Modern Etiquette, The Year in Review, and Just When You Think You’ve Reached the Bottom…

I’m not against the Second Amendment by any means.  In fact, I believe there would be a lot less crime if it could be assumed everyone is packing heat.  I’ve told Steve-o many times to be careful flying the one finger salute when he’s road raging.  You never know who is out there with an M16 and an attitude.  The main problem with readily accessible firearms is that the people who seem to have them are exactly the people who shouldn’t have them.  I know better than to own a firearm because I know full well that I have a hair trigger temper, and I have a tendency toward depressive illness.   However, there are nutjobs out there -who make me look sane by comparison -who have an entire arsenal at their disposal.  I do tend to assume the worst about humanity.  It works for me.  If one observes human behavior for any length of time, one will quickly discover that a.) Murphy’s Law is alive and well.  What can go wrong does go wrong, and where more than one person is involved the failure is usually spectacular,  and b.) Human nature is such that the twin aims of life are to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  I don’t have high expectations for any of my fellow human beings.  I am pleasantly surprised when fellow human beings do perform well or achieve objectives, but  I don’t expect it.   The Bible even warns us: “put not your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.”  (Psalm 146:3)  I am not trusting at all by nature so it’s not difficult for me to keep a wary eye. I tend to assume the worst until I have proof to the contrary.  The only one I can expect anything from is God Himself.  For everyone else, including myself, it’s “trust but verify.”

This year was sucky but not quite as sucky as last year.  There was a bit of improvement, but overall the gains and losses sort of evened out. 

Last January my 2008 Yaris was rear-ended and pretty well hosed.  But I ended up with a 2010 Yaris that has cruise and power, so that was sort of a wash.

I did get an actual vacation this year which kicked ass. 

I had to spend way too much money on taxes, insurances, scripts and Steve-o, all of which really bite.

On the positive side, I’ve managed to get through this year without too much serious physical injury.

Then again, Obama has yet to either be impeached or to resign.  Bummer.

I’ve also managed to get through this year without any deaths of family members or close friends- but I have to admit I’ve had a hard time with Grandma dying last year.  It still creeps me out that Dad is renting out her house although I couldn’t expect him to do anything else.  He needs the money, and renting it is better than selling it, even though it’s downright weird to have strange people living there. I still can’t even drive by there, which is a lot of what kept me from my Tacky Christmas foray into the west end of Marion.  I didn’t take any Tacky Christmas pics this year, not even in Cinci (and there were some outrageous displays down there, believe it.)  I hope I get back in the mood to do it next year.  It’s fun, but I have to admit I have not been too in tune with fun lately. 

I never want to assume that things are ever as bad as they can get.  They may be as good as they will ever get, but there is always the potential for things to get worse.  It is only by the grace of God that anything good happens- the default is disaster.  It may never get better, but it can always get worse.  Such is the condition of humanity since the Fall.  It’s NOT going uphill, trust me. 

I sincerely hope and pray that next year is better but I am not holding my breath.  Just when you think you’ve reached the bottom, there is always a lower level.  I should make it a point to read Dante’s Inferno again, if only to remind myself that hell has levels, and there is always a level of hell below the currently occupied one. 

I am not an optimist when my perspective is based on human nature and human activity. 

A good example of this is the current POTUS and his praise of Michael Vick.  Obama, of course, always does the polar opposite of what is moral and right, so I am not surprised.   I saw what Michael Vick did to those dogs.  It’s pretty hard to make restitution and redeem oneself for such atrocities, at least in this world.  He might not have personally pulled their teeth out or sic’d them on each other, but he sanctioned it.  He had to know what happens to the losers in a dog fight.  I am not a person who is squeamish or easily shocked, but the mutilation and suffering that goes on in dog fighting- a perfectly avoidable source of carnage- is appalling. As far as letting him own a dog, here’s the way I see it.  Do we let convicted child molesters get out of prison and then encourage them to become day care providers?  It is not unreasonable to restrict someone convicted of animal cruelty from having contact with animals.  Especially dogs.  It’s good the man is playing football. It’s better than drug dealing and other illicit pursuits, and is probably the only thing he can do to earn an honest living. Hopefully his football pursuits allow him to pay some sort of restitution to the shelters and foster homes who worked to rehab those poor dogs.  Even so, as far as I see it, letting this guy own a dog, ever, is on the same level as turning Chester the Molester out in the school playground.  

I know there are bleeding hearts out there who will defend this guy, and to a degree he has a right to a defense.  In the great scheme of things what we do is ultimately between us and God, and I freely admit I am just as bad if not a worse sinner than everyone else.  However, here on this earth, we have to suffer the temporal consequences of our actions.  Even if we repent, even if we make restitution, the consequences are still there. Child molesters should never be allowed in close proximity to children.  Those who have engaged in animal cruelty should be kept away from animals.  It’s not undue punishment, it’s common sense.

I sincerely hope that the new year brings some improvement in my life.  This is my prayer- that I will have enough to pay my way and keep my head above water (and that is a TALL order that WILL take an Act of God), but not so much that I forget to care about God and others.  As cynical as I can be about humanity, I still care about people.  I want to be useful.  I know I’m useful to my dogs, which is encouraging, but it can be so depressing worrying about where every dime is going to come from and how this and that are going to get done.  Only by the grace of God.

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