Sunday, November 4, 2012

On Friends, Family, And Getting Back On A Road Less Traveled

There are those people out there who have rather quickly foisted the title of "friend" upon your shoulders.  They number among those of whom "another friend" brought with them to some sort of social gathering you had the unfortunate opportunity of hosting.  Both of these types of friends are leeches; they came for the free booze.  And, they will take from you whatever they can and will give nothing in return.  When you need a real friend, when you have hit the wall full speed, those "friends" are lost in the mists of, " I don't know you....I cannot be bothered now."  Make no mistake - these are the people who will go to your funeral, not to pay their respects, but to freely eat and drink at your wake.  We cannot choose our family but can choose our friends.  Chose wisely; it's not like quickly choosing a cold domestic beer to quench your thirst.  Rather, it's more like choosing a fine wine to accompany an awesome meal.

The days of cementing a contract on a handshake have passed through the cracks about the same time the phrase, " You want fries with that," became a part of our national lexicon.  The times we live in have taken away the trust of friendship and replaced it with the art of making the deal - at all costs.  And, this attitude has extended into the heart of the family.  It sure as hell wasn't always like this.

Back in the day when we used rotary telephones (remember those things? Throw them against a concrete wall and they still worked.  No batteries required.), telephone booths (no grasshopper, they were not just something for Superman to change in), and held a healthy respect for the other guy and our parents, it was a rare thing for someone to get shafted over a few bucks.  Yes, it happened but again, it was rare.  Out of respect for the other guy, people just did not do that kind of stuff.  Now it happens over and over again in the workplace, the neighborhood, and the family.

The Christian Right talks a lot about family values.  But in my opinion, some of those "values" appear to foster what was written about above.  Maybe because those values are man-made interpretations of what is supposedly the divine word of their God.  When put to use, a wink of an eye can twist them to bring about some bent human desires.  And when a book that contains the supposed infallible word of a deity is used as a balance scale, it's easy to load up the other side and be justified with the result.  Being the chosen people of a book must be a relief for them - no need to think on their own.  Just saying.  At least when we were using rotary phones, respecting the other guy was something that was inherently understood and not something that we needed to be reminded about, like in our times today.

It's time for us to get on the road that takes us back to mutual respect.  This does not mean that we should rid ourselves of our current technology, like some would have us do.  What I am trying to say is that we need to house-clean our minds and make some serious attitude adjustments.  Along the way, we can re-discover courage honor, and truth.  We will learn industriousness, genuine hospitality, and fidelity.  Moreover, we will be filled with self-reliance, discipline  and have the perseverance to meet and finish any of life's challenges.  Food, clothing, and shelter lets us survive; we need more.  To thrive we need the above nine virtues.  Then again, maybe, a handshake can bind a contract.     

                                                   Copyright @2012 Terry Unger


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