1,000 words a day: life during the sickness, entry 3

Obvious that I missed a few days, but I’ll get right to it. I’m positive that I don’t have that many readers anyway, and if I do, they are at the moment not making themselves known. You know one of the things I taught in high school in Las Vegas was that kids should have a conversation with their books. It completes the loop. To give an example, from recent conversation with Lisa, had to do with limited perspective. I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know. But man, I see us hurting from this sickness, and I mean in more ways than just one.

When I lived with my pops in California. This was my mom’s second marriage. He was a black man, and there are a few stories I have written about him previously in my blog. Overall, good man. Philosophical. Deep thinking. One thing he wanted my brothers and I to know was that not everyone lived the same way. There’s a difference between the sanitized monocular view of media: TV, books, etc. It’s someone else’s take on the world. The more I learned the more he said, that what I learned would help me write my own ticket. He meant to go to college, but what he wanted for me was to find success long after I graduated. It’s just a piece of paper, and it will only mean something to you. I soaked up his advice because I could see a little farther down the road than most. Still can.

Ever watch football? Or, ballet for that matter. If you played sports, or danced, (skill-building in general) you might have some idea of the amount of time and practice it takes to get good, to rise in achievement. To feel pressure-coal to a diamond. Let me explain. Seeing a hit (or being told about it secondhand) and getting hit are two different things. While playing sports, a few of my coaches said that pain was weakness leaving the body. The first time I got knocked on my ass, I mean really knocked on my ass in football, there was this moment of reckoning. The taste of blood and all that good stuff. I mean I had to make it fit what I imagined the hit to be in my head. There was a moment of dissonance. Think of glory and grit, somehow intertwined.

But let me first talk about one lesson my pop’s thought was important for us kids, because when you’re a teenager, you think you know everything. Keep the idea of getting knocked on your ass handy, in your hip pocket. Got it? Let’s continue. Pops talked to us about skid row in Los Angeles, where a lot of people got knocked down. It’s a part of the city where the mostly homeless gathered to take advantage of temporary room and board (I’ll throw in this word shelter and you decide what a means as opposed to a house or home), often what me and most of my friends took for granted, because of poverty, and the cause of that could be a whole range of things: substance abuse, domestic abuse, mental illness, and frankly, there are just a gob of mean people out there. You know if he hadn’t mentioned it, I might have never known otherwise.

Homelessness was one of those faraway concepts. In college in the mid-80s, I belonged to a fraternity, mostly rich white guys. No judgement. One of them who I considered an associate, more than a friend, had these tangled views of brown people. He kept me at arm’s length through our years together, and sometimes I had heard him use the N word. Hard to say why, but I had my educated guesses. I did confront him once on the issue or skin color. He told me his sister was assaulted.

I know you won’t probably believe it, but he didn’t tell me willingly. I just happened to know it. I’m aware of my psychic skills. I like I dug through his head and there it was. He did ask me how I knew, but I ignored the question, and insisted on him telling me his problem with me. He elaborated on some of the finer details, but it painted his view of people of color, blacks in particular. I asked how he felt about when we were there together. We were both somewhat drunk from a kegger we had at the fraternity house in San Dimas that night. We were on the back porch during the spring of my junior year. In fact I had practically dragged him there, on impulse, like this was something he had to get off his chest about me. He did finally admit that he had misgivings, and he came to the conclusion that there was something off about people of color, like there was something innate in them that made them inferior-that made them into drug addicts and thieves. He wrote it off as a something of a latent cancer. No sense in talking about environment and generations of being stepped on.

I thought, there’s something about being on the other end of white devils trying to rule the world. While some of them believe they’re above man’s law, they are certainly not above God’s law, and I truly believe that there will be a day of judgement, not all on the same exact day. But when I think about it, if there was day, it would be a great day of fear, not unlike the one Noah and his family faced after they had tried to convince so many people that they should get right with God. So, what does that look like to me? Maybe it will be a civil war for us. Crazy, right? Like we have been warned about the sickness and the mass hysteria it has caused.

Well, let’s put it this way: devils come in all shapes, sizes and colors, etc. And, wouldn’t the worst devil be someone you thought you could trust, like the media. My fraternity brother couldn’t have given a rats ass about the poor of Los Angeles, though he talked a good game. However, he did not walk that talk. His beliefs were set, and he wasn’t budging.

Here we stand at the cross roads of service to self and service to others. We are the herd, and in the herd, we either band together to ward off evil, the purported wolf in sheep’s clothing, or, we good souls, are and will continue to be siphoned off, and, well, I don’t need to say it. You know, what happens to messengers of warning and good tiding. You know where the other shoe falls. We are at a moment where we can stand together, and really think, nay, IMAGINE the world in which we want to live.

In the Lord’s prayer it says, “thy kingdom come, they will be done, on Earth, as it is in heaven.” What does that mean to you? For me, heaven can be here, in feeling, in frequency, in sound, in a state of being. What if heaven is a place, not out there in the cosmos, or something we needed to figure out inter-dimensionally through some diabolical science experiment at CERN, but a place in your heart, where there’s a version of you, of your higher self, who IS kind and wise and truly knows what God wanted for us?

Now, if you can imagine such a place, what would happen if all people, all beings, got on board with this, despite our differences, at the same exact time? What does a world-wide chorus sound like, if we just dropped what we were doing, and sang the same exact beautiful song that struck a chord in all of us? I guess that’s what I liked about singing in college with Chamber Singers. A powerful music, a powerful song, brought us together. I saw such music being played on skid row, but not so much in my college fraternity. I can tell you that I have played a number of instruments and a number of keys, slept both in the gutter during my days as an alcoholic, and in luxurious hotel suites when life started to get better.

A guy named John Lennon, who sang, “Imagine all the people…” and then he was killed. Why? Then the record disc, clicks to an end, comes to silence. I got some advice for you all, and I want you all to listen. Let’s not pretend to be deaf. Let’s not pretend to be blind. The elephant in the room is about to stomp us all to pieces. Let’s not fall into that trap of being helpless sheeple.

Let’s instead…

Imagine.

Published by: frankmarquezwritings

I'm a writer, and have been for most of my adult life. Without making this sound like a resume, I wrote creatively in college, dabbling in poetry, short stories and play writing. Later, I became a journalist, public affairs specialist, copy editor and eventually a guy who ran his own newspaper. Now, I'm back to letting my imagination run wild in some new creations including a science-fiction novel. Somehow, I also managed to teach English to high school kids, and roam the battlefields of Afghanistan as a field historian. Field historian may be a misnomer considering all I did was write abstracts summarizing military unit profiles and missions that included hundreds of interviews of troops and contractors in combat. I grew up in a small town called Gering, Nebraska, before escaping to Pomona, California, where I spent my last two years of high school, graduating from Ganesha High School in 1983. I have a Bachelors in English from the University of La Verne (1987), and a Masters in Education from UNLV (2007). In between, I worked for government - the Army and TSA. I served tours in Panama, D.C., and Tokyo, all thanks to a teacher who encouraged me to see the world before I settled down. As hobbies, I run, hike and bicycle long distances. I have also been known to surf and ski. I now live in my hometown after moving back in June 2015. I get to see family on a regular basis, breath fresh air, and not have to ride the D.C. metro or get stuck in traffic. In fact, I ride my bicycle whenever I can. I'm happily married to my wife Lisa, and we watch over a pack of fur babies, our dog Charley, and three cats Spike, Bootsy, and Franky (his shelter name). If you should ever visit me in west Nebraska, be prepared to feast your eyes on paradise.

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