Bygone Bullies Prepared Me For 2020

My younger self would’ve never believed it possible that, come 2020, I’d actually be able to put a positive spin on being bullied from the 4th grade thru the 9th grade (inclusive)… in other words, for 46% of my K-12 pubic schooling experience.

What I learned from being verbally / physically assaulted… even spat on… had actually given me some firsthand insight into discrimination and brutality issues. And my retreat from that ugly scene had even better prepared me for coping with a pandemic shut down world.

You see, my tormentors had unwittingly taught me what it feels like to be discriminated against. In turn, feeling sorry for myself had actually taught me how to feel empathy for similarly persecuted individuals. So, whenever / wherever I see oppression rearing its ugly head… well… my heart sinks and eyes tear up.

To put a face on wretched discriminatory conduct, we look no further than Donald J. Trump’s insensitive, in-your-face and online bullying… all for the express purpose of devaluing precious human beings based upon their ethnicity, religion, orientation, physical attributes and disabilities. And as if that weren’t bad enough, already, there are also his stunningly childish, vicious, ad hominem verbal attacks.

But let’s dig deeper into to the specifics of my days of yore M.O. to avoid bullies. To put it into pandemic parlance… this involved none other than social distancing / isolating. Other than my parents and only sibling, my only after school contacts with humanity had been listening to my transistor radio in my bedroom. The affable DJs and the recording artists they featured, during their broadcasts, had become akin to my surrogate friends.

By the time my rebellious teen years arrived, I opted to appear so radically different from my oppressors that I grew my hair long. Interestingly enough, my winding up in violation of my school’s stringent grooming protocols, left the assistant principal few options but to suspend me! And this was to punish me HOW? Anyway, in time, long hair styles became my lifelong preference. And that certainly doth work out well when a pandemic shuts down the barber shops.

Granted, about three years into the new millennium, I began entertaining the notion of seeking and experiencing the life I had never had… i.e. to make the most of whatever time I have left… but how doth one quickly kick lifelong, hermitlike habits, such as mine? Of course, the Trumpian Flu soon rendered that Q a moot point.

Ergo, I’ve now come to the realization that that life may never happen… mainly because the powers that be… drawing on the abundance of their density and rapacity… have opted to prematurely re-open our world. And… long sigh… the resurgence of COVID-19 is already underway.

Now, whether or not we’re ordered back into our bunkers, that’s where I’ll be. These days, I won’t even need to rely on radio DJs anymore.

You see, yearning for a career that would jibe with my reclusive lifestyle, I had chosen Communications Arts for my college major… i.e., in hopes the radio station studio might, someday, become my new hide out from a bully saturated world.

And, when that plan didn’t pan out, I set up a modest home studio… where in the months of corona sequestration, yet to come, I’ll be spinning my own LPs / CD’s for an audience of one… moi.

 

Stay Safe… Stay Home… Stay Healthy…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dormant Seeds? Unpromising Soil?

Over fifty Junes ago, my parents, sister and I wound up moving into a 30-year mortgaged, freshly constructed, three-bedroom ranch and went on to transform it into our home.

For our folks, that momentous occasion had been nothing short of a financial miracle considering the paltry income of public school teachers of that early sixties era AND how The Great Depression of 1929 had put both of their lives and livelihoods on hold… had caused them to meet, marry and get into the baby making biz quite late in life. How late?

Well… by the time I had graduated from college, my Mom and Dad were both in their early sixties and in the early phases of failing health.

It was my heartfelt, undying love and gratitude for all they’d done for me, which had motivated me to put my own life on hold… to not only accept but also embrace the intergenerational, caregiver role-reversal.

In the end, I wound up inheriting my boyhood home. That’s where I’ve been “hanging my hat”, ever since the age of seven. I am so deeply rooted here I literally know my microcosm right down to the flowerbeds… i.e., where my Mom, who’d been an avid horticulturalist, had planted her flowers.

And that’s where today’s story actually begins…

Our My home’s roof has an overhang, which oft prevents the rains from adequately reaching every flower. Even the shortest such drought is apt to result in deadly consequences. And that’s precisely what had happened.

While I’d been busily tending to other higher priority matters in my life, I had neglected to water Mom’s prized, purple Irises. Five years ago, their blooms and foliage had all but vanished off the face of the earth… or so I had thought…

Just mere months ago, while tending to her precious daffodils, out of the corner of my eye, I had spotted something green. Several double takes rapidly confirmed the “impossible”. One tiny, fragile Iris leaf was poking through the soil… desperately seeking out the warmth of the early spring sunlight. I immediately redirected my sprinkling can’s nozzle and, ever since, this plant has been the recipient of my intensive care.

In the past several weeks, several dozen more leaves have appeared, as well. While I’m unsure, yet, if this resurrected Iris has regained sufficient strength to bloom this growing season, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

I cannot help but walk away from this experience without considering the more significant, symbolic message here…

My Mom’s Iris is living proof of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s timeless wisdom…

“While there’s life there’s hope.”

To dig a bit deeper…

In view of America’s January 2017, horrific, deplorable, corrupt power shift… we can only hope that the imperiled seeds of human decency can weather and survive the present-day drought of intellect and morality, which is presently overhanging DC… one that poses a serious threat to noble ideas and ideals such as brotherhood, civility, empathy, philanthropy, honesty, transparency, ethics, liberty and justice for ALL.

In light of both my Mom’s rejuvenated Iris AND of how the authors of truly great literature are oft advocates of the above listed inventory of virtues, this brings to mind the late author Carl Sagan’s wisdom. His analogy has never been more relevant…

“Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.”

Will there be a sufficient number of folks, who still give a damn, to counteract the drought. If so, it’ll be up to us to fill the sprinkling cans… to ensure we redirect their spouts at all the hard to reach places… and then?

We’ll hope with all our hearts that it won’t take centuries for the precious seeds to bloom anew.