Commie

Commie:(n) a communist

Growing up, there were three great insults we used repeatedly to decimate the character of those around us, while greatly inflating our own sense of self-importance: retard, gay and Commie

Although they were often used interchangeably for all seasons and all reasons, there were specific times when “retard” was applied. Whenever anyone did anything that inconvenienced us he or she was a retard.

When anyone did anything the least bit unusual, and we were afraid they would ask us to do it, too, they were gay.

And when our parents told us that certain children had mothers and fathers who were questionable in their politics–well, those kids were Commies.

You could probably survive being a retard, as long as you didn’t get too upset.

You could flee from being gay.

But once you were identified as a Commie–an enemy of the state–a Ruskie–a member of the Soviet Union–a sympathizer with killers–well, it was just a little hard to shake that off.

I remember once when two friends and I refused to listen to a girl who came to school wearing jeans and a t-shirt (which was unheard of at the time) and spouted opinions on such things as ecology, civil rights, and even, God forbid, anti-war. She was especially upset with the war in Viet Nam.

In our freshman year, we had one view of this girl–but by the time we were seniors, the national opinion on civil rights had changed, ecology had been honored by the creation of Earth Day, and because of the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Nam War had been exposed as an unnecessary exercise in futility.

We were uncomfortable about it. The Commie had been proven correct.

So to compensate, we just started calling her gay.

 

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Astronomy

dictionary with letter A

Astronomy: (n) the branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole.

45 years ago.

April 22nd, 1970: the first Earth Day.

I was there for it. Well, actually, the truth of the matter is, the student body of our senior class was granted the afternoon off to plan a parade, and my girlfriend and I took the opportunity, being free from school, to go off someplace and neck. (I guess everybody has their own way of celebrating Earth Day.)

But when I thought about astronomy today, it seemed perfect for the occasion when we give honor to Mother Earth.

Because life is all about perspective and mission.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the grocery store or planning a trip to the moon. One always has to first gain perspective, and then plan the mission.

I often find myself looking to the stars and the heavens. Almost universally, the human race believes that God dwells somewhere in the vast expanse of the astronomical wonder. Whether that is true or not, a gaze into the sky will certainly give you perspective. For we truly are one small dot on a huge landscape of the universe.

Sometimes it makes me think about God. Oftentimes it gives me a humbling mingling of gratitude and humility.

But sooner or later, I need to take my eyes off the sky and place them on the scope of the work which is directly in front of me.

I need to gain mission.

And mission is very simple: what am I going to do today on Earth that is sensitive to the planet while still honoring the heavens?

I personally like Earth Day. It reminds me that I am an Earthling, while also letting me know that the stars twinkle above … gently viewing my progress.

 

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