Adjusting to My Life of Privilege.

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I could see it on some of the faces I met. It was that look of bewilderment or possibly even a mild disgust. The look conveyed an inability to understand my life of extravagance. It was a look that I knew all too well. . . . not from seeing it . . it was a look I had worn myself at times.

I’m not a rich person, not here in America. My income is well short of breaking into six digits. I’m like everyone else I know who looks at the Bill Gates of the world and can’t understand why anyone would need to accumulate that much wealth. I can reason that Bill Gates has earned his money and does, in fact, give away vast amounts of it. But despite my best efforts, I catch myself in moments of resentment over him having it. Sometimes I catch myself complaining that I don’t have enough. Now, as I stood in Swaziland, Africa, I found myself being viewed with that same look of not understanding my wealth . . . I had suddenly become Bill Gates.

I own seven pairs of shoes. There are two pairs of sneakers (One normal and one pair of Chuck Taylor’s), work boots, a pair of hiking boots, my funeral/wedding shiny shoes, my winter boots, and a pair of flip flops. I don’t think my shoe owning is excessive. By many people’s standards here in the US, my shoe collection is quite modest. Bill Gates probably owns a hundred pairs of shoes. Now I found myself standing before people who owned a single pair of shoes that left their toes visible through holes worn from years of use . . . or people who owned no shoes at all.

My house is small and crappy. We barely have places to keep all our stuff. Yet, when I compared my house to the one I was invited into in Manzini, my house seemed like a palace. I had running water in my house, and a flushing toilet, heat, air conditioning, kitchen appliances. I realized that I had been taking mundane things like carpet, socks, paper towel and my seven pairs of shoes for granted. Most people here have none of these luxuries.

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Houses here in Swaziland are simple concrete or block structures, often without windows . . . unless you are visiting a shanty town, and then they are made of garbage. Most don’t have running water, or electricity. Many don’t have a stove to cook on.

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As Americans, we’ve all said, or nodded in agreement, how fortunate we are to live where we live and have what we have. For me, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until I was in Africa. I was now looking at what these statements really mean, with my own eyes. I now had a new definition for the term “life of privilege”.

I’m not going to tell anyone they should change their opinions on the Bill Gates of the world. Like I’ve said, I’ve had those thoughts myself at times. What I am saying is that we should at least be consistent with our opinions of wealthy people. If you want to hold contempt for someone who owns a hundred pair of shoes instead of seven, please feel free, but don’t turn around and take offense to someone with no shoes finding the same lack of understanding for someone who owns seven pairs. If I’m going to suggest that there is something wrong with Mr. Gates net worth, I have to accept that through the eyes of others, there is something wrong with mine. I might not be a billionaire, but there are plenty of places in the world where I can go to be considered filthy rich.

 

. . . . .

Compassionate Life Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides funding for the El Shaddai Orphanage, and CLF student center in Swaziland.

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I Apologize.

I apologize for my absence. I’ve been spending my precious few moments of spare time submitting my nonsense to higher traffic sites and publications. 

I love writing, but it would appear that I am not well suited to blog promoting, and again, lack of time is probably a factor. I’ve been going for almost a year and a half and I have accumulated a little over 300 followers. I look at other sites with 5000, or 10,000 followers and I realize I’m not so good at selling my blog. 

I am not abandoning my blog by any means. . . Just taking a look around in the world of writing.

Sorry to my cherished followers. I shall check back in a while!

300 Glorious Followers!

300 whole followers! Zada is the lucky number 300!

Originally there was going to be a large prize package for follower number 300, but our finance department shut that idea down quite quickly . . . So you will have to settle for a hearty cyber handshake and a thank you!

Thank you to all 300 fans of the ridiculous that have ventured to hit the “follow” button!

Who’s training Who?

When you have children, one of two things is always happening. Either you are training them on how to act like mature, responsible adults, or they are training you to act more and more like a child.

This revelation came to me just the other day when my two daughters and I had just finished watching the highly ridiculous cartoon that my youngest, Natalie, had chosen. Before that, we had watched an even more ridiculous children’s sitcom that my other daughter, Hannah, had picked.

I now figured that it was my turn to pick the show, but this was not agreeable to my darling children. An argument quickly broke out and soon escalated into violence. Fists were flying, teeth were gnashing and hair was being ripped from the roots.

After two minutes of this mayhem, I’d had it, so I announced in a loud voice of authority, “I’ve had it!”

And with that being said, I left to go tell mom . . . . . . I mean my wife, that they wouldn’t let me watch my show, and that Hannah had kicked me, and that if Natalie came and told that I had bit her on the arm, that she had pulled my hair first .

That’s when I realized, “Hey! I’m the adult here!”

So back to the living room I marched and said, “I am your father and you have to do what I say and I don’t need to go tell Mom . . . . I mean my wife . . . . I mean your mother!!!”

I then gave Natalie the most sincere, tongue-sticking-out “Nyaaahhh-Nyaaahhh” I could muster, stomped on Hannah’s foot, and sent them both to their rooms to think about resolving conflict in a responsible, adult-like manner.

I was then able to sit down and watch Bugs Bunny in peace, like a mature grown up.

Many Thanks to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop!

I am honored to have had my  Easter Story posted on the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop website! Surf on over and give my story a like. You can even read other humorous stories by real life authors and columnists (I consider myself to be a pretending author).

Erma Bombeck was the first author I remember reading as a teenager that actually made me LOL! If you are an aspiring or established humor writer, try submitting a post!

How to Make a Dad Mad.

*Turn off the shower when you have finished, but don’t turn the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from coming out of the shower head, to flowing out the spout. So when dad goes to turn on the water, (which requires that he bends over, placing his head directly in the crosshairs of the shower head) he is blasted full force in the face with freezing cold water for the ten seconds it takes to swear and find the knob with the arrow on it that switches the water from the shower to the spout.

*Repeatedly tell him how outdated his fashion choices are. Then, when he actually has heard it enough times to motivate him to buy some more current looking attire, tell him he looks like an old guy trying to look young.

*In the middle of a heated lecture on not taking care of your messes in the living room and kitchen, point out that his bowl that he used for his fruity pebbles is still sitting on the coffee table from that morning. . . . But be cautious . . . . He will turn red and sputter for a few seconds, after which, you should probably be out of arms reach.

*Let him discover that the source of a seemingly endless supply of fruit flies in the house, are coming from a bowl of some unidentifiable organic matter under your bed.

*Drag him around on a six hour shopping trip that covers thirteen different stores, and then a return visit to eight of them, in an attempt to find a pair of shoes like Emily has, only to return to the very first store we looked in and decide to purchase the very first pair of shoes you tried on. And then, for the bonus dose of fury, tell him the following day that you don’t like them and refuse to wear them.

*Don’t answer the phone when he calls and then tell him your ringer was off, even though he could see you through the glass doors of the school entrance when you pulled the phone out of your pocket and looked at it when it rang.

*In the middle of a heated argument about why your grades are so low, say something like, “maybe I’m just not the kind of person who gets good grades. Why can’t you just accept me for who I am?’’ Even though your teachers and placement tests indicate you are capable of performing at an above average level.

*Leave the screen door standing wide open while you talk to someone outside during the middle of mosquito season instead of talking through the screen provided.

*Tell everyone that you caught him tearing up at the end of Bambi the last time the both of you watched the DVD.

*Spend the change from buying a movie ticket with the fifty dollar bill he gave you because he didn’t actually say he wanted the change.

*Scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the fifty items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. He will then come upstairs and inspect your work. When he tells you that your room is no where near clean, wait until he is back downstairs. Pick up one of the forty-nine items still on your bedroom floor and then scream down the stairs that you are done cleaning your room. Repeat as necessary.

The Nerve of some Bloggers (blogging paranoia)

Phone lights up telling me I have a WordPress notification.

(Hopeful wonder)

A new follower! 

(Exuberance)

Blurmuth6650 . . . . What kind of name is that? Just doesn’t sound like someone who would follow a blog like mine. . . . But beggars can’t be choosers.

(Wonder)

So is Blurmuth one of those bloggers with 10,000 followers who is just looking to add to his ginormous follower army? Is this how he got his 10,000 followers? Follow en mass and collect the follow-backs? A purely self-serving following? 

(Annoyance)

Or is Blurmuth a new blogger hoping to scrounge a fourth follower? Too lazy to get out there and blog an earning of followers like the rest of us?

(Arrogance and disgust sprinkled with bits of ego)

I’ll bet Blurmuth didn’t even read a single post!

(Indignant anger)

Hmmmmm. . . The Speakings of Blurmuth . . . An ok blog title but nothing overly impressive. Looks like Blurmuth likes to post about politics and NASCAR. What would make Blurmuth follow a blog like mine? I see he has 347 followers. . . That’s more than me . . . . I’ll bet I deserve 347 followers more than Blurmuth does. I just know Blurmuth is up to some sort of blogging nefariousness.

(Dismissal of the following as not genuine)

I have better things to do than engage with a blogger named Blurmuth who only follows other blogs out of pure Narcissism.

I’ll not even dignify Blurmuth with  the response of a follow-back. I’m going blog surfing elsewhere.

(Changing of blogging gears)

I’ll just browse through Reader and find a more worthwhile blog . . . . Like this one right here . . . Looks like a “Mom Blog”. . . . Mom Blogs can’t resist my excellent family humor. . . . And Wow, this Mom Blogger has 13,900 followers! A mention or acknowledgement from this blog would catapult my blog into the blogosphere!

I’m sure this Mom blog has interesting posts. I’m sure I would really like it if I had time to read one of the posts . . . . But I have other pressing blogging business to attend to. I’ll come back later and confirm that I do in fact like this Mom Blog.

(Click of the mouse)

There! I followed. Time to blog on.

This following better produce some followers of my own. I’ll bet that Mom won’t even check out my blog. She’s probably one of those “I’m too good to respond to the kind gesture of a follow by following back”.

She’ll probably assume I just followed her to serve my own blogging promotion instead of the fact that maybe I actually like the things that she posts . . . . Which I will confirm when I return some day when I have more time and actually read one of the posts.

It’s people like this Mom . . . . And Blurmuth that give bloggers a bad name. . . . . Ohhhhhhhh a Dad Blog! Dad bloggers just love my writing style! Wow, he’s got 5400 followers. . . . 

(Click of the mouse)

The Supposed Brain Softening Powers of the Happy Light.

I’m generally a pretty happy guy. But in the midst of a long grey winter, I can get a little down. To be honest, I can get quite depressed at times. My wife claims that I suffer from that seasonal depression disorder. It apparently has something to do with not getting enough sunlight. My sister in-law recommended a special light that supposedly mimics the sun’s light, so my wife acquired one. It is now referred to, by my wife and kids, as “Dad’s happy light.”

I’m not sure if it helps or not, but my wife seems convinced that it does. In fact, she seems to think it will do more than just help with my seasonal depression.

I have noticed that if we have any sort of disagreement, she will at some point after the argument, switch the light on, and point it at me as if it will change my opinion on our disagreement . . . and I think she believes she’s being subtle about it. I have even noticed that as I sit in the glow of the happy light, she will periodically bring up different points of our argument as if to see if the light had softened up my brain and made me see things her way yet, much like a baker checking a cake in the oven. I think she is over-estimating this light’s ability to fix all my perceived faults.

The other night we were the playing a trivia game that required players to have a vast knowledge of current children’s TV shows. My ignorance on the subject was causing my wife and I to get beaten quite soundly by our two girls. So in the middle of one of our turns, my wife got up, and moved the happy light over in front of me and switched it on. I think she actually believed that the happy light would somehow unlock a cache of forgotten Kid TV facts in my brain, or that it might transfer the question’s answers to me through its bright glow. Now I’m skeptical on whether the Happy light will change my opinion during an argument, but I’m certain it will not transfer trivia answers to my brain.

My daughters are quick to pick up on the concept of the light, as well. If I were to come home from work and find them burning our furniture in the middle our living room, all I would have to say is, “umm, I’m not sure this is the best idea, girls . . .”  and they both would reply in unison, “JEEZE-O-PEETS, SOMEONE NEEDS TO GO SIT INFRONT OF HIS HAPPY LIGHT!!!” It’s as if my not thinking they should set fire to furniture in our home is unreasonable, and that the happy light would make me somehow more agreeable to it.

I’m starting to think this light isn’t even supposed to help with the disorder . . . if  I even have a disorder. I think that maybe it’s just a prop that is used by my family to make me think that depression is the only possible reason that I would ever question their logic and reason.

 

If you enjoyed this ridiculous story, there is a whole book full of them waiting for you at Amazon:

Single Family Asylum

 

 

Big clumsy Fingers

I have big clumsy fingers. They don’t always work well with phone apps.

With the WordPress app, I find myself accidentally hitting things that I wasn’t intending on hitting.

One such thing is the “follow” button that is all too close to the link that takes me to the blog I am trying to get to. I end up “unfollowing” by mistake. Then I have to decide if it will cause more damage to leave the blog unfollowed and hope the blogger doesn’t notice, or re-follow causing a notification to pop up and most certainly making the blog owner wonder what kind of shenanigans I am up to.

I end up liking a lot of my own posts as well. I would never do this intentionally . . . . It just seems vain. But it happens when my bullish fingers go wandering through the china shop of the WordPress app.

The Worpress app has a lag that causes me problems as well. I’ll hit “like” on a particular post, and it takes several seconds for the little star to change colors. I get impatient and hit the “like” again. The little star finally changes color but then immediately back to it’s original color because I hit the like button twice. I have repeated this scenario up to ten times . . . Sending ten notifications to a blogger that I liked their post. . . . . ten times.

Again, I’m sure they are wondering what sort of shenanigans I am up to.