Sunday, April 9, 2017

"WIGGLE ROOM AND FISCUS" - A FAMILY LEGEND REPUBLISHED ON MY 45TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

REVISED 9/10/2016 - My wife, Marietta, a Master Gardener, told me I was misspelling "Ficus" when I first showed her a draft of this post. I explained that Microsoft Word, with which this was written, did not accept the spelling "f-i-c-u-s", and kept substituting "f-i-c-h-u-s". She said that was "unfortunate".  I also told her that the Microsoft vocabulary did not have the Texas word "thang" and kept substituting "thong". She said that was probably "fortunate".

I have a “gift”. Okay, I actually have several “gifts”, but I do have a “gift” of spatial perception. For example, I can look at a jumble of stuff and tell if I can pack it all into an assigned fixed space or not, right down to the tiniest item in the littlest place.  Like, loading boxes, trunks, appliances, packages, and so forth into the back of a truck. Or a trailer. Or the trunk of a car or a self-storage unit. I discovered I had this gift, when as a young man quit a newspaper job and got a job loading trailers at United Freight Service (UFS) on the “Midnight Sort”. I was a “Loader” and that was my official UFS / Teamster job title.

   Some think that people who load trucks are desperate immigrants or unskilled half-wits. We had those, but we also had people who had fallen on hard times, like myself  (who pushed himself into hard times), a Summa Cum Laude attorney whose firm had lost a major client, a former MD who apparently specialized in malpractice, and Gary who laughed out loud at the movies he made in his mind. We did not “bond” because we hardly saw one another and we each had one or more trailers to load during our shift. But, we did go out after work to a strip club once or twice.

     This capacity for spatial perception has been a great gift to have because we have moved a lot over the years. One of my favorite moves which has now gone down into family legend has been the move from Pennsylvania to Michigan, or as we call it, “The Ficus Move.”

     I had perfectly loaded, and I mean perfectly loaded a 26-foot Ryder rental truck, the one with a “Grandma’s Closet” (the little space over the cab) with our family’s belongings. That included bicycles, appliances, aquariums, books, boxes, wardrobes, tools, the lot. Now, when a loader says “perfectly loaded”, that means tight. Pardon me while I take a narrative side-road to explain the technical term “tight” for you lay-people, but I assure you it’s integral for your understanding of the Ficus Move story.

     “Tight” was a technical term which my loading colleagues and I researched because our boss commanded us to ‘”packed it tight”.  “Que?” said one. “Is there a case law definition of tight?” asked another. Gary giggled. We retired to the Spotlight Strip Club to conduct careful, scientific observations using spatial perception over many data gathering sessions and held lengthy debates. Given our weird constellation, and the Spotlight Strip Club as our research lab, it was not surprising we argued intensely over Catholic and Mexican cultural, legal, mathematic and physiological factors which Gary turned into a movie and giggled about.  Our research concluded scientifically that “tight” means there is less “wiggle room” (or free space for movement) between packed items in our loads compared to the space between the fanny-flesh and the thong of “Miss Easy Evil” at the Spotlight Strip Club. We are sure because the MD suggested we used the well-known “Three Bears” statistical methodology which he used in all his research. So, for control purposes, the MD helped us gather comparative anatomical data on “Miss Toothpick Annie” (‘She ain’t got no fanny!’) and “Miss Judy Booty” (‘That girl’s got a bonus booty!’). And then he said, “Come to Poppa, ‘Miss Easy Evil’ you is just right as the operational definition of tight!” If this scientific definition has been something you have been worrying about, I am glad to have helped.

     Now, back to the Ficus Move story. My Ryder rental truck load was “tight”, so tight I wanted to take a snapshot of the full load because the overhead trailer door would just barely clear the last few items. I mean it was a mover’s dream. Tight and perfect.

     Then I heard my wife, coming around the corner of the house calling out “Can you get in the Ficus?” And there she came with my eldest teenage son, a 6’3” lad who could probably press and easy 200#, dragging a 3-gallon terracotta pot with a 5-foot Ficus tree which had been sitting in the corner of our living room.

     A brief moment of panic. Was this something I forgot? Maybe. My gift is spatial perception, not house plant detection.

     Now, if the question had been, “Is there room for the Ficus?” The answer would have been “No!” because the load was perfect and tight. If the question had been “Am I too late to get the Ficus in?” The answer would have been “Yes!” because I had been loading all day, just pulled the door down.

     “Can you get in the Ficus?” she repeated, and here they come dragging that dang Ficus. I raised the overhead door and looked over at the Ficus. That thing was big! Did I mention this load was tight?

    My wife had worked in mental health, psychiatry specifically, for decades by this point in our marriage. So, the question “Can you get in the Ficus?” may have been a clever intra-spousal psycho-analytic challenge aimed at some deep-seated Freudian masculinity thingy. That would have pissed me off.  But since she’s a Jungian, I doubted it, so I didn’t get angry. My guess was that the question was a lucky, off-the-board, 3-seconds left in the game “Hail Mary” half-court shot by an indoor garden fanatic.  Can you? Can you?  It swished in.

     Can I? I looked at the perfectly packed, tight load. I looked at my wife. I looked at the Ficus again. I looked at my teenage son, he smirked. He knew daddy’s “spatial perception” was caught. I knew what sleeping on the couch meant. I looked at the Ficus and considered its 3-gallon pot, its broomstick shaped trunk, and its weird leaves. Then my spatial perception “gift” kicked in, and I began mentally re-arranging the load. 

     It was not easy. It was not pretty. Let’s just say I had to violate good loading protocol and exceed the laws of physics to get that Fichus loaded. It should not have been physically possible to cram in that 3-gallon pot and Fichus into that “tight” load any more than it was possible for “Miss Judy Booty” at the Spotlight Strip Club to load that much fanny-flesh around her thong. But, I was there for the foundational research: I saw her bonus booty and it was moving. I regretted seeing both. Such is the stuff of movers’ nightmares. I must admit that I used a few loader 4-letter incantations, and applied leverage, and I got the Ficus loaded.

     Since then I won’t attempt spatial perception or loading anything without looking over my shoulder and asking my wife well in advance, “Ficus?”

     She just laughs.

P.S. - The Ficus survived the legendary move and to this day sits in our living room in a 4-gallon pot. It now has two additional limbs. Those are weird leaves.


Brainz version- September 25, 2016

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager / All Rights Reserved

Originally published 9/6/2016. threesimplequestions.blogspot.com

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Friday, April 7, 2017

“JOAN OF ARC, GENE AUTRY & NITROGLYCERINE” – Tennessee Williams

“JOAN OF ARC, GENE AUTRY & NITROGLYCERINE” – Tennessee Williams
            This is a phrase which Tennessee Williams used to describe Margo Jones, the dynamic theatre visionary and producer who elsewhere was called “The Sweet Tornado.” Jones, indeed, made a lasting impact on theatre, but Williams’s  trilogy is so powerful, I thought move away from her as a person and take a shot at re-stating these three it in hopes they will be revived and offer as inspiration for us all. It does to me!
            Joan of Arc – A visionary who was led by her Angelic, spiritual inspirers to do battle with the forces seeking to dominate and control the free human being. We all need a vision for our lives and our communities and freedom. We need courage. To have courage means we, like Joan, need those imaginative sources and resources, those ideals backed by the good Angels to which we can reliably turn, without doubt, without worry, when life gets tough, because life will get tough. Probably tougher than it is when you start out. Anytime you try to change your world, or yourself, counter forces will arise to attempt to destroy your vision, cause doubt, fear, anger. The bigger your vision, the bigger the counter forces. You need Joan of Arc-sized spiritual inspiration.
            Gene Autry – The original “straight shooting” cowboy star of radio, television and film. Autry created “The Cowboy Code” for the “young” (or old) listeners of his radio program:
1.         The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2.         He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3.         He must always tell the truth.
4.         He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5.         He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6.         He must help people in distress.
7.         He must be a good worker.
8.         He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9.         He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10.       The Cowboy is a patriot.[1]
            The Cowboy Path is a path of self-directed moral behavior which we can use to guide our vision, our inspiration. This is the kind of thing Aristotle would have suggested to young Athenian “cowboys” with his admonition, to “Be Good, Do Good.” This also rolls along side the “12 Steps” program or other moral anti-addiction programs practiced today.
            Nitroglycerine -  Invented in 1847, nitroglycerine has been an active agent in the manufacture of explosives since that time. Highly unstable, it was terribly dangerous when first compounded and caused hundreds of deaths before controlled. For a while, it was banned in some parts of the world. When mixed with organic substances, it can be more easily handled and used in munitions as a propellant. This is one aspect of one form of nitroglycerine –explosive, unstable, needs to be handled with care.
But still, if required, nitroglycerine is what you need for blasting the fixed, the stuck, the things which are in the way and need to be removed. “Moralic Nitro” for destroying the large stoppers in life.
            Another aspect is that for over 130 years, nitroglycerine has been used as a vasodialator to treat heart conditions, angina pectoris and chronic cardiac failure.  It modulates the out of control rhythms of the heart.
            So what in one place is useful for blasting and destroying and may lead to tragedy and death if misused; in another place, in a smaller dose, may lead to strength and health.  We all need the capacity for maximum force, on occasion; and, on other occasions, we nee (dare I mention another cardiac function) the ability to be tender - to love?
            Joan of Arc, Gene Autry, nitroglycerine – thank you, Margo Jones for inspiring Tennessee Williams! Take these qualities to heart and we all will be inspired, straight shooting firecrackers!  Yee hah!

© Copyright 2017 – Jean W. Yeager – All Rights Reserved.


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[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Autry



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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

JUNE 20 - JULY 21 - COMPASSION LEADS TO FREEDOM

THE CALENDAR OF VIRTUES
JUNE 20 - JULY 21 - COMPASSION LEADS TO FREEDOM
OPPOSITE: Heartlessness
ABOUT THE CALENDAR OF VIRTUES
 The Calendar of Virtues represents a year-round opportunity to practice Virtue Transitions while outer nature is going through analogous changes. Your inner practice will be reflected in the outer world which can strengthen your experience. PLEASE POST YOUR INSIGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.
IN NATURE:
      In high mountain lakes the population of native trout are usually one species. They come to balance the food use out of a natural, in-built compassion. Let just one of a competitive, more aggressive species be introduced into that lake and the total population of native trout will drop. That native population of trout is free but does not try to overly complete with its brothers and sisters – or with the aggressive trout should one be introduced. Competitiveness is not "natural" to that species.
IN HUMAN NATURE:
      In his lecture, "Brotherhood/Sisterhood And The Fight For Existence," Rudolf Steiner renames "brotherhood/sisterhood" as "mutual help". Mutual help is a way of living and working that has a basis in compassion. In the lecture Steiner traces the historical  development of communities and guilds through the middle ages. And says that it is not a choice between compassion and making oneself as strong as possible.
      "It is right to make ourselves as strong as possible, but the question is, can we really become strong without love?" The cells in our body must work cooperatively with other cells and each of them must be as healthy as possible so that the entire body is healthy. He goes on to say that anybody has a soul and then he says that communities have a "soul" as well and this is called "brotherhood/sisterhood" or "mutual help".

     We have a common attitude today that we as individuals can only benefit by growing smarter, having greater physical prowess, or having incredible personal expertise that puts us ahead of everyone else. Steiner says this "Fight For Existence" is to be expected, along with it he says we must add expertise in positive work with one another. In this way the individual has options in their lives and are not totally isolated to only working for or with themselves. By adding the capacity for compassion, one also adds freedom.
(c) 2014, Jean W. Yeager, All Rights Reserved
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I AM THE TONGUE OF THE LIAR


Originally published in 2014 - but seems relevant these days.

WHO AM I?
     I am the tongue of the Liar and I am the best in the business. Some say our lineage goes back to the snake that lied about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If I were to say “that’s a lie!” then you could count on it. God looks to our lineage to deliver and since then we have lied for and against just about everything. Every clan, tribe, country, religion and corporation needs an experienced tongue now and then. Who do you think was in FDR’s mouth and uttered those memorable words, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Great delivery if I do say so myself. How about this one: “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” At the U.N.!  Or, “too big to fail”. You see, it’s not the lie, it’s the tongue of the Liar.  It’s how it rolls off the tongue that makes the difference. Everybody knew Churchill, W and the Fed were lying – there was no doubt. What saved the day was the tongue that told those MONSTROUS, the IMPOSSIBLE lies. Not every tongue can rise to the level of the impossible when needed. It’s a gift.

WHY AM I HERE?
     It’s a great era to be the tongue of a liar! A Golden Age. An age of massive lies. Do we doubt Genocide and Global Warming?  Every day I make the rounds of the news “outlets”, like a mall, right?. Some carry one kind of story. Another set of “outlets” carry the opposite. My guy surrounds himself with small minds so they can’t deliver the big messages. That’s MY job - to bring the BIG DEAL. My guy starts an interview and he smiles and pauses, he’s on the launch pad with one easy softball question, like he’s actually thinking (as if), and suddenly I’m running down this narrow mental alley-way between “what is” and “what is not” and he’s caring nothing for his reputation or the international repercussions. Then I realize we have to totally change the game – tell the GRAND LIE, a GENERATIONAL lie! A lie so large and so all encompassing that it takes in the last 50 years of history about a specific topic and flips it on it’s head. The lie is so outrageous they don’t respond they just report. Said often enough and with sincerity, the GRAND LIE is not a negative.

WHAT DO I WANT?
     Besides the BIG lies that move countries and generations, I like the intimate lie. The lovers lie, the leader’s lie. Sweet lies about glory – your glory. Those earnest looks and whispered promises. The touching, the hand shake held for a few moments longer than necessary – to show intention. The shoulder touch. I tell you that he knows what you want. He’s listened to you.  You’re not alone.  He’s here for you, protecting you.  The direct one-on-one eye-contact. The motivating word from his mouth – a great looking mouth. I tell you this will be dangerous – very dangerous. We won’t let this fail – but it will take YOUR effort. You’re so close you watch his mouth, watch the words roll off of me and his determined chin. He’s a person of flesh and blood and I tell you he’s relying on you – we’re ALL relying on you. He smells good and your nose wouldn’t lie about a thing like that. His heart beats good and pure – like your heart. You believe him. You will do as he asks – even though it is very, VERY dangerous “...and you may lose your life. But the cause is worth it.” says the tongue of the Liar quoting my ancestor, the snake.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LIGHTING ALT FARTS

JUNE CLEAVER sweeps into the room. WARD CLEAVER sits on the sofa reading a newspaper. There is a knock on the door.

JUNE:     I’ll get that.

She exits and then returns with SGT JOE FRIDAY.

JUNE:     Ward? A policeman here to see us.

WARD tilts down paper and looks alarmed.

WARD:     A policeman?

FRIDAY:   Mrs. Cleaver, Mr. Cleaver, I’m Sergeant Friday with the
          School Police.

JUNE:     School police?

WARD:     Is Theodore in trouble?

FRIDAY:   I’m sorry to say that your son and the Trump boy were
          caught lighting farts in the locker room.

WARD:     Lighting farts?

FRIDAY:   Oh, don’t worry sir, it’s typical junior high school
          hyjinks - happens all the time.

JUNE:     Really? Lighting farts is typical?

FRIDAY:   Yes ma’am. When the cafeteria serves mystery meat,
          fruit cup and pork ’n beans, some of the Britebart 
          Brats and the T-Party Toadies, when they go to P.E., 
          they can’t help but strip to their tidy-whities, pull 
          ‘em tight, Flic-the-Bic ‘n let ‘er rip!

JUNE:     Oh, my!

FRIDAY:  Sometimes the blue flames shoots a foot and looks just 
         like a Senate Majority Leader tie!

WARD:     If it’s typical why are you here?

FRIDAY:   This time, the Trump boy was injured.

JUNE:     (CONCERNED) The Trump boy? Injured?

FRIDAY:   Yes ma’am. He tried to “Repeal and Replace”.

WARD:     “Repeal and Replace”?

FRIDAY:   Not a good idea to repeal a fart, but repeal and
          replace is typical junior high thinking. Dangerous if
          you’re trying to impress people.

JUNE:     Is he badly hurt?

FRIDAY:   What do you think happens when you try to repeal and
          replace something combustible and under pressure?!

JUNE:     And Theodore?

FRIDAY:   He ran for Nurse Kellyanne. She brought ointment and a
          trowel.

WARD:     Our Beaver a hero.

FRIDAY:   I came to ask you to treat the Trump boy with a little
          tenderness for a while. Don’t laugh at the waddle.

WARD:     So, the American Health Care Act doesn’t cover
          repealing and replacing farts? 

FRIDAY:   Just ask the Trump boy.


© Copyright 2017, Jean W. Yeager
All rights Reserved.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"KITE JUSTICE" WINS ESSAY COMPETITION



Jean Yeager, author of this blog and "Th3 Simple Questions: Slices Open Everyday Life", a collection of essays and creative non-fiction, has won 1st Place in the Essay Category of the AGELESS AUTHORS competition with his piece entitled "Kite Justice". A second work entitled "Deputy Barney and Sheriff Andy Fight Terrorists" has also been selected for inclusion in the anthology which will be published.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

KITE JUSTICE - "Winner 2016 AGELESS AUTHORS Essay Category

This was selected as an "Honorable Mention" in Essay category of the 2016 Ageless Authors competition.  If this is an "Honorable Mention, then CONGRATULATIONS to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place essays!  I can't wait to read your work.  http://www.agelessauthors.com/

Age 12 is one of those tension filled crossing points in life. It is a time when the tenderness of childhood is waning and we are beginning to test our growing bodies, to create our intellect. Our genius arrives in a “do-it-yourself kit”. But, there are no specific instructions, we must struggle to form it. We wrestle with this unique, “higher self” and fashion all kinds of challenges, inner and outer, large and small. Our gifts seem to emerge from our engagement in, or our fleeing from life.
When I was 12 my family lived in a particularly windy part of Colorado just east of the Rocky Mountains out on the prairies in a bedroom community named Broomfield just between Boulder and Denver. The wind blew so much out there that the metallic threshold on our front door vibrated whenever the wind velocity topped 40 miles an hour, which was frequently, at all hours of day or night.
My mother had been a young woman in the “Dirty 30s” in the Midwest and Texas. That was the era of drought and giant clouds of dust which would blow up, become storms and roll across the open prairies engulfing farms and lives. So, she knew the tragedy borne by ill winds of the Great Depression and World War II. In 1961, when I was 12, my father was in the midst of a political “dust up” in his job which would eventually lead us to being blown off the Colorado prairies and tumbling toward a new life in San Antonio, Texas.
Age 12 is also the age of grandeur. Grand ideas, big challenges are just the thing for learning life lessons. In my case, life gave us wind, lots of wind, we foolhardy boys seeking a thrill made “bike boats”. “Bike boats” were a way for us to test ourselves, our creativity and seek lofty adventure.
Two kids would ask our mothers for an old, worn-out bedsheet and getting on our bikes, hold the sheet between us so it caught the wind like a sail and propel us. We would ride our bicycles holding the sheet with hands off the handlebars rocketing down dirt farm roads, whooping and hollering.
When we crashed, and we did crash, we got the tragedy we apparently wanted to experience. The world, life, gave us feed-back on our “great and adventuresome ideas”. We would limp home, trying not to cry, practicing swear words aimed at the wind, dragging along our busted bikes, sprains and bruises and composing great lies about our adventures and daring one another for our next even grander exploit.
My father may have saved me from further damage when he gave me one of the best, yet perhaps most modest gift that a father could ever a boy – a bundle of raw, balsa wood kite sticks.
“Look what I found at the Army surplus store!” he said with sparkling eyes as he physically radiated glee.
There must have been 100 pre-made sets of kite sticks without the cheap paper covering that was typically found in that era’s 10-cent drugstore kites. A broken kite stick was less threatening than a broken limb. So, for the next several weeks, while our bruises healed, my friends and I (and my Dad) made kites, dozens of kites of all configurations.
We became kites.

Genius will work with whatever it has at hand in order to fashion you. At age 12, through your imagination and inspiration, your genius will take whatever you give it to a higher level.
A stick becomes a wand and you become a Harry Potter. A basketball and a plastic box nailed to a telephone pole and you become LeBron James. A homeless little girl named Ella Fitzgerald transforms a neighborhood talent contest into the launch pad for a lifetime singing career. Slavery, neglect and horrific abuse spins George Washington Carver into the heights of scientific insight.
The greater the headwind challenge of youth, the higher the potential to rise. 12 year olds are the holy boy (puer aerternus) or the holy girl (puella aerterna), the genius we ride in our lives to great grandeur is the kite of our selves.

Kites are all about capturing the tension between two dynamic sets of polar opposites in two bent sticks. Each of the two kite sticks is like a different aspect of our genius. Both must be put under tension and bent into an arc and both are joined together. The vertical stick represents our upright self which stands between the spiritual and the earthly poles. The horizontal stick represents that which goes between our self as an individual and the world.
If we put too much pressure on any stick, it might crack. In kite making, you have to risk in order to have enough arc to generate lift.  Adding tension in life is risky because genius is both positive and negative, there is always the danger of unbridled egoism, hubris, anger or violence; or fear, depression and brooding.
      The sticks are bent to create a wing shape and high flyers are the ones who can create more than enough draught to create lift well in excess of the weight of their situation. It’s a mix of wing span, angle of the wing and velocity of the wind.
Genius inspires all arts, transforms all effort into art, and all people into artists. The configuration or the form of the art is the wingspan. For a writer, a haiku, for example, is a short, intense form with high imaginative velocity.  Meaning, inspired in the reader, gives lift (or not). The angle of the message rises above culture and makes use of the headwinds. Genius inspires all the arts.
Genius, can be craft, all hand work, or earth focused and inspired as well – contractors, carpenters, mechanics, farmers, or gardeners. We all have connections with the spirit and with our communities.
Kites can spin out of control if the genius is too intense and one sided. A kite can spin in a strong wind and won’t rise unless there is counterbalance. A kite, a genius, requires a counter balance – a tail.

Kite tails are bits of fabric, usually cast aside fabric, torn up and tied together and attached to the earthly end of the spirit / earth pole. Separate bits of life brought together. Each is like a memory perhaps of attempts, failures, regrets, embarrassments, tragedies. Bike boat crashes. Gravity. These are what gives weight to our souls. Our shame adds heaviness. We are glad they have sunk down beneath our consciousness, but they are not gone, never gone. They balance out our enthusiasm. They are the fruits of our lies. Our seasoning. Our tempering. Our scars. The tail of the kite of our lives.
Some wise high flyers with special genius to see into the spiritual world have said that when we die, and we look behind ourselves as we ascend into the spiritual world and see that our egoism, failures, misdeeds, sins and errors stream behind us like the tail on the kite of our genius. They are the tail of the kite of our genius.
The memorial services which I have attended for friends have a public portion in which we speak and honor the genius of the dear-departed friend. And at the same time, we sit in unspoken silent remembrance of their flight, including the choices which held them back.
The headwind of life continue to blow no matter how old we are. There is a chance to rise even higher than before. Are we able to rise with it? Do we still struggle? Do we risk failure? Bike boats of elder-age? Are we still in contact with the source of the good and holy of our genius?
Our final years are tension filled crossing points in life. We wrestle to free ourselves from what we have created during our life in order to rise again. This is another “do it yourself” kit.
Sail on.

(C) Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager - All Rights Reserved
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DEPUTY BARNEY AND SHERIFF ANDY BATTLE TERRORISTS

This will appear in the 2016-17 Ageless Authors anthology to be published soon.

“I am your Deputy Barney self. I’m your built-in system for thought, emotions and behavior. I’m on guard and on patrol 24/7. With my quick reactions you are hyper-vigilant! Nothing gets by me, I mean, you. You are armed and ready! I have a dash-cam in my squad car; I mean you, have a... <grin> you know what I mean. I, you have a taser on my, your hip. I am quick thinking and fearless!”
            “And your Deputy Barney self quickly jumps to conclusions 100% of the time, don’t you, Barney?”
“Yeah.” <grin>  “I’m a machine for jumping to conclusions, aren’t I Sheriff Andy?”
“And statistically, 80% of the time, your intuitive conclusions are wrong, aren’t they Barn? Your conclusions lead to contusions.”*
            “Oh, Sheriff Andy! You know I don’t like statistics!”
            “The Sheriff Andy self is not impulsive. Sheriff Andy thinking slows you down. The Deputy Barney self wants you to believe quick action is the way to go, right Barn?”
 “Well,” <grin> “I don’t have time for reflection! I’m a doer, I see and I do.” (Pointing a finger), “Click-bang!”
“Click bang, huh?!  So, tell ‘em, why did you un-holstered your TASER in the squad car?”
“It’s my job to be ready for bad guys. I was practicing my quick-draw.”
“TASERed your crotch, huh?”
“It was an accident”
“Thousands of people in our country get shot accidentally  each year? That’s why I made you unload the bullets from your service revolver.”
            “But, Andy! I can’t be courageous with an unloaded gun! I gotta be a winner.”
            “You haven’t re-loaded, have you!?”
            “No.” <moping> “I got my bullets right here!” (Pats shirt pocket.) But, Sheriff Andy, that TASER shot was not my fault.”
            “The Barney brain will never admit it made a mistake.”
            “Why should I? Live and learn is my motto, Andy.”
            “Learn? Don’t think the Barney brain is strong on forethought, are you Barn. Tell ‘em about eating chili with beans in the squad car.”
            “I hate dash-cams with audio. Not fair. Ought to be banned from squad cars. We deputies are professional!”

            “Sheriff Andy, after what happened in France, Orlando and Dallas, Mayberry’s finest needs body armor.”
            “Oh, really? The Barney self wants body armor?”
            “Yeah with “POLICE” stenciled on the back. And a black sweater! ‘N black paratroop pants, and a real-ly nice black belt with lots of holsters ‘n pockets to put stuff in! And a black truncheon in case it gets hand-to-hand! Oh, and storm trooper boots! ‘N a black balaclava, so only my eyes are visible. And, of course, a black euro-style helmet stenciled with 2-inch high letters reading: “MAYBERRY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT – M.S.D. - SWAT TEAM – B. FIFE, DEPUTY”.
            “You really thought that out well, didn’t you Barney.”
            “Yeah.” <grin>
            “2-inch high letters? SWAT? As in fly-swatter? That’s the kind of SWAT we need around here.”
            “Mark my words, Andy, there are rumors of foreigners. Strangers coming to Mayberry! It’s all over the social media!”
            “Barney, this is fear talking. I’m gonna have to ask you to turn off your wi-fi tablet in the squad car. You’ve been sitting in the squad car watching the internet and FaceBooking with Gomer.”
            “But Andy... !”
            “Apparently it makes you afraid of our new neighbors. So, as Sheriff, I want you to turn of the social media! I want you to talk to people. Just do your job. We don’t have to be paranoid here.”
            “Oh, come on, Sheriff Andy! I heard a new Falafel Restaurant may come into town. I gotta investigate!”
            “Yes, go investigate. Meet the new owners. It’s Aisha, the wife of Ali, the new math teacher at the high school. Don’t over-react, Barney.”
            “Can I get anti-terrorist gear?”
“The Deputy Barney brain like to snoop around at night, dressed in black. Right Barney?”
“I gotta be suspicious 24/7. It’s my job!”
 “Aunt Bea would be scared out of her wits to see you sneaking around at night dressed all in black! Why do you want to scare Aunt Bea or anybody?”
“But, you can’t prove we’re safe!”
“Barney, settle down! If you scare the Gomer, Goober, or the Floyd the Barber brains, one of them might accidentally shoot you! You don’t want that and neither do I.”
“Aw An-dy!”
“We don’t need terrorists in our souls. Do we Barney?”

*Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney are inspired by Pulitzer Prize Winning Psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s book, “THINKING, FAST AND SLOW” which describes the two systems within us.
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(C) Copyright 201`5, Jean W. Yeager - All Rights Reserved


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LOVE MAPS AND THE SEVEN LANDS OF LOVE

LOVE MAPS
Psychologist James Hillman writes about Love Maps in his book, CODE OF THE SOUL (Random House NY, 1996). These maps are one of the ways psychology tries to account for how each of us is “seized by love.”
     Why do we “fall” for a certain person? The Love Map is a schema of elements you have created by your life experiences. The “map” is layers of physiology: inner chemistry, brain neurology, sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell; and psychology, personal sympathies and antipathies, fears, phobias, joys, emotions of all sorts.
This is a kind of experience or sentient body constructed within you and also shaped by your life. Ah, Nature and Nurture! Family practices, Aunties, Uncles (including weird Uncle Al), tribal, neighborhood, cultural, religious, village mores, jobs, media, books, traditions, and on and on. All these combine to shape, mold and fashion your own, unique Love Map.
     In your imagination, in your heart, your sentient Love Map forms an idealized a “proto-image” of your ideal love partner. Day by day, year by year, you watch potential love partners go by. You refine this “proto-image” until it gradually emerges and gets fired by hormones right down to the details: size and shape of the nose, hair color, teeth, complexion, lip size, voice and mouth, ears, hip width, even worldly goods.
     The Love Map is the physical part, the individualized part of love. It has a deterministic affect on how we travel over the road of life and the terrain of Love.
     As we grow, and age and change, our Love Map changes. My Love Map today at age 65+ is far different than my Love Map at age 30, or at 20. I should have regretted at age 20 that I had so few camels (exactly zero) and was therefore not on any Love Map to a large portion of the world’s women.

THE SEVEN LANDS OF LOVE
The Love Map is only one part, an intimate personal part. Another part is that according to Hillman and other psychologists, there are seven Lands of Love, named by the ancient Greeks, through which we travel in our lives.
     The love between parents and children and children and parents is call storge. It is a deeply visceral love. There is deep trauma when it is broken.
     The love between young children who are playmates is called ludus, playful love. Between older folk, ludus is flirting, teasing, or dancing in a playful loving manner.
     Philia is a love between deep friends, comrades. It includes, personal sacrifice, honesty, sharing intimacies, support, trust, responsibility.
     One land of love we all meet is philantia, self-love. You will enter the land of self-love and either come out with greater self-control and transformation, or greater vanity, narcissism, gluttony or any one of a dozen longings to fulfill your personal desires.
     If you emerge from philantia able to tolerate others, have learned some patience and are able to share practical work; you will enter the land of pragma, the love of the craft, the practical, the consistent and steady love possible between couples.
     Self-intoxication is high if eros, sexual passion takes hold of you. The the ancient Greeks were fearful of losing control but not us! Sexuality as love has top of mind in our culture. It’s what we call romantic love. Fantasy embellishes the land of romance. Hillman even wonders whether or not fantasy “designs” our Love Map for romance today.
     One final land of love remains in our life We will need others to care for us, and we will need to care for others. That is the land of love called agape, selfless love. Or universal loving kindness. It is caretaking love. It is a land in which we all will arrive. It is a love, we all must practice.

WHAT DO I WANT?
Always that question, eh? What do you want? What is your choice? In which land of love will you live? Is your Love Map sophisticated? Are you only looking for people in your lives to match the one profile which you created when your hormones were intensely raging at age 16 or so? That may be pretty narrow, even crude map. How many ways have you shown that you love someone else? Have you travelled through all the lands of love?
Is your experience of philia “friending” a whole bunch of people on Facebook?
Are you honkey-tonk dancing and doing a ludus country-western two-step or are you a lit-tle too erotic?
We spend a lot of energy to “fall in love.” But, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm wonders how much energy to we spend to “stand in love” as in pragma, in the act of giving love to save a relationship?
     Research and violence today shows that agape love has declined sharply. Is it hard for us to care about strangers? C.S. Lewis called agape love, “gift love. We love ourselves, no doubt about it. But, Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of our feelings for ourselves.”
I want for us all to be seized by that gift love and “fall” in agape-love with the world - "Children, love one another."

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
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CODE OF THE SOUL, James Hillman, Random House NY, 1996


==========================





Monday, February 6, 2017

OLD PIRATES OF THE HEART

WHO AM I?
A friend and former shipmate of mine and I, both of us old pirates on the sea of life did not pass quietly as ships do sometimes in the night. We hove-to, dropped our sails and spent a few hours juxtaposed and adrift together. It was not smoke and mirrors, cannon blasts or fancy swordplay. It was genuine, problematic intimacy. She, the world navigator reported a tumult of miracles, bombings, and Beruit taxi rides. Always the positive. Always ahead of the games. On the way to care for grandbabies between world-wide gatherings armadas of small pleasure craft-lives into workshops in which she boards, and opens treasure chests of the heart in a therapeutic ransacking.
     There is a deranged proximity about us – and the others. Some were monks, are still monks, will always be monks out of the flow. They loving their logic.  We have left them in the monasteries while we freebooters cannot sit so still for so long. We think better beneath the flysheets dealing with the flow, the forces far bigger than ourselves, the gales, the currents, the tides, apparently still surviving. Desiring for the difficult, the unsettled, the potential exotic, the flesh. The vital words without logic. The rap of lives rhymed, and always very much alive, very much flowing, flowing.

WHY AM I HERE?
Freedom. We serve no King nor flag except the tattered hearts and push the debate. There are hints of prostitution but only from those who see life as a debit-credit scheme. We are under the waterfall of life, pleased at all costs. Suspecting emotions. We are linguistically in disarray rubbing up against our apparent feelings. There are obvious conclusions.
     A glass of red wine. Two Margaritas. Grilled fish. A large bowl. And the stories, always the stories. The pitfalls. Blindsides. Near misses. We dissolve into tears. Touch as only old pirates of the heart will permit themselves to be touched by another. There is no myth of dominance. We plunge into desolation. Dive into the unfulfilled, never to be fulfilled, what were we thinking?  We short-circuit our best and most well-worn vanities. We imply old successes but tread on the deck of tragedy. And laugh. We laugh. We know we will not stay. Cannot stay. 

WHAT DO I WANT?
Piracy is not carried out in a monastic order. We are lonely. We turn our loneliness those destiny moments with others - fierce and mad enjambments. Crowd scenes where everyone but us is clothed in burkas where we only see their eyes and then comes their revelations of secret, childhood (teenage, adult, mid-life, elder) abuse they have held onto so tightly they have pressed into jewels. Their lives have been arranged around these jewels to protect them because, they would be adrift otherwise. The heart chests hold such awful jewels. And, pirates, well pirates help the agonized victims open their chests and look at the jewels of great value.
     Like an oozing, unasked snake that is fascinating and coils around us and between the piratess and I filled with venom and investment, is the question, “So, how are you, really?” with the drop into the abyss on the word “really.
     But, we don’t pry. We are shy. We know the awfulness we have in our chests and we presume the other has the same – probably worse. After all, she is older, walking the plank of age, disease, doubt, fear... or am I talking about myself again? Probably.
     That’s why we move. Move away from the coiling questions, which we give to others. We know the questions, we can shift the wind, the currents, the question. We don’t want to be faced with actually looking into what the other has in her heart. “Look at that, will ya?  What will I do about that fetid, stinking treasure I love so much?”
     Awful jewels are what people keep in their chests. Better not hurt one another. Another day. Maybe a mooring in the future. The note with the black dot. Treasure Island?

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PREDICTIONS

Brainz for January 30, 2017

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?  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, wrapped like Valentine Candy!

An esoteric practice many people undertake is to pay careful attention to their dreams each night between Christmas Day (Dec 25) and Epiphany (Jan 6) – the Twelve Nights of Christmas. They say that if you journal these twelve nightly dreams, you may find each one offers a new and different “picture” or a prediction of a specific month about to occur in the new year. Night one, January; night two, February, and so forth.
Our “day consciousness” (or “Day Self”) is not based on dreams, is doubtful of dreams because it cannot dream and be awake. And, our Day Self is awake.  During the day our Day Self makes predictions in the bright light of wisdom based upon cause and effect, what has already happened, precise logic A+B=C, sequence, the things we can see with our senses.  Our Day Self is busy and plans events in our To Do lists, dresses in style, does the laundry, logs our years on our resumes and LinkedIn, records our genealogies, tests our DNA, worries about retirement plans and the amount of money in our IRAs. Craft beer, anyone?
Who is it that brings us those dreams during the twelve nights?  Do we have a “Night Self”? A Self which is not bound by space or time or senses? A “Self” which may exist in the unconscious, illogical world of our dreams? This “Night Self” travels on a boat by Moonlight, paddles the glimmering shimmering, beats the long and oh so deep thunderous rhythm of the full moon which sends the animals into motion, is a flame of incandescent fire which unfolds and licks and interpenetrates other flames intimately.
I predict that tonight when you lay your “Day Self” down to sleep tonight, your “Night Self” will arise and gently stroke your cheek and move away.

© Copyright 2017, Jean W. Yeager
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