Tag Archives: The Important Things in Life

Pennies from Heaven

Guest post by Lisa Young

As a woman born and raised in the South, I’ll be the first to tell you that the spirits of our loved ones are never far away. Whether they visit in the night, the way my husband’s dead relatives tend to do, or whether they leave a symbol of their presence, such as a penny from Heaven, we always know they are with us.

Last year saw the passing of my father. He was my rock and meant everything to me. I was lost without him. The heartache from losing my father, along with my son leaving for boot camp was almost more than I could handle. My days were long, and my nights were even longer.

My son’s graduation was December 19th, our big extended-family Christmas party was December 20th and my 50th birthday, despite my best efforts to ignore it, was fast approaching. I hoped our busy schedule would soften the sharp edges of what was ahead of me – my first Christmas without my father. The sadness was unbearable

It was then that my niece Ashley, who had also lost her father, told me about her pennies from Heaven. She told me that she believes that the random pennies she finds, sometimes in the oddest and most unlikely of places, are her father’s way of letting her know that he is still with her. This brings comfort to her, and also to her children. They love thinking about their Pawpaw every time they find a penny.

My father worked for the Coca Cola Company and for years drove a big 18-wheel Coke truck. Every time I see one of those big trucks on the highway I think about him and wonder if it’s his way of giving me a sign that he is with me.

Then one night during my evening prayers I asked my father if he could send me a penny the way Ashley’s father sends them to her. But as the weeks passed and no penny showed up my hope began to wane. Maybe my father’s way of speaking to me would just have to remain with the big Coke trucks and not with pennies.

My penny from Heaven

Then it happened. I came downstairs on Father’s Day with a heavy feeling in my heart knowing that it was going to be a very long day. There on my kitchen floor was a bright, shiny 2015 penny. I knew then that my dad was showing me that he is still with me. It was exactly what I needed. There on the floor was my penny from Heaven.

So when you find your penny from Heaven remember that heads up or tails up doesn’t matter because it’s not about luck. When you find your penny remember that it’s about love, the love you have for that special person whose memory you hold close in your heart. Let your penny serve as a reminder that the spirits of our loved ones are never far away, and that oftentimes they will make their presence known just when we need them the most.

Happy Father’s Day

America is currently facing many challenges. The economy, joblessness, war, terrorism, the list goes on and on. If you’re watching the news and paying attention, you know all about it. But there is another crisis facing America that doesn’t get much attention. That crisis is the decline of the American Father.

According to a recent post on The Art of Manliness, over 50% of Millennials are raising their children in single-mother homes. Fifty years ago less than 10% of children were raised in single-mother homes. Somewhere along the way, fathers were voted out of office as the head of the family. For many of them, it was of their own doing.

It’s plain to see what the absence of fathers is doing to our society. Again, watch the news and you can see it first-hand. And it’s not just fathers but men in general. Manliness seems to be on the decline in America. Nowadays you’re much more likely to find a man that owns a set of golf clubs than you are to find one that owns a set of tools. And not only is manliness in short supply, but gentlemanly behavior is as well.

A child benefits greatly from having a father in his or her life. A young girl with a good father is given an example of how good a man can be, and will often set about trying to marry a man that has the qualities of her father. A young boy with a good father is given the template for the kind of man he should strive to become. It’s a win-win situation. Young boys with good fathers often become good fathers themselves.

So to all you fathers out there who have chosen not to run off and abandon your children, take pride in the fact that you are a member of a select group of men in America, one that is dwindling by the day. If you have a son, pick up a wrench and teach him how to fix things so that he will never have to pay another man to do something that he should know how to do himself.

If you have a daughter, then treat her mother with love and respect so that she will see firsthand how a good husband should act. Trust me, she’s watching and will remember what she sees when she grows up and it comes time for her to pick her own husband. My wife had an excellent father and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t see the results of the influence he had on her growing up.

America doesn’t need more golfers, CEOs, entrepreneurs or politicians. It has plenty of them already. What America needs are better fathers. So to the dads out there that have chosen not to run off, here’s to you. Happy Father’s Day.

Where would America be without you?

Live Long and Prosper

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Leonard Nimoy yesterday. Forever to be known as Mr. Spock, he was one of my biggest childhood heroes.

I didn’t start watching Star Trek until the mid-seventies, but that didn’t matter. Once I saw the first episode I was hooked for life. I’ve been a Trekkie ever since. Despite loving all of the characters in the show, my favorite character by far was Mr. Spock. As a wide-eyed twelve year old sitting in front of the TV, I had never seen anyone like him.

One of the best things about Star Trek was the interaction between Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. McCoy loved to spar with Spock and try to rile him into showing his human side, but it was the “bromance” between Kirk and Spock that took center stage in the show.

My best friend and I were consumed by Star Trek and had a bromance of our own that mirrored Kirk and Spock’s. We greeted each other every day with Spock’s trademark split finger salute while deadpanning “live long and prosper”. Then we would rehash the previous night’s episode, discussing at length whether or not the Klingons would win the next battle and take over the universe, or if the Enterprise would make the mistake of crossing into the Romulan neutral zone never to be seen again.

I was a model builder back in those days and I built every single plastic Star Trek model available. Hanging from the ceiling in my room were models of the Enterprise, a Klingon battle cruiser, the shuttlecraft and a Romulan Bird of Prey. I even built models of Spock’s Phaser, Tricorder and Communicator. I carried the Communicator to school with me and on more than one occasion tried to raise the Enterprise on a hailing frequency from the boy’s room at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school in Daytona Beach. I never could get the Enterprise to answer and I always attributed this to the fact that the Romulans had to be jamming all the frequencies.

Courtesy of CBS

The best way to live long and prosper is to find out what you are good at, and then find out what you enjoy doing. If you’re blessed they will be the same thing. Leonard Nimoy was blessed in this way. He brought a character to life that has endured for generations, one whose face is instantly recognizable whether it be on Earth or Rigel VII. He gave young boys like my myself someone to look up to in an era where we were very short on heroes. He gave the smart kids a reason to be proud because as Mr. Spock he made being intelligent look very cool.

Mr. Spock was a hero to my generation. He was the ultimate bad-ass scientist. May his memory live long and prosper.

Rockin’ The Hilfiger

Paradise…

When I was a young I lived two blocks from the ocean in the heart of Daytona Beach, Florida. It was as close to paradise as a young boy could get without a girl being involved. But even though I spent my youth surfing, skateboarding and manning the jib sail of my neighbor’s 16 foot Hobie catamaran, none of it was enough to save me from the fate that awaited me when my wife and I took our teenage son to the mall to buy him some clothes for his upcoming senior year of high school.

It was on that day that I found out I was rockin’ the Hilfiger.

Anyone who has teenage children knows what a traumatic experience it is for them to be seen in public with their parents. We are just so uncool that it ruins their image to be seen with us. What they fail to realize is that we weren’t always so uncool.

So there I was standing in a clothing store at the mall, a surfing-themed clothing store if you can believe that, when a young salesperson walked up and spoke to me. His tone was one of unbridled amazement.

“Dude… I see you’re rockin’ the Hilfiger!” he said as he stared at my shirt, his eyes full of wonder.

“I beg your pardon?” I said.

“You’re rockin’ the Hilfiger,” he repeated. Then he reached up and touched the sleeve of my shirt like he thought it was made out of some sort of magic cloth.

“Nice shirt,” he said. “But we don’t sell anything like that in here. Can I help you with something else? Maybe something more stylish, like Neff or DC?” I could tell he was trying his best not to laugh.

“Neff? DC?” I said. “What?”

The kid just smiled and shook his head. In his eyes he knew I wasn’t nearly cool enough to understand his language, or to wear Neff or DC clothing. And like most kids his age, he was convinced that his generation had invented the surfing and skateboarding lifestyle. He had no idea that I am member of the Stacy Peralta generation, or that surfing legends Gerry Lopez and Tom Curren were my heroes when I was growing up in Daytona Beach. Well, them and Luke Skywalker but that’s another story.

So I decided to have a little fun and give the kid a run for his money.

Sex wax“No thanks on the Neff and DC,” I said. “But I’ll take a cake of coconut Sex Wax. And I could use another pair of Quicks and a new leash. I broke my last one riding the outside during a huge swell at Ponce.”

The kid looked at me dumbfounded. “What?”

“Sex Wax. I’m sure you guys sell it. I mean, I see surfboards hanging on the walls. Don’t tell me you don’t sell Sex Wax.”

“Sex what?” was all he could manage.

“Wax,” I said.

“Um, I don’t think we sell that,” said the poor kid. Then he turned and walked away, outwitted by a middle-aged father of two wearing a Hilfiger shirt.

There is only one thing better in the world… Photo by Stan Shebs

Even though I grew up at the beach and surfed almost every day of my life during my teenage years, had a year-round tan and a subscription to Surfer magazine, none of it was enough to save me from the passage of time.

I have long since hung up my Rip Curl wetsuits, sold my Logan Earth Ski skateboard and my Gordon and Smith thruster. And I haven’t sailed a reach on a catamaran in thirty five years.

The passage of time is a funny thing. Nothing stays the same. Wise adults know this. What the poor kid in the clothing store didn’t realize is that one day he will probably be standing in a mall with his son shopping for clothes. And he might even be wearing a Hilfiger shirt while he’s doing it.

And I can only hope that when that time comes he realizes there are worse things in life.

The Electric Hog

The streets of America are about to become a lot quieter. Harley Davidson has announced that they will soon bring an electric motorcycle to the market.

An electric Hog? Say it ain’t so.

Nice bike, but still… Photo by Harley Davidson

If you had any doubts that America is losing its Dick and Balls then this should clear it up for you. One of the most recognizable symbols of the American road is the Harley Davidson motorcycle. The sound of a Harley says one thing – American Dick and Balls. None of the other bikes on the road even come close to it. To replace that classic, throaty sound with the wheezing, high-pitched whine of an electric motor seems almost criminal.

And to make matters worse, Harley has announced that the electric Hog will only have a range of about 100 miles per charge. Who wants to ride to Sturgis or Daytona stopping every 100 miles for a charge?

The first thing I noticed when I saw a photo of the electric Hog was that it has a seat built for only one person. This makes perfect sense. No self-respecting woman would be caught riding on the back of an electric motorcycle. And besides, carrying the ole’ lady on the back would probably drop the range to 50 miles per charge. You can’t even leave town on mileage that low. Might as well just take the Prius.

Harley says they’re after the younger male and female riders who might be open to the idea of an electric motorcycle. Good luck to them. These poor kids are already riding around in battery cars so selling them an electric scoot to park next to their Prius might not be such a hard thing to do. Just make sure it has an Ipod jack.

And I hope Harley remembers to put a cup holder on the electric Hog. Gotta have something to hold that raspberry caramel latte.

American Zombieland

In the popular TV series The Walking Dead they call the zombies “Walkers”. You can apply the same term to most of the cell phones users in today’s America. There is little difference between the zombies from the TV series who shuffle about aimlessly and the millions of Americans that shuffle, stand, and drive about aimlessly while thumbing their cell phones. Welcome to the American Zombieland.

Zombieland…

This past Friday while driving home from work I had to stop for road construction. The flagman was standing on the edge of the road holding a pole with a stop sign on the top of it. He was holding the pole with one hand while thumbing his cell phone with the other. After a few minutes he rotated the sign to say “slow” and then immediately returned to his text conversation with his BFF.

The other day at work I walked into the restroom and saw a guy standing at the urinal. He was holding his crank in one hand and his cell phone in the other. He was actually taking a piss and texting at the same time. I can just imagine the message – “Taking a piss now. LOL!”

Last weekend my wife and I went out to our favorite pizza joint for dinner. We live in a college town and this particular restaurant is frequented by college students. As I sat there with my wife I glanced over at a young guy and girl sitting at a table behind us. Both of them were sitting there eating pizza and pecking on their cell phones. I don’t think they said three words to each other during their entire meal. If they had sex later that night I’m sure they sent texts to all their friends. “We’re doing it doggy style! OMG!”

I commute about 80 miles roundtrip on the Interstate to get to work each day. I drive a pickup truck and I can see down into all the cars as they go by. You’d be surprised at how many people pass me going 75 mph while texting on their cell phones, drifting from one side of the road to the other completely oblivious to their surroundings. But to be fair, in my years on the Interstate I’ve also seen people doing other strange things while driving. I once saw a young girl playing a small battery-powered drum kit that was zip-tied to her steering wheel. She was steering with her knees while playing the little drum kit with two drumsticks. I’m not lying. I actually saw this once on I-95. I’ve seen women applying makeup, guys shaving with electric razors, and other guys jacking off as they drive down the highway so I guess adding cell phones to the mix isn’t that big of a deal.

I’ve lost count of how many times a teenage girl has walked right into my grocery cart at the Walmart because she was so engaged in a text conversation that she wasn’t watching where she was going. I’ve seen teenage boys texting while skateboarding and even saw a neighbor of mine texting while mowing his lawn.

Earlier this afternoon I was sitting at my local Ford dealership getting my oil changed. On my left sat two elderly gentlemen, both wearing ball caps. They had to be in their 70’s. They sat there for over an hour having a good, old-fashioned conversation about topics that ranged from fishing to the national news. On my right sat a young couple, a guy and a girl, probably in their 20’s. Each had a cell phone and for the entire hour they sat there staring into their palms like zombies never saying more than a few words to each other. Now I ask you, who do you think came away from that hour feeling better? My money is on the two old guys.

I’d like to say that the texting problem is confined to our young people but it isn’t. Maybe the two elderly men at the Ford dealership were just anomalies. A few days ago I was driving along behind another pickup truck when the truck slowly drifted over into the grass along the side of the road. The driver corrected, only to drift back into the grass a few seconds later. At the next stoplight I saw that he was not a teenager, but rather a middle-aged man with a bib hat, full beard and yes, an Iphone. At the stoplight he was holding the Iphone while resting his hands on his beer gut, texting at a rate that would have made any junior high tween blush with envy.

The last time I took my wife to see a movie, I counted over a dozen people thumbing on their cell phones. Is the latest Facebook post that important? What in the hell is everyone talking about? Who knew that the only thing Americans really wanted was a way to stay in constant contact with each other? How did we survive before the invention of cell phones? How did we ever make it through the day when we weren’t able to share with our friends every pointless thought that crossed our minds?

Years ago I had a neighbor that was vehemently anti-gun. He refused to own a firearm to protect himself or his family. But he carried a cell phone with him everywhere he went because the thought of missing an important phone call terrified him. But the thought of a burglar coming into his house at night didn’t.

Facebook is now mentioned in over half of the divorce cases filed in America. Does anyone really need to be told that finding that old high school flame on Facebook might not be such a good idea? Sometimes the people in our past are best left in the past where they belong.

Cell phones are destroying our society and turning us all into Walkers. Cell phones and the Internet are eating away our relationships with the people that are important in our lives, replacing them with a virtual world that is rarely centered in reality. They are destroying our ability to disconnect from the outside world and enjoy quiet, private time with the ones we love.

Using our cell phones, we are slowly turning our country in the American Zombieland.

 

 

The Decline of Dick and Balls in America

Yesterday I was sitting at a stoplight in my truck when I was presented with a stark example of what is wrong with American culture today. What I saw reminded me once again why collectively as a nation we are entering our twilight years.

Sitting next to me at the stoplight was a dude on a Harley. He was your typical old-school Harley rider – craggy looks, mutton chops, an open-faced helmet that didn’t cover his ears, tattoos, and more than a few scars on his arms probably earned from years of bar fights. Sitting on the back of his Harley was an attractive woman wearing cutoff shorts and a tank top. The guy was a perfect example of old school American Dick and Balls. And his reward for it was sitting on the back of his Harley.

Behind the Harley rider was a guy in a battery car. He was riding alone. I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew why.

Dick and Balls is on the decline in America. Turn on the TV if you want proof. There you’ll be treated to an endless parade of “tough” NFL players crying like babies at their retirement ceremonies, or some poor square-jawed Handsome Dan with tears running down his face because he just got sent home by the Bachelorette.

Expand the example of the Harley rider and the Prius driver to our nation and you’ll have a better understanding of why America is slowly descending into chaos. The reason is simple – we live in a country where Dick and Balls is on the decline. We have become a listless, weak society led by listless and weak politicians, some of whom cry when they get in front of a camera.

Anyone who knows anything about human nature knows that weakness invites violence. Our society is just one natural disaster away from total lawlessness. Anyone who doesn’t believe this didn’t watch the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Even some of the police were looting the stores in New Orleans. Imagine being a woman in a situation like that with no one to protect you.

I once read a review about the movie The 300 that said the majority of the viewers of that movie were women, and that many of them returned to see the movie more than once. The women interviewed for the article said that it wasn’t because the Spartan warriors were ripped and well-muscled, but rather because of the theme of the movie – strong men defending their nation and their women. A man that thinks a woman wants anything else is just fooling himself, and probably sleeping alone while doing it.

A very attractive woman once said to me, “the last thing a woman wants is another pussy. We’ve already got one of those.” That just about sums it all up.

The young women of today’s America have a hard road ahead of them as they try to find a decent man in a sea of metrosexual males that cry on demand, refuse to own firearms, and ride around in battery cars sipping pumpkin lattes from Starbucks.

If you’re one of those guys, ask yourself this – is it really worth taking a punch on your man card just to save a few bucks on gas?

The Rising Cost of College Tuition and the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

With the economy the way it is I know everyone is looking for a bargain. I’m no different so when the latest college brochure came in the mail I just had to open it before I gave it to my son. After all, everyone knows what bargain college tuition is nowadays and I was certain the brochure would reflect this.

Fat chance.

The brochure, from a private liberal arts college in the little town of Jerkwater, USA, confirmed to me that of all the things that can be found on a college campus nowadays, a bargain is not one of them.

Let’s start with the cost. For the bargain price of $160,000 dollars, which includes room and board, a student can attend this college for four years where he or she will get to experience, according to the brochure, a “transformative” core curriculum during their first year.

Transformative? I’ll bet it is. The brochure contains a list of the classes in this so-called “transformative” core curriculum for incoming freshmen. Actually, the brochure doesn’t use the word “freshmen”. I think that word is now politically incorrect on most college campuses. But I digress.

So let’s go down the list of “transformative” classes contained in the brochure.

The first core curriculum class is entitled Ghosts, Psychics, and Astrology: The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks. I wish I could venture a guess at what sort nonsense is covered in a college class with “rubber ducks” in the title, but I’m reasonably sure that whatever it is it is not going to help a graduate get a job. At $160,000 for four years, that’s $20,000 a semester. That means that the rubber duck class will set a student, or their beleaguered parents, back about $5000. What a bargain!

Rubber ducks
Photo by gaetanlee via Wikimedia Commons

Another class on the list is called Myth. Yep, Myth. So a budding young adult, fresh off the launch pad of high school, will have the honor of taking a class called Myth if he or she chooses this college. Perhaps the class explores the myth that a degree containing a class called Myth is worth $160,000 and twenty years of student loan payments.

I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and I work in the field of nuclear power. Just the other day we had a myth problem at work. It sure would have been nice to have a sharp college graduate educated in myths to help us out. Sadly, all we had to rely on was our knowledge of the science of welding, which, by the way is not covered in the transformative core curriculum of this college.

Welding it together

But hold on, the list gets better.

The next class on the list is called “Food and Place”. Maybe they teach the kids where the cafeteria is and where they can find a place to sit, hence “food” and “place”. If I know college students, a better name for this class would be “Food and Drink” with an emphasis on Drink.

Another class listed in the brochure is,

Controversy and the Theater

Controversy and the Theater? I pity the graduate that goes out in today’s dog eat dog economy without a firm knowledge of the controversy that exists in the modern theater.

There is also a class on the list called Self-Motivated Learning. I would imagine it involves being motivated to learn. Years ago a neighbor of mine solved the motivation problem when his daughter went off to college. He told her that if she earned a C or below in a class then she would have to reimburse him the cost of that class once she graduated and got a job. As a result, she was very self-motivated and did her best to earn A’s and B’s. Perhaps my neighbor should teach the class on self-motivated learning.

And last but not least on the core curriculum list is,

Motown: Music and Meaning

Now to be honest, I love the old Motown music. But I wonder if the professor will tell the kids in this class that Motown, as Detroit was often called, is now an bankrupt urban wasteland full of unemployed people, abandoned houses and feral dogs. Motown was once a hotbed of good music and car manufacturing. Now it is a sad testament to the politics of greed and corruption.

There was a time in this country when just about any college degree would allow you to get your foot in the door at a good company where you could build a future for yourself. Those days are gone. Nowadays about the only thing $160,000 college degree full of classes about Rubber Ducks and Motown will earn you is a ticket right back to the bedroom you slept in while in high school.

Not to mention twenty years of student loan payments.

Flea Market Salvation

If you’re one of those tortured Red Pill souls like me that is paying attention to what is going on in America then I’m sure you’re probably getting to the point where you feel like you just can’t take it anymore.

You’re looking for a way out of being so informed. Go ahead, admit it. Like they say, the first step in solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem. You’re probably flirting with the idea of taking the Blue Pill and just saying the hell with it. After all, any Blue Pill taker will tell you that ignorance is bliss.

If you’re a Red Pill taker then you know that it’s torture to be an informed citizen in America. You keep asking yourself wouldn’t it be much easier to just let it go and become a low-information voter. It’s okay, you can admit it. You’re among friends. I know you’re thinking how nice it would be, how peaceful you would feel if you just turned it all off and stopped paying attention. In other words, take the Blue Pill.

But no, you say. I can’t do that! My country needs me to pay attention! It’s my duty! And if I just keep paying attention, voting, writing my senators and my representatives then they will eventually listen and things will turn around in America. If I just keep sending those emails then one day the politicians will start to tell the truth.

Red Pill citizens know better.

Deep down inside I’m sure you’re thinking it’s a fool’s errand to pay attention, and if you just had something that would prove it to you once and for all then you would gladly take the Blue Pill, unplug yourself from reality and stop paying attention. I know how you feel. You’re looking for the preverbal “a ha!” moment. That’s the moment when you will decide that’s it’s just not worth paying attention anymore and that you’re just going to take the Blue Pill and go live in the rabbit hole.

You’re looking for salvation.  If so, then read on because I’m going to set you free, fellow citizen.

Over the Memorial Day weekend I finally received my welcome dose of salvation and I found it in a most unlikely place. And I wouldn’t in good conscience be able call myself an American if I didn’t share this salvation with you.

So where did I find salvation? You’ll never guess. I didn’t find it at a church, online, or from the mouth of one of the many silver-tongued devils that currently represent us in Washington. Nope. I found salvation in a much simpler place.

I found salvation at a flea market.

While visiting my in-laws in North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend, we took a day trip to a flea market close to the little town of Faith, NC. While driving through that little idyllic town I saw a window sign that was a harbinger of things to come. But after seeing the flea market, I wasn’t even sure that the advice given on the window sign would be enough to save America.

Good Advice from a window in Faith, NC.

After we parked the car in the flea market’s gravel parking I took a look around me. We were surrounded by plenty of expensive luxury cars as well as a number of old beaters. This told me that the patrons of the flea market represented people from all levels of the economic food chain. Yep, by the looks of the cars in the parking lot there were just as many rich folk as there were po’ folk shopping at the flea market.

As we strolled into the flea market the first thing I saw was a small snack bar. The item at the top of the menu was “tongue”.  It didn’t say beef tongue, lamb tongue, pig tongue or even human tongue. Just “tongue”. Who in the hell eats tongue? It’s served on a stick, by the way.

There is a better chance that I will pilot the next Space Shuttle mission than eat tongue, especially tongue served at a flea market. Oh, I forgot. We don’t have a Space Shuttle anymore. That was old America. New America can’t put a man or woman into orbit. Sorry. But you get my point. And just a word of warning – if any of you are thinking about eating tongue at a flea market, I can promise you it will lead to gastrointestinal distress.

As I wandered down the long isles and looked into the booths I was amazed at the products that were offered for sale. The first booth I stopped at sold old cans of motor oil and used underwear.  You heard me right. I meant to say “used”. The motor oil wasn’t used, just the skivvy drawers. The motor oil was old but it wasn’t used, because, you know, who would bother with used motor oil. Apparently it’s a different story when it comes to skivvies.

The next booth sold Christian-themed T-shirts and bongs. Yep, bongs. And they also sold Bibles written in both English and Spanish for two bucks apiece. Pray and get high was the obvious message.

Another booth sold deodorant, nose rings and Slim Jims. And if you were so inclined, they also had a jar of pickled eggs floating in pink water for fifty cents apiece. I hear pickled eggs go great with tongue on a stick.

While walking around the flea market I saw more ankle tattoos and baby strollers than I could count. I know love is blind, but damn there was some ugly love at that flea market. And by a rough count of baby strollers, that ugly love is reproducing at an astounding rate.

Near the end of one isle was a booth that sold baby blankets, hair care products, brass knuckles and lots of knives. Being a Marine, I love a good sticking knife as much as the next guy but I wouldn’t expect to find one on sale next to a pile of baby blankets.

And then there were the restrooms… You haven’t flirted with death until you use the restroom at a flea market, especially on a hot day. Think of the smell of ammonia and roadkill. I knew things were bad because the Grim Reaper was standing by the door dressed up as an old man wearing a cowboy hat. He was eating tongue on a stick.

My salvation came near the end of our visit to the flea market. After looking at all the booths and deciding that I didn’t need a Slim Jim or a good sticking knife, brass knuckles, a piece of unfinished furniture or a ceramic whatnot, much less an order of tongue on a stick, it dawned on me. I looked at the people around me and that’s when I found salvation. By the looks of the crowd, what they were buying and what they were eating, I knew right then that paying attention in America really is a fool’s errand and that the argument for taking the Blue Pill is strong.

Even though I found salvation at the flea market amidst the tie-dyed T-shirts and velvet portraits of Jesus, any Red Pill citizen will tell you there is no going back once you have taken the Red Pill. The Red Pill stands for the truth, no matter how painful it is, and you cannot unlearn the truth. Once you know it, it will keep you awake at night.

For those of you still sitting on the fence with a Blue Pill in one hand and a Red Pill in the other, I wish I could honestly make the argument to you that you should take the Red Pill. But after my trip to the flea market I just don’t know anymore. After all, if there are people out there eating tongue on a stick and wearing nose rings while pushing a baby stroller, I’m not sure that even the Red Pill can save us.

D-Day and the Greatest Generation

On this night seventy years ago my grandfather strapped a parachute to his back, climbed aboard a plane and flew across the English Channel to the skies above Nazi-occupied France. Then he jumped out of the plane into the darkness. He was twenty-one years old. His actions that night, coupled with the bloodshed that followed the next day during the D-Day invasion, saved the world from the unspeakable horror of Adolf Hitler’s Germany. My grandfather, and all the other soldiers on the plane with him that night, knew that their chances of survival were slim. But they had guts, and they knew their sacrifice was worth it. My grandfather’s generation knew evil when they saw it, and they knew what had to be done to stop it.

U.S. Army Airborne Troops on June 5, 1944

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, we should all take a moment to thank the remaining veterans for their service and their sacrifice on that bloody day. And we should also apologize to them. Yes, you read that right. We should apologize to them.

Why should we do that, you ask? Why should we apologize?

We should all apologize to the D-Day veterans because collectively as a nation we have pissed away everything they fought and died for.

Say what you will about all of the wars since World War II, but there is little doubt that World War II was the most righteous war that we have ever fought. Never has so much evil walked the face of the earth. The American servicemen and women that defeated Adolf Hitler and lived to tell about it came back to America and prospered. And for a time, America prospered. But look at us now.

The great city of Detroit that once built all the trucks, Jeeps and tanks that were used to defeat the German army is now an urban wasteland full of abandoned homes and factories. Feral dogs wander the neighborhoods where the workers used to live and people are fleeing the city in droves. No one in their right mind wants to live there.

Many of the steel mills in the city of Pittsburgh, like their auto factory counterparts in Detroit, now sit abandoned. The nation that once built a navy so mighty that it sank the German and Japanese fleets can now barely make enough steel to build a bridge. When we finally have to replace the Golden Gate Bridge we’ll probably have to buy the steel from China.

The textile mills that once produced millions of uniforms for our troops during World War II now sit abandoned as well. Try to find a shirt made in America. I’m from the part North Carolina where many of these mills are located, and every time I travel back there to visit family I am dismayed when I see the boarded-up mills. It is a sad, sad sight, let me tell you.

A German tank commander was quoted after the war saying that the German Panzer tank was far superior to the American Sherman tank, but since there were a hundred Shermans to every Panzer the superiority of the Panzer was of little benefit. Not only did we outfight the Germans, we outproduced them as well. America was the arsenal of democracy. Now we are the arsenal of excuses.

And what about us, the people of America? What have we become? What have we done with the freedom earned for us on D-Day?

We have never been so divided.

If someone had told those brave souls crawling up the beach at Normandy that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be at each other’s throats over everything from politics, illegal immigration, national debt or whether or not the government can listen to our phone conversations, does anyone honestly think that those kids would have still charged into the German machinegun fire? Of course they would have. Their only mistake that day was assuming that we would one day know what to do with the freedom that they were fighting and dying for.

The Definition of Courage

Contrary to the wars we fight today, during World War II the entire nation was in on the effort. If you couldn’t serve in the military you worked in a defense plant. Even the Boy Scouts collected old tires for the war effort. People sacrificed, did without and the nation was united in the effort to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. As for the war we are fighting today, most Americans couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map and have no idea who our enemy is. And of the people that do know who our enemy is many of them show sympathy for him. They blame America for the actions of America’s enemies.

We have used the freedom earned by the bloodshed of D-Day to become lazy as a nation. Our teenagers don’t work, our college grads live in the basement, our national debt is approaching 20 trillion dollars, our cities are going bankrupt, our politics are poisoned beyond repair, and most of our jobs have been shipped overseas. We believe the lies we are told by our politicians, convincing ourselves that the other side of the political isle is to blame for all the problems. We do all of this while walking around like zombies texting on our cellphones.

I am a Marine Corps veteran. I spent four years behind a howitzer to do my small part to keep this nation free. My sacrifices pale in comparison to the sacrifices made by my grandfather and his fellow soldiers when they jumped into the darkness on June 5th, 1944. I have always believed that America is the last, best hope on Earth for freedom. If we fall, then eternal darkness will ensue. Think about that the next time you vote.

There is a sign in many of the military cemeteries where World War II soldiers are buried that reads:

When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow we gave our today.

If you really want to pay tribute to the D-Day veterans, do something with the tomorrow that they fought and died to preserve for you. Stop complaining about what you don’t have. Stop believing that someone else owes you a living. Stop believing the lies that come out of Washington. Pick yourself up and remind yourself that the freedom you have was bought and paid for in blood seventy years ago.

If those that fought and died on D-Day believed that they were dying for our tomorrow, then the least we can do is use our tomorrow to save this great nation called America. Because regardless of whether or not some people believe it, America really is the last, best hope for freedom on this planet.

And if you’re one of those people that think America is the problem,  just keep on doing what you’re doing and you’ll find out soon enough just how dark a world without America will be.