Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Manifesto of the 5th Dentist

     You've heard it before, "4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest Gobbedly Gook Flavor Toothpaste."  Well, I for one admire the 5th dentist.  That's right, this guy (or girl) stood up for what they believed in and took a walk on the wild side.  I have always been a non-conformist by nature, and I normally travel on the road with all the bumps.  Look no further than the direction my life has taken since the kids were born.  From putting folks in jail to changing diapers like a boss.  Then rockin' the main stage as a 42 year old college senior, and trying to be a 43 year old grad student.  I may end up pursuing my life long dream of carnival work.  I hear they need a weight guesser.  When opportunity knocks, you've got to answer the door!  Carnival folk are the backbone of our society.  But, you knew that already.  The following diatribe is about why it doesn't matter what your job is or how different you are.  This is frustration boiling over with the stroke of every key.  Some folks meditate, but I write, and yell from time to time. 

     I met a guy once whose occupation was an Egg Tumbler.  True story.  Different strokes for different folks, and if tumbling eggs is your game then who am I to say it's odd.  You may want to go into the Yard Sale Sciences like my brother once pursued.  He was good at it too, but he also was one that did some dumpster diving on the side.  I went with him once.  Once was enough.  It was not my bag, and that's OK.  You may even want to be a pizza guy.  I had a pizza guy go above and beyond the other day, after a generous tip from yours truly, and warn me about fluid leaking from a vehicle.  I walked outside with the young man and he squatted on the ground and touched the fluid.  I asked him, "Does it smell like anything?"  His response was "No," but then he proceeded to place his finger in his mouth.  He looked at me and said, "Tastes funny, but it may just be your driveway I'm tasting."  Thanks pizza dude, but the tasting of the suspicious fluid was not necessary.  We try and teach our kids that everyone is different, and a place in society can be carved out with hard work and dedication to your craft.  Obviously, I want the best for my kids, and I hope one day if Maddie comes home and says, "Dad, I want to be a professional wrestler!" that I take this in stride, but it could be a difficult adjustment.  She would be a great Masked Marauder though.

     We're all created equal, right?  That's what the founding fathers said, and I would not disagree.  However, it seems that more and more people think that they may be just a little bit better than you are these days.  My house is better than your house, and my dog can beat up your dog.  Stuff like that, and even worse.  My kids are better athletes than yours are, better students, better everything, and you should just accept that you're just taking up air and move on.  These people are everywhere.  You've seen them, and they've made you so mad you want to spit.  This elitist mentality seems to be what I would call a "First World Problem."  We here in the United States may have our struggles, but we don't exactly have bombs blowing up all around us and people trying to kill us just because of our ethnic background or religious beliefs. At least not on a regular basis. Thanks to our fabulous military and the fine men and women who serve our great country we can lay our heads down at night and rest easy.  So, how far my kids can hit a baseball really doesn't matter all that much, although my son Jesse may disagree.  How my kids turn out in a few years does.  Are they productive members of society?  Do they have strong moral character?  Do they work hard to accomplish the goals that they set for themselves?  Do they understand the importance of family?  Country?  Our place in this world and what we can do to improve the future?  I hope when the time comes I can answer "Yes" to all these questions.  That is what is important to me.

     Politics.  One word never covered such a broad spectrum of our lives.  From the President of the United States all the way down to T-Ball.  That's right, I said T-Ball.  But, Mr. Uber Dad, Politics doesn't belong in T-Ball or Elementary School or Tiddly Winks...right?  Well, that would be a correct statement, but sometimes who you know or what you can do undoubtedly pays off for some people.  I recently was able to participate in the Athenian assembly.  Ancient Athens that is.  Yep, I went by the name Cristos the Great, and I was a Moderate Democrat.  That was the role I was given for a Reacting to the Past game at UAB.  What am I getting at?  Rhetoric is as important today as it was 2000 years ago.  If you can talk a good game, and bribe the right people you're good to go!  That is an unfortunate fact of a political system.  Personally, I like to allow for my kids to be successful on their own merit not by who I may know (although, I don't really know anybody, undoubtedly) or what I may have (again I ain't really got nothing, so I'm out of luck.)  It is what it is, I suppose.  By the way my team of Moderate Democrats won the game.  We had to lie, cheat, and steal to do it.  I actually betrayed my entire faction, and helped to install a tyrant.  In return for my lack of loyalty and deceit, I was given the title of "General and Commander of the Military."  Things haven't changed that much it doesn't seem, and if the game would have gone on a little longer I probably would have staged a coup.  I had the power of the military so why not? 

     One more thing before I go.  I know I have mentioned from time to time that I am a student of History.  When you do enough research and look at the past very closely you can start to see patterns.  Patterns of occurrences or even outcomes.  Most of the time when these outcomes are negative you can directly link them to one thing.  Hubris.  For those who don't know what that word means I will enlighten you.  It means excessive pride, self-confidence, or arrogance to a detriment.  In Greek tragedies and real history, this hubris has led to the downfall of some pretty important folks.  This loss of contact with reality for selfish reasons seems to be all over the place these days.  Look no further than the Good Book.  I'm not being preachy here, but I like to call things like I see them.  Proverbs 16:18 says, I'm paraphrasing here, "pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."  Makes sense to me.  The Greeks sometimes put hubris in the backyard of the goddess Nemesis.  Nemesis didn't play around.  If you've ever heard of Narcissus you already know this.  He fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, and long story short he died because he couldn't leave his sexy self.  Loved himself to death, I reckon.  That is a myth, but it sounds all too real and current.  Just food for thought.  It is my Manifesto, even if I'm not a Dentist.