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Nothing But A Pack Of Animals
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Nothing But A Pack Of Animals

What can I say about a guy who goes from presidential candidate to accused embezzler and adulterer in less than one year? I could say I’m happy he won’t go to jail—he’d be a bad influence on the other inmates. I could say I’m glad his wife isn’t being lied to and cheated on any more—she is now free to find an honest man to take care of her and her children (yeah, that’ll happen). I could say that it’s good to get these shady aspects of campaign finance out of the shadows and start a real discussion about how money threatens democracy.

But I won’t say those things. I’ll tell you what I did today. I read my son’s short-story earlier today—he has a wonderful talent for the written word—or perhaps the read word—I’m a master of the written word, always have been—but I can’t actually write—at least, not like he does.

I used to be a big bookworm—all I did, day in, day out, was read a book—I hated reality and wanted nothing more than to shift my consciousness into a different reality, the one inside the book.

I don’t know why I used the past tense just then—I still hate reality. Don’t get me wrong—I love my family more than life and I treasure my loving wife and our home. But home is a small part of reality, one wherein I’ve managed to get along with everyone, to understand them a little—and they, me. But once I hit the street all that cozy warmth disperses like the fog of my breath on a cold day.

And I don’t altogether hate existence—I’m just really disappointed with it. When I was young, I lived in Bethpage—everything was quiet and peaceful. I thought there would be more—and there was. But it’s always a slip further downhill, if you catch my meaning.

As we grow, people treat us less gently. One is never treated so sweetly as when one is a toddler—except when one is an infant. No harsh criticism is directed one’s way when one errs—until kindergarten (or pre-school)—and even then, only the other children are the critics. One’s teachers wait until junior high or middle school before they feel empowered to be disparaging—and by then, the kids don’t care what the teachers think. They have become entirely consumed with what the other students think of them.

In college, we get the first taste of what being an adult is like. This is accomplished quite simply—they merely have to include in the faculty some teachers and professors who delight in upbraiding and deriding the students—especially the girls. One wonders what kind of persons consider their task of teaching to include making freshman girls cry. Well, they have a purpose, I admit—someone has to be the first to treat these teenagers as coldly as a stranger on a Manhattan street, and it’s usually taken care of quite well by sadistic college teachers.

Then comes the parental nest-shove, the job interview, and the first years of working at a horribly distasteful job—by that time, we have not only been hardened to reality but we have also had the revelation that other people are feeling the same things. We start to notice differences in adult humans—the con artists, the braggarts, the greedy ones, the violent ones, the passive ones, the frightened ones…and an occasional fellow-traveler in whose eyes one can see the same interests and reactions to what is going on about them. Such people have only one shortcoming—there aren’t enough of them.

By the time we have learned the hard lessons of being married to a pregnant woman (or being a married, pregnant woman) and later, cohabitation with both the spouse and that first infant—by then, we’ve begun to wonder how much harder life can possibly get.

But we don’t go so far as to cringe whenever the telephone rings until that first kid hits public school. If it isn’t an endless stream of phone-calls from school friends, it’s calls from teachers, parents of other kids, or even a vice-principal. And every call requires interruption—the kid needs a ride to the friend’s house or to meet a friend at a mall, etc. The teachers want to schedule a meeting about your child’s progress (or lack of), the other parents want to know if you’re going to participate in a fund-raiser or class trip—and the vice-principal wants you to know why little Jayne or Johnny will be staying home from school all week—and could you come in to meet with him or her about the little one’s issues?

The worst part is watching your offspring go through the exact same progress from twinkling eyes to a dull stare—it’s just wrong. Everything is wrong—the rich get everything and the poor find out how poor the rich can make them. Our global culture is an asinine party-mix of power-grabbers, proselytizers, worry-warts, taking advantage of innocence, twisting the truth until the last drop of clarity is gone, then rubbing it in the mud until it almost seems a crime to attempt contradicting the lies.

Our bodies give us the same run-around—we start out springy and rambunctious, and we end up achy, trembling, confused, blind and deaf. What is the purpose of this? Is it that we can look back on the rutting of our puberty years as the golden age of everyone’s lifespan? So that we’re kind of relieved to die after a while because living has started posting diminished returns? None of it makes any sense.

And thought—thought is the biggest poo-sandwich of them all. One comes to an understanding of something, turns around, and Bam! There’re other people who don’t understand it at all, but think they do—and they want to waste one’s time arguing the point. The entire species of us are dumb as a box of rocks—only individuals ever reach even a little understanding—and they put themselves in danger by doing that. ‘Nobody likes a smart aleck’ may seem like a trivial little adage—but to me it is the tombstone on our race’s failure. If we can’t even have the sense to avoid self-made extinction, why should I worry that civilization is killing itself with stupidity?

There’s only one reason. Because when I was a kid, I was taught a bunch of lies and I’ve spent the rest of my life using bad information and skewed perceptions to interpret my experiences and form my goals. I yearn for the sensible days of my childhood. If we never stopped being sweet to kids, if we could only treat each other the same way we treat little kids, half the world’s problems would disappear overnight.

But this is what I mean about disappointment with reality—say we actually did start treating each other as gently as babies. Yes, many existing problems would cease—but new ones would spring up like dragon’s teeth to take their place. It’s human nature to be an animal and to refuse to see oneself as an animal. It’s human nature to think that one’s needs are just a bit more important than everyone else’s. We are doomed to remain animals—mostly because we fight so hard to drive that awareness away. If I called you an animal, you’d be insulted—when the objective response would be, ‘why are you stating the obvious?’

Which brings us back around to my first question: how does a person go from presidential candidate to censure and disgrace, and possible prison time? Well, it’s because we’re animals—John Edwards has an excellent mind for lawyering—but he has an animal’s heart and the urges of a beast, just as you and I do. The reason we treat children with kid gloves is that we recognize toddlers as the most civil and sensitive humans of us all, and we don’t want to be the one to break that—even though we know something eventually will.


Street Talk

there are times when I am in the same place Chris.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Your response (and others') makes plain that this article is being viewed as an emotional cry of despair. But it's really more of a 'Joe Friday' kinda thing ("Just the facts, Ma'am.") I often write this sort of thing as an exercise in objectivity--particularly 'uncomfortable realities'. So, this is the place I'm always in, so to speak. Thanks for reading, Shawn.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Alright, i can see that now. thanks for the clarification Chris

  
  about 9 years ago

Christopher - interesting article. On the bright side? I've discovered, after an unimaginably long string of disasters, that there truly is an inner strength. Hope you'll get a deep breath and find that resilience to start fresh despite all. You say you love to write so I'm wondering if that's your fresh start aborning right there for you!! Glad to see you contributing. Hope you'll start adding links and earning too:-)

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you kindly, Cynthia Ann. Despite my grousing I actually do give myself a fresh start every morning (I may be out of the rat race of business and politics--but I can still make a difference, even if only to myself). I regret that I will not be adding links or participating in any of the 'Wealthy Affiliates' aspect of 'Street Articles'--my amateur standing makes me much more comfortable.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I'm glad you're taking care of yourself. Okay, be comfy! (reminds me of a saying, that you've already got all you'll get in your comfort zone;-). Enjoy today! Links are not part of "Wealthy Affiliates" aspect though, they're for all. I'm not part of Wealthy Affiliate, for example.

  
  about 9 years ago

I beg your pardon, CA. Some recent comments and back-and-forths gave me the impression that many of the writers who fall within my circle were taking the whole package--the forum for both articles and commentary, plus the 30-day teaching program that begins with writing but ends with list-building and other online revenue-generation aspects of the site's overall agenda. I'm sure me and the others would like to hear about links (or did I miss an earlier series of articles of yours?) We all seem to be searching for a lever to squeeze ourselves into an online revenue source that suits our personalities.

  
  about 9 years ago

Aha! Those are great ideas for articles. Thanks Christopher - I will use your ideas as a way of answering those questions. Oh - and you may want to follow thru my links and learn more from my free List Building For Traffic. Just getting it going and put 23 mini lessons in as audios (also text:) you may enjoy. Link thru and go to the bottom; most of the links include an invite now. I'll be recording a new guide tomorrow and getting it out soon too. Just an idea! 'Tis free and I'm looking for questions to build in answers so it may fit you well right now:-) Thanks for visiting!

  
  about 9 years ago
Lemuel  

Nice article Chris. The reality in life is really something that we should face whether prepared or not. I just hope I'm teaching/training my 7-year-old daughter the correct way so that she will not depart from good things when hardship comes. I only have one daughter but I read at least 5 parenting books from different authors. I just want the best for her. Nice to hear you have a loving wife and son. :) The standard of politics in the U.S. is still good to me. When immorality is the issue, Americans react right away. And that's good. In other parts of the world, especially poor countries, many politicians are greedy and immoral but still have the face to lie about their bad behavior - the reason why poor countries are still poor. And the poor people just keep silent about it.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you, Lemuel. I actually have a wife and a daughter and a son. And they are each wonderful in different ways, as you might imagine. I think of reality in the same way as eye-contact--it is important to start out new things with a good solid look at what's in front of me, person or problem, but to not keep staring people in the eye forever. Life is wonderful to enjoy as well as to understand--reality should not be a looming vulture on one's shoulder any more than it should be ignored. I'm not sure I can agree with you about the politicians--some of them seem quite brazenly megalomaniacal or ignorant and the news folks lap it all up--the crazier or less principled the better. I more 'hope' that there are a majority of sensible adults among our legislators, rather than 'believe'--but I like your confidence. I'll consider changing to 'believe'--it would brighten my outlook, even if it left me more open to accusations of gullibility about the 'real world'. I like to keep my edge when arguing with apologists and rationalize-rs, but that lowers my 'enjoyment threshold'...

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Christopher it's true, growing up and going out into the world can be a huge learning experience. We're presented with a lot of contrast and see things along the way we may not like. I can agree with your sentiments about treating each other with the same level of care we give to children

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I hear you Penny--and boy, have I accumulated credits towards my PhD in Experience--but I did not say 'care'. I can just imagine what some politicians would do with that mandate! I said 'be sweet', which, hopefully, even a politician couldn't ruin too easily. I know you probably meant 'caring', but with public policy suggestions, it's important to be precise. Otherwise I'll end up looking like I'm writing Mein Kampf--and that's just not me (haha). Thanks for reading and commenting, Penny.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I like your article. I think this one is my favorite one of all yours. It's simple, to the point, and strangly clear. Thanks again. Cheers!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I'm glad you liked it--I had second thoughts after posting--my message, right or wrong, is an undeniable downer, the result of frustration and impatience--and even a hint of despair. I forgot to add my usual caveats: life can be fun, with the proper attitude, and the bad guys aren't destroying the world half so quickly as the 24hr-news would have us think... Thanks for reading, funnyI

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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