It takes about seven months to reach Mars. Assuming that there would be no coming back because of logistical concerns, I would have to assume I was part of a third world space program. Perhaps North Korea.
For me to be a part of a slipshod program, I would have fallen victim to something insidious. Perhaps kidney thieves (who moonlight as astronauts) kidnapped me.
Maybe the whole plan was to take me along as an organ donor. Have you heard what kidneys go for on Phobos? Astronomical.
It’s not as if we were visiting the Oort cloud. Not returning from Mars is like stopping at Circle K and vanishing. Nothing good ever comes from those scenarios.
I wonder what my captors have in store for me. They must be my captors, because I would have chosen comrades who know how to return from such a short trip.
In this prison, I can only think about home. The room is cramped with a small window. All I can see is the black void.
I’d be lying if I said that keeping my mouth shut is my spiritual gift. My spiritual gift is more akin to putting my foot in my mouth. I’m getting better, though. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
I used to say whatever came to mind, but I’m trying to replace statements like, “What are you…stupid?” Mind you, I’m not saying, “What are you, Stupid?” It’s not nice calling people stupid but somehow it seems better asking someone if they are stupid.
Now, when I want to say something inappropriate, I try to say, “That’s just terr-ific.” More like ,“That’s. Just. Terrrific.” You drag it out for effect. You want to hang on the “r” in terrific to really show your disgust.
Best of all, it works in just about any situation.
“The septic tank is cracked.” That’s just terrific.
“We are out of oatmeal cream pies.” That’s just terrrific.
“Business is slow. We are gonna have to let you go.” That’s just terrific.
This even works when someone is asking how you feel. Terrific. That stops the conversation cold. Nobody really wants to hear how lousy you feel, anyway.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to control my compulsion to slap people. I’ve never actually slapped someone, but people can really say some…uh…terrific things.
My wife is distantly related to Huey P. Long. Something about him being her grandmother’s cousin or something. He was a colorful, yet polarizing figure and will remain a figure in Louisiana history for generations to come.
The Kingfish would be not surprised to see that his populist ideas were still popular, but I believe he would be surprised to see how damaging its implementation is to the country. Long was corrupt and bullied his way up the political ladder. Had he not been assassinated, he may have been a threat to FDR in the 1936 Presidential election.
He paved the state with graft, lining the pockets of his cronies, but he was such a likable figure that it appeared nobody really cared about his misdeeds.
Long would be surprised how damaging his wealth redistribution ideas are to the country. On the surface it may appear that wealth redistribution is favorable. In reality, we can see that unemployment is problematic and stealing from the rich to give to the poor solves nothing. We are left with a generation with an entitlement complex who thinks hard work is old fashioned and being on the government dole is something to embrace.
If he didn’t stand on his Share Our Wealth program, he may not have even made it to the Governor’s office. Demagoguery proved useful to Long as it does today, but despite his flaws, he still was an affable man who I’d like to share a meal of potlikker with.
When people talk about what their dad taught them, they usually mention how to throw a ball or how their dad taught them how to drive. My dad did that, but I also remember how he taught me to eat sardines. Granted, sardine eating isn’t a skill passed from father to son over the ages. It’s more that he fostered an affinity for them.
He was on the road a lot. After a hard week I would see him sit on the floor with his back propped against the couch. His legs would be stretched out and casually crossed at the ankle. On occasion he would balance an open tin of sardines in his left hand while he deftly speared them with a fork in his right hand.
I was probably six or seven when I grew curious about this ritual. The air was heavy with oily fishiness. He would say, “You want a bite?” It’s as if I was able to participate in something that requires a secret handshake. The only thing that compares is when I would watch my ancient great-uncle George hand roll his cigarettes and light it with a strike anywhere match. He would hold that match out so I could extinguish it with my small lungs.
When my dad was on the road and I had to satisfy my craving, my mom would make me devour them outside. There was a brownish spot in the grass where I poured out my sardine oil once. Apparently sardines are so pungent that they can kill grass.
Years later, I still enjoy my sardines, though I don’t eat them with the veracity I should. I can walk to my cupboard and find a couple of cans of King Oscar double-layered brisling sardines in olive oil. These treasures are around three bucks a can, but brisling sardines are far superior to Beach Cliff big honkin’ sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce at around seventy-nine cents. I’m not a sardine epicurean as I’ll eat just about any brand, but I do have my preferences.
I still have to eat them outside as it is too much trouble to devour them at the table, slide the empty can in a ziplock bag and bury the remains in the trash. If it’s late at night, convenience trumps all where I would eat sardine sandwiches in bed next to my sleeping bride.
Stop whining. Quit crying. Do you really think you deserve special consideration?
Don’t worry, I don’t have a defeatist attitude. After years of therapy, discarding the bottle, and finding Jesus, I finally understand. Do I really need to wring my hands over what my dad did to me when I was eight? No, he didn’t molest me. I had my share of whippings, though. My dad flailed his belt like he was swinging for the fences. But that was a lifetime ago.
We cannot always control our circumstances. We can, however, decide if we are going to have a pity party. How many times does someone have to cry about their childhood before they crawl out of the crib to become a man? For me, it was many years. I finally understand that sometimes you just have to suck it up. I received that advice many times before. I just wasn’t listening.
I dole out the same advice to other crybabies. Seriously, do women find a man attractive when he whines about not finding a girlfriend? I doubt it. Sure everyone wants to climb on the pity train occasionally, but there was a time when I just couldn’t step off.
I speak from experience that crying about your woes is useless. Just take your problems to God. Set them at His feet.
God will provide us with what we need. If you are in a valley, you were put there for a reason. God has many reasons to put you there. Just trust in Him.
When science couldn’t cure my chronic pain, I only had two options. One was a bullet. I chose to turn to God. I’m not saying that God cured me and now I’m a ballroom dancing queen. I still have the pain. This is a burden I must carry, but God has promised He will always be with me. As for the other, I can’t be a dancing queen. Those tiaras make my butt look fat.
Life is hard and we are hit with a myriad of problems, but does ruminating help? I don’t want to sound harsh, but the time comes when you have to put on your big boy Yoda Underoos and move on.
I can barely remember all of those hurts I carried around now. I can look ahead to my future now that I’m not bound by my past.