“The Only Thing I Did Wrong…” (7/2013)

I heard the Dixie Chix version of Bob Dylan’s _Mississippi_ a week or two ago and it’s now my favorite song. It has some great aphoristic lines. TIMING is the overall theme, to me (Dylan isn’t unlike Shakespeare in that we can pick from a dozen or more themes and we can take away as much as our brain buckets can hold). We usually think of timing only when it’s bad. For example, “The only thing I did wrong, –I stayed in Mississippi a day too long.”

The day of a life-altering crash is bad timing, but how many drives don’t end in a crash? That’s an extreme example, but all in all, timing has been pretty damned kind to me. I’ve had three tragedies (a few self-inflicted subtragedies but my stupidity and or selfishness is not the subject I’ve chosen for this blog): 1.) my first husband’s death caused by a bloodclot that traveled from his fractured patella, 2.) my fourth child’s burst appendix and the month she spent in hospitals for two major operations (my stupidity was involved, even more than the doctor who misdiagnosed her) and then 3.) my cousin/brother’s death. But even when suffering, I can see that there are people who suffer so much more pain and injustice. The parents of the ten-year-old who was recently killed by a drone would give anything to be dealing with just his appendix (http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/15879-despite-president-s-pledge-10-year-old-victim-of-drone-strike-identified). The man in Iraq who had sent his son to the store just in time to have his son killed by a bomb perhaps would pick having a pulmonary thromboembulism over his son’s death (no link, it’s something I read years ago and the son was eight which is how old my now 14-year-old son was at the time). I had a college classmate from a war-torn African country who hadn’t been in contact with a single family member in over two years. He didn’t know who in his family was alive or where they may be living. I at least had my cousin’s funeral. I got to prepare a memorial program and organize a party on the one-year anniversary of his death.  And at both events I was surrounded by family and friends.  

The universe is, all in all, indifferent. There are governing laws that cannot be “shuffled” (that’s a reference to King Claudius). The Universal Laws are neither kind nor cruel. When I think of tragedy, I don’t think of a flooded house, wildfire, hurricane… . The real tragedies are those we inflict on each other. Humans can be so cruel and thoughtless. (We shouldn’t be cruel and thoughtless, but too often are.) We take marching orders from the most selfish and thoughtless elitists who have ever plagued this planet and jingoistically sing jingles about what an honor it is to give our money, energy, lives and/or children to the cause. Otherwise kind and reasonable people proudly defend torture, drones, abandonment of Civil Rights… . They claim to “Support our Troops” by sending them into unconstitutional wars that are bankrupting our country while making a few folks even richer.

My first husband said he was glad everyone doesn’t think and act like me because if that were the case, he wouldn’t have a job. I’ve been recycling and composting for over two decades and I went weeks without filling even one trash can. Now that I don’t eat GM and processed food, figured out life is possible without styrofoam and all my kids are out of diapers–my house makes almost no trash. My first husband worked for the City of Lake Jackson as a trash collector. It was a good job with good pay and benefits. But he gave his LIFE for garbage. He fractured his patella stepping down from the truck. How ironic is that? The husband of the one of the very few environmentalists in Brazoria County (I don’t know anyone as radical as I am, but do know some who recycle and/or compost) died to send mountains of garbage into landfills.  Point is, I think we might be better off if more people did think like I do, or at least THOUGHT for themselves.

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