Thursday, December 1, 2016

Words, to thoughts, to trouble or triumph... words...

     I have a normal American education: home, public school system and college.  I was a soldier and went through many schools and attitude adjustments while in uniform. I have visited, worked in and lived in other countries and cultures and driven as quickly as I could through some of them (don't remember ever stopping in Belgium). I have talked with foreigners in their home country, in their language (I did it badly, but I did try) and I do know that in their country in their language they aren't the alien, I was. I am so thankful they were kind and had courtesy, when faced with my presence.

   I read a lot, and spend too much time on Facebook but I have noticed there aren't a lot of really nice people writing nor contributing on it, and the ads are really slowing my addiction to it.  But they don't need me for anything.  There are good people, with real lives, families and good friends and I like to see them and see what they share. I haven't gotten to the point of blocking, dropping or abandoning the Facebook feed.  But really, all I have to do is go to the YMCA, Church, or shooting range (I have a new one for me The Marksman , just down the road), and whatever flows on the internets will not affect me. Thank you for choices.

   Coming back from Vietnam in 1971 with bad habits and stupidity, I was telling a war story (and I do not remember the story) in my mother's living room, with family around and the F-word flowed easily from my lips and my mind went into alarms, flashing lights and screams from my nicer side. You couldn't have told it from my story - I just rolled right on over good manners, honor and decency. No more foul language came out but there was a burn scar in my mind over that word and using it right there in front of my mother, and family. I have used the word since, but only in moments of romantic passions.... believe that and I will sell you a swamp by the Potomac River. But I don't use it much at all, although I do understand all the possible correct ways it could be used, is used by others, and all the evil and terrible ways it is used by others. So I believe word choice always matters, it tells me a lot about the person using the word.

   The other night, I wrote something about being a staggering drunk and taking off my gun, which sounds like good sense in one way, and acceptance of stupid behavior another. Well, it wasn't true, I was trying to sound like I had a life.  The reality of changing into my bedtime Mickey Mouse pajamas is not the romantic heroic adventurer - I was about to close out on Facebook.  If I were totally honest I would say 'Earl, just a retired old fat man' and allow the world to paint its own picture of me... I don't have a problem with being old and so near death (knowing the future is shorter than my past is near to death).  But lovely words, can make our lives fun, loving, caring and happy, lovely words work. So do all the words used to convey ugly... there are many. The political season and human hen pecking bring all kinds of ugly labels, words and bad choices.

   Going to a Southern Korean Baptist Church where the majority culture, language and religious experience is based on Confucian relationships - I once noted that I felt like a benignly oppressed minority (being a paleskin American) and my darker skinned Baptist Brother said, yep, he had been that way all his life.  I can't be concerned about being a minority, I have been the only American soldier in a village in Germany, and in Korea and in Vietnam... the children look at you like 'what a strange looking, acting and what is he going to do next???' from around the corner of a building - built of bamboo, packed clay, or timber frames or bricks.  Well, the only thing I could do, of course, was to smile gently, don't step on anything and continue along going my way... survival mode level one.

   For sure, I will be labeled many things by people that don't know me, and by people that kinda
know me, and by friends and family that do know me... except the last normally just call me Earl, which has for many years explained it all.  You wouldn't want to hear our wives tell each other laughing about Dungey men as husbands - but it has always made me think that genetics might be more difficult to hide than environmental molding.  What I do know, is that I never have to accept anything I don't feel is true - especially words that I won't use and don't understand... so all those times I am supposed to feel terrible because sticks and stones and names left marks - just makes for my thicker skin, and I remember that the young ladies practicing their bullying on my mother, who had no idea what foul words were in English when she came to America as a teenager (words her parents never taught her) like water on most ducks backs - just rolling off... no acceptance.


  1. I was a bit puzzled by that FB post

  2. It seemed to alarm caring folks more than the others, I actually watched a movie later. Thanks for being at least puzzled.

  3. We get older, fatter and grumpier. But we've earned those things, IMHO, by surviving what life has dealt us...