief,
we can be the real pain,
we can loose the agonies of unbriddled words,
but there's always mom.

We create worries without even a thought,
we run and run and never call home,
we plow through bruises and cuts all round,
but there's always mom.

And somehow through it all, mom is there,
mom is always there,
her feelings pushed away, for her little one,
thank God for mom.

Life's Syndromes

Little Man's Syndrome
A small man in stature who is paranoid about his size and smokes a ten inch cigar and talks very loud.

Big Man's Syndrome
A man who knows his size impresses most people.. and uses it to advantage.

Little Big-Man's Syndrome
A little whimp, who at some time, has been allowed a little power and it goes straight to his head.

Left-Lane Syndrome
The moron who MUST drive in the left lane on the expressway at 35 mph.

A bargain.. At 39 cents

When I was about 20, I remember driving into a gas station one night, very late. I was driving a convertible corvette and was very low on fuel. I pulled up to the pump and a crusty old man slowly walked over to the car. This was in the days where all filling stations were full serve. The old man seemed barely aware of his surroundings and my first impression was that he was doing his human best, just to be here. He walked up to the car and just stared. I told him that I wanted 39 cents worth of gas. He stared for a moment, and then slowly moved over to the gas pump. He began fueling the car and I sat there, feeling very uncomfortable at having asked this man to pump so little fuel in my car, but, alas, that was all I had. We sat there silently for a few moments and then I noticed that he had put more than 39 cents worth of fuel in the car. I yelled, "hey, wait, you know I only have 39 cents, I can't pay for that". This scruffy old unshaven man looked at me... looked at the car... and then back at me.. and muttered.. "39 cents won't get you off my lot in this contraption son".

Silently, he continued fueling the car, his head turning back away from me to what he was doing. I sat there aghast, not knowing what to do or say. He finished fueling the car and had completely filled the tank. I looked at this old man.. and told him that I would be back to pay him the money I owed him.. and thanked him for his kindness. He again raised his head and looked at me.. and said "Oh yes.. you must repay me.. and with interest, but I don't want your money". My suspicions were immediatlely raised and I am sure he saw that in my face. He said "One day, you will get on your feet.. and when you do.. you will find someone else who needs your help... help them.. pass it on". I could almost see the faintest glint of a smile emerge from between those wrinkled lips on his aged face. I was so taken with the moment and his depth and his kindness, that I am not even sure what I said next.. but I am sure that it was something to the effect of "Yes, I will, I promise"... and I have.. many times... passed it on..

This old man, whom I know nothing about, lives with me..every day of my life... and I have repaid his kindness many many times.. and I know his reward... the feeling he got in helping me that day.. I make each person that I help like that, promise me the same thing.. and I am warmed by the sheer amazement in their eyes. I have often wondered if this old man.. knew what he had started..and in how many others he had planted this seed.... but somehow.. I know he did.. he knew...and he is smiling today...This act of kindness lives on in me.. and the others he has helped.. and the ones they have helped... Yes.. this old man is smiling.. and he knew very well what he was starting...

Dealing with a Pacifist

What to do if you happen upon a peace rally by naive college students to teach them why force is sometimes needed:

1. Approach an ignorant student talking about "peace" and saying there should be "no retaliation."

2. Engage in brief conversation; ask if military force is appropriate.

3. When he says "No," ask, "Why not?"

4. Wait until he says something to the effect of, "Because that would just cause more innocent deaths, which would be awful and we should not cause more violence."

5. When he's in mid sentence, punch him in the face as hard as you can.

6. When he gets back up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his values to strike you, because that would, "be awful and he should not cause more violence."

7. Wait until he agrees and he has pledged not to commit additional violence.

8. Punch him in the face again, harder this time.

Repeat steps 5 through 8 until he understands that sometimes it is necessary to punch back.

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