Month: November 2008

What’s a Few Billion Among Friends?

Maybe it’s just me but…

Saying the word BILLION can be fun.  Try it.

First of all… let’s all say it together…  BILLION… now spell it

B. I. L. L. I.O.N.

Pronunciation:
\ˈbi(l)-yən\
Function:
noun

Now take the time to say Billion…900 times. That should take you about 15 minutes to do.

Now try and count to a billion…

Counting non-stop, at one number a second (not humanly possible, but if you could)…it would  take you 31 years, 251 days, 7 hours, 46 minutes. and 39 seconds to count to one billion.

Multiply that by 900 to count to 900,000,000,000 and it would take you…

28,542 years, 240 days, 18 hours and 25 minutes. (Give or take a few seconds)

Now THAT would be great fun if we had the time but… there is nothing funny about Congress wanting to spend close to $900 Billion or more to bail out Lending Institutions, Wall Street and the US Automotive makers…all masked as a “stimulus” package.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it’s releases.

A.  A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B.  A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C.  A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

D.  A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth.

E.  A billion dollars ago is only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate
our government is spending it.

So..the next time you hear anyone use the word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about the impact of the ‘politicians’ spending YOUR tax money by bailing out every organization known to man.

Where does this end? Will this be our future?

funky_winkerbean1

It’s a cynical world we live in today… everybody wants theirs.

The whole issue of $900 Billion should upset all Americans… but today I found myself not being upset at the condition of our economy or any of the problems of we face today.  The only thing that really pissed me off was that I had to press ‘1’ for English.  I am ashamed.

$900 Billion…a Trillion or whatever it ends up being… all of this is happened under our watch…we all are responsible.  This is not about Democrats vs. Republicans or even Conservatism vs. Liberalism.  We as AMERICANS are to blame.  We should really be pissed at ourselves.  We allowed our politicians to do our own thinking for us and we will pay the price for not doing something about holding them accountable.  More importantly…why didn’t we hold ourselves accountable?  Why do we think someone should always “bail” us out?  Our borders are not safe, we have a serious illegal alien problem, our educational system is broke, Health care costs are out of control, unemployment is at 8% …need I go on?  I am afraid that we all are going to have to swallow a jagged little pill and deal with the consequences for quite a while before it gets better. The payment and the debt is past due and payday is LONG way off.  We cannot put a check in the mail and hope it clears the bank…it’s time to reap what we have sown. I hope I am wrong…but I don’t think so.

I have tried to sit down and rationalize the whole issue. Maybe I am taking this way to seriously…I mean what’s a few BILLION dollars among friends…right?  Spread the wealth, they say, take some from them (but not me)…send some here and drop some there…just don’t look like you’re enjoying it cause there would be political implications.  And most of all, for the love of God, don’t let anyone know you are doing it to pay off what you owe to them for their vote.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

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When You’re Fifteen, it’s a Long Way to Cleveland

That summer, the place to be was Teagarden’s Pool in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

So many things happened there and of course, none of it was permanent.  Unless you count the flashes of images and thoughts of a time not cluttered with the responsibilities of adulthood.

Every kid needs a place to go to be a kid.  For my buddies and me, that place was Teagarden’s Pool.  It was ten minutes from home if you walked it.  But to us, it was a world all its own.  We’d grown up there together.  Each day was filled with the shrieks of laughter and catcalls, as me and all my friends would swim on endless summer days.

Sure, they called it Teagarden’s Pool, but we knew better.   That pool…belonged to us.

On one beautiful day in June, I was at the pool to take a Junior Lifesaving course.   I had known how to swim since I was five.   I had worked my way through the Tadpole, Guppy, Dolphin and Shark divisions.   Now I was on my way to becoming a “lifeguard”.   Looking back on it now, I probably took all of those classes because of the fact that they were taught by girls, not just any girls…but older girls…girls in bikinis.

And on this particular day, this pretty blond-haired, blue-eyed girl was there to take the class.    Now, I pretty much knew all the girls in my age group from our little town of Oak Harbor, Ohio.   But this girl wasn’t a girl that I knew…she was “new”.    A rare find in our little town.

I tried not to look like I was staring.   She was beautiful.   I quickly looked away if I saw the slightest twitch that she may look in my direction.   I sat there trying to look like I was paying attention to our “instructor-in-the-bikini”, but I couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful stranger that was dropped from heaven.   Who was this new girl?   Where was she from?   Where was she living and more importantly was she staying?

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who eyes were fixated on the new visitor.   I looked around the class and every hometown girl who was taking the class was staring as well.   The evaluation was in full motion.   As my eyes and all of the others boys were looking in approval, the other girls there were judgmental and critical of new-found competition.

As fate would have it, when it was time to break up into groups for our first activity of the class, I was placed in the same group with her.   I couldn’t believe it, what luck!

She was walking my way and my mind was racing a million miles per hour.    I was going to be the first to talk to her.   I was desperately trying to think of something witty to say, something profound. Something to break the ice…something to let her see I was a “cool” guy.

I was sure I did not want to say something like…”Hi, my name is David.   What’s yours?   Where are you from?   How old are you?   Why are you here?   Did you move here?   Why are you taking this class? “

No…I did not want to say these things…but I did.

As a matter of fact, I said it without taking a breath and yes, I said this whole statement in less than 1.2 seconds.   A world record I’m sure.

She was just staring at me.   The look on her face was evident that she thought she met Oak Harbor’s village idiot.

Her jaw dropped and I could see that she was trying not to laugh at the jumbled mess that just came out of my mouth.   She was trying to respond, but could not for fear that she would make fun of the town idiot.   So she spoke in precise, deliberate and painfully slow words.   She spoke loud.   You know, like when you talk to someone who is deaf or from a foreign country.    Like somehow if she talked louder, I would be able to understand what she was saying.   “MY NAME IS KAREN” she exclaimed!

It was evident that I lost any chance of convincing her that I was a normal “cool” guy.   So I relaxed.   I interrupted her and told her that I wasn’t deaf and I was at least smart enough to follow what she was saying.   I tried to be coy and told her I might not understand everything she said but I could at least try.   She told me she was 15 and was from Cleveland.   She was camping at a local campground for few weeks with her grandparents.    She was bored at the campground so they let her take this class.

I was so glad that she didn’t catch me staring at her.  I mean, I already made an absolute fool out of myself; I did not want her to think I was a pervert as well.

Maybe she was just a kind-hearted soul that took pity on village idiots or she indeed liked being with me, because for the next two weeks we were inseparable.    I would wake each morning and hurry down to the pool at 8:00 AM and sure enough there she would be waiting there for me.   After class we would stay at the pool until it closed that night.    We would swim and talk for hours.    We never left the pool.   Karen told me about everything in her life.    She told me about her school, her friends and her family.   As beautiful as she was, she never had or wanted a boyfriend.    She told me how her father died when she was two and her mom had remarried to a man she did not like.   He made her feel uncomfortable.   Always making comments and touching her in way that made her feel uneasy.   That was really why she was in Oak Harbor.   To get away from some things she did not want to deal with.

We talked and talked. I didn’t mind.   She told me things that she said she never told anyone else.   I guess in some way, I was her diary.   She was writing memories, feelings and her dreams as she spoke to me.

Occasionally, I was able to talk to her about my life.   We would talk about my brother’s death and life in a small town.   We talked about religion and what we believed.   We shared our love for music what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives.    It was special because we could talk, knowing that we could say anything and we would not be judged like we would have been had we been talking to our friends that we grew up with.   And we both knew…it couldn’t last forever.

Soon that inevitable time came upon us and neither one of us wanted to admit was taking place.   She had two more days before she was going to go back home.   It was Friday and she would have to leave Sunday morning.   As the pool closed that warm summer Friday night, we stayed a little longer talking at the gate before her grandparents picked her up.   She looked nervous and I asked her what was wrong.   She just looked at me and stared.    With the sun setting in the distance and the color of her blue eyes reflecting off the last remaining rays of light, she looked up and kissed me.

No…it wasn’t my first kiss.   I had kissed other girls.   Maybe it was her first kiss, I don’t know.    But I do know that this was different.   This was not about a boy and a girl.    For in fact, in the two weeks we spent together we had not as much as held hands.   This was about friendship and the special time we spent together.   It was natural and it wasn’t odd when we stopped.    It was if we were meant to have that special moment…the moment of our first kiss together.

Karen placed a letter in my hand and asked me to promise not to open it until I got home that night. We had one more day together and we made plans to meet the next day at the pool, like always.

And in an instant she was gone.

I took my time walking home that summer night…I wanted to remember and etch it in my memory forever.

I read her letter…she wrote of our first meeting at the pool.   She told me that she thought it was cute how I kept staring at her that first day and how I tried to look away when she looked over at me.   She had caught me staring…and I thought I had hidden it.   She talked about the pool and all of our talks we had.   She told me she would miss me so much.   She told me goodbye.   Her grandparents were leaving early on Saturday morning.

I knew at that moment, that life was not fair.   In the haste of the last night together, I never got her address or phone number.   It was hopeless.   I’d never felt pain like that before in my entire life.   The next day I ran down to the pool in the fleeting hope that she would be there.   Maybe there was a chance she would stop by before she left for home.   She wouldn’t come to the pool that day.   Our time together that summer was over.

The next summer, right after school ended for the year, I made my way  down to Teagarden’s Pool.  As I walked into the parking lot, it was empty.   A sign was hanging on the fence.   It said that the pool was closed and would not be opening again.   Within weeks, Teagarden’s Pool was filled in with dirt and the buildings torn down.   It was gone forever.   It was our pool, our memories and another part of our childhood taken away.

The common bond between Karen and I was gone as well.   If she ever came back to see if I was still at the pool, I will never know.

That was close to 35 years ago.   Even today, I think about a friendship that lasted for two weeks that has carried with me for all these years.   I wonder if she still thinks about a skinny kid from Oak Harbor, Ohio.   I wonder what ever happened to her, what would she be doing and if some of her dreams came true.  I like to think so.

I keep that letter she wrote me in an old shoe box.   I take it out every now and then, unfold the tattered, yellowed pages and I am immediately taken back to another place and time.   Suddenly for a few moments, I am fifteen again and life isn’t filled with the responsibilities I have today.

Memory has a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are and the things you never want to lose.

And… I still look for a letter that I know will never come.

When you’re fifteen, it’s a long way to Cleveland.

 

Me...the Summer of 1976

Yellow Jackets Fall in Heartbreaker

Volleyball Eliminated in Heartbreaker

The Yellow Jackets dropped a tough five-set match to Wheeling Jesuit in the first round of the NCAA Atlantic Regional being held at Cal-Pa.

In a match-up of WVAIC regular season champ versus tournament winner the Cardinals prevailed by scores of 22-25, 25-10, 24-26, 25-20, and 15-13.

The squads end up tied at six sets apiece on the season as WVSU 3-0 in the team’s first meeting with Wheeling then winning 3-1 in the WVIAC tournament title game.

Chistina Wichrowski paced the Jackets with 16 kills, 13 assists, and 20 defensive digs.

Amanda Luedtke and Amanda Strong each added 11 kills while Jennifer Paswaters contributed 23 assists. Kristen Hager had 31 digs to lead the defense with Paswaters coming up with 16 and freshman Leisha Salyer 17.

WVSU winds up with a 25-5 mark.

I just walked in the house after a snow filled and 11 hour drive today. I went to watch my niece Leisha play in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. It was a close tension filled match in which West Virginia State fell to Wheeling Jesuit.  She played great and I am very proud to be her Uncle.
Leisha…all my love…and you have made our family very proud!!!

Old Teacher’s Never Die

Old Teacher’s never die.

They live in your memory forever.  They were there when you arrived and they were there when you left.

Like fixtures.

appleTeacherSome teachers taught you something really new, but not too often.

Most teachers, basically taught things we really learned in Kindergarten.

You never really knew them, any more than they knew you.

But I remember one teacher in particular from my days in Junior High in the small town of Oak Harbor, Ohio.

His name…Mr Bernard (Bernie) Lutz.  He was an English teacher.

He was hard.  He was unfair. He was tough. Too demanding and totally unreasonable.  He was on a power trip.  He was the equivalent of Oak Harbor’s version of Attila the Hun. He was a “drop down and give me 20 push ups” kind of guy.  He smiled on the first and last day of school and NEVER in between.  Every student that had a class with him, said the same exact things.  He was all of these things or worse.

But most of all…he scared me.

At least that was what I thought at the time.  Unfortunately , the perspective of an eighth grader is somewhat tainted by the fact that at that age “everyone” who was an authority figure was considered the enemy.  I mean it was the nature of a 14 year old year to dislike that person who was trying to tell you what to do.

The truth is that Mr. Lutz was none of these things.

He was a teacher that “expected” things from his students.  He wasn’t going to accept average or below performance from you as a student unless it was indeed your best effort.

More importantly…he was a great teacher who  gave me something to take home to think about besides homework.

Sure…  he was hard, he was tough and he was demanding.  He made mistakes and he definitely was not perfect.

But never unfair, unreasonable or Atilla the Hun.

It has been said that the mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.

For now you see…Bernard…Bernie Lutz was the reason I became a teacher.  He was my inspiration.

My dream to become a teacher began with a man who believed in me, who tugged,  pushed and lead me to the next plateau, sometimes poking me with a sharp stick called “truth.”

Bernie passed away a number of years ago.  I never had the opportunity to tell him how much I appreciate what he did for me all those years ago. I’ve learned in teaching that you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work immediately.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years or longer.  The harvest for a teacher is seeing the “fruits” of their labor become teachers, lawyers, stock brokers, nurses, preachers, writers, accountants, bankers, managers, entrepreneurs and countless other occupations that make them contributing members of society.

Old teacher’s never die…their legacy lives long past their time here on earth.

Maybe you were lucky, maybe there was a teacher in your past who believed in you.  Someone who pushed you to another level.  One who expected more from you than just average work or “just getting by”.  Someone who you never told  how much you appreciate the challenge and inspiration they were in your life.

Tell them today…

I waited too long to tell Bernie while he was alive.

So Bernie…if you can hear me…I can only quote William Shakespeare and say, “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.”



What Will You Do?

Maybe it’s just me but…in 2009…

I WILL…have a passion for excellence.

I WILL…ask, listen and hear – to determine how I can best help those I come in contact with.

I WILL…be an example of commitment and integrity.

I WILL…follow a path that leads to Jesus Christ.

I WILL…focus on the strengths of those that I come in contact with.

I WILL…dedicate myself to physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

I WILL…lead as I would like to be led.

I WILL…savor the memory of each passing moment.

I WILL…wash my thoughts with the mind of Christ.

I WILL… handle each relationship that I have with faith, hope, love and gratitude.

I WILL…have compassion on those who have failed.

I WILL…put my wife and my family first above my desires.

I WILL…love my children, regardless what they do.

I WILL...love God with my whole heart.

But then again, maybe it’s just me…

What WILL you do?

Seven Wonders of This World

  1. Seeing the Beauty of God’s Creation.
  2. Hearing The Word of God spoken with Compassion and Conviction.
  3. Tasting the Food that God has provided for us.
  4. Touching the hand of someone who needs our help and pointing them to Christ.
  5. Running the Race that God has laid before us.
  6. Laughing in the Joy of being in the fellowship of God’s people.
  7. Loving with all our Heart the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins.

I Know How Bad it Hurts to Lose Something I Never Really Had.

He didn’t make it.  We should have known.  Why did he think he could make it?  It is way too far for human to jump with a motorcycle.  Evel Knievel tried today to jump the Fountain at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

He missed.

It was the first day of January, 1968.

The new year started with full of promise and I am barely into it’s first day and already it was giving signs that things were about to change.

I sat playing on the living room floor with my best Christmas present a  SPIROGRAPH, the newest and hottest toy of 1967.   The news is blaring on the TV, but I don’t have time for that.  I am just waiting for the news to get over, because my favorite show was coming on and I did not want to miss a minute of Mayberry RFD.

On that first day of 1968,  I sat on the living room floor playing with my new toy.  Waiting patiently for the my show to come on.  Suddenly my eyes were filed with the glare of our black and white television showing images of lives lost in a war that was in some place called Vietnam.

This was something I did not anticipate.  I did not see it coming.  I was taken in by the images.  I stopped playing with my toy and watched.  It was at that moment that I realized that there was a world outside the confines of my neighborhood block.

On Walnut Street in tiny Oak Harbor, Ohio, the kids in my neighborhood had the same joys and troubles that kids were experiencing all over the America in 1960’s.  In the mask of the innocence of the 1960’s, we learned early on that life can be hard. We had our share of fights, broken bones, stitches and bumps and bruises. We experienced the ache of disappointment when we lost an important game and the pangs of hurt over that first rejection from that special someone.  We also experienced the sorrow of losing loved ones… even the loss of a brother.  But we experienced nothing like the images I witnessed on that winter day.

My mother sheltered me in as much “innocence ” as she could.    But times were changing. 1968 was a year that brought…

  1. Highest casualties in the Vietnam War. 16,592 Americans are killed in 1968.
  2. North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship violated its territorial waters while spying.
  3. American civil rights movement: A civil rights protest staged at a white-only bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina is broken-up by highway patrolmen, leading to the deaths of 3 college students.
  4. Vietnam War: My Lai massacre – American troops kill scores of civilians.
  5. Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for several days afterward.
  6. U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy dies from his injuries the next day.
  7. Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, Illinois, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.
  8. Vietnam War: A Viet Cong officer named Nguyễn Văn Lém is executed by Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. The event is photographed by Eddie Adams. The photo makes headlines around the world, eventually winning the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, and sways U.S. public opinion against the war.

I was forced to acknowledge the pain that this life can give.  In an instant the innocence of my childhood was taken from me.  But then again…the innocence was never really there.  I just wasn’t exposed to the pain and sorrow that generations of people all over the world had experienced.

Indeed, in 1968 I was introduced to more than my share of burdens…I had my memory closet filled with childhood failures, hurts, letdowns and disappointments.  But sadly, I had my memory filled with images that made me grow up faster than I wanted.

40 years later, as I look back, I still feel the hurt of realizing that my innocence was taken on that New Years Day.

I know how bad it hurts to lose something I never really had.

Everyone Has a Story

Just wanted to send a quick note to thank all of you that took time to honor my brother’s life, by responding or looking at his pictures I posted on the (Facebook) Legacy Builder’s site.

I received many notes of kind words and some even posted on the site. 

Sometimes it is so easy to forget. When events like my brothers death happen to a family. It is easy to provide comfort and support the days and weeks after such a tragedy happens. However, after this short period of time, people (we) move on. We get back to living our lives.

The unfortunate thing is that for a mother, father, brother or sister, son or daughter… the process of moving on isn’t so easy. Sure, in time they (we) do move on. But it never leaves, it’s always there.

Over the course of time you wonder if anyone remembers that lost loved one, or even cares.

I, for one, do not want to forget. I want to celebrate the lives of those that have influenced me and had “made a difference” in my life. I want to celebrate the lives that influenced my friends, co-workers and neighbors. Most of these people I have never met…but I want to know them. I want to know why they were here. God intended for them to be here for a reason…and that “reason” should not end with their death whenever that may occur.

Please use the site to bring the honor upon those that richly deserve it. You may just find that you are comforted and your pain may ease as well.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY…TELL THEIRS.

Thanks again for the kind posts and notes

It was 38 years ago today…

I just want to share with everyone that reads this, that it was 38 years ago today my brother was killed in a car / train accident.

I started a group called “The Legacy Builder” on Facebook, so that people could have a place to post stories, videos and pictures to honor someone who has made a difference in their life.  That is the main purpose for why I originally started this group, so we could leave a lasting record of their importance in our lives.

So with the election now over, maybe we can focus on something else. I wanted to share with you the life of my brother who was killed on November 5, 1970.

Robert Allen Lee was born on June 9, 1956 and was the second of four children born into my family.

While my oldest brother, Jim and I loved sports, Bobby loved the outdoors and animals. He loved to hunt and trap. He always had some kind of pet whether it was a rabbit, a hamster or a bird.

On this day 38 years ago, he was in a car driven by my cousin (Larry Mills) that came to pick me up from school. In the car with him was his best friend Harold “Buster” Chandler. They picked me up from school and we headed for home. Larry was going to drop me off, then take Bobby and Buster to where they had some trap lines to check.

As we pulled into the driveway, I asked Larry if I could ride with him to drop the boys off. He said that my Mom had told him to drop me off first. I opened the car door and my Mom opened the front door of the house. I asked her if I could go with them and my mom said no. Like any other kid, I asked again and when she said no again, I shouldered past her going into the house. I bumped into her and was mumbling under my breath about how stupid it was that she would not let me go.

Just a few minutes later, two blocks down the street, …they were hit by a train. All three were killed instantly. Larry was 18, Buster was 13 and my brother Bobby was 14.

I was 10 at the time and I am thankful for the time that I had with my brother. I still miss him and think of him often. I wonder what he would be like today.

To this very day, my Mom cannot tell you why she told me no. 98% of the time she would have said yes…

As a result of his death, I was led to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ two days later in the back of Robinson’s Funeral Home in Oak Harbor. My whole family found the Lord as a result of it.

Please take a minute of your day and look at the pictures I posted on the “Legacy Builder” site on Facebook and give honor to my brother, my cousin and my family.

Thank You.

President Barrack Obama, I’ve Been Wrong All Along

Well, it’s almost nine o’clock on election night, and it’s a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama is the new president. I was upset by this at first, but then I realized something, something that has set me free.

I’ve realized that I’ve been wrong all along.

Let me explain. I was raised by well-meaning, but obviously deluded parents. They worked hard to instill in me the same misconceptions they themselves grew up with, and as a result I have been a victim of those misconceptions my entire life. Thus, when I saw that the most liberal-minded democratic candidate of all time was about to assume the presidency, those life-long, deeply ingrained misunderstandings led me to believe that this would be an awful, even frightening thing. “How is it,” I thought to myself, “That the majority of this country can fanatically support a man who represents the exact opposite of the ideals I was raised with?” And for the first time in my life, I asked a question that very few people ever honestly pose to themselves: Is it possible I am wrong and they are right?

It was an epiphany. I am shocked and amazed that it took me so long to realize how wrong I have been. And I have to tell you, it is extremely freeing to come over to the other side.

But I fear I am not being as specific as I should be. Like those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism, the first step to healing is admitting one’s specific problem. Let me take a deep breath and face this.

I was raised to believe in personal responsibility. It was, in fact, the cornerstone of my family’s belief system. I was taught that if I was ever to succeed, it was up to me to do the hard work of making it happen. I was told that no one would give me a free lunch. I was made to buy my own first car and pay my own way through college. As an adult, I have struggled and worked long, hard jobs, all because I believed it was my responsibility to take care of myself and my family. In short, my life view was summed up by the idea that I, and I alone, was responsible for my own health, success and family.

What a prison I had constructed for myself! To think of all the time I spent trying to work it out on my own, struggling to learn and grow, slaving through the days to hone my talents into marketable skills. How much time I wasted trying to create new products and valuable services, all to achieve my own success, to take care of myself and my family. In short, how very long I struggled to reach that elusive and teasing American Dream! Oh, what a fool I was! For now I see what the majority of the rest of this country sees, what the rest of you have apparently known all along: it ISN’T my job to take care of myself and my family. It’s the government’s!

WHAT a relief!

You know, I laugh now, looking back on how I felt during the election. I was so annoyed at people for not seeing the apparent folly of Obama’s statements about “being our brother’s keepers” when his own brother was living in a shack for twelve dollars a year and his aunt was living in a rat-infested slum in Boston. Now, of course, I see the real truth. Obama didn’t literally mean we should take care of our brothers. What he really meant was that the government should take care of our brothers (and aunts). This explains how he intended to help his slum-living Aunt, and I see now that it is a much more loving method than just sending her some of his own money. Instead, once he becomes president, he’ll just send her a bunch of everybody else’s money. I understand now that it wasn’t Obama’s job to help Aunt Zeituni specifically, since she is just one of the millions of children of the government, meant to be taken care of like chicks under a huge, federal wing. It makes sense to me now. I used to be so shamelessly literal.

Similarly, I used to labor under a delusion of ownership. I was plagued by what Congressman Jim Moran recently called “the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it.” Never mind what Thomas Jefferson (the slave owner) meant when he said “a wise and frugal government… shall leave [men] otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned”. It was quite the two-edged sword of heresy I lived under: the idea that I had to work hard for myself and my family, and the idea that what I earned by that hard word was mine. Only now do I see the folly of my ways, and now that I have rejected them, I feel such a sense of complete freedom.

Shall I describe it? Now I can finally- finally!- let it all go. No longer do I have to work hard day and night to make a way for myself and my family. No more will I have to struggle to create new products that the market may wish to enjoy. Finally, I can catch up on all that wonderful TV I’ve been missing because I’d been working so hard. Now, finally, it’s someone else’s duty to take care of me! How completely and utterly freeing! Here, all this time, I had resented the fact that the government takes away thirty percent of my income. Now, finally, I see that if I simply give up, lay back, and do nothing, that same government will give me chunks of someone else’s thirty percent! What a complete and unadulterated fool I have been, working so hard and trying to be self relient! Obama, and you, the rest of the country who figured this out a long time ago, have finally shown me the way.

It’s a new day. It’s a “what’s in it for me” day. This is the moment where I officially abandon the idea of personal responsibility and making it by myself. After all, I’m a victim. I was misled by my parents, taught a narrow-minded and probably racist litany of lies about character and hard work and wisdom and good choices. Now I see the truth: choices don’t matter, because if I make a mistake, I can abort it (even in the third month, and I won’t even have to pay for it). If I screw up, the government will take care of me anyway, so why even try? Why work so hard to be the one creating the income for everyone else, when I can be the one sponging it up? Let the Joe the Plumbers of the country be the schlubs to go out and work their butts off. They may be sucker enough to think its still worth it to be self-reliant, but I have seen the light. I have learned that it is better not to try, because trying just means having more and more taken away. I have learned that this is the “gimme” country. So gimme. I want mine. I don’t want to work for it anymore. Why should I? It wouldn’t be mine to keep even if I did. I want someone else’s, because they have too much and don’t deserve it, even if they worked for it.

I’m late coming to this party, I know. Most of the country is in line ahead of me. All of you who voted for Obama got here first, but I’m shouldering in with you, lining up outside the federal coffers for my chunk of the handout. The bank doors are open. We’ve finally gotten to that fabled point where we are voting in a president because of the free goodies he’s promising us. I know it means the end of the country is at hand, but it isn’t here yet. There’s still at least a few more years of good looting to be had before everything is completely broke and all the producers flee the country like rats from a sinking ship. Until then, at least for a little while, there will be plenty of wealth to spread around, so get outta my way. I want mine.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Hallelujah, Reverend Wright, pass the collection plate.

and if no one else calls it…I got first dibs on 30% of Bill Gates bank accounts…