Questions – Mostly Why!

QuestionFrom their Dark Horse Album, Nickelback sings, “If Today Was Your Last Day.”  The central theme discusses a principle I am struggling with, centered around a question, “Why do we wait?”  The song’s lyrics include the following:

“My best friend gave me the best advice
He said, “Each day’s a gift and not a given right.
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by.
That first step you take is the longest stride.”

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say “goodbye” to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you had?
If today was your last day.”

From the Live Like You Were Dying album, Tim McGraw, sings a similarly themed song of the same name, with the following lyrics:Rescued Butterfly 2

Said I was in my early 40’s
With a lot of life before me
When a moment came, that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days lookin’ at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time
Asked him when it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ya, when you get that kind of news
Man what ya do
And he says

I went sky divin’
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying
And he said someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’

The follow-up question continues, when will you finally start living big?

Why do we wait?

LaughterWhy do humans wait to begin living until they get a death sentence?  Look, I have lived my life as hard and as full as possible, not because I am dying, but to eventually be an interesting old person.  I remember sentiments from reading books as a kid, things like, “it’s not how wide or how deep you live that matters; it’s proving you lived at all.”  Or, “if you go through life without collecting scars and enemies, you’re a coward or worse.”  I do not understand about waiting for some earth-shaking revelation before you take time to laugh, be adventurous, explore, or forgive.

I talked to a person back in Ohio; his Father-In-Law dropped dead suddenly.  There were no health indications, no warning, no previous symptoms, just got up one morning, took a step, and fell down dead!  The man I was speaking to claimed this shook his wife, marriage, and family, but it would not change him.  He was rushing to a meeting for a job he hated, to go home to a family in turmoil, and he had no clue what to do.  Just a casual conversation, the man was not looking for answers; I would not offer advice.  I wished him well!Paradox

He had a long list of things to do in his “Some-Day” Bucket List.  When is someday?  I cannot find this as a day of the week on a single calendar.  Yet, how many times a day is a person dreaming of “someday” when they plan to start living?  Please do not get me wrong; I am not claiming we all need to be “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry for tomorrow we die” people.  I am arguing we might want to stop waiting for the bus to someday, to take us to a place called somewhere, so we can become people we refused to be all our lives.

Why finally start living big?

Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote a poem I favored as a child called “Casey at the Bat.”  Not to ruin the poem, but the last stanza is essential.

“Oh, somewhere in this favoured land, the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out” [emphasis mine].

The land of somewhere, where people live like they never lived in real life, is that mythical place of rainbows, lollipops, roses, and summer bands. Casey at the Bat | Tolley's Topics

James Wilson wrote a sequel to “Casey at the Bat” titled “Casey’s Revenge.”  Again the final stanza holds a clear message for us.

“Oh, somewhere in this favored land, dark clouds may hide the sun.
And somewhere bands no longer play, children have no fun;
And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall;
But Mudville hearts are happy now — for Casey hit the ball!”

The final Casey poem is called “Casey 20-Years Later,” authored by Clarence P. McDonald.  The Mudville Nine were hurt; they needed a player to finish the game.  The coach appealed to the crowd for a player to come and play.  An older man from the crowd, unknown and unnamed, claims he knows baseball and can help finish the game.  The game continues, and the stranger comes to bat; he hits the game-winning hit and stands there and cried.  For the stranger was Mighty Casey, the man chided and derided by the crowd so many years before.

Mighty Casey at Bat - Welcome to Wayne Hunt Huebner 4 ArtI have always wondered what happened between the first, the second, and the third poems about Mighty Casey.  The humility it took to play again.  The kindness he showed to the audience and other players, the respect he showed to the umpire.  So many lessons, but the number one among them all, why are we not living larger, deeper, fuller?  Why do we worship sports heroes instead of being sports heroes?  Why do we settle for the daily grind when even in the daily tasks, there are things to discover, new things to learn, new experiences, and new methods of doing things that will surprise us if we but take a risk.

Growing up in Maine, I learned something the day I had 20 loads of laundry to complete, no dryer, and the temperature was dropping like a rocket sled on rails.  Did you know you can hang clothes on a line outside, in the freezing cold, and they will dry?  My fingers just about froze stiff, the laundry was freezing faster than I could hang it, and I had to iron a bunch of wrinkles out.  But, what a cool (pun intended) lesson.  The clothes came in dry, smelled of the Maine woods, wood smoke, and had a crisp smell that I cannot forget.Lemmings 1

On my 30th birthday, I was in Maine again; my wife bought a birthday dinner at Red Robin.  I had some great food that day, but the memory that stays in my head, clear as a new spring morning, was the table cube.  On this cube was a picture of a man, standing outside a plane hangar, looking for all the world as confident as he can.  The heading, “All I want to be when I grow up is an interesting old person.”  At this moment, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew old, an interesting old person.

Plant JokePeople had been asking me what I wanted to do or be when I grew up for years and years.  I never had a clue.  I had already been a fireman, a diesel mechanic, a truck driver, a shepherd, a dairy farmhand, a blueberry harvester, a paper delivery boy, been through the US Army and US Navy, as well as a trip through the US Army National Guard.  I had worked in call centers, been a general contractor, a business consultant, worked in multiple warehouses in different roles, and so much more.  When I turned 30, my wife and I had already racked up 20+ moves, traveled uncountable miles across the lower-48 states, and had some crazy life experiences.  The US Military had already sent me ¾’s of the way around the world.

But, I finally found what I wanted to be, an interesting older person.  Thus, when I hear these songs by Nickelback and Tim McGraw, I cannot understand why wait?  Why live large and adventurous only after getting a life sentence?  Why withhold forgiveness and forget the past only after it becomes apparent you are going to die?  Did you forget that everyone has a death certificate waiting?  Did you get stuck in a rut, put on blinders, and forget that life is more than just breathing in and out and turning food into mulch?Mediocre Joke

A Final Thought

Would you volunteer?  The poem “Casey 20-years later” is a perfect ending for this topic.  Especially with the question, would you volunteer?  Would you volunteer to pull some weeds for a neighbor?  Would you volunteer to shovel a little more snow for another person?  Would you cross a lawn and pick up a trashcan the wind had knocked around?  Would you volunteer to buy some groceries when the teller asks for more money, and it is clear that the person does not have enough?  Would you buy gas for a stranger?

Knowledge Check!The poems of Casey relate a tale of humanity and the songs of Nickelback and Tim McGraw relate that it is never too late to help someone unless you’re dead!  Why wait?  Why hold off on living larger, deeper, fuller lives?  Why not volunteer?  Why do we wait to act like we care until a few days between Thanksgiving and Christmas but spend the rest of the year not living at all?  These are just some random questions, two really good songs, three incredible poems, and my brain trying to make sense.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Honest Questions

ApathyThe following are honest questions.  Please let me know your insights in the comments or IM me through LinkedIn if you know the answers.  I have many questions, but I can find no answer to, or reasoning for, in my research.

      1. What disqualifies a politician from becoming elected? The US currently has at least one governor, but more than likely five governors currently outside the law, the state supreme court has ruled, and the governor continues to act like a feudal lord on a power trip.  How many victims will come forward before their legislative branch forces out the governors being accused of sexual impropriety?
      2. How can a government agency win a retail customer service award when they have 45-90 minute wait times regularly in their lobby, spite-filled retail associates, and lazy workers? My local USPS has regularly won awards for “Best in Retail Service” awards from the USPS.  Today, I waited for more than an hour for packages that could not be retrieved on the day they were delivered, as the USPS requires 24-hours after delivery before the package is available for pickup.  I have some concerns!The Duty of Americans
      3. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Frankly, I am madder than a wet chicken with a raging case of hemorrhoids over the continuing gun violence and social unrest in America and the World.  Why do we continue to punish legal-gun owners when criminals using weapons is the problem, and the solution is so profoundly simple, arm all law-abiding citizens!  Why do we keep repeating this same cycle?
      4. Why does the corporate media keep generating victims? Especially in America, generating victims should be frowned upon; yet, the media continues to make criminals victims and victims into mega-winners through the judicial process.  The taxpayer has to fund the payoffs.  Yes; I am talking about George Floyd and some others who the media created as victims and then blew up social unrest to feed their ego and make a story.Patriotism
      5. Why can’t the US Federal Government and other levels of Government be sued for infringement of rights? I have lost all rights and access to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Because I cannot raise funds for a lawyer, I cannot bring a case to win my rights back, even though I have been injured three times and treated horribly, while the VAMC in Phoenix has broken Federal Law (HIPAA & EMTALA).  To even have my case evaluated, I have to raise $18,000.00, which is just the start of the legal fees, to potentially see if the VAMC in Phoenix has broken the law sufficiently for a Federal Prosecutor to decide I have a case.  While I resent the litigiousness in American Society, I also realize that the Government exceeds its legal bounds and needs to be forced into accountability.Guns and Liberals - A Pipe Dream

Those are my five top questions.  I do not want this post to appear maudlin, depressing, or negative; I do want this post, as with all my posts, to spark a conversation on change.  Americans, mainly but the trend is worldwide, have not asked their elected officials questions and demanded answers since the late 1940s.  The date coincides with the time when governments began changing the definition of property and claiming their citizens were the property of the Government.  That the intellectual property, farm/ranch/dairy goods were the Government’s property first, then the farmer/rancher/dairymen.  The growth of the Military-Industrial-Government complex is part and parcel of the problems we are facing today.3-direectional-balance

Consider the actions of the military junta in Myanmar and the continued violence in that country.  The Military-Industrial-Government complex got out of hand, and the citizens are trying to re-take their Government.  The death toll mounts because fundamental social problems are not being solved first to establish a stronger government, and the military will not cede power.  In a vacuum, those with the most weapons wins, and Myanmar is suffering from the vacuum.

Consider Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Greece, France, and so many other shaky governments.  You will find social problems stemming directly from the Military-Industrial-Government power trifecta stripping individual rights, committing atrocities, and all of this is a legacy of WWII.  Not the Cold War, not WWI, although some of the practices originate in WWI, the ideas did not become regular social answers until WWII and post-WWII recovery.

LinkedIn ImageLet us, the citizens begin to embrace and demand a “Liberty FIRST Culture” in our societies.  Where individual rights trump government action and bureaucratic fiat; and where the Government is physically reduced in size to allow Society to grow again.  Change must come through the appropriate use of the law, through the force of the collective will of the people willing to thwart Government and the Military-Industrial-Government trifecta!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.