I’ll Lasso The Moon

I’d like to dedicate this year, and in particular this holiday season, to a guy who is the darling of Christmas movie lovers and has been one of my favorite personas in fiction.

It has been a few years since I’ve viewed the movie, but it doesn’t matter since I have it memorized.  From the inaugural scene depicting star constellations “blinking” at one another to indicate their conversation about a single soul on the planet Earth to the final wink directed heavenwards as an entire community sings Auld Lang Syne in unison, I have the entire film of It’s A Wonderful Life memorized.

Down to his unmistakable twang of phrase and deafness in ear, I adore George Bailey and all of the triumphs and struggles he owns in that film.  That might make me a bit worthy of ridicule, but I’ll take it.

Lately my life has been less than wonderful.  Yes, I know – no one ever said life would be easy or idyllic.  While I have always been an optimist, I always have at least a toe on the tundra of reality.  But even my optimism has had a tough line to tow in the face of a slew of medical issues this year, living in a home that isn’t mine, being constantly strapped for funds, trying to balance my family life against work commitments, and generally feeling like I’m losing more of me with each passing day.  While I will grant any inquiring minds that some of my issues are most definitely white people’s problems, some of them are a bit grander and formidable to my general outlook and faith in myself.

But here’s the thing:  I feel that in these past few weeks another force has been at work with the specific purpose of juxtaposition.  As badly as I feel about my current state, it seems that every day I am presented with an unmistakable “it could be worse” scenario:  families homeless during the holiday due to fires; a local father who opted to take his own son’s life and then his own; a woman losing her sister on Christmas night due to a car accident; an amazing couple missing their chance for parenthood this time because of an adoption falling through; a woman having to watch her mother struggle each day for her life without clear explanations; a man visiting an adult day care center in Marietta with a former employer whose brain and vitality are slowly losing to Alzheimer’s; a mother struggling to provide for her children while they all escape from an abusive father/husband; and on, and on, and on…

George Lassos the Moon

This day I literally bow my head in deference to the lives touched by these real-life stories, and I realize that much like my fictional friend George Bailey… I really have had (and have) a wonderful life.  There is so much to be thankful for, in spite of some hardships and chronic problems along the way, and if I have to lasso the moon or pocket some petals to get my groove back on, I’ll do what it takes.  Toe in the tundra and glass more than half full of that rosy outlook.  And yes, you can call me “George.”

Please Lower Your Knee

I don’t pretend to be a professional human being, but I play one on TV (well, home video).  Through my years on this planet I have slowly learned lessons relating to human nature and interaction, which naturally has to continually evolve since our methods of communication with our fellow man are also constantly changing.  I’m not perfect at it by any means, but I feel my wisdom increases in this area with each and every day, plus I find my blood pressure tends to be more even-keel when I apply the lessons learned.  (In case you’re wondering, this is a prologue to what I’m about to vent.)

Thus my disdain for what are known as knee-jerk reactions.  I have absolutely indulged in them, and I unequivocally admit that almost each and every time I wound up being in the wrong (or, at minimum, wishing I had put a bit more thought into it before I pounced).  More often than not, these types of responses create heightened pulse, attacks on emotions and are effectually a waste of time and energy.  Oh, and-plus-also, they hardly ever lead to an optimal solution to the issue or topic at hand; rather they perpetuate angst and almost outright warfare between opposing viewpoints and those who hold them.

In our local community, I learned of a fairly decent example of a patellar event in a situation where a retired sheriff found himself on the wrong side of the law (due entirely to his own choices and actions) and also on the wrong side of the prison bars… in a jail cell of a prison which happened to be named after him.  (Check out the story, including charges incurred by the sheriff, on the Denver Post website.)  However, be still your hearts (and knees), as this is not the reaction to which I’m referring above.

Where the community knees come into play is the fallout from the fact the building bearing his name – undoubtedly considered an honor and distinction, both for building and body, when it was bestowed – now housed a person whose name is very publicly associated with crimes related to sex and drugs.  Community outcry has now led county officials to consider changing their policies for naming buildings/sites after people.  (See the story on CBSDenver.com.)

So here’s my question:  WHY?  I’d like to hazard what seems to be the only logical guess I can come up with…

the building itself is obviously embarrassed to have to provide shelter to an alleged criminal while his name sullies its exterior facade.  I mean, look at that red brick siding… it’s obviously blushing!

OK, that was obviously tongue in cheek, but the question still stands as to why it is suddenly necessary to go to the lengths of assessing and probably changing the method of naming inanimate, uncaring and unfeeling objects after any living person (their new idea is to wait until after a person has died, ensuring no scandals come out before they decide to hang the letters permanently on a wall) simply because ONE lone tool seemed to lack the judgment and honor which prompted the facility’s new name in the first place.

What I love the most about this outcry for change where it’s hardly necessary is this:  skeletons really don’t have a statue of limitations for emerging from closets.  Whose to say anyone is ever going to be “safe” to name a building after an individual when truth could eventually come out about their indiscretions, even after they’ve been six feet under for months or years?

All I’ll say is the honorable workers in the signage industry are probably laughing their asses off at this new development; their industry just got a boost based on yet another knee-jerk reaction.

So how about we all try this (me included, as I can always use the reminder):  before we spring our knee up in ire and steamroll through a situation, possibly quashing any remotely decent ideas, policies or people along our way, let’s perhaps keep both feel firmly planted and put some honest thought into all sides and possibilities available.  THEN, when our pulse is at a steady rate and our heads are cool, determine the best response and roll with it.  I guarantee little Jiminy Cricket, Mr. Conscience, will rest better at night.