Burglar

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Burglar: (n) a person who commits burglary.

For the sake of maintaining the privacy of the individual, I shall refer to him as Mick.

I met Mick many years ago. He was a nice fellow. We had great conversations and he was very interested in my work. He was so interested in my efforts that I began to ask him about his.

At first Mick was reluctant to share his occupation, but then one night, in a very relaxed atmosphere, he told me that he was a burglar.

I was a little shocked.

First, I never envisioned this person in front of me to be that style of individual. But secondly, I was astounded that he was so forthcoming. He wasn’t ashamed to admit his burglary, but rather, went on to explain that he often found himself coming up financially short at the end of a month, and did not know how to make ends meet.

Because of this, he had often had his electricity turned off, his little son had gone without shoes and his wife had eventually left him.

So Mick decided to become a burglar, but one with a conscience. Here was the way he justified it to me: whenever he found himself a bit short of cash, he would go out and burglarize some old lady or old gent’s house, stealing only the few things he knew he could pawn, which would give him the cash to pay his bills to get him to the next paycheck. When the paycheck came, he took some of the money, went back to the pawn shop, bought back the items, and when he was sure the families were not home, he returned them in a box on the front porch with a typed note which read: “Sorry I had to borrow these. I was short this month.”

When Mick finished explaining this to me, I was simultaneously baffled and impressed. He seemed to have come up with a way to sin which had no immediate ramifications.

I had no idea what to say to him. I wanted to become moralistic, and suggest that stealing in any way, shape or form was wrong.

So I did what I often do in uncomfortable situations. I conjured an elongated clearing of my throat, followed by an anemic nod. 

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Bourgeoisie

Bourgeoisie: (n) the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values

It was called a skeleton key.Dictionary B

Certain locks were made to be universal, and opened by a single common key.

It was so simple. You just put the skeleton key in the lock and it opened up the door.

You didn’t have to have key cards or specially-ground units specifically designed to open particular doors. Of course, it fell by the wayside because it didn’t provide much in the way of privacy.

But as we consider the future of our country, with a desire to honor the needs of its people, let us realize that leading with finance or the ownership of things may be a good campaign approach, but it does not do very much to further our joining together as a nation.

Yes, we need a middle class. That middle class should have solvency. But that solvency should be used to expand the vision of those families to look for reasons to help others.

As it pertains to the bourgeoisie, you cannot simply give money to people and think it will miraculously turn into mercy.

It doesn’t.

Therefore–as in the case of the skeleton key–the most important thing we can do is teach people to value each other so when they do go into the marketplace and achieve success, or even prosperity, they will open their hearts to use their profits to profit others.

 

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Bath

Bath: (n) a process of immersing and washing one’s body in a large container of water.Dictionary B

I grew up in a small, two-bedroom house–one restroom and seven people. It is similar to having three people walk into a phone booth and make a call by committee.

It was many years before I discovered the importance of boundaries. For in my home, growing up, simply possessing the territory of the bathroom did not guarantee you privacy. I would occasionally be sitting on the pot and have one of my older brothers burst through the door, apply Brylcreem to his hair and comb away while I decided whether to continue my stinky endeavor.

Most humiliating was the fact that until I was about thirteen years old, my mother often came in during my bathtime to make sure I was being thorough. Being a kid, I never questioned this practice since I had no point of reference and certainly would not compare notes in the locker room with my friends.

She used these occasions to get chatty, sitting on the nearby toilet. She would discuss her day and even suggest various ways that I might choose to clean my private parts, which, for the time being, had become public domain.

I was uncomfortable with this, but keep in mind–she was my mother. It gave her almost martial law over my space.

Looking back, I realize that this was a bit bizarre.

Matter of fact, early on in my planning for a family, I recommended knocking before entering … and always celebrated the glorious wisdom of locks on doors.

 

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Amphibious

dictionary with letter A

Amphibious: (adj.) relating to, living in or suited to both land and water.

Time is one of the three ingredients necessary to change my mind. (By the way, for your reading enjoyment, the other two would be pain and pleasure.)

I need this trio to become the Holy Trinity, to build a bridge between my feet in the sand and firmly situated on the rock.

This was true with me as a boy on the issue of swimming. Matter of fact, they called me “a little frog.”

A frog is an amphibian, right?

The problem with this name they gave to me was that I really wasn’t little. I guess “big frog” would be inappropriate.

So as a very small child, I swam and swam without fear or intimidation. But then, as I grew into my teen years and became self-conscious about my body image, I was frightened to put on swim trunks and join the other kids at the pool, often sitting on a blanket in my street clothes watching them swim.

In the process of developing this trepidation about being ridiculed for my blubber, I also gradually convinced myself that I hated swimming and despised the water. Matter of fact, if I walked next to a swimming pool and inhaled the chlorine-filled air, I grew short of breath and needed to leave to regain my composure.

I was a frog who forgot how to leap in.

I was amphibious, but completely unable to pursue my inclination.

Then one day I got sick and tired of being afraid. I waited until nobody was looking, ripped off my street clothes and leaped into the pool, hiding my conspicuous overage under the waves.

It was a brave step.

I was a frog again.

I was back in my natural habitat.

I was overjoyed.

Of course, I wasn’t completely cured. On that particular day, I had to stay in the water for about four hours until everybody else left, so that I could emerge in privacy. But over the years I have gradually become more accustomed to who I am–and a bit oblivious to an occasional peering.

Yes. What the hell.

I guess if you’re gonna be a frog–amphibious, living in the water and on the land … a little bit of “what the hell” has to be ingrained in your philosophy.

 

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Alter Ego

dictionary with letter A

Alter ego: (n) a person’s secondary or alternative personalityCould you keep up with two?? Personalities, that is?

Yet I think sometimes we, as human beings, try to maintain an arsenal of personalities under the guise of being diverse, clever, intuitive and powerful.

Actually, there are two philosophies that collide with each other, and as often happens in science, when the two things collide, they cancel each other out.

  • The first philosophy is that we are able to “become all things to all men.”
  • The second one is, “all you have to do is be yourself.”

As always, somewhere between these two monsters lies the frightened child of truth.

If you try to be too varied, people call you wishy-washy, liberal or ill-defined.

Yet if you foolishly go out into the world and try to “be yourself” all the time, you will soon offend others and find yourself alone except for those who hold to your position.

There is a third possibility. “As much as possible, live peaceably with all men.”

I like that one.

Sometimes I find that my personality isn’t suited for the environment, so I just give it the night off. I decide not to be too chatty. I find a lovely corner near the buffet table, sit down and let people find me instead of circulating around, to the annoyance of many and the delight of very few.

Then there are times when there are issues which demand that I stand up for a cause. I have discovered there is really only one cause worth standing up for. Whenever human beings feel like they are advancing their cause by making other people to be less valuable than themselves, I must step in with my personality and object.

Other than that, I have found that letting things just play out normally (and even historically) proves to have sufficient punishment for bad ideas.

I am not always myself–because in some adventures, “me” is not needed.

But I certainly do not try to be so open-minded that my brain cannot close a door to create a sense of privacy.

I try to “live peaceably with all men”–unless they are determined to declare a war on their neighbors.