Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"DEATH BY LETTER"

BRAINZ is an on-line writer's group for experienced writers. Once a month the BRAINZ-MEISTER sends out a word which all participants write about. If you are an experienced writer and would like to play along (seriously or the BRAINZ-MEISTER will kick you out), then send me an email and I will send you a link to the last month's compilation. You can read it and contact the BRAINZ TRAFFIC GUARD and appeal for mercy.)


Does a letter really mean anything? I mean, can a person actually die because of one letter?
When I was born, there was a life or death battle going on between my mother and I. You see, I had red blood which had an outer protein layer called an Rh factor. There are two different Rh protein layers which are deadly to one another.  
I was born with an Rh negative factor written Rh-. My mother had a Rh positive factor written Rh+.
This difference is called “Rh-sensitivity” meaning that if any of her + red blood cells crossed the placenta, her + red blood cells would destroy my – red blood cell at a rate faster than my body would have been able to replace them and I would die.
So, yes, death by letter is possible.
The doctors even as long ago as 1949 when I was born, knew that if a woman had extensive bleeding during pregnancy, then Rh-sensitivity may be the case. The story I was told was that my mother was very young, and panicked to the point that she was going down the phone directory looking for a doctor – any doctor - who would take her case. Remember, in the 1940’s, in conservative Texas, “out of wedlock” pregnancy was culturally rejected.
Also in the late 1940s, at the end of World War II, there were many of us little bastards fathered by happy G.I.s; so many that, in fact, there was a name for us all: “Scoop Babies”.
My parents had the perfect profile for adoptee parents of a “Scoop Baby”: in their 30s, employed (my dad a veteran) unable to conceive, wanting a child. So, when a young girl “in trouble” found a doctor with patients like my parents, “scoop”.
There was even a script which was passed around North America to parents to tell their “Scoop Baby”: your mother was a young girl who did not have a family to bring you home to, and she wanted the best for you, and we very much wanted a child, so we picked you!”
So, yes, death, or ­life because someone knows how to read and interpret that letter is possible as well.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

SOUND

Brainz is an on-line, e-mail writing group. Each month the Brainz moderator sends us a word and we each write a short piece on the theme and email it back to him.  He then compiles all the responses and re-sends it to us. Wanna join? It's not for slackers. If you don't participate, you are ejected from the game. There's a private FaceBook group - "The Brainz Group". Contact them. Tell 'em Jean Yeager sent you and you will receive a whole bunch of absolutely nothing.

The word for October 2016 - "SOUND"

It is always a surprise when the Brainz word of the month comes along.  I am reminded of a word exercise we would do in a University of Chicago “Story Workshop” in which our instructor Betty Shiflett would say, “Reach back for the surprise word.” Then, we would go around the circle sounding our “surprise” words. Of course, some students would come prepared and say surprise words such as “bougainvillea” (always on everybody’s surprise word list) and Betty would quickly say, “Another...” This totally surprised the person with the prepared response into silence. I found that mostly the second surprise word response, the surprise  surprise word was very much more spontaneous and led to a stronger visual scene.
So, when “SOUND” came this month I immediately thought I’d re-write a blog post I wrote months ago, “Love Is A Tone (Heart To Heart)”.  Typical for a slacker. I’m too busy. Let me re-write.
That was my first response. But, I had a stern talking with myself, gave myself a pep talk and decided to reach back for the surprise surprise response. It will at least be spontaneous even if it lacks any literary sense or social relevancy as with most of my work.
I have no idea why the second response to the word SOUND was a memory of my deaf guy routine which is my typical response when I am accosted by a panhandler. They are usually drunk with a hand out, bleary eyed, really disheveled. They usually hit me on my way into the supermarket. You know, “Gotta quarter?”
Then I go into my deaf-guy routine.  An anti-SOUND response. I clap my hands loudly. Look stern. Waggle my right index finger ferociously and then make a series of sign-language looking gestures designed to convince the poor drunk panhandler that I can’t hear and am a damn aggressive deaf guy.
Usually they look fearful, apologetic or mutter “Geezus, this a-hole is worse off than I am!” and walk away.  I once had one guy who went into a gorilla routine making huge gestures like an ape, actually dancing around in the parking lot.  I couldn’t help myself, I applauded and said, “That’s great!” He said, “Quarter?” I went back into the deaf guy routine. He shot me a finger and walked away. A soundless conversation.
Last time I sent into my deaf guy routine, my daughter Hallie, an American Sign Language translator, was with me. Afterwards, I asked her if my gestures were in any way close to genuine sign-language words.  She said “yes”, the rough translation was: “Can we mambo through the banana patch.”
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Saturday, October 15, 2016

THE TIDE OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR DEATH

WHO AM I?
     I am the tide of your life. I am the powerful physical and metaphysical force by which you are carried.
     Ocean Tides are one of the major forces in all the world because water covers 71% of our Earth’s surface. Tidal motion and interaction with heat from the Sun during the day and cool of night create weather. Dance of Sun, Moon and Earth cause seasons and climate and tides.
The tide of your life creates the emotional weather of your soul.  Weather whips the tide up in the outer world and your emotional weather – the storms in your inner life.
     The Moon, you and I are secret lovers. I am totally attracted to her and so is your chronobiology. The Full Moon is the drumbeat for all life on earth. The tides of your life rise and fall with the Moon and so do the life forces of all plants, animals and humans. She pulls at us, flirts with us and we are in a constant state of longing as she passes. And then, she teases us with her long-time affection for and affair with the Sun who ramps the tide up when they sit together. The intensity is, at times, overwhelming.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Your life is all about what flows and swirls around you and within you.
Some tides of your life are exoteric and comprised of the currents in your life. Sometimes these speed up or slow down or run at different rates, this builds large waves in climate, environment, politics, society, safety, health, food, economics and more like travel even birth rates, opening of wine grape blossoms and salmon migration. Each of these exoteric parts of the overall tide of your life are independent currents which may at times run as cross-currents – stopping things – pushing things unexpectedly.
Sometimes you are totally unaware of the currents that seem to change for no reason. These are Rip Tides and if you struggle against them you will lose your strength and energy and may perish because outer tides affects your inner life.
The small boat of your life is comprised of your health, life forces, physical constitution and Chronobiology; your thinking, confusion or lack of knowledge; your feelings like fear, joy, love or anger; and, your intentions – what are you going to try to do about all those exoteric complexities.
The tides of your life are ever changing and you will never catch a break or really be in control.

WHAT DO I WANT?
You modern people have pretend that your creation of “Science” and the evolution of your consciousness somehow makes you “free” from or able to control the tide of your life.
Do you go with or against the flow? Do you even know what flows in your life at all? Have you studied yourself? Your biography?
When I am aroused, the tide of your life lifts you up and buoys you. You ride the crest and think it is you who has done this. But, are you in over your head? When you are in over your head, are you in too deep and swamped by more than you know?
     When the tides of your life crash and fall; I sometimes put you on the rocks and break over and on you. I can be crushing when you try to go against the tide. Sometimes the look on your face is clueless about what happened.
     Life is a struggle for you. But, really, the tide of life is not about you, ultimately. You are one person in the current.
The tide of life is about more, much more. You were created in your mother’s womb, a salty tidal pool protected from larger currents. The Earth’s tidal pools have been the wombs of the first moments of creation of all life on Earth.
The tides have turned.
Why does the Lady of the Lake does not arise? Has the One who calmed the tempest handed it over to you and your Science?
Tidal pools no longer able to bear and sustain life only create the death of the Earth.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

THE ARMOR OF LOVE

WHO AM I?
     The Armor of Power is what Power Loves. They wear their virtues on the outside. In their hearts is the Love for their God. They see their Hearts as the Armor of their God. They armor their hearts with aggression, militancy and pride; garments which even the most righteous of the Powerful do not wish to see torn because they are precious and the ultimate safeguard for their Hearts and therefore for their God.
     But, in the center of the house of Power, a Lover sits captive in a small room, waiting to be released.

WHY AM I HERE?
     The Lover of Dreamlike Love is captive and sits hidden amid the complexities and realities in the war of the Powerful.
     Just a few miles away are refugees which Power has terrorized.
     There are other Lovers which Power fears because Power knows that it has Love hidden in the small chamber in its Heart.
     Once the Lover is killed, the Dreamlike Love is released and it becomes like an Armor.

WHAT DO I WANT?
     The Lover of Dreamlike Love who sat hidden amid the complexities and realities in the war of Power has been released by death to inspire us to become Lovers and put on the Armor of Love.
The Armor of Love is Love - the same Love hidden in the Heart of the Power. The Powerful are not their God and their God is a God of Love - the same Love. The Powerful know that they injure, lame or kill themselves by attacking the Lover who wears the Armor of Love, their God will know it. This they fear. And well they should.
Let us become Lovers.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SLIDING INTO THE TROUGH AND THE REVELS

WHO AM I?
We’re within a day or two of the Autumnal Equinox (September 21) which starts the “trough” as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls it. I wondered what was going on. I’ve noted that several Facebook friends just reported feeling a bit discouraged, “I’m a coupla ticks off” one said. Another said he was going to take a “time out” from his regular intense schedule of Facebook commentaries “I just need a break. I’m gonna read a book.” And, as if to raise my consciousness even higher, I saw my first TV ad for “Puffs” facial tissue. That’s always a sign that we are entering the “trough”.  Then I looked at the calendar and there it was – the “trough”.
Really, I didn’t need the ad, I feel it too. I’m glum.
     The “trough” is between November and April. It is when the days grow shorter right up to the Winter Solstice. Our bodies are synced with daylight, “entrained” as they say. According to the CDC, research has shown that we are more likely to become ill in the “trough”. It’s “a seasonal fluctuation” between health, disease prevalence, and the function of the human biological systems, such as the endocrine system, which relates to immunology.
     Our entrainment to daylight is called “photoperiodism”.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Photoperiodism relates to the length of day/night cycles. At the Autumnal Equinox, day and night are equal length. But, every day after September 21, the daylight decreases until the Winter Solstice.  
The tilt of the Earth’s axis combined with the rotation around the Sun results in more or less daylight called “seasons”. Thus the year is divided roughly into two halves – one of decreasing daylight in the Northern Hemisphere (increasing is Southern Hemisphere), and then they switch about.
     The old cultures call path to the shortest day of the year, “the dying of the light.” The CDC calls it “the cold and flu season”. The CDC notes a spike in pneumococcal diseases occurs in U.S. adults between December 24 and January 7. Their study reports: “The reproducible seasonal patterns in varied geographic locations are consistent with the hypothesis that nationwide seasonal changes such as photoperiodism-dependent variations in host susceptibility may underlie pneumococcal seasonality…”

WHAT DO I WANT?
This means that as our physical systems weaken, the viruses get stronger. All of living organisms on Earth are “entrained” or synchronized with seasonality. Our bodies respond to reduced levels of light by reducing our immune systems’ performance.
     We are no longer consciously living in sync with the seasons of nature. But, because our bodies can’t help but be in sync, they respond. We feel stressed, “a tick or two off” as my friend said. We try to adjust ourselves and de-stress and perhaps get some rest, read a book.
Maybe in the case of my Facebook friends and I, we are entering the metaphorical trough of our lives, not just the year. I really sense an autumnal feeling. These are people I met in the Spring or Summer. But now... we are sliding into the trough.
Thankfully, the ancient cultures responded to the “dying of the light” and created festivals which bring us inner light of Joy! Inspiration. Reverence. Warmth of soul. From the Autumnal Equinox to the Winter solstice we go through bright, inner times of meaning and celebration: All Hallow Eve / All Souls day, then Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Eid ul-Adha and then Christmas before turning back to the Light.
     And so will we all.
     Welcome to the trough – and our inner revels! Welcome Yule

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

SUICIDE AND EULOGIES

CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE
Eight of us, three age 70+, two age 80+, the presenter, my wife and I in our 60’s, sat together. We know one another as a Unitarian Universalist & Quaker church service. It’s not a particularly religious group. After a half-hour of Quaker-style silent worship, then a coffee break, we heard a presentation about “Compassion and Choices”, a Colorado advocacy group working on a law enabling physician assisted suicide, modeled on an Oregon law.
The presenter asked us to share: did we know anyone who took their own life? What were our thoughts about our own death?
     One woman said her brother, severely ill and not expected to live, died with his sons around. Was it suicide? She did not know. He may have collected pills. For herself, when that time came, and she was aware of her impending death, she said she might just walk into the woods.
     Me. I said my father, suffering with severe bladder cancer, refused chemo-therapy because years ago it was so excruciating. It took weeks, but he died and the death certificate said “pneumonia.”  I said I wanted people’s thoughts about the spiritual aspect of suicide, I thought it was not without consequence. And, I asked, are we, today, afraid to suffer?
     An older man said he and his wife had DNR documents. They wanted no extraordinary measures.
     An older woman described in detail how she has planned her death. She has a pistol. A friend and she have both discussed this at length. She is matter of fact. Pragmatic. She only wishes to be outside so that it does not make a mess for someone else to clean up.
     A medical doctor, choked with emotions, tearfully passed after saying he was a scientist.
     My wife went ahead, said she believes in reincarnation and that we choose our lives, from birth to death. She has worked with people physically and mentally disabled from birth. They bear their disability with grace. It is who they are. They accept joy when it comes. How we die can be a gift just like how other folk live.
     The medical doctor, now composed, said this is all about brain chemistry. If his brain chemistry is balanced, he might not want to die. If his brain chemistry is out of whack, he might be unaware of this and do something rash. His father is 97 and his mother 95, both are still living. They sometimes think the other has lived too long, is suffering, and may want to die. He is unsure.
     Another said that when you die you are like an animal. There is no soul. No spirit. No one has ever come back from the grave to prove it to her. So, she says, you go into the ground, and that’s it. She would be in favor of physician assisted suicide.
     And, the final voice was our facilitator who brought “Compassion and Choice”. She told a story about a young woman diagnosed with incurable ALS. There was no mention of contemplation of suicide at a young age, instead she chose, consciously, to live a determined life as full and rich for as long as possible. She died in her 60s when her respirator unit failed.
     We ended our session with a group hug, squeezing tightly together in a circle with our arms around each other’s shoulders.

CONTEMPLATING EULOGIES
A book chose me that afternoon. At the public library book sale (final day $7 a bag) I picked up book entitled “The Book of Eulogies”* by Phyllis Thereaux. Perhaps the sale of still living older works who have reached some sort of “sell by date” or “cull by date” is also a kind of a librarian assisted suicide for a book.
     Thereaux says that eulogies are “funeral praise”, and the form is perhaps the least valued of our literary forms. Eulogies are usually practiced by amateurs. When someone dies, it is customary for a friend or relative to “say a few words.” Many feel at a loss, pressured, inadequate. Many times I have seen family defer to a clergy person who may only know the deceased vaguely and then offer “words of comfort” or scripture quotes, but does not praise. Those words could be for anyone.
     I recently was with a 92 year old friend whose grandson had died suddenly a few days before we met, and he had been asked to “say a few words” at the young man’s funeral. He read a letter which the boy had written him not long before. It seemed a bridge to the life of the young man, what was on his mind and in his heart. It was filled with his living-ness.
     The “few words” of a genuine eulogy are elastic. They stretch between us the living and the dead. Perhaps it is the magical power of words which live between the living and the dead, a spiritual power. Even the exquisite eulogies which Thereaux includes in her compendium are possibly a means of putting the reader into the presence of the dead great people dead for centuries now. And, perhaps the dead appreciate it because, as she says, they are never too busy.
     Genuine eulogies can bring the deceased and the eulogizer into focus because both are present, both are in the words, in the moment, giving and receiving. Death has passed by but something is living. By rubbing memories together, a flame is ignited.

THE SECRET OF WHO WE ARE
What about us as eulogists? The eulogist seems to pass easily back and forth between themselves and the dead. It is probable that the curtain between themselves and the dead become quite thin as they are writing and then may vanish all together. Does the eulogist then become as if dead themselves?
     Perhaps this is the power of the words in which the dead are living. What memories do you rub together? What do you say about this dead person?  Do you mediate upon friendship – what they meant to you? Seems like your story not theirs. Do you know their story? Can you know their story? Their deep backstory? Will you lapse into some philosophical rumination actually about yourself? Remind them, one more time before they depart about their failures? Will you apologize to the audience and sentimentally state how the dead tried, really tried?
     In some eulogies I have read, the deceased is barely mentioned!  In others, their physicality is described in detail: their trembling eyes, their smile, their voice, their coloring, their physique, their diet. In others it is metaphor: deep like lakes, oceans; lofty like clouds, sky; solid like hills, vast expanses, rare flowers, or a stream.
     The most powerful eulogies seem to be about the secrets the dead reveal, the gifts they give the living through their death. Mainly they point not to the past, but to the future.
It is not odd that a humorist can sees more deeply into the depths of human heart than others.  The humorist, Erma Bombeck (1927-1996,) wrote a Mother’s Day column entitled “Mothers Who Have Lost A Child”, one of the most often reprinted: 
“When I was writing my book I Want To Grow Hair, I Want To Grow Up, I Want To Go To Boise, I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer. Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose. And, who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel? Their dying child. They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reject.” BOOK OF EULOGIES, p.343.
     My friends at the meeting opened their hearts a bit and revealed something secret. The conversation about death seemed a gift which made us more alive to one another in a deeper way. A group of elders standing in front of a holy force, unsure, afraid, and vulnerable. Human.

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
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THE BOOK OF EULOGIES, Phyllis Thereaux, Scribner, 1997

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

THE HAZELNUTS OF INSANITY

WHO AM I?
     If you light a fire, who chops the wood? If you are picking a guitar, who becomes the music? When you are 9 years old, who frightens you at night with fears about death? If you make a boat, who becomes the ocean? When you received THAT wound, who cleverly fashions your genius into it? Who brings each dream in response to the activities of the day? When you become grandiose, who brings you back to earth; or when you become too pathetic, lifts you up?

WHY AM I HERE?
     Can you become a fish in the holy water of life and be fished for by fishermen of the spirit? Are you able to bow your head? Take hints from dreams? Sit in your closet alone? Can you bend your knee and genuflect? Does reverence ever enter your mind but turn to ash in your mouth? Can you be your own wound, yes, THAT wound? The holy fish drowns in air. But what is the medium in which you will drown? Science? Reality? Illusion? Electronic? What is it you love? 

WHAT DO I WANT?
     What is the medium your character? Religion, the human condition. Not dogma. Not purity. Not faith. Not belief. Not piety. Not doctrine. Not the hazelnuts of insanity. Your character, your soul, wishes to feed you the sacred food, the inspiration, the wisdom, the contradictions, oppositions, the strength you need to become totally grief stricken, embarrassed, shocked and self-aware. Will you realize grief when you become aware you are a person who chops the wood for the fire of others, rubs salt into wounds, and is arrogantly proud of what you call humility? Are you able to eat grief?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I HAVE AGED LIKE OLD CHEESE

WHO AM I?

     I’m afraid I have aged a bit like old cheese – thick skin with some places with old mold, harder inside, drier and a but smelly. I have a really nutty flavor.  As I’ve seasoned and mellowed, the bright flavors of my youth are now there blended ways.

     Parts of my heart are worn like the wooden steps up to the monastery, worn down by having to do so many trips for penance.

     My brain is like a vase of flowers which has not sustained its vibrancy and so has begun to fade. That’s why I blog – in hopes of refreshing them.

     My shape is now pear but I’m dieting. Who isn’t? My hair is white with imaginings of the red which was once there.

     Aged Love seems to love what was once there, or see what was once there in what is now here.



WHY AM I HERE?

     To share my disappointment at a couple of my failures, I guess.  I won’t bore you with more than two.

     I had hoped to age like a leather biker’s jacket which has been burnished by wind and weather. The one with the large, semi-fading embroidered patch: “Riding For The Lord!” But that didn't work out.

     But, to become weathered, road-weary and have that kind of smile, you have to have had that kind of life. Apparently non-adventurous young men look, well a little apologetic and having been so self-protective when they are older men.  No pins in the joints with great stories here. The closest I have come is arthritis for no apparent reason.

     I have more than a few tiny cracks along the outer edge of my desk top. There are more than a few divots. I also now regret sticking my scout knife into the surface. I have tried to touch it up and stain back those initials I carved years ago. All those self-inflicted defects mean that I frequently punch holes in my notebook paper memory as I write.



WHAT DO I WANT?

     The touch of aged love anticipated touch, the long-time touch, the expected touch. The touch which never really stopped. The deep connection. The separation which is never really separate.

     The taste of aged love is a taste which has become smoother and more mellow each year.

     The smile of aged love is that of a 20-year-old which lights up from the 60-something’s face.

     A wink is STILL as good as a nod to a blind man. Know what I mean? Know what I mean?



Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

WHAT ISRAELIS TAUGHT ME ABOUT “HOME GROWN” TERRORIST THREATS

WHO AM I?
In 1989, I was living south of London and was studying and teaching at a small college in an international social development program which had students from around the world. I also managed a small sales company for an American friend and hired students to help me sell his product – a lumbar back support.
This was a time when Irish terrorist attacks in London happened. It was also a time when Israel had been at war with Lebanon and the Lebanese conducted terrorist attacks on Israel. I mention this because two Israeli students helped me sell at the shows in London: Hannah and Israel (yup, named after his country).
These two Israeli students helped me learn how one must “think” and act during a time of terrorism. Maybe some of these experiences will become common place for us soon.
While we traveled by train back and forth to London to sell products at trade shows, we talked at great depth about the differences between Americans, Israelis, the English, the Irish, the Germans, the Scots, the Aussies, the Fins, the Croats, the Dutch, the Danes, the Icelanders, and everyone else in the program. Why do we do what we do? What was cultural? What was situational?
For example, both Hannah and Israel had done obligatory military service. Will we make service a solution for unemployment?  The people in their country were always on guard for “home grown” terrorist attacks. So, the procedures the U.K. version of Homeland Security required for me to get product to the trade shows seemed reasonable to them but to me, the American whose country had not been attacked, it seemed excessive – and costly. Welcome to the situational world of “Making England Safe Again”.
From today’s perspective, how much of what I am about to describe about England living with the threat of Irish terrorism, still exists? Once the conflict eased, much would probably be dropped and unlearned.  Here’s what I mean.
I could not just bring the product to the trade show in my car. I had to ship it by a common carrier who would verify the contents and deliver them to a secure area at the trade show at least a day in advance so they could be inspected on site. Trade show venues were “soft targets” for the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Also, I could not set up my booth. The stools for customers and backdrop for the booth had to be shipped in advance and trade unions assembled my booth according to a layout I provided (even though it said “put backdrop here, put stools there”) and they ran all electrical hook-ups (“plug extension cord here”).
I once ask about these inconvenient and costly steps and was told: “You’re a nice American chappie, but we are combating terrorism, you see!” So, the first lesson is that businesses of all sorts will now get more costly and inefficient, but lots of jobs will probably be created to deal with our current situation.

WHY AM I HERE?
As an American, in charge of that very little sales enterprise, I was there to sell product! I was a typical Americans, good at selling.  The Israelis, well, the Israelis were adept at telling me how things ought to be done. Americans sell. Israelis tell. And, Israelis are proud of being survivors, even more proud of winning.
     For example, two women in hijabs sat down in our booth. Israel showed them the back support, described the back support. In an instant, they knew he was an Israeli. They glared wide-eyed at me when they heard his accent. He asked gently, as I had trained him, if he could help them put on the back support. They looked at me with a nearly panic stricken look. They knew he was the enemy! But, they held their tongues and leaned back into the lumbar support and relaxed. Once they felt the proper lordosis,, their muscles relaxed, I saw their eyes roll back and close and knew they were having a moment of bliss.
After a few moments, Israel stepped close and asked: “How is that?” They smiled and said, “Nice! Ve-ry nice!”?
Israel paused for a moment and then he said, “You have a very beautiful country!”.
Then Israel stepped close to me and said, “They’re Lebanese. I flew a helicopter and bombed their country.” And he made a gesture with two palms parallel, one palm dropping down and touching the other. “It was very beautiful from the air.”
     The older Lebanese woman called me over. “You Americans! You always support the Israelis! Even here! Even in London!?? Get this thing off me!” I got her out of the lumbar support, tried to apologize. Israel stood to one side, smiling slightly, his arms crossed as they huffed off. I said to him, “Don’t do that again! No war talk in the booth.” He gave a dismissive gesture, “I just complimented them on their country!” he said. “Talk product.” I said, which was obviously the typical American response.
     There is no neutrality. Guilt by association.

WHAT DO I WANT?
In the afternoon, I learned that suspicion must trump kindness.
     A fat man, carrying several plastic bags, waddled his way toward the booth. He “knew” the relief the lumbar support would give him before he even sat down. I put on the back support and he smiled. He sat and he sat and he sat as the support eased his chronic discomfort. He bought a back support and then asked, “May I leave my packages behind your backdrop?” “Sure!” I said, the epitome of American customer service and watched him tuck them out of sight and walk away.
     “Je-an…?” Hannah asked, “Do you know this man?”
“No.” I replied. “He’s a customer.”
“And you let him put packages behind the backdrop? What if one of them contains a bomb? He’s a stranger. You don’t know him. You Americans are too trusting. In my country, you don’t trust strangers.”
So I worried. All day long I worried. I worried until the fat man, carrying more packages, waddled back, sat down, had another back relief session. Then he collected his earlier package stash. Thanked me, smiled and waddled off.
I winked at Hannah as the man peaceably walked away. She said, “You’re lucky. Terrorists blow up people who think they are lucky.”
Ipso facto we should, feel unlucky? Targeted? Fear strangers? Get a terrorist in my soul?

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
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1989 - ENGLAND - WHAT ISRAELIS TAUGHT ME ABOUT HOME GROWN TERRORISM - #security #Israel #irish #UK #Bombers #PEACE http://goo.gl/vV3pSH

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