Friday, September 28, 2012

DUMBING DOWN OF POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY.

There was a time when this country was young.  People from different areas of the country sent men that they knew very well to go to the Capitol and represent them and their concerns.  These men shaped the country and it didn't matter what they looked like or sounded like.  What mattered was what they thought and how they relayed those thoughts through words and actions.  For the national campaigns, the men who represented the people of their districts would tell the people what they thought of those running for higher office and the word would spread.  Pamphlets would be written either against a candidate or for another and these writings would spread around the country.  The pole would vote for electors who would go to the Capitol and cast a vote for who they represented back home.  The president and the vice president were not necessarily of the same party.  Who ever got the second highest number of votes would be vice president.  It was a system that worked well for the time period.  There was not mass communication and the decisions made by the voters were based on philosophy, pure philosophy.  This system gave us Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe and Madison.  All of these men are consistently ranked towards the top when listing the greatest presidents we have had.

Then came the age of the newspapers, the telegraph, and the railroads.  The newspapers would cover a candidate and editorialize on them.  The men running for high office would make speeches and the text of those speeches would be wired around the country.  Newspapers began putting sketches of the candidates so people could see somewhat what these men looked like but it was still the words that got the attention.  Newspapers also began to editorialize with cartoons, and the publisher was able to spread rumors about those running for office.  Sometimes it had an effect, often it did not.  It was the time where Lincoln and Douglass began to debate around Illinios in front of their constituents.  The text of these debates were wired around so that there was a definite knowledge of the difference between the philosophies as well as the intelligence  of the two office seekers.  News would spread fast over the wires and we still sent electors to Washington to cast votes for how the people of each district voted.

The age of the radio then came upon us and for the first time people could hear the words coming from the candidate in his own voice.  This, I believe was the first small step backwards in the politics of the United States.  There were men who used the radio well.  Coolidge and Hoover did not know how to use the radio but Franklin Roosevelt did and he used the radio to get elected four times to the presidency.  He was a master at inflection and pacing his words so that the people would be captured by hearing him and what he had to say.  During this time a man by the name of Thomas Dewey ran against President Truman and it was partly the use of radio that determined who won.  Truman sounded like an ordinary man.  He talked with ordinary words that people could understand while Dewey talked in a more somber voice that came off as too serious and not as human as Truman.

The movie theaters then began showing candidates making their peaches and it brought people face to face with how a candidate looked as he talked.  It showed them the man's movements that went along with his voice inflections.  Towards the end of the Eisenhower era, television made a small impact and people were able to see the great General talk as a country boy run against Stevenson who talked like a college  professor using words that many of the people had not heard before.  It cost him the election because people could understand Ike, and know that Ike knew what their concerns were.  They weren't sure what Stevenson was talking about.

Then came the election of 1960.  Television made it's first huge impact.  Once again the two candidates debated, but this time it was televised into homes across the nation.  Two powerful and intelligent men would face off and in the end, it would be how they were perceived on television that made a difference in one of the closest elections up to that time.  Kennedy came off as relaxed, smooth and a well spoken man as well as a handsome man.  For Nixon the television was a disaster that would follow him his whole career.  Nixon looked tired, he didn't talk as smoothly as Kennedy and he had a look about him that was almost mean looking.  It was a match that in Lincoln's time, made have had a different outcome, but in 1960, the new use of television gave Kennedy a clear advantage.  Kennedy played to the television better than anyone would until Ronald Reagan came on the scene.  Reagan mastered the airwaves and rode the television to two terms in office.

Television then expanded with the arrival of cable TV across the nation.  It was a new medium that no one particularly thought about except for one candidate.  Bill Clinton realized that he could use cable tv to pin point who is audience would be from night to night.  The next step down on the fall of politics came the night that Clinton was on MTV talking to an audience of young people who were just learning about politics as they came of age to vote.  The big question that night from the electorate?  A girl in the audience asked Clinton what kind of underwear he wore.  This was the sign of how things were now heading.  Clinton laughed a little and then unabashedly answered the question.  That should have been a red flag for what the future would bring in the Clinton administration but it didn't.  It was also a sign of the further deterioration of how the electorate was starting to think and the kind of questions that would become newsworthy in a campaign.  Clinton used cable TV masterfully to reach different parts of the country and those that would be voting.  He used it so well, he was elected twice and survived an impeachment hearing that included charges of perjury to a federal grand jury which is a felony.

After Clinton, the campaigns began to start to stick their toe slowly into the waters of the internet.  They became good at raising money using the internet and to get their message across somewhat but the master of the internet didn't arrive until 2008.

Barrack Obama is a master at using all of the tools available to him to run for president.  He uses the internet to raise money.  You can't hardly go to any internet page without seeing the President and his wife on it telling us what a wonderful person he is.  He uses Cable and Satellite Tv to make a connection with the voters.  He goes on the talk show circuit where the hosts throw softball questions.  The questions aren't as bad as what kind of underwear he wears, but they don't exactly get down to the important issues of the day either.  I honestly don't think that people expect him to answer questions about policy when he is on the talk shows.  These shows are, after all, for entertainment and he is the best entertainer in politics.  He is the first president that does not make amends for going on the campaign trail and to talk shows instead of meeting with foreign leaders as things heat up in the middle east.  What amazes me is that he is so very good at being a campaigner, that he gets a pass on this from the press for the most part.

We are a mere five weeks away from the election and I am amazed at the knowledge that I don't have about where each of the candidates stand on certain issues and I probably won't by the time election day roles around.

Campaigning has turned into half truths and lies being tossed back and forth.  I don't know what or who to believe anymore.  Running for president does not hold anyone accountable anymore and past records mean nothing.  For one thing, we don't really know what the past record of these men really are.  Things get exaggerated and filled with half truths on both sides of the aisle.

People use the internet now to repeat these lies and half truths to an audience that we haven't had before via social networks on the internet.  Citizens are probably more engaged in discussing the election then ever before, but how do we separate truth from lies or exaggerations?  The half truths are the toughest because there is a hint of truth to the facts that people can hang on to and make their decisions using.

A friend of mine said that she was cynical when it came to the election.  She has been cynical since 1972 more or less.  I can understand where she is coming from.  I am cynical as well.  Cynicism is probably running rampant through out the country when it comes to politics and who can blame us?  I know I feel very cynical about both candidates.  The sad thing is I will vote come election day.  The really sad thing is that most citizens probably vote against a candidate because we don't feel comfortable voting for a candidate.  It has truly become the lesser of two evils being elected to run this great country and serious discussions are few and far between.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SONG FOR BRETT AND STALKER

If you are a regular reader of this thing I call a blog or know me at all, you know that I absolutely love music.  I listen to music all day at work and when I go to bed at night.  I prefer music that not only is good melodically, but music that has lyrics that mean something, that carry a philosophy or message with them.

There are lots of songwriters that fit into this mold.  Dylan, Paul Simon, Springsteen and many others.  One of those songwriters is a woman named Melissa Etheridge.  Etheridge writes songs of the heart and songs of her life.  She is a midwestern girl from Leavenworth, Kansas so she is almost a hometown girl.  I fell in love with her music several years ago.  The thing about Etheridge is that no matter if the song is a rocker or a mellow blues, you always are drawn to her words when you hear her.  There was one time, however, when she had some fun with a song and wrote a little satire on being in love with someone who wants you to go away.  The first time I heard "Must Be Crazy For Me" it caught me off guard and made me smile.  It is one of my favorite songs of hers.

What brings me to this is that last night as I went to bed I decided to listen to some Etheridge.  As I was listening, "Must Be Crazy For Me" came up on the MP3 player.  I hadn't heard it in a while and when it started I smiled a bit and listened to the words of a person who is totally in love and can't get it through her head that her affections were not being returned.  This brought my son. Brett, to mind.  Brett went through this kind of situation a year or so ago when he received a stalker into his life.

I am not going to name names.  We'll call her S.  Well, somebody set Brett and S up for a date and Brett took her out a few times.  Brett liked her well enough but more as a friend instead of a serious prospect for the future.  S did not see things the same way though.  She would call Brett all hours of the night and day demanding that he come and see her or take her out.  This went on for a long time and soon she did indeed become a stalker.

Brett came home from work one day and S was sitting in her car outside of his apartment wanting to know if every thing was okay, after all she hadn't heard from him for almost twenty four hours.  

Soon text messages began to scroll onto Brett's phone at an almost non-stop pace from S wondering where he was, why wasn't he answering his phone and where was he going to take her on her birthday?

It became a nightmare for Brett.  He kept trying to tell her that as a friend, they were okay, but nothing more than that.  The trouble was, S didn't seem to have the capability of drawing a line between being a friend and being a future spouse.  Nothing Brett could say or do could convince S that Brett wasn't madly in love with her.  From her perspective, Brett just didn't realize how much in love he actually was with her.

Finally we got a couple of third parties that knew S and Brett both to intervene to try to get S to stop stalking Brett.  It wasn't until S found someone new to stalk did she stop stalking Brett.  It was a great day in Brett's life when S drifted away from him and let him go free.

As I listened to Etheridge last night and her song "Must Be Crazy For Me" I pictured S sitting by her phone and texting Brett or calling him.  I imagined it was S singing this song instead of Etheridge and I realized that even though Etheridge may have written a satirical song about love not being returned, there was a lot of truth in the song just like all of her other songs.

So I decided to share a moment when Etheridge tried not to be as serious in her song writing as she usually is, but as always, she can't help but throwing a big dose of truth out there that resonates and means something very real to somebody in the world.

MUST BE CRAZY FOR ME - Melissa Etheridge

You tell me not to call you up 
'Cause it ties you down 
Don't tell your friends
You've been hangin' 'round
You must be crazy for me
  
You say, you'll see me once or twice

Every week or two
There's more important things
That you've got to do
You must be crazy for me
 
'Cause when I kissed you last night

In my own backyard 
You ran so fast
And you fought so hard
You must be crazy for me
You must be crazy for me
 
You don't like my hair

You don't like my car
You don't like my friends
You met at the bar
You must be crazy for me 

I see you shake your head

And you roll your eyes 
Your firm remark
To remove my thigh 
You must be crazy for me
 
'Cause when I kissed you last night 

In my own backyard
You ran so fast
And you fought so hard
You must be crazy for me
You must be crazy for me
 
Do not expect you to wait

Do not expect you to phone
Do not expect anything
When I catch you alone, baby
You must be crazy for me
 
'Cause when I kissed you last night

In my own backyard 
You ran so fast
And you fought so hard
You must be crazy for me
You must be crazy for me
 
I know, I know, you're crazy for me, baby

You must be crazy for me, for me I know, you're crazy for me
Come on, come on, I know, you're crazy for me
Crazy for me, you can tell me now I know, you're crazy for me
Crazy for me 
Crazy for me

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

THE EMPTY CHAIR

Okay, I know that in an earlier post I stated that I would not be getting involved in any political arguments this year.  My intentions are to sit this election out and try to feel good about the votes that I cast, if any.

The "empty chair" of course refers to Clint Eastwood's remarks at the Republican convention and although this entry will hopefully not be an argument between the ideals of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, but rather just an observation of what has turned into a week that I think reveals what the current President is about from my point of view.

What brings this up is seeing the news coming in from around the world that involves the Untied States and our allies and the turmoil that is being reported and the President's response to these reports.

I have always been of the philosophy that the closer a government organization is to you, the more effect it should have on your individual life.  For example, in my case, the Kansas City government and the Jackson county form of government should have more impact on my life and how I live then the Government of the State of Missouri in Jefferson City.  In turn, the people governing in Jefferson city should have more impact on my life than those in Washington, DC.

I am not saying that the Federal Government should not have ANY say in the laws that I live under, but the city should be closer to my life.  There are different roles that each level of government should be responsible for.  While yes, the President does have an obligation to some domestic policies, the office of the presidency should be mainly responsible for our country's foreign policy.

In the past, some of our greatest Presidents have been strong foreign policy Presidents.  Starting off with the first five presidents, Washington-Adams-Jefferson-Madison-Monroe,  on up to Teddy Roosevelt, to Wilson and FDR followed by Truman, JFK, Nixon, Reagan to President Bush and his son, President Bush have all been presidents who took foreign policy very seriously and built their administrations around their foreign policy.  It is the President's primary function to lead the country in the area of foreign policy.  I sincerely believe this and I sincerely believe that history has shown this to be the case.

The news coming out of the Middle East this week and today in particular, shows us a region that is in deeper turmoil that it has been in a long time.  One of the main reasons for this is that we are faced with a President that has a very weak foreign policy, if one at all.

On a day when two of our embassies, in Lybia and in Egypt, have been attacked.  Our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens was murdered and his body was dragged through the streets. Seven more embassies have been put on high alert with anticipation of attacks on them.  What did the President do?  Talked to some workers at the State Department telling them that he could value their work because he had grown up abroad for a lot of his life.  He then boarded a helicopter to take off to Air Force One to fly to Las Vegas for a fund raiser.

We have many allies around the world.  There are those allies that we can depend on to stand by us and support us.  The United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany (to a certain degree) are allies that we have looked to time and again and they have come through for us.  Another strong ally is Israel.  The United States and Israel have been the closest of allies since the State of Israel was formed.  We have always stood with Israel to protect their right to exist and they have repaid us over the years.  Israel finds itself in a desperate situation now and the United States is ignoring them because, I think, Our President does not have a foreign policy that protects Israel.

The leadership in Iran has stated many times that they won't consider their job complete until the State of Israel is wiped off the map.  As I write this, Iran is constantly working on the purification of uranium which will give them nuclear capabilities.  Our President's response to this is an open ended sanction against Iran, hoping that they will run out of material and time from the sanctions before they gain this capability.  If they do gain Nuclear capabilities, then we have been told that Iran will use it only as a power source, not as a weapon.  I found that even hard to write it is so out of touch with reality.

Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel wants something to be done.  The United States tells him to wait.  Netanyahu wants a meeting with President Obama.  He was turned down.  It seems the President does not have enough time in his schedule to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  The Prime Minister of Israel has made it clear that if the United States does not take action to stop Iran from developing nuclear capabilities, that Israel will take pre-emptive action.  This is a serious threat and Netanyahu does not take it lightly.

Meanwhile while the President does not have time to stay in Washington and address the problem of our embassy's being attacked and our ambassadors murdered, or the time to meet with one of our closest allies concerning their very existence, he has made plans to continue his campagn for a second term.

He is going to Las Vegas.  He has booked a spot on the David Letterman Show.  He has made plans to be in New York for a $400,000 dollar a plate fundraiser next month with Beyonce and rapper Jay-Z.

This is what the President is good at.  He is charismatic.  He is an excellent orator ( as long as the teleprompters are working).  He is good at telling people what they want to hear in order to raise money.  He is a campaigner.  In my opinion, that is all he has done for the last four years.  He has been campaigning.

I will be the first to admit that Clint Eastwood's show of talking to an empty chair was more than a little cheesy.  It did little to point out the differences in the philosophies of President Obama and Governor Romney.  It had more the feel of a burlesque act than a political convention talk.

That being said, "The Empty Chair" has become more of a reality than I would like it to be.  While embassies burn and Ambassadors are murdered and their bodies dragged through the streets.  While a determined despot in Iran continues to work toward a nuclear weapon to wipe one of our best allies off the face of the earth,  the President is out raising money and playing politics.

From where I sit, there is indeed an empty chair at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  It is a chair that right now at this point in time, can not afford to be empty, and that concerns me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

MODERN RUDENESS

Everyone is rude at times.  It is part of the human condition.  I am sure that I have been rude to any number of people.  I have been rude to strangers and to family members.  I am sure that anyone reading this has been rude at times, whether you realize it or not.  That is possible, you know.  You can be rude without realizing it which only makes it worse for the people who are feeling like they have been treated rudely.  Chances are, I think, that most of the time we don't realize we are being rude until well after the fact.  Seldom is a person rude intentionally unless there is another agenda for being rude to someone.

Like everything else, it seems, rudeness has been taken to a new level over the last generation or so.  It seems like selfishness has increased.  It seems like people don't care about helping others like we use to.  With each year, looking out for our own interests has increased.  That is the way it seems to me anyway.

I have been treated rudely in the past and can probably remember times that I was treated rudely during the whole course of my life.  I am sure that during that same time I have been rude to others.  This last Saturday though, I was treated more rudely than I can ever remember being treated.  Most times when you are treated rudely or treat someone else rudely, it fades with time.  What happened Saturday will not fade with time.  I can not see that happening.  Those fifteen minutes in my life will always be there, fresh as if it were just yesterday.

Saturday morning is grocery shopping time on our schedule.  It is not an easy time for either of us.  Barb suffers from severe back problems that quite often put her in intense pain if she moves around too much or if she doesn't move around enough.  She can not walk for long periods of time without her back flaring up.  I have severe panic/anxiety disorder.  I do okay in the store until I get to the checkout line.  It is there when, if I am going to have a panic attack, it will happen.  I also recently suffered from a heart attack about two weeks ago.  I have noticed that I get tired much easier walking then I use to.  Shopping has become a chore that we take on together to support each other through the ordeal.

Saturday was my first trip to the store since the heart attack.  I wasn't sure what to expect from my body as we made our way through the store picking up things on the list.  My body responded by making me feel extremely tired and weary by the time we had completed the list.  Both of us were at the point of thinking let's gets this over with and get home so we can rest.

As we came to the row of checkout lines we quickly tried to decide on which one was the shortest so that we could get through the procedure as quickly as possible and get home.  After looking the different lines over we decided on line number ten.  In line number ten there was one lady finishing checking out, a second lady unloading and then it would be our turn.  We pulled the cart into line number ten and both of us leaned on the cart to await our turn at unloading our cart.

There was a girl standing behind the basket that the lady was unloading onto the belt that we assumed was with the lady.  She was standing there up next to the handle on the cart in front of her and we didn't give it a second thought.  She was with that lady and as soon as that lady finished checking out, we could do the same and head home.  This is when things turned rude.

Suddenly a young man pulled up a grocery cart that was over flowing with items.  I am not exaggerating the fact.  This cart was packed full and spilling out over the top.  He pushed the nose of his cart in front of ours and then started talking to the girl.  It didn't take but a half a second for me to realize what had happened.  This action, in and of itself, was rude and I was kind of put into shock that someone would actually do this.

Now I have seen people get in line then remember something they forgot and rushed back into the store to get whatever the item they needed was.  This always was an irritating thing but not enough to elicit a comment from me.  I always figured it was an honest mistake not done intentionally.  There have been times when I would notice someone in line behind me with just an item or two in their arms and offer to let them go ahead of me instead of making them wait for my basket to be emptied and checked out.  I always felt like that was a decent and humane thing to do.  I have never seen anything like this before though.  It had the air of the new self entitlement that seems to have been taking hold of the younger generation in our society.   I could not let it go without letting the young man know how rude I thought their actions were.

"Seriously?" I asked with a tone of incredulous in my voice.  "She has been standing here holding a place in line for you while you were out shopping?"

He told me take it easy.  She had just got there and he had forgotten something and had to go back to get it as he held up a small pack of potato chips.  That is how stupid I was or how smart he thought he was.

"Seriously?" I asked again as he began to unload his cart onto the belt.  "Undeliverable" I said in a low voice.  He again picked up the chips and said he had forgotten those and had to go back.

"With the whole cart?" I was getting not only offended by how stupid he thought I was but also irritated.  "This is bull," I said, "Total bull."

The young man ignored me and continued to unload his cart.  His girlfriend then told me to be quiet, enjoy life and keep my mouth shut.  What that means, I concluded was that I should just let them run over us and do whatever they wanted without say a word and I would "be happy".

"Whatever." I finished. and turned away from them.  As far as I was concerned, and her boyfriend was concerned the confrontation was over.  But she had other things in mind.

She started letting out a string of curses that I won't take the time to write here.  Mainly because I know a lot of people who read this blog and it would offend them if I wrote such words down.  I'll say this though, she used every curse word known to man in her building tirade.

She talked about how people tell them to respect their elders but they never get any respect from their elders so why should we expect them to respect us.  She talked about how old and stupid we were.  All of this was punctuated with many curse words.  She never let up on the curse words.

While her boyfriend was unloading the cart I think he knew that what they had done was not exactly right and she was beginning to embarrass him by continuing her tirade.  I stood there with my arms crossed and just looked at her as she continued on and on.  Soon it got to her boyfriend and he told her to just shut up.  She then turned on him with a short string of cussing before aiming it back onto us.

Her boyfriend, at one point grabbed her by the chin and looked her in the eye and told her very firmly to just shut it up.  She did for a little bit.  She was standing there looking at me and Barb.  Barb explained that we had gauged which line to get in by what we saw in line, and that their huge basket was not in line when we got there.

The girl continued to look hard at me and was breathing very hard. If I didn't know better I would have thought she was rabid or something.  I then said in a soft and calm voice "You really need to calm down."  After all the situation was done with.  We didn't make a scene to get them out of line and her boyfriend was totally embarrassed.  Well, when I said those soft words she went off again.  On and on and on she went cussing me up one side and down the other.

Finally the lady in front of them turned around and said something to the fact that she had quite a mouth on her and she had better stop it.  The girl turned on the lady then and started on her.  The lady told her if she didn't stop, she was going to call the police.  That sent this crazed girl into even MORE of a tired and her boyfriend was desperately trying to get her to stop.  When the store security arrived at the line, she suddenly shut up.

They finally checked out and left.  I did not watch them leave to see if she was still on her tirade or not.  Barb and myself began to unload our cart and proceed to pay for our groceries.  I did not see them in the parking lot or anywhere else.  Barb said she kind of felt sorry for her boyfriend because his day had been ruined.  His girl would be yacking about this and complaining about the situation all day long.  I think Barb is right.  I think that kid had a miserable Saturday.

This was the worst case of rudeness I can ever recall seeing or being a part of.  Just the act of saving a spot in line while still shopping, and then getting into line the way they day was bad enough, but the tirade that the whole store was put through was simply awful.

I am not sure what the future holds for that young couple.  Hopefully they will learn that if you want to get along in society, you will learn that there are certain social rules that almost everyone follows the majority of the time.  It can't be fun to go through life trying to defend you rudeness all the time.  I am hoping that the young man dumps that girl while he still has a chance to learn the proper way to act in society.  I don't think she will ever learn how.  From what I saw she is already too far gone on her self importance, her entitlement, her selfishness.  It was the worst case of all three that I have ever witnessed.

I wish her luck, but I don't hold out much hope for her.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

COMING TO TERMS

The month of August in 2012 has been a month that has taught me something that I should have known, probably did know, but never noticed or acknowledged.  We spend all of our lives coming to terms with situations that change our lives on a daily basis.  Each day brings us something new to come to terms with.  Sometimes these new things that we come to terms with are so small and maybe insignificant as far as the big picture goes, that we often do not even notice that they are occurring.  Some of the situations are large enough to catch our attention and make us think a little, but do not stop us from continuing going forward without really thinking about coming to terms with something new.  Then there are the really large things that hit us upside the head and make us stop and think and realize that this is something that needs to be taken care of somehow at sometime.  These are the life changing things that we must come to terms with or get run over by life.

It is easier, and probably best, to come to terms with things after having time to think about things.  The month of August began with coming to terms with what the choices were going to be when the November elections roll around.   Two elections concern me more than all the others.  Claire McCaskill has been my Senator for the past six years.  As she began her term I decided to give her a fair chance and not to be too judgmental until given reason to be so.  It took a couple of years before coming to terms with the fact that her agenda and mine were not quite the same.  It seemed to me that she began being seen at the President's side almost every day on the news.  I had written her a few e-mails which her staff answered to assure me that the Senator's concerns and mine were the same.  Yet almost everytime within two weeks she would vote exactly opposite of what her staff had replied.  I began to mistrust her and when tax problems were raised about her, I decided I could not support her.  Then the Republican candidate made a totally stupid remark about women and rape and I came to terms with the fact that we had two losers running for the Senate seat.

Then I came to terms with the fact that not only the President would be running with his same bumbling Vice-President as a running mate again I looked to the Republicans to give me a worthy opponent to the President.  They failed me.  I am stuck with coming to terms with the fact  that neither of the Senate Candidates and neither of the  Presidential candidates were worthy of the offices they are seeking.  I came to terms with the fact that for the first time I may not vote in a huge election year.

The month also started out with a horrible tooth ache.  I was hoping it could be fixed easily by my dentist but that would not be the case.  I was required to have another root canal performed.  Something went wrong during the root canal and the irrigation mixture they use got down between my gum and my tooth resulting in possibly the worst pain I have ever felt.  I came to terms with the fact that saving my teeth would be a losing battle in the long run and I would always associate the dentist with great pain just when I thought I was getting over that phobia.

Then came a Tuesday evening when I was heading out to dinner and never made it inside of the restaurant.  I sat outside with my heart feeling like it was going to blow out of my chest and not being able to breathe.  My cousin, an EMT, came out and checked me over and told me I had to get to the hospital right away.  Once in the hospital I am worked over by a team of nurses and doctors and admitted immediately.  I had suffered a heart attack at the age of fifty five.  I had surgery to repair my heart on Wednesday, and came home with a whole new batch of medicine to take.  I came to terms with the fact that this was a life changing event.  My diet, my habits and a lot of other things would forever be changed.  From now on I have a new box to check when I go to a doctors office.  When I see "Heart disease" I will check that box from now on.  The other side of that is when it asks if I am a smoker or not, I can say "no" from now on.

I have come to terms with a lot of other things as of late.  I have come to terms with a lot of situations concerning my job and other items that I can not get into here.  Things are what they are and it is the way they will always be.  Sometimes it is just easier to come to terms with somethings instead of continuing to try to change things.

I have, over the last month, come to terms with the fact of mortality, life and death.  Along with the coming to terms with this, I must now prepare for the inevitable.  I don't want to but I have no choice.  I have come to terms.

I have come to terms with the fact that depression and anxiety will always be a part of my life.  I must take medicines to keep them at bay but the medicine does not make them go away.  Those feelings are still there and always will be.  I have come to terms with the fact that I always have to have my guard up against my own mind, to stay in reality and to continue to learn what reality is.

Coming to terms is not giving up and admitting defeat about things.  Coming to terms is coming to a realization of things, of facts that can not and will not be changed.  I have come to terms with the fact that I will never see my grandparents again and I have come to terms with the fact that the time is coming when I won't see my parents again.

Most of all, I am trying to come to terms with who I am.  This is the most difficult of all things to come to terms with.  I think this is true for everyone.  No one knows me as well as I know myself and the more I look at myself the more I realize that I don't even know who I am.  Sometimes I am not sure what I believe or what my philosophy is.  It seems to always be changing.  But maybe that is the way it is supposed to be, because when it comes down to it, I myself am always changing.  That is something else that I need to come to terms with.