“We Must All Hang Together”

“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Unity. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind on this day, when I think back to how the founding fathers (and mothers) probably felt. It was the only way a revolution would ever work, wasn’t it? If they were fractured it would have been easier to divide and conquer, or to be more accurate, to divide and maintain. Because that’s what they were united against — the status quo.

Can you imagine the vast majority of a population uniting for a common cause, or uniting against a common enemy — today? I’ve seen it on a micro scale, where people in an organization rise up and say, “Enough is enough.” I’ve seen it in family dynamics, where the bad seed is ostracized. I’ve even seen it in churches with excommunication, but those are such small potatoes when compared with what the colonists did in the late 18th century.

That’s just the thing, too — they were colonists. They were supposed to be marionettes controlled by the monarchy — all gain and no downside. But what the monarchy failed to take into consideration was each colonist was an individual, with his/her own hopes and dreams, that each one was a human being who wanted to be treated like a human being. Not like a puppet on a string. And when these “inalienable rights” are taken from any human being, it’s not a small slight.

So, understanding the enormity of the challenge ahead of them, they decided to go ahead anyway. Because Ben Franklin was undoubtedly right. Continue reading ““We Must All Hang Together””

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Virtual Friends

This is a new age. I know it astounds me every single day, with the access we have to so much information, with the connections to so many resources, with pretty much everything that has been expanded and re-imagined since I was a kid.

I think it started with music. When I was young it was all about cassette tapes, and eventually CD’s. But with the rise of digital music it changed the whole landscape. Now it’s playlists and music apps. We have pretty much unlimited music libraries at our fingertips, on our phones.

Social media was next. It was the first thing beyond email to really bring people together who weren’t in the same geographical area. The idea was to connect socially in ways we never had before, and it succeeded. It continues to succeed, and the formula is easy. As human beings we have the desire, the need, to connect with each other, to share our hopes, and dreams, and fears, and visits to Starbucks.

This was a way to reconnect with those we had lost touch with, a chance to maintain connections with those we saw on a semi-regular basis, an outlet to inform others of what was happening in our lives. But it morphed into something else, as things often do, especially when they’re related to technology. It became a virtual place to see and be seen, a “meeting place” where we could be with others without being with others.

It’s all very fascinating, really, the idea that we can have a community of people we are close friends with, of those who we are acquaintances with, and even of those we have never met in person. Continue reading “Virtual Friends”

The Black Pot and Kettle

“It’s become so obvious. You are so oblivious to yourself. You’re tied in a knot, but I’m not gonna get caught calling a pot kettle black.” ~Wilco

I just finished reading Porcelain, the first memoir by Moby, and it was absolutely fascinating. I didn’t think I had any preconceived notions about him, and yet my mouth was open nearly the entire first half. What hit me the most was when he talked about all the random sex, all the one night stands he had, being part of the raver scene in NYC in the 1990’s.

One liaison bled into the next on the page. Maybe I’m just not used to people being so open about their sexual experiences, or maybe I’m just shocked at how many people become part of a scene, not knowing what it entails, and yet it gets grafted onto their ideals in bits and pieces until the scene is indistinguishable from them. They become like interchangeable bodies, not even names at that point, not even human beings by then, just robots programmed for these kinds of relationships that aren’t real relationships.

I often read a poem to my English 102 students; it’s by Sharon Olds, and it’s called “Sex Without Love.” It says, “How do they do it, the ones who make love / without love?” The idea is that even the words we use to describe sex aren’t always adequate, that they are often not up to date with how society is defining the entirely physical relationships. I guess to me it’s always been this feeling of, “Can you separate these two parts of yourself, the physical and the emotional?” Continue reading “The Black Pot and Kettle”

300 Writing Prompts: #148

“Write about a piece of jewelry you own. Where did it come from? When do you wear it?”

This one isn’t too tough, but only because I have never really owned that much jewelry. Growing up in a strictly religious home helped me in that regard, as both my mother and my sister had minimal jewelry (if any at all). It was all about the “temple of God,” or what you had on the inside, that was supposed to really count. Which was why it was funny that, despite this directive, we were decked out to the 9’s every Saturday at church service. Quite funny.

Anyway, as I’ve gotten older I’ve felt the need for a little outward adornment. At various points in my life I’ve had a couple necklaces (I guess guys should call them “chains,” but they really weren’t), a couple bracelets (one of them was a faux Livestrong one that left a green ring around my wrist), and a few rings, for good measure. While the necklaces, and the bracelets, are pretty much long gone, festooned on the island of my history, I do still have two rings.

Sorry, Golem, not just one precious.

But yes, really, only the latest ring is precious to me. Continue reading “300 Writing Prompts: #148”

Sunday Shuffle [2.0]

I got my first CD player the summer between 11th and 12th grade. I was doing an internship, making my own money for once, and when that first paycheck came in I felt RICH. I don’t even remember how much it was now, but I was decidedly not rich. I just felt like it in the moment, the way you do when your mom’s still paying for everything so you can focus specifically on your wants.

That was me.

And what I wanted was a CD player. I already had some CD’s, one I won from a radio station contest, and another couple I bought in anticipation of the CD player. It was the early ’90s, so tapes were still very much in vogue, at least where I came from. If you had CD’s you were on the cutting edge of tomorrow. I wanted to be on that edge, but I would have to be able to play them.

So I went to Sears and picked one out. It was a single disc player. I mean, I was suddenly rich, but I wasn’t so rich my eyes weren’t bugged out by the prices of the multi-disc changers. Besides, I thought eventually I would trade in my single for a multi, so why not start small? Continue reading “Sunday Shuffle [2.0]”

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