My year end wrap up is sparse this year. I made it through, no major hospital stays. A few injuries and boo-boos that linger. Santa made it to all his gigs. My agents kept me busy with auditions and voice over work. My literary agent got me a contract, let me reject the contract, helped me find two more publishers who are interested. My dog loves me more every day and my wife hasn’t locked me out of the house on purpose. All good things.
That’s kind of how the nation wraps up 2014 as well. No big devastation. No plague – well, other than Ebola. But we’re promised that can’t be a problem. Trust them, they’re from the government.
I have a personal take on how 2014 wraps and 2015 begins. Read it below, think on it, and pray for it.
Oscar is The United States of America. So is Metaka. Throw in Mark, and Svetlana. They’re the crew at my local Sam’s club. All sorts of races, all sorts of religions. All sorts of different histories. But all of them working hard to serve the customer. They don’t care if that customer is a guy who came on a boat from Vietnam in 1977, or if he’s the 17th generation in this country. They don’t care if you drive a Ford or a Volvo, only that you drive it to their store.
This crew gave me hope for our country on Monday. They hustled, found product that I’d missed, fed me a soda, and thanked me for my service. They all smiled: genuine smiles, not that fakey one I give coworkers when I wish they’d go into the cornfield. None of them seemed to mind taking orders from, or giving orders to, another coworker of a different gender/race/socio-economic class/religion/hair color, or sexual orientation. That’s how I remember my place in this joint: I’m just another guy.
There is a push to divide us in this country. Since I’m a straight, white, male I am supposed to oppress and hate others. Nah. It’s way more fun being friends with them. I like other people’s food, clothing styles, accents (I’m a linguist – I love accents) and perceptions. If you take the time to listen to, and look at, the people you deal with in your day you might just find something nice to take home with you. Good restaurant names, new ways to cook that turkey, or just a picture of their children playing some game you never saw before.
Americans are the best people in the world. Yes, we are better than all the others. Why? Because we’re the ones who got kidnapped from our ancestral homes, got booted out of places where we were riff-raff, escaped starvation and fled here on the hope we might improve our lot in life, and managed to do it with people so different from us that it boggles the mind. We invented/perfected aviation, telephony, military weaponry, stable farming and food supplies, roads second to none, education that still manages to give everyone the basics (ok, if you go to a charter school or are home schooled in some places,) and a government that knows it’s in trouble with its bosses.
We’ve managed to do that for over 200 years without any coups, no political assassinations by competing politicians, and a modicum of civility compared to others. I don’t leave the house in the morning wondering if the other tribe in my city will attack my home with machetes while I’m at work.
We have it good in The United States. But we have to keep working on it every day.
For 2015, remember that. Quit your whining. Quit assessing blame for your failings on others. Try harder to see the other side. Give a little when it doesn’t matter so that all of us win. Educate the young on how to be a productive member of this club. Love your mother.
The list goes on from there, almost to infinity. But if you just remember to work with each other like Oscar, Metaka, and Svetlana we’ll be fine down the road. Put down that rock, pick up that shovel. Let’s improve the neighborhood.
I’ve been blessed to grow this blog by a huge amount this year. I would ask that in 2015 you share it on Facebook, tell your friends at work about it, and subscribe. I’d like to reach more people this year. The growth is wonderful, but with your help my messages will go mainstream. Don’t you think that might help in our world.
Meantime, Thanks, Oscar, for great leadership at the checkouts on Monday. You gave me hope.
Happy New Year!