I Am Who I Am

Moses fled Egypt and lived in Midian for forty years when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and told him to go to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery.  In response, Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’  Then what shall I tell them?”  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’”.  The name of I AM is how God chose to introduce himself, and I am probably committing some type of sacrilege by writing this post.

I worked as a spy for the CIA for many years and now I just want to be me.  Sorry, I was just kidding about being a spy.  Blogging anonymously would not change who I am, so I don’t see the point in hiding my identity from anyone.  I don’t have any fear about being judged and I maintain my privacy, by writing about topics that interest me.  I am not a well-known celebrity, nor do I care to be one, but I accept myself for who I am.  I am not saying that I am an autosexual person, one that is sexually attracted and erotically aroused with being with myself, I just don’t want to wear a mask that hides who I am and creates a false appearance of me being pretentious.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #92 which asks, “Do you blog anonymously?  Why or why not?

The Ninth Commandment

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” is something that many faiths are taught, but this is not about general lying, it is a very specific form of lying known as perjury.  The criminal offense of perjury consists of making a false statement under oath, either in writing or verbally, that one knows is false, and that is material to the proceedings in which the statement is made.  It seems that God does not want you to lie with your neighbor’s wife, or to tell lies about them, but it is not a sin to tell a lie.  People have a tendency to classify lies into categories of either being big fat lies, blatant lies, or insignificant white lies.  Some people feel that if they cross their fingers behind their back that anything can fly, because this gesture will cover up any lie.

There are a number of scriptures that seem to condemn lying, but the truth can be told in such a way that it gives someone the wrong impression, like when President Trump took Dr. Fauci words out of context to mislead everyone.  Trump has been very dishonest about the Coronavirus and the way he played down how deadly this pandemic was, and that was sinful, because it caused unnecessary death among people who believed him.  If you tell a lie to protect somebody, or if you mislead somebody to about your own private information, that should be OK, as it is not harmful to others, even though this may be frowned upon in the Bible.  There are cases when lying is acceptable and there are situations where telling a lie may be the right thing to do.

People holding certain positions have a duty not to lie, but everyone tells lies, as this is a fundamental part of our social life.  If you tell your wife that those jeans don’t make her look fat, that could be a lie, but it would be an acceptable response to avoid trouble.  It would be better than saying, “Fat compared to whom”, or “Not as fat as you look in the other outfit”, or “No, they are fine, it’s the pint of ice cream you eat every night that makes you look fat.”  Married men must learn how to avoid those loaded questions and if you have to lie to keep your wife happy, then it is for the best.  If you are fine with the way your wife looks, then don’t treat this as a question where you are expected to give a yes or no answer.  Tell her that you love her and tell her what you love about her and that will make her feel better about herself.  If you want to have a better life, it may be necessary to tell a few lies.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #91 which asks, “Is it even possible to live a normal life and to not ever tell a lie?”

OK For Beginners

Blog awards do make beginner bloggers feel better, but after you have been around the block a few times, you realize that they serve no purpose other than spreading spam.  If I wasn’t so lazy, I would make my blog an award free blog, because I don’t want to receive any more nominations, answer any more stupid questions and have to nominate anyone else.  It becomes a chain mail situation of spam after a while, so I refuse to nominate others.  So far, I have not refused an award, but I have stopped nominating others, because I don’t like to put a burden on anyone.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #90 which asks, “How do you feel of blog awards? Why do you feel that way?”

Change Your Fate

Zeus’ second marriage was with his Aunt the Titan Themis and he did this to stabilize his power over all gods and humans.  Themis was known as (Divine Law) and she gave birth to six daughters that included two sets of triplets, the three (Seasons) and the three (Fates).  The concept of fate relies heavily on the existence of a great, almighty force that decides the future of every human.  The Fates were named Clotho (Roman equivalent Nona), Lachesis (Roman equivalent Decima), and Atropos (Roman equivalent Morta) and they were the goddess of pregnancy and they controlled the metaphorical thread of life.  Clotho spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle; Lachesis measured the thread of life with her rod; and Atropos cut the thread of life and chose the manner of a person’s death.

Destiny involves the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person’s future.  Karma can be described as something that you get based on the way you live your life.  Fate will inevitably happen as it is predetermined, but Karma is caused by your actions.  Both fate and karma are unavoidable, but you have control over karma.  Karma is a central concept in Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, but Paul the Apostle wrote, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

I don’t believe in Fate, Destiny or Karma, because if there were such a thing, then Trump would be a piece of dog shit.  These ideas are attractive to people, because they use these terms to explain things that they don’t understand.  Good and bad things happen to both good and bad people and people are always looking for answers on why they have good or bad fortune, but evils, sorrows, plagues, toils, illness, hatred, war, death and troubles can’t be blamed on what came out of Pandora’s box, as most things just happen for no reason.  There are a lot of gods out there, because most people are plain ignorant and they go around praying to this god for good fortune and another one to become pregnant.  If they want to get out of work early, then they pray to another god, and if they want revenge then there is a different god for that.  If they don’t get the things that they ask for from one god, then they move their praise toward a different god.

When ancient Rome suffered misfortune, this was often explained by the loss of virginity by a Vestal, who were the keepers of Rome’s luck and the city’s only recourse to restore balance to the empire was to blame and punish one of the Vestal Virgins.  Since harming a Vestal was considered bad luck by the citizens of Rome, the punishment of being buried alive was introduced and this was considered to be an act of mercy.  In his book Astronomica Manilius says, “Fate rules the world; all things stand fixed by its immutable laws.  And the long ages are assigned a predestined course of events.  At birth our death is sealed, and our end is consequent upon our beginning.  Fate is the source of riches and kingdoms, and the more frequent poverty.  By fate are men, at birth, given their skills and characters, their merits and defects, their losses and gains.  No one can renounce what is bestowed, or possess what is denied.  No man, by prayer, may seize fortune if it demur, or escape if it draws near.  Each one must bear his appointed lot.”  I feel that this is total bullshit, and I will take Dory’s advice and “just keep swimming”.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #89 which asks, “Do you believe in karma (or a similar “reap what you sow” notion)?  Why or why not?”

You Never Have Complete Control

If we could control the wind patterns, then we could have all the rain that is dumped on us delivered to the places where the fires are burning, but we are at the mercy of mother nature.  I can control what I watch on TV, but if my cable goes out, or my power is down, or my internet connection is lost, then I must find some other way to occupy myself.  You can have some control over your career, but if you are not independently rich, you may have to swallow your pride and perform certain undesirable tasks, or work with people that you don’t like.  It is great when things just happen without us having to control them, like going to sleep and having a dream, as without spontaneity, we might as well be robots.  Nobody wants to be in control of every breath that they take, or having to direct our hearts to pump blood, or telling our hair and nails how much they should grow, as these things must occur automatically, otherwise our brains would be all scrambled with extraneous flotsam and jetsam taking over our whole lives.

Some people have arraigned marriages and many of them work out fine, but even though you can pick your seat and pick your nose, you can’t choose your relatives.  You get stuck with a lot of things in life and it is up to you to determine how you are going to deal with that.  Many of the mundane things that I do, I have control over, like if I decide to brush my teeth or take a shower, but many other things in life are out of my control, even the writing that I do is mostly controlled by prompts.  Just because somebody puts out a prompt, that does not force ne to write about that topic, as I have control on what interests me.  When I decide to write about something, I have already taken the plunge and I am along for the ride wherever it takes me.

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote a song titled ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ which is about the control that someone has in their life and their solution is that a person can get what they need out of their life.  Joni Mitchel summed this up pretty well with her song ‘Both Sides Now’ saying, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now – From win and lose and still somehow – It’s life’s illusions I recall – I really don’t know life at all”.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Extraneous and for Fandango’s Provocative Question #88 which asks, “To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken?  Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?”

Whatever Doesn’t Kill You

I guess in some small way, I have become a better person because of the pandemic, as it has taught me to be more understanding and more patient.  I always hated waiting for appointments, doctor, dentist or whatever and when I would show up at the scheduled time, they always made me wait.  They seemed to like to jam as many people as possible in the waiting rooms which was, I guess so they could make as much money as possible, but when Covid-19 hit, everything changed.  Now they asked you to wait in your car and call or text them that you arrived.  I like this much better than sitting in the waiting room, and when I had my eye doctor follow up visit after my cataract surgery this morning, I called and they told me to come right in.

Patients is a virtue, because being tolerant enough to hang in there without getting angry causes less stress and as they say, all good things come to those who wait.  The pandemic has slowed down the world for me and I realize that I can’t have everything that I want and I certainly can’t have everything when I want it.  I had plenty of toilet paper when this whole thing started, but I have seen many other products have shortages and there was nothing that I could do except wait.  I have ordered a lot of stuff online that I had to wait for it to come in the mail, where before I would have just gone out to a store to get it right away.

I understand that many people in the service industry could not stay home and still be able to work and I am grateful for them showing up to their jobs, so I could do my grocery shopping.  I understand that I need to wear a mask, no matter what Trump says about this, because Science has determined this and the magic that Trump predicted is just whacky.  I actually believe that Trump may be more dangerous than the virus.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #87 which asks, “Having been subjected to stay at home restrictions (to one degree or another) over the past six months, would you say that the quarantine has made you a better person?  If so, in what ways?  If not, why not?”

Hooked on Doom

In the end of 1994, I had this job working in Bath, Pennsylvania, and all the guys there used to play this game called Doom on their computers during lunch and breaks and I got addicted to it.  These guys were all playing Wolfenstein 3D, before Doom came along in the end of 1993, so they all enjoyed shooting and killing things and the monsters in Doom came straight out of hell.  I downloaded the free version, but I quickly upgraded to the full $40 version of Doom II: Hell on Earth and I began playing all the time.  I think that there were 30 levels in that game and I played all the way through 3 times, before I finally quit.  I had played Duke Nukem before, but this game was so much more realistic.

I was constantly playing this game, morning, noon and night and my wife would find me downstairs on the computer at 3 in the morning and she would tell me to stop playing, because I had to get up to go to work in a few hours and I would tell her, “Sure, as soon as I finish this level.”  When I finally did get to sleep, I was haunted by demons in my sleep.  I knew every inch of every level, where to go to increase my health and how to get more weapons and ammunition and which monsters were waiting behind every door.  I played it over and over again, and I did not get bored because each time I found a way to improve.  You would start off with a pistol, then you could get the chainsaw, a shotgun, a plasma rifle, and the BFG 9000 which would wipe out everything.  The game had cheat codes which I tried not to use, because that took all the fun out of winning.  The idea of the game was simple, kill everything you see!

Doom was a violent game, but it didn’t turn me into a serial killer.  I found it relaxing to blow away monsters, but the game is filled with monsters and I couldn’t stop at killing just one or even a few.  This game was running my life, it had become like a religion to me, till I went through all of the levels for the third time and then I quit cold turkey.  I am glad that I stopped playing this game, as there has to be more to life than killing demons from hell.  If I didn’t quit, I would have missed out on a lot of stuff.  Some people attribute this statement to Mark Twain and others say it came from Ozzy Osborne, but whoever said “Out of all the things that I lost, I miss my mind the most”, knows what I am talking about.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #85, which asks, “Have you ever had to make what turned out to be a life changing decision? If so, do you ever wish that you could go back in time and make a different decision? What decision was that and how do you think your life would have changed if you’d made a different one?”

I Am a Worthwhile Human

I may not be the smartest person on the planet, or the most attractive, or the best at any particular skill, but I am happy to be alive and I never get depressed.  I don’t spend a lot of time judging myself, even though I know that I have some negative personality traits.  Nobody ever said that life was going to be fair, so you just have to learn to deal with it.  If I were to evaluate myself, I would think that I should be put in with the good group of people, rather than the group that tries to harm others.  My self esteem prevents me from judging every move that I make in life and being the old dog that I am, I am not trying to learn any new tricks.

I feel that I am empathic toward others and I enjoy listening to both sides of an argument, but I don’t immerse myself in other people’s feelings, emotions, or sensitivities.  My parents instilled values in me which I try to follow and I have never been very judgmental.  I am tolerant of others, but sometimes people do get on my nerves, and there is not much that I can do about that, because I don’t enjoy fighting.  I feel that I am fair with others, as I would never ask someone to do anything that I was unwilling to do myself.  I judge myself as being valuable and I mostly ignore what other people do.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #82, which asks, “Do you judge yourself by the same standards that you judge others?  If not, are you harsher or more lenient on yourself?”

Grouping

Racism is not a modern-day phenomenon, as ever since the beginning of humanity people wanted to belong to groups, so they looked for things to define them.  People look for patterns, it is what we do and there is nothing wrong with that and if we didn’t always try to classify things, there would be no mathematics, science or language.  Grouping is a good thing, but when one group thinks that it is better than another group, that spells trouble.  There is good and bad in every group and racism is a learned behavior, it is not an inherent prejudice.  Nobody is born being a bigot.

I believe that racism can be eliminated or at least diminished, if mankind starts to look for the similarities that we share, instead of looking for differences.  As we enter the space age and have people living on the International Space Station who realize that they need to cooperate with each other in order to survive, there was an agreement that English would be the operating language for everyone.  I always felt that the quickest way for humanity to come together would be for an alien race to attack our planet and then we would all open up our eyes and see that we are all in the same group, that being Earthlings.  When people get smarter racism will disappear.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #81, which asks, “Do you believe that racism is an inherent human trait or is it learned?  Either way, are there actions that society can take to eliminate, or at least diminish, racism?  Or will racism always exist no matter what we do?”

Going Deep Today

Fandango asks, “Is the concept of ‘you’ continuous or does the past ‘you’ continually fade into the present and future ‘you’? Considering that your body, your mind, and your memories are changing over time, what part of ‘you’ sticks around?”

How do I answer an existential question like this without first defining who ‘you’ are?  I will skip the Who song ‘Who Are You’, because that was based on a day in the life of Pete Townshend and it does not get into the philosophical nature of life.  Most of us probably have a good idea of who we think that we are, but we don’t go around asking ourselves questions about the concept of who we are, as we normally go about our day, simply existing.  Self-concept is based on your personal experiences, body image, your thoughts, and how you tend to label yourself in various situations and it is generally thought of as our individual perceptions of our behavior, abilities, and unique characteristics and this can give you a mental picture of who you are as a person. You might believe that you are a good friend, or you are a kind person.

Fandango is interested in time periods, specifically the past, the present and the future and everything changes with time, that is until the end of time, which I will skip as that is way too deep for a Wednesday.  I am going to assume that Fandango is interested in getting our thoughts on whether or not that as we age, do we still maintain our Awareness, Understanding, Perception, Knowledge, Abilities and Skills that we have accumulated over life.  If we do lose these things over time, has time robbed us of a part of ourselves?

I would like to think that I am the improved version of my old self, even tough my body was in better shape when I was younger, I feel that I am a much better person now than I once was.  I have all of my body parts, except the useless cataracts that grew on my eyeballs which ruined my vision and that one wisdom tooth that I had pulled out, so basically baring a few extra pounds that I put on and the loss of hair on my head, I am still me.  I could end up getting Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia some day and that would be a shame, but I try to keep my mind active and that helps the real me stick around.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #80, which was a lot of fun.