More Jackson County Opinions...

OCTOBER 22, 2003


Column

By:Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 22, 2003

Is it negative, or positive?
Preamble: If husbands and wives, who love each other, can’t get along, just think what it’s like for all the unmarried folks out there, who don’t even like one another.
* * *
Do you hate anybody? I don’t hate anybody, either.
Do you love everybody? I love everybody, too.
Hey, you and I deserve a medal! We are the only two people alive who don’t hate anybody and love everybody.
The rest of the people in the world are fighting like cats and dogs. Why is that? Must be because they hate everybody and don’t love anybody.
Read the newspaer. Tune in to talk radio. Watch the news on TV. Listen to rap music. Go to a movie. You’ll see I’m telling the truth.
Even people who ought to be in the closest, most intimate, lovey-dovey relationship are battling it out. I’m talking about husbands and wives.
He’s slept on the couch for five nights. She hasn’t spoken to him in four.
He fixes his breakfast. She fixes hers.
She sits down in the recliner and starts reading the paper.
He snatches his truck keys and heads for the door.
Hey, Buddy! Wait up! You don’t have to go to work for another hour. I’m fixin’ to tell you how to get back on track with the old lady. Excuse me, your beautiful, loving bride.
Walk over to her recliner. Without saying a word, throw your arms around her neck, lift her face to yours, and plant a great big old juicy kiss smack dab in the middle of her mouth.
Without saying a word, go to work.
When you get home this evening, things will get better. Or worse.
I’m betting she’ll be waiting at the door with open arms and baited breath. I could be wrong, of course.
If she’s still sitting in the recliner reading the paper, repeat the great big old juicy kiss exercise.
And hang in there. Love never gives up. Read 1 Corinthians: 13.
Before long you’ll be back in the bedroom. She’ll start talking again, and . . . .
And all of a sudden there’ll be four people who don’t hate anybody and love everybody.
Ain’t love grand!
* * *
OK, so it’s not that simple. It takes more than a kiss. Maybe we need to get to the bottom of how we got in this mess in the first place.
Could it be we’ve been reading, watching and listening to too much stuff? (Stuff: “worthless material, useless objects; refuse; silly words and thoughts.”)
Our role models (movie, music, TV celebrities and professional athletes) have screwed up so often and been written about so much that neither they nor we are embarrassed anymore.
Our politicians and talk radio gurus have spewed so much hate that we’ve come to hate them. If you are a liberal Democrat, you are trash. If you are a conservative Republican, you are trash. Most of us are one or the other. It’s easy to hate trash. Therefore, we hate ourselves.
So it has come down to this: We can’t get along with others because we can’t get along with ourselves. Because we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love others. You can no more share something you don’t have than you can come back from some place you haven’t been.
Yes, it is so easy to blame the media for this mess. In her “Grace Notes” column in the October 11th issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lorraine V. Murray wrote: “Sadly, sinners make headlines more than saints. A suicide bomber who kills a cluster of innocent bystanders, a stepfather who murders a baby, and a rock star who beds a bevy of women become overnight celebrities.”
And the media are more than happy to feed us this garbage. Why? Because we gobble up garbage like it was caviar. Garbage in, garbage out. Don’t blame the media. Blame us. What we read, watch and listen to has a way of messing with our minds.
I don’t believe in Buddhism, but what Buddha said makes sense. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”
That’s not much different from something else I read somewhere. “So thinks a man in his heart, so is he.”
* * *
I didn’t know where I was going with this when I started. (Dr. F.D. Mellon, my English professor, would not like that.) Now that I’m almost finished, I don’t know where I’ve been, or where I am.
Some of you will see this epistle as totally negative. Some of you may think it’s very positive. I don’t have a clue, which it is.
The best thing we can do, I guess, is hang in there, remember that love never gives up, and read 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.
Virgil Adams is former editor and owner of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column

Comments From The O-Zone

By: Oscar Weinmeister
The Jackson Herald
October 22, 2003

Lessons From The Laundromat
Not long after college I was living in the 4th and Gill Neighborhood in Knoxville, earning about enough money to eat beans and rice on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 101 experiments with potatoes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends. Out of that period, food-wise, I’ve retained a strong affection for red meat and other things I’d budgeted out like milk for my coffee. I also like to think I perfected a recipe for homemade hashbrowns.
One of the other amenities I couldn’t afford then was a washing machine for my clothes. You can also safely assume that when it came to doing the laundry, my tendencies as a bachelor complemented my need for frugality. I would routinely wait until my piles approximated five loads at the laundromat down the street, then I’d collect my stacks of quarters and drive the four blocks to spend an afternoon scooping carefully measured portions of granular soap.
Frankly, another reason I procrastinated where laundry was concerned was because of a minor amount of unease concerning the clientele I encountered at that laundromat. Sandwiched between our increasingly remodeled neighborhood and the Salvation Army Store and Shelter were a halfway house called the 5th Avenue Motel, various and sundry apartment buildings of a questionable nature, some railroad tracks where people occasionally fell asleep, and the laundromat, sporting black metal bars over its windows.
I was a bit startled one Saturday when a guy came in without an apparent basket of any kind and asked me if he could borrow a quarter, showing me his two. I couldn’t spare one, since I had carefully added up all the 75’s for washing and 50’s for drying so that I’d be able to return without any unfinished projects on my hands. He got one from someone else without too much trouble, proceeded to remove the vast majority of his clothes, and placed them in the washing machine for a good healthy cleansing.
Another time I brought a book and would have made it through a hundred or so pages were it not for a woman and her grown son, who kept striking up conversations with me, almost out of desperation for human contact with someone other than each other, I guessed. This wouldn’t have been too much out of the ordinary, except that she repeated everything he said, as in:
“We’re from Indiana, just passin’ through, my mom and me.”
“He says we’re from Indiana, passin’ through,” his mom and him.”
She gave me an earnest, “Listen to this” look every time she said anything, and there wasn’t a thing he said that she didn’t follow that same way. The dutiful son carried on with his conversation like she was participating normally. I had a little trouble adjusting my antennae to the echo, but I remember finding common ground with him by discovering we’d both been chased at one time by a Doberman Pinscher and had lived to tell about it.
“That dog tore the bottom half of my jeans off.”
“Says the dog tore the bottom half of his jeans off.”
When my clothes were folded I wished them well, and I remember coming away from the laundromat thinking they were nice people, even if they were a bit off. On the way home, I thought to myself that I should do my laundry more often so I could meet more interesting people, and then, after about another half hour of reflection, my roommate and I thought better of it and started pricing washing machines.
Oscar Weinmeister is assistant administrator of BJC Medical Center. He lives in Commerce.


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