Irritants Get Under Humanity’s Skin

 

Three summers ago, upon repeatedly donning the gardener’s equivalent of a Hazmat Suit, I sweltered through the entire season eradicating the poison ivy / sumac / oak, which had been thriving all along my backyard, chain-link fence. FYI, at times, some of these plants had attained the height and trunk width of small trees. I suspect perching birds had been culpable for originally sowing the seeds of my discontent.

My game plan also included the prevention of regrowth and new implantation, respectively, requiring my thoroughly digging up the complex, extensive root systems and carefully containing the (literal) thousands of seeds that were all ready and raring to rain down upon the fertile soil.

Had I not acted when I did, these plants could’ve easily overtaken (overthrown) my entire little corner of the world.

In the years leading up to this reclamation project, I’d have rated myself as a grade-F groundskeeper. I had excessively exploited that old motto, “leaves of three let it be” as my poor excuse for not dealing decisively and expeditiously with the problem at hand. Had I done so, early on, when everything had been at a far more manageable stage, I could’ve quickly nipped the entire problem in the bud.

SIDEBAR: My reluctance stemmed out of fear, as well. You see, decades earlier I had suffered from a (figurative and literal) brush with such plants… resulting in a severe case of contact dermatitis, which required extensive recuperation time.

But, I am happy to report my yard work, report card’s GPA has improved, dramatically, since. Phrases like, “learn from your mistakes” and “live and learn” do sum up the transformation to my new proactive attitude.

So why bring up my true, garden-variety tale?

Because this story serves well as a metaphor.

You see, the nasty seeds of poison ivy, sumac and oak are akin to the ugly seeds of intolerance… those that grow and branch off into a multitude of deplorable directions… e.g., discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, infirmity, disability, religious beliefs and economic class.

Once planted in society, these deeply rooted, reprehensible, mind-warping ideas grow, and become intertwining vines. Their poisonous effects get under the skin to irritate unfortunate individuals… and, eventually… spread to asphyxiate an entire nation’s sense of equality, freedom and happiness.

Dealing proactively and positively to end discrimination, however it manifests itself, requires an expert groundskeeper… and most assuredly, the current, un-american [sic], so-called prez does not possess such qualities.

Worse yet… while I was able to mend my errant ways… it would appear he cannot. In fact, it’s doubtful that he’s even aware he’s nearly always wrong about nearly everything.

Each time that grade-F groundskeeper hesitates to expeditiously and unequivocally nip societal irritants in the bud… be that out of neglect… be that out of his fear of reprisal (e.g., from mental vegetable Nazis and Klansmen)… be that out of his opportunistic desire to save his own political skin… the result is the same.

The longer such “vegetation” is allowed grow the more it thrives, threatens and proliferates… the more the chances grow that a scum of the earth entity will rise up to overthrow the entire world.

And were such a story to ever hit our world history books, it certainly would be no garden-variety tale!

 

 

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99 Word Blog (#007): You Make The Call!

How do you rank a society, which terrorizes / kills humanity on behalf of “god”… bastardizes “Thou Shalt Not Kill” to sanction foreign wars and neighborhood mass murder… lifts not one finger to deny guns to the itchy trigger-fingered insane… lets war criminal leaders escape justice… turns a blind eye to torture, human trafficking, ethnic cleansing, honor killing and rape… discriminates against minorities / the aged and disabled… rests a disproportionate tax burden upon the poor… intellectually / nutritionally starves billions of people… doesn’t boo hate / fear mongering, greedy, empty headed politicians off the stump?

Anyone care to comment?

Ageism/Racism: The Unattractive Reality

Our appearance. It’s how others judge us. More to the point… oft summarily prejudge us. To say the least… exhibiting THAT type of behavior is NOT attractive. To say more… real life experiments have exposed this oft-ugly side of human nature.

In late 1959… author John Howard Griffin, managed to successfully pass himself off as a black man after first taking massive, oral doses of the anti-vitiligo drug, methoxsalen, and spending 15 hours per day under an ultraviolet lamp.

Then, for six weeks, he proceeded to travel throughout America’s, racially segregated Deep South by Greyhound Bus and by hitchhiking. To summarize the story, which he related in his book Black Like Me, he had faced down the typical, brutal bigotry, which the region of that era had been known for.

More recently… actress Roxanne Pallett had successfully passed herself off as a ninety-year-old woman, courtesy of a four-hour process where she was fitted with Hollywood type prosthetics and had applications of special makeup.

She then faced the public… and long story short… had experienced the ill-mannered indifference and ill-tempered impatience of those younger than she.

Folks, I’ve seen this ageism, first hand, too, in the grocery store checkout lane. I watched a woman, ahead of me in line, slowly writing out a check… her noticeably arthritic fingers having a tough time holding onto her pen. Then, after she had left, as the younger cashier rang up my purchase, she rolled her eyes, shook her head and said, with unforgiving, under her breath scorn, “Some people…” She never finished her sentence… not that I had ever really wanted her to do so.

I, too, have undergone my own transformation. True, mine merely involves my normal, day-to-day physiology / aging process doing its thing. But… I can certainly attest to much of what Pallett had related re her own experiences.

Shopping while gray ~ I’ve oft experienced store clerks’ “special treatment” / their “looking right through me” stares. I’ve practically heard their internal voices, bouncing about within their cranial abyss, saying…”Eh… who needs him?” OR “He’s just an old geezer who’s gonna kick off any day now!” OR “He probably doesn’t have a lot of money, anyway, so who needs him?” OR “Ignore it and maybe it’ll go away!”

It was only after I grew my hair to shoulder length that, all the sudden, I started finding the store clerks rushing up to me to cautiously, nervously “offer” me their “help.” Truth is, they’re wrongfully suspecting that I’m going to rip them off (read more here).

Imagine how demoralizing and frustrating it is to be perceived to be someone you know you are not. Perhaps, you don’t need to imagine?

Racism and ageism wrongfully punish us for our physical appearance… for traits that (unless one is part of some sociological experiment), one has no control over. Melanin content is in our DNA. So is how soon and how fast the wrinkles and other signs of aging manifest themselves.

Superficial characteristics have absolutely nothing to do with who we actually are… who we oft are wrongfully being judged to be.

Those who think small have yet to realize that we all begin aging on the day we are born… that, someday, they, too, will feel the heartbreak of being unjustly perceived as “not-valid” human beings.