The Difficulties of Forgiveness

Esau was furious and he vowed to kill Jacob as soon as their father Isaac died.  Rebekah intervenes to save her younger son Jacob from being murdered by his brother and she sends him to find a wife among her own people with her brother Laban and he actually ends up with four wives and returns 21 years later.  The story of Jacob and Esau is a telling illustration of the difficulty in believing in forgiveness, let alone accepting it.  Jacob had patently wronged his brother Esau by stealing Esau’s blessing and Jacob fled for his life with a guilty conscience.

Tradition stated that the first-born son would get the birthright, and although the twins were born within minutes or even seconds of each other, Esau was the older brother.  Obtaining the birthright was a very important and sacred thing, as this would allow you to legally receive a major portion of the inheritance.  Esau became the favorite of his father Isaac, while Jacob was loved more by his mother Rebekah.  This attitude of favoritism toward one son over the other by each of the parents provoked sibling rivalry, tension, and intrigue in the family.

Esau returned from a hunting trip when he saw Jacob was cooking lentils.  Esau asked Jacob, “Why are you preparing lentils?’  Jacob replied, “Because our grandfather Abraham passed away today and they shall be a sign of my love towards him.  Our father Isaac is stricken with grief and our mother Rebekah is busy trying to comfort him, so since you were not around, I took it on myself to make the soup.  This should have been your job, as you have the birthright and you will get the blessing.”  Esau said, “I don’t care about my birthright or any stupid blessing that I might receive some day.  I almost died today and now I just want something to eat, so give me a bowl of that soup and let me have some of that wine.”  Jacob realized that Esau was extremely vulnerable, so he decided to take advantage of the situation, because what he really wanted was the blessing that was issued to the first-born, so he said, “If you are not interested in your birthright, then sell it to me for the soup.”  Jacob knew that he was taking advantage of his brother, because having this birthright would also entitle him to a double share of the overall inheritance.

Rebekah knew about the deal that her two sons had made concerning the birthright and she supported Jacob in this matter, hoping that Esau would make good on his solemn promise.  One day when Isaac was old and feeble, he said to Esau, “My son, I am very old, and I do not know how much longer it will be before my death comes.  Before I die, I wish to give to you, as my eldest son, God’s blessing for you and your children, and all your future descendants.  Go out into the fields, and with your bow and arrows, and shoot an animal that you can cook for me, and after I have eaten it, I will give you the blessing.”  Esau did not tell his father that the blessing no longer belonged to him, because he had sold it to his brother Jacob, and he went out into the fields hunting, to find the kind of meat which his father liked the most.

Rebekah overheard everything that Isaac said to Esau and she thought that Esau might inherit the birthright that no longer belonged to him, so she told Jacob what Isaac had said to Esau.  Rebekah said, “Jacob my son, do what I tell you, and you will get the blessing instead of your brother.  Go to the flocks and bring to me two little kids from the goats, and I will cook them just like the meat which Esau cooks for your father.  You will bring it to your father, and he will think that you are Esau, and Isaac will give you the blessing, which rightfully belongs to you now.”  Jacob said, “Esau and I are not alike, his neck and arms are covered with hairs, while mine are smooth.  My father Isaac will lay his hands on me, and he will know that I am not Esau, and then instead of giving me a blessing, he might curse me.”  Rebekah answered, “Just do as I have told you, and if any harm comes, then I will take all the responsibility, so go and bring the meat.”  Jacob slaughtered a pair of little kids from the flocks, and Rebekah made a dish of food, so that it would taste just the way Isaac liked it.

Rebekah found some of Esau’s clothes, and dressed Jacob in them.  Rebekah then placed skins from the newly slaughtered kids on Jacob’s neck and hands, so he would feel rough and hairy to his father’s touch.  Jacob went into his father’s tent, bringing the dinner, and speaking as much like Esau as he could.  Jacob said, “I am Esau, your oldest son and I have made your dinner, as you requested and I hope to get your blessing that you promised me.”  Isaac said, “You really are a great hunter, I can’t believe that you were able to find your prey so quickly.”  Jacob answered, “The Lord your God showed me where to go and gave me good success.”

Isaac finished eating his food, but he did not feel certain that it was his son Esau, and he said, “Come closer my son and let me feel you, so that I may know that you are really Esau.  Come here, and give me a kiss if you really are my son Esau.”  Jacob approached his father and told him a lie saying, “I am”, then he leaned in towards Isaac’s bed and he kissed his father.  Isaac felt his hairy skin and he smelled his clothing and it smelled like the wild fields where Esau did his hunting, so Isaac gave his blessing to his youngest son Jacob, believing him to be Esau.  Isaac laid his hands on Jacob and said, “May God give you the dew of heaven, and the richness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.  May all nations bow down to you and all its peoples become your servants.  May you be the master over your brother, and may your family and descendants that shall come from you, rule over your family and all of your descendants.  Blessed be those that bless you, and cursed be those that curse you.”

As soon as Jacob received the blessing, he rose up and hastened away.  He had scarcely gone out of Isaac’s tent, when Esau came in from hunting, with the dish of food that he had cooked.  Esau said, “Father sit up and eat the food that I have brought, and give me your blessing.”  Isaac said, “Who are you?”  Esau answered, “I am Esau, your first-born son.”  Isaac trembled, then he scratched his head and he felt bad for Esau, because his blessing had already been given away.  Isaac said, “Then who is the one that just came in and brought food to me?  I felt his hairy body and I ate his food and I blessed him, so he shall stay blessed.”  When Esau heard this, he knew that he had been cheated and he cried aloud, “My father, it was Jacob that took away my blessing, just as he took away my birthright!  Can you give me another blessing, too?  Has everything been given to my younger brother?”

Esau begged for another blessing, and Isaac said, “My son, it is too late, my only blessing for you could be that your dwelling shall be of the riches of the earth and of the dew of heaven.  You shall live by your sword and you and your descendants shall serve your younger brother and his descendants.  But in time to come they shall break loose and shall shake off the yoke of your brother’s rule and they shall be free.”  Esau started crying and he smashed the bowl of food on the ground and then he stormed out of his father’s tent.  He was very angry and he shouted, “Jacob took my birthright and my blessing and after my father dies, I will kill him.”

When Jacob left Haran with his wives and children and his flocks, he knew that he was a blessed man, but his uncle hated him, his wives couldn’t get along with each other, and he thought that his brother was going to kill him.  Jacob crossed the ford of the Jabbok at night, a stream in Eastern Palestine where a stranger steps out from the darkness thinking that Jacob wants his help.  Jacob wrestles with the stranger all night long, as neither one would yield to the other.   Just as the early morning light began to creep across the sky, the supernatural Being told Jacob to release Him, but Jacob said that he would not let go until he receives a blessing.  At this point, God struck Jacob on the hip and put it out of joint.  Jacob walked with a limp from that day on, which would always remind him of the night he wrestled with God.  After this God gave Jacob the name Israel.

Jacob’s uncle Laban double-crossed him, as the instant Jacob departed, from Haran, Laban sent his son Beor to Esau, in the hills of Seir, to inform him about the great wealth Jacob had amassed.  Jacob had plenty of reason to fear his brother, as his scouts told him that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men.  Jacob cowardly put the wives and children that he cared the least about in the most vulnerable positions, right up in the front, so that he would still be able to escape with his favored sons if need be.  Jacob bowed to the ground seven times as he saw his brother was approaching.  But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, kissed him, and they wept.  Esau looked up and saw the women and children and said, “Who are these with you?”

I guess it is true that time heals all wounds as Esau bore no resentment against his brother.  Jacob said, “The children that God generously gave your servant”, still sucking up to his brother.  The women servants and their children came forward and bowed down.  Then Leah and her servants also came forward and bowed, and afterward Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed.  Esau had also become very successful, and he felt he was sufficiently blessed, so he initially refused his brother’s peace offerings, saying that he already has enough.  Jacob insists that Esau accept the gifts that he presents because he says that he saw the face of God in his brother.  Esau was deprived of his role as the patriarch of an entire nation, but he still sought reconciliation with his brother.  This moment of forgiveness between the siblings went a long way to start the necessary healing process.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #285 – Forgiveness hosted by Michael.

A Little Busy

Last September ‎I created a new banner for a weekly music challenge that I host which is called Song Lyric Sunday.  I have been a regular participant in SLS since August of 2017, but this challenge was created by Helen Vahdati and according to the list of previous prompts that she sent me, it was started on Sunday June 19, 2016.  When she became ill in the beginning of 2019, I took over as the guest host and I guess I am the permanent host now, but many people still refer to me as the current guest host, out of respect to Helen.

Helen had a Song Lyric Sunday banner, which was very peaceful, but I wanted to go the Tina Turner ‘Proud Mary’ rolling on the river hard and rocking route, so I created a new banner, which was a lot of fun for me.  I had been playing around with MS Paint for years and last year I purchased Corel PaintShop Pro which allowed me to do some extra things like rotate stuff at different angles.  I had this old tee shirt which had a bleach stain on it that looked like a worm wearing a Mexican hat and I thought it looked cool.  I went for this Alice in Wonderland theme and I placed the worm on a peyote button and put a guitar in his hands.

I came up with this idea that the worm should be blowing out smoke which would form the phrase “SMOKING HOT MUSIC” and I found this font with fiery letters, but it was much more than I wanted to spend, so I created my own letters from this font.  There is a music store here in Clermont, next to staples and it has this sign on the front of it that says, “Listening to music may cause uncontrolled outbursts of joy and happiness and also lead you to becoming more energetic, creative and spontaneous”, which I liked, so I asked the owner if he would mind if I used it for my banner and he said it was OK.  This went under the fiery letters and I surrounded everything with musical instruments and musical notes.

I held a Name the Worm poll and Santana won getting 45.45% of the votes, which worked out to be just 5 votes, but I thought since he was the inspiration for this banner, that he was important enough to have a name.  Melanie of sparksfromacombustiblemind has come up with a much simpler looking banner, as mine is a bit busy and I told her that I will run a new banner contest, but that won’t be till next January.  Today Michael asked how we would define artwork and to me, one man’s garbage, is another man’s treasure.

The June 28, 2020 theme or prompt for Song Lyric Sunday this week will be Cool/Freeze/Heat/Melt and I will write about the Grateful Dead song ‘He’s Gone’.  I also host another music challenge which takes place on every other Friday and tomorrow it is my turn to be the host of the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge where I will discuss ‘The Breakup Song’ and then later I will submit a Grateful dead song titled ‘If I Had the World to Give’.  Everyone is welcome to join in and have some fun listening to the songs that others submit and also contributing your own music.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #281 – Artwork – June 25th hosted by Michael.

Take Me Out to the Movies

Times have changed since the first drive-in movie theater was installed in 1933 in Camden, N.J., and since the industry’s heyday in the 1950s.  Drive in movie theaters, once seen as a relic of the past, have had a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic as social distancing measures were put in place to curb the spread of the disease and prevent people from crowding into movie theaters.  Let’s all go to the drive in and stay safe this summer, especially if you have never been to one before.

Yankee Stadium in the Bronx will transform its parking lot into a drive-in movie theater this summer as part of an event being planned by the group behind the Bronx Night Market and the Bronx Beer Festival, Time Out New York first reported.  The event, dubbed the Uptown Drive-In, starts in July and will take over the baseball stadium’s parking lot with a drive-in movie, a live music concert and car side dinner service, according to organizers MASC Hospitality Group.  The city isn’t gearing up for long days on the Coney Island boardwalk, but New Yorkers can still gather together while social distancing in their cars.  Ticket prices are still being figured out, but they will be one ticket per car, so there will be no need to sneak somebody into the movie in your trunk.  Tickets will be available online, and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #280 – Tickets – June 18th hosted by Michael.

Duly Noted

Many people say that they don’t do windows, but windows get dirty and they need cleaning and unless you have a maid to do this for you, it is hard work.  There is a proper way and a correct time to clean your windows if you desire crystal clear, and streak-free results.  This probably only needs to be done once or twice a year, but it’s even easier if you divide the job up and do it room by room.  When you’re cleaning, wipe one side of the window horizontally and the other vertically.  If any streaks do form, you’ll easily know whether they’re on the outside or the inside.  Once you try washing windows with a squeegee and you’ll never go back to a spray bottle and paper towels.  Squeegees get your glass clear and streak free in a fraction of the time it takes with paper towels.

My parents were from a different generation and they believed in using old newspapers to clean their windows which they always said worked really well, feeling that the paper and ink acted together as a light abrasive giving them really clean windows.  They were probably right, as newspapers are made of dense fibers that contain no solid, scratching materials as compared to paper towels, thus being more rigid they will not separate and cause lint.  I always thought they did this because they were cheap, which they were, as my mom would rinse off paper plates and use them again, I mean who in their right mind does that.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #278 – Dirty Windows – June 4th hosted by Michael.

The Golden Ball

The Princess could hear the bullfrog callin’ her, and she wondered if her rope swing was still hangin’ to the tree, so she went down to the Green River.  She was playing with her golden ball when this pesky dragon fly landed on her head.  Despite having six legs like any other insect, dragonflies actually cannot walk, as they use their legs for grabbing and perching, so this bug was getting stuck in her hair.  The Princess waved her hands around and said, “Shoo fly, dragon fly, get back to your mother”, and Jeremiah saw her frustration, so he jumped up and swallowed the dragon fly and said, “Your welcome” to the Princess.  The Princess said, “Now I have seen it all, a talking frog, who would have thought that there was such a thing.”

Jeremiah said, “Pick up a flat rock, and skip it across the Green River and I will fetch it and bring it back to you, and you will see that I make the perfect pet.”  The Princess bent down and picked up a suitable rock, but as she was doing this, her golden ball got away from her and she said, “Go get my ball, I will do anything for you if you bring it back to me.”  Jeremiah leaped into the river and swam as fast as he could to retrieve the golden ball.  The princess was very happy to have her golden ball back and she said, “You can be my special pet, if you tell me your story.”

Jeremiah told the princess that he used to be a handsome Prince and that he became a bullfrog, after he loved one too many ladies, as one day he kissed the wrong girl.  He took this one girl into the swamp and they were getting it on when this ugly woman came by and started watching them.  Jeremiah insulted the woman by calling her an old hag, not knowing that she was a witch, so she transformed him into a frog.  The princess told the frog, “If I had a dollar for every frog that told me that he was a prince, I would be rich, but I will take you home with me because I am involved in a prearranged marriage that I don’t want to go through with.”

The Princess told the frog that her betrothed was coming over later and she really wanted to break up with him, so Jeremiah said, “When he gets here, you should kiss me and then he won’t want to ever be with you again.”  She thought that was a good idea, so when the person that she was engaged to came by she told him, “Watch this” and she kissed the frog on his lips.  Her fiancé screamed, “Gross” and he ran away.  After the Princess kissed the frog Jeremiah turned back into a Prince, they got married and had a pleasant life together for a while.  The Princess eventually became frustrated because the Prince was always sticking out his tongue and hopping on the furniture, and Princess said, “You can take the frog out of the pond, but you can’t take the pond out of the frog.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #275 – Fairytale – The Frog Prince hosted by Michael.

I Remember Once

Kids have it easy these days, as when I was young, I remember walking to school for miles and it was uphill both ways, and it was snowing.  I hear you saying, “That is impossible Jim, how could it be uphill both ways?”  Well, I can answer that, it is not a riddle and I am not talking about a bell curve where the two ends are the school and my home, as I actually had to walk uphill the entire journey without incurring any descent in either direction.  My parents were divorced and my dad lived on a hill that was the highest point in the town and my mom lived in a valley that was in the lowest part of town.  I always slept in my mom’s house and since she worked, after school I had to stay at my dad’s house.  My dad would drive me back to my mom’s house every night and I would repeat the scenario all over again the next day.  I may have left out the part where I smoked a big fat joint on the way to my dad’s house, but I didn’t think that you needed to know about that.  I am going to skip the part where I had to swim across a river full of crocodiles and also the time when I had to swim across a river of lava to get to school.

I lived in two different geographical points which made this work for me, but if a town was built on a gigantic see-saw and all of the homes were all located at the center of this giant see-saw, and the school was built at one far end of the see-saw, stay with me as this will also work.  Then, each morning when all of the parents go to their jobs, which are located on the opposite end of the see-saw that the school is on, this combined weight would lower the job-end of the see-saw lower and raise the school-end, this way all of the children in this town have walk uphill to get to their school.  If all of the parents return home before the school gets out, then the job-end of the see-saw will raise back up again and this tilt will require the children to have to walk uphill to get back to their home after school.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #273 – I Remember Once hosted by Michael.

Shopping Trip

I said to my wife, “I am heading out to the store, do you need anything?”  For some unknown reason, maybe it was just the time of the month, or cabin fever, as she seemed to be mad at me and she said, “I told you I don’t need your help, Bozo.”  OK, so that is how it is going to be, maybe she will cheer up later if I can score some toilet paper, but I am not counting on that, and then she said, “Don’t forget to wear your mask, as I don’t want you bringing any germs back home with you.”  I said, “Thanks honey, I already got it, see you later sweetie.”  Just before I got out of the door she said, “Make sure that you check everything carefully, as I don’t want you bringing home another dented can of beans again, as the last thing that I need now is botulism.”

A man in the parking lot of the store saw me wearing my mask and he said, “If you are sick, you really shouldn’t be going out and risking other people’ health.”  I told him that I am fine, and that I was not wearing the mask as a courtesy to others, that it was for my own protection.  I herd on the news that people were stockpiling eggs during the coronavirus crisis as they cook more meals at home and that this is leading to supply shortages and a spike in prices so I figured I would get them first.  I am not the kind of person that pays attention to the cost amount of what everything sells for most times, but I do pay attention to gas prices.  They were out of the jumbo eggs that I usually buy and all they had were these smaller organic brown ones, which were selling for $4.35 a dozen.  I usually check my eggs to make sure that none of the shells are cracked or have a break in them and these looked good, so I put them in my cart.  A clerk came out from the storage room and he restocked all of the shelves.  I guess that I got there at the right time, so I put that dozen back and got my jumbo ones, life is great sometimes.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Amount, for Maggie’s Innovation Challenge #FUN20083 – Number #2, Use this line somewhere in your story. “I told you I don’t need your help, Bozo.” and Number #3, Use one or all of these objects in your story. A dented can of beans, a dentist, or a marching band, and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #268 – Medical hosted by Michael where we are asked to write about something medical, from band-aids, bandages to botulism and as we are in a state at present of heightened awareness about health, you can vent about the coronavirus if so moved, and for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Time Courtesy Break.

Best Concert Ever

I will always retain my fond memories of the 1973 concert that I went to at Watkins Glen, featuring the Band, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers.  This concert was a real treat for me and I saw plenty of love, peace, nudity, and drugs there.  The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen went into the Guinness Book of World Records as being the “Largest audience at a pop festival”, having 600,000 people there in attendance.  I drove there with 8 other dead heads in my station wagon and we went through the gate with an ounce of weed sitting on my dashboard, which did annoy me at first, but the concert was sold out, the gates were left open and we rolled by the parking lot attendants who just waved us through.  Danny started singing, “I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin’ like listening to some Dead” a variation of The Band classic ‘The Weight’ and I knew that we were in for a good time.  It was a two-day festival and we got there for the first day, which was called the sound test and all three groups performed, the Band came on first followed by the Allman Brothers but they only played a few songs.  The Grateful Dead warmed up with two sets and their soundcheck was nearly two hours long.  I got the best recording ever of Tennessee Jed, as it seemed like Garcia was singing directly into my tape deck.  We camped out and went back the next day.

The stage was elevated so people in the back could see the groups, but this made it difficult for the people who were right in front of it.  Some of them tried to make human pyramid chains so they could climb up higher to see what was going on.  The stage crew responded by hosing everyone down that was in front of the stage.  It was a real mess up front and the people who were covered in mud began to strip their clothes off.  I was with Danny, Patty, and Irene and we were far enough back, to be out of the mud and have a good look at the stage.  This Summer Jam was all about music, and all the bands did their best to entertain everyone.  The Grateful Dead were up first, and they were really cooking that day.

The Grateful Dead kicked off with a jumping tune called ‘Bertha’.  They played two sets and some of the songs that I still remember after 45 years are ‘Truckin’, ‘Sugar Magnolia’, ‘China Cat Sunflower’, ‘Eyes of the World’, and they closed with Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’.  One of the naked mud people wondered over by us and Danny nudged me as said that we had to protect our girls from this a-hole.  This guy was a real piece of work, and not only was he naked and covered in mud, but he had a snake wrapped around his neck which made him look like he was part of the snake cult of Asclepius and he was definitely creeping Danny out, because we were all tripping.  This may have not even been the worst part as you could tell that this dude was having a bad trip or he was fucked up on something, as his face was all contorted and he kept on drooling.  I considered the mud dude to be totally undesirable, so I grabbed him by his arm and slung him back to the front of the stage where he belonged.

Danny and the girls all smiled at me and everything was good for us again, now that this filthy, creepy dude was gone disappearing into the crowd of mud people.  The Band followed the Dead, but a huge thunderstorm forced them off stage and that is when we went back to our campsite.  When the rain let up, the Band went back on and finished their set and they were followed by the Allman Brothers.  The concert ended with the Allman Brothers doing several encores ‘Not Fade Away’, ‘Mountain Jam’ and Grateful Dead joining in on the last song ‘Johnny B. Goode’.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #263 – Concert hosted by Michael.

Don’t Carry the World Upon Your Shoulder

Paul McCartney was offering words of encouragement to John Lennon’s son Julian after his mom and dad got divorced.  Atlas was the strongest of all the Titans, and he was an instigator in the rebellion against the Greek god Zeus or the Roman god Jupiter.  Atlas sided with his brother Menoetius and he was made the leader of the Titans, mostly because of his war skills, his great strength and his endurance.  The Titan Prometheus who changed sides in this war, knew what Jupiter had in mind for the defeated Titans after the war, and he informed him that he would have a difficult time keeping his amazingly strong brother Atlas in the underworld.  He also told Jupiter that Atlas had claustrophobia, and that he would probably consent to doing anything if that would keep him from being locked up.  Jupiter realized that if Atlas was kept in a confined space, that this would trigger panic attacks and he would act up, so he dished out a special punishment for him.

Jupiter decided not to send him to Tartarus with the rest of his relatives, but instead he received a very harsh punishment and was ordered to stand at the western edge of Gaia (the Earth) and hold the heavens on his shoulders, to keep the heavens and earth apart.  Atlas was condemned to this special punishment because all the fighting between the Titans and the Olympians had shaken the heavens so much that they were out of balance and it looked like they might crash into the earth.  Jupiter wanted to prevent the recurrence of a primeval union between Terra and Caelus, because he thought that if this primordial embrace resumed, that it could produce new powerful descendants that he might have to fight against.  Atlas became the eternal caretaker of the axis between heavens and earth and it was his job to turn heaven on its axis, which causes the stars to revolve.  Jupiter thought Atlas would have his hands full holding up the heavens and this would prevent him from getting involved in another uprising.

The negro spiritual composed by a slave named Wallace Wallis in the 19th century, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ is a Christian hymn that combined spiritual belief with the hardships of daily life as a slave in the United States.  The lyrics “coming for to carry me home”, do not symbolize a victory over an opponent, but they are more likely about the sweet release of death.  This could also be seen as coming to take a slave to heaven, or a slave escaping to freedom in the North or in Canada.

The band Kansas wrote a song called ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ which was an autobiographical song about their time together looking for truth and meaning.  It was an urge to carry on and continue the search as the wayward son, who felt alienated from the ultimate reality, and yet kept striving to find a purpose.  In 1976, when the lead singer and keyboard player for Kansas, Steve Walsh, began suffering from writer’s block, the lead guitar player Kerry Livgren became their lyricist.  One day while sitting at his parent’s home, in front of the family organ, Livgren composed the music for ‘Carry On Wayward Son’, which was partially about himself and the struggles and pressures he was facing at the time when the band’s career was on the line.

One morning Stephen Stills woke up and he knew that his girl was really gone.  It was a new day, a new way, and he had new eyes to see the dawn.  He told her to go her way, and he would go his and carry on.  The sky was clearing and the night had cried enough.  The sun comes to the world to soften up.  Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on.  The fortunes of fables are able to sing the song.  Now witness the quickness with which we get along.  To sing the blues you’ve got to live the dues and carry on.  Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all.  Where are you going now my love?  Where will you be tomorrow?  Will you bring me happiness?  Will you bring me sorrow?

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #262 – Carry hosted by Michael.

Wizard of Motion Control

I was hired to provide second shift support for a production line, but I was trained on the first shift till they felt that I was ready.  This was a state-of-the-art facility that had a lot of sophisticated equipment in it.  It was a great job and I learned a lot.  A guy that worked there designed this machine that spread a tar like substance on a web where the product was manufactured.  He was a genius and everybody knew this, but this guy was not very well liked and, on my interview, they told me that I had to learn everything that I could from this guy, because I was going to be his replacement.  I liked this guy but he made a mistake, not following a Lock-Out Tag-Out procedure and the Safety Manager had it in for him, but since he was irreplaceable, they had to wait for me to get up to speed with the equipment.

The production line was new and they were still working out some of the program bugs and what they really needed from me was to support this machine that they called a Blotter.  It had a multi-axis Compumotor stepper control system that nobody understood except this genius and although I had worked with similar software, I did not know this.  When I program any machine, I use comments, so I can follow along with what I am doing and this is also helpful for others that may take over the machine after I am done with it.  This program was very cryptic, jumping all over the place through different routines and it contained zero comments.  That is why I called this guy a wizard, because he was able to follow this program and nobody else could.  I finally decided to make a flowchart of what this program was doing at every step it went through, and that allowed me to see why it was doing what it was doing.  I had confidence and I was ready and the wizard was shown the door.  I felt sad, but I was the only guy who actually got along with him.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #261 – Wizard hosted by Michael.