Thursday, December 20, 2012

On The Newtown, CT Shooting

This is not meant as a consolation or an accusation. This is not meant as a way to blow off or condone the actions or deaths that occurred today. This is my sorting out and my reflections of what happened today, and my thoughts concerning the implications of my reflections.

            The shootings that happened earlier today, I think, affected our lives in a number of ways. First and foremost, I think it shattered our illusion of a perfect world. Especially since we’re so close to Christmas, we’re tempted to look at our glittery lights and shiny stars and believe that we have reached peace and perfection; we’re tempted to look at time off from work or school and anticipate dinner with the family and believe that, for at least a couple weeks, we’ll have some rest and quietude. However, the reality of human nature and of the fragile balance between life and death made its face known to us today. The world isn’t what we want it to be; when we take off the makeup, we see a face pocketed with scars and marked by bitterness. Secondly, today’s shootings bring us deep sadness. As President Obama said, “Our hearts are broken” and indeed they are; I don’t think anybody would ever condone such violent actions, but I think these deaths hit home especially hard because the victims are children. These deaths are saddening, they are confusing, and they are troubling.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In the closing of his letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul emphatically tells the church to rejoice in all circumstances. In light of the recent shooting in Connecticut, we may find ourselves confused and troubled—how can we rejoice? Children died—children who will no longer be able to play at recess or find a spouse or have kids of their own. These children did nothing wrong—how can we rejoice at the fact that a man with guns and a corrupted mind took away something so precious and so delicate? The answer, I think, is simplistic in form but complicated to understand; I believe we can rejoice because, in essence, this shooting is insignificant in comparison to the omnipotence and omniscience of God.
I believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the grave, and, by doing so, conquered our sins and death. Jesus’s sacrifice reunited humanity with God once more. This belief is one of the strongest and most powerful tenants of the Christian faith—the intercession of God himself to fix man’s brokenness.
When we try to reconcile these two points, however—God’s love for mankind and the treachery of this incident—we reach a harsh conflict. Sure, God coming down to save us is great and all, but that happened years ago; these kids died today. Inflight of the recent sufferings we face, we are forced to ask ourselves and God, “So what?” Jesus is great and all, but an evil occurred that we all wish would have been avoided.
            Allow me to borrow an idea from C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce: in it, a character finds himself in Heaven, a place where everything is so vivid and so real that the grass digs into his feet when he tries to walk on it and his flesh is considered “ghostlike” in comparison to the world around him. The point, as we later find out, of the contrast is that Heaven is so much realer, so much larger, so much more fulfilling than Hell that if we took all the “loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itching’s” that it contains and “put into the scale against…Heaven”, Hell “would have no weight that could be registered at all”1.

1: As qtd. on pg. 538 of the Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, pub. Harper One, New York, 2002.

My point is this: As a Christian, I believe that Jesus’s Crucifixion and his Resurrection are a big deal—so big that, in comparison, the disheartening things of the world can take no root in the peace of God the apostle Paul mentions. I certainly hope not to minimize the scope and implications of what happened today; no one would take the death of anyone, much less that of child, and even less of so many people! Lightly, and I do not either. What I’m saying is that, from a Christian humanistic perspective, while it may be intuitive tube immersed in our confusion and sadness, to be so would be in direct opposition to the entire concept of the Redemption by Christ. Christ died so you could be liberated from sadness, not bewildered by it. Granted, I do not think that we should be willy-nilly and ignore the sufferings of those who are affected by this tragedy. On the other hand, I cite the example of Jesus when he visited the tomb of Lazarus:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” [John11:33-36]
Jesus, too, wept at the death of his friend Lazarus—a real, genuine sadness. I think one of the greatest mysterious of the Incarnation is the humanity of God—Jesus didn’t dabble in our emotions of sadness but he soaked in it. Jesus didn’t seem sad; he wasn’t affected by sadness; Jesus was sad. There’s just so much power in the words the present Jews said: “See how he loved him!” I think that’s a truly wonderful phrase—it’s a testament to the humanity of Christ in that Christ was capable of sadness and great love. But see how Christ’s sadness did not come directly from the death of Lazarus; rather, it came from His love of Lazarus. Christ wept out of love, not out of sadness.
I think a similar idea holds for us: We may take part in the sadness but we are not—or, as Christians, cannot—be overcome by it. Think about it: Christ saved the world from sin! And, more importantly (this small part took me a very long time to realize), Christ saved you from sin, and the Cross and Blood cover all who seek their refuge, no matter the time. To be blunt, you won. Death is beaten; Satan is defeated; and you are freed from the evil desires of your body and of your mind. You are freed from the grip of sadness and despair; Christ has overpowered sin and death for you. This sadness we have is so small or insignificant in comparison to the Redemption that it cannot take hold of us. We can take part in it to empathize with others (as taught by Jesus, and in accordance with the command to be benefactors to the less fortunate), but sadness cannot take away the joys and the peace of God found in the wonders of the Savior.
To conclude from the Revelations of John, there will come a time when
God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” [Revelations 22:3b-4]
I believe that God will come back again to judge the living and the dead, and that includes those who were killed today and those who are responsible for such killing. I cannot judge the character of the kids or adults who were slain today; nor can I judge the actions or the morality of the perpetrator of today’s crimes. I trust in God’s omniscience to deal justice out accordingly to His standards, and I pray that I may refrain from passing mine. I believe God will come again to rule over the Earth and, as stated in the Book of Revelations, there will be no more sadness—there will only be the fullness and the glory of God so vivid and so real that everything else will be negligible in the light of God. Jesus Christ is coming again—there is nothing to fear, and we cannot be conquered by sadness. Rejoice! I say it again: rejoice.

Friday, November 2, 2012


What month is it now, November?

It's been ages since I've last posted.

Everything's just gotten very very busy.

But let's start at the beginning.

1) I visited Pittsburgh, PA, for the first time. I only got to see the city at night, but it is rather stunning. Here is a picture from nearby Mt. Washington I took from my iPhone.

2) O Magnum Mysterium is a Christmas song composed by Morten Lauridsen (American, currently a professor of composition at USC), and here it is.

3) Recently, I posted about a "challenge" I had going that involved getting enough sleep. Well, rest assured (get it?), I've been getting ~7hrs/sleep every night, which has been doing wonders for my health. I highly recommend working out your schedule so that you're getting enough sleep every night; it gives you so much more energy and makes all that you do much more efficient.

I just wish I had some time to get some more workouts/exercise in. My lack of activity is starting to get to me.

Anyway, I'm still pretty busy but I wanted to quickly update this blog.

Have a great night, and I hope you had a safe and eventful Halloween.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


It is October and I am excited.

1) Today one of my friends got baptised!
2) I am going to visit some East Coast cities over the next week!
3) I made one my friends mad at me this last week and he forgave me today :)
4) I was given the most meaningful compliment I've ever received so far. I was talking about those people who are happy and smiling all the time-- people who just always seem to find something positive and funny in life-- and then somebody told me that they thought I was one of those people. And that's probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I used to be a very bitter, sarcastic, and apathetic person ("I don't care about what you think") because I had trouble understanding my purpose and the point of life, and being happy has never really been easy for me, so for two people to think that I'm the "smile-y guy" means a lot to me. When I think about the way God changed me from being such an upset person to someone who is much more open and receptive and "happier" I can't just help but think of what a testimony that is to God's love for us.
5) On that note, I found out on Friday that my grandfather has esophagus cancer...It's tricky to be happy and focused on work when that happens, but I believe God has a plan for everyone and I know not to A) worry or B) be discouraged.

The leaves are vividly orange and falling; the temperature is nippy and the air is fresh. It is October, and while there are plenty of reasons to be sad, there are many good reasons to be happy, too.

Have a great fall.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Music Monday

Here are some of the top 10 songs running through my playlist right now:
  1. Paradise- Coldplay
  2. We Are Young - Fun.
  3. Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
  4. Payphone - Maroon 5
  5. I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
  6. Stop and Stare - One Republic
  7. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira
  8. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson
  9. Moondance - Michael Buble
  10. Heaven - Duke Ellington (caution-- some modern intervals here that might not be pleasing to some ears)

I'm trying to find some time to throw up a post or two, but no guarantees. I lost one of the notebooks that has my notes in it so there goes a book review I was pretty pumped to write.

Monday, September 10, 2012

This Week

This week I met someone who has synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is basically a psychophysical condition in which the senses get mixed; letters and words become associated with colors (for this particular person, for example, the letter "e" was the color green) and sounds take on colors as well. To talk to her was a pretty cool experience.

I want to post more but it's a Monday and I'm tired and I'm busy.

Saturday, I slept from 2:30-9:30; 3-7; and from 2a-8:30 Sunday...and I'm still very very tired.

Have a nice night.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


These last three weeks, I've had a nosebleed every single day except for Tuesday. And not the normal run-of-the-mill nosebleeds; I'm talking about both nostrils (usually one at a time, but today, for example, was both at the same time) bleeding for twenty or thirty minutes each. 

I had another experience where I woke up at night, unable to breathe because of all the blood. That was on Monday. The blood just wouldn't stop's quite scary, quite scary, feeling the blood pool in your mouth and swallowing it each time.

And then come the stomach cramps and the indigestion...that's not pretty, either.

Anyway, I've been a bit busy lately (with the bleeding and other things), but have a great remaining August.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Reading List [Updated 8/18/12]

Whether you are a student or not, just because summer is here doesn't mean you get to stop learning! Here are the books that I am (hopefully!) going to read by the middle of August (my "summer"). I will underline the  title of the books when I am done with them to show which ones I've read so far. In no particular order, and based on the availability at my local library and through the Amazon Kindle store, here is my summer book list for 2012:

(1) Brisingr and (2) Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, the author of the Eragon series. Because even though it's been ages since I read the last two books and I didn't really understand them at all and I'm sure I will be utterly confused when I read these two, I still want to finish the series.

UPDATE 7/22/12: Finished Brisingr...went about as expected, which means that I received mild disappointment from the book but was left with a slight desire to finish the series. I hope the fighting in the last book is good, because it wasn't very good in this one.

UPDATE 8/9/12: Finished Inheritance a while ago. The book was about expected, which means that it was a huge let-down and was only worth reading to finish the series. It was slightly more action-packed than the other books, but, still...I think the Inheritance series as a whole was too long for its own good. It lost its drive and became more about putting words on paper than moving the plot forward.

(3) The Battle of the Labyrinth and (4) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson series. Because I have only read scattered bits and pieces of this series (and the bits and pieces I have kept me rather amused) and because it was free from my library's ebook collection! :)

UPDATE 7/21/12: Finished both books on Thursday. Both are quite suspenseful and interesting, but, at the same time, distinctly lack literary merit that would cement them as "classics" or staples of education. A good read for entertainment, but that's about it. Nevertheless, the series was fun to read and very quirky and tense. Definitely worth checking out for the kids or if you have an active imagination, but I doubt this series will be rewarded with the reverence we bestow upon the greats of American literature.

(5) Novels and Stories, 1920-22 of F. Scott Fitzgerald from the publisher New York: Library of America. Because I realized that The Great Gatsby isn't nearly as horrendous or difficult as I remember it to be and I recently realized that I actually quite enjoyed some parts. I gave Hemmingway another chance; why not give ol' Francis another chance?

UPDATE 8/9/12: This Side of Paradise is quaint torture. I suppose this is how we will punish children in the future: by forcing them to read Fitzgerald's prose full of passages that are so "deep" I have drowned in them and by giving them a false sense of hope every twenty pages by incorporating some bit of wit so that they'll continue reading, oblivious to the mind-numbingly shocking depth of character that is still to come. I'll let you know how it goes when I finish TSOP.

UPDATE 8/18/12: Had to return it to the library. Will update if I can borrow it again.

(6) The Flanders Panel, by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Because it was recommended to me and I blindly and readily accepted the recommendation without needing to know anything more about the novel! (I hope it's a good story...if it even is a story. For all I know, it could be an essay on the different types of panel wood from the region of Flanders.)

UPDATE 8/18/12: The Flanders Panel was quite interesting. It's a combination of a bunch of things I like-- a splash of chess, a dash of art, a pinch of murder, and a hint of love-- so theoretically it should be good, right? The plot was decent enough; I don't regret reading it. However, I definitely read only around three-fourths of it because the other fourth was stuff that danced around the plot: unneeded descriptions, plot threads, or characterizations. Having to trudge through that annoying one-fourth of the novel was a bit annoying, but once I figured out which parts are important and which are not, I skipped the boring parts and the plot became quite good.

(7) The Trees, by Conrad Richter. Remember how I said I gave Hemingway another chance? I'm not particularly fond of Hemingway. But not being fond of Hemingway seems particularly un-American. Or it makes me seem like I seriously lack literary value. So instead, I took another recommendation; Richter's terse writing style is quite like Hemingway's so maybe it'll be close enough to Hemingway's style to lead me into it. Who knows?

UPDATE 8/9/12: Finished this one a while ago, too. Wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. While the style was definitely American, it wasn't Hemingway-like. It smelled a bit of Stephen Crane but definitely took a page out of the American-frontier genre. The book (it's the first in a trilogy-- who knew?) goes through the happenings of the Luckett family as they move westward to find a new home. The Trees isn't anything extremely dramatic or ground-breaking, but it was quaint. I don't regret reading it, but I definitely don't see myself reading the rest of the trilogy any time soon.

(8) Pay it Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. A curious documentary-type book about the philosophy of returning someone's good actions toward you by doing a good deed to someone else-- not paying them back, but paying it forward. I read the first couple pages already and I'm not quite sure how I'll like it. It seems too flat and too constructed for me to get into it, but we'll see.

UPDATE 8/9/12: Skimmed it. Didn't like it. Flat, shallow, constructed, and forced. Save yourself some time and read another book.

(9) The Rook, by Steven James. Because who DOESN'T love a good old detective beat-the-clock type story? The only book on this list that I've actually read already.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Score One for the Gipper

What's a gipper?

Today I called Safeway/Vons customer service to lodge a complaint. The other day, when I opened my new jar of strawberry preserves, I found a hair-like substance in it (see picture).

After a relatively short call (not too much hold music and the representative spoke loud enough to be heard) they arranged for me to pick up a refund at the store.

Not too bad, right? I feel like I've conquered the system somehow.

I feel special.

Updated 7/21/12: I didn't make this clear in the original post, but I want to extol Safeway/Vons for their excellent customer service! I didn't actually pick up the refund (I just brought in the contaminated jar and they let me trade it for a new one; I didn't have to go to customer service at all!) but I am extremely pleased with the service and care I have gotten from Safeway, both corporate and from my local store.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trickle of Consciousness

Sometimes, artists like to use a technique called stream of consciousness in which they remove the filters from their minds and write or paint whatever they think of first in order to get a raw and uncensored look at the human psyche.

I would do that right now for a couple minutes but I'm so tired and distracted that all I'm really going to type is a mere trickle of that.

Let's roll.

1. I really want some ice-cream right now....I know it's probably full of a lot of fat and bad calories and stuff, but that's not really stopping me from thinking about it.

2. There are some wacky articles on Yahoo! today. Here are 3 that caught my eye:

A) A woman gets a heart attack while eating a gigantic burger, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a margarita.

[What a horrible waste of resources. Why is it that people can be so stupid (or ignorant? selfish? unaware?) as to do something so horrible to their own bodies and confrontational to humanity as a whole? What unrestrained display of gluttony is this? Is this America today? What happened to the days of restraint, sensibility, and self-control? Where did the discipline and morality of our former generations dissipate?]
(That article is here)

 B) A young woman in China falls into the sidewalk. It literally collapses under her and she falls in. Pretty scary, actually. That video is here.

C) A couple kids landed in the hospital because they got alcohol poisoning off-- Oh, goodness-- hand sanitizer. They distilled and consumed the alcohol from the hand sanitizer and didn't do too well. That article is here, though I warn you that you may smack your head in frustration a couple times while reading it.

[How can our kids be so stupid today? I just don't understand. While I know that most of the darling beasts we call children don't usually act this way, I just can't help but feel offended by the actions of some of these kids. {Though, admittedly, I don't think I would have ever thought about using a salt to distill the ethyl alcohol from hand sanitizer. I would like to try that sometime as a science experiment.} Why is it that these few people can mar the rising generations of America as irresponsible drunkards?]

3. I'm really tired.

4. Everything is piling up on me and I'm tired and I"m getting slightly stressed out.

5. I read a couple books lately...I finished up Antigone (by Sophocles), The Road (by McCarthy) and Catch-22 (by Heller) as well as a couple other works not worth mentioning. All wonderful books. Great stuff.

Antigone strikes at the heart of the greater moral issues of the time of the Classical Greeks but has a definite appeal to us as contemporary and modern citizens of an era that we think is so much more "advanced" than those of our predecessors; The Road is a rather pessimistic book about the journey of a father and son in a post-apocalyptic world and their struggle to survive as well as the bond that grows between them; Catch-22 is an extremely funny and extremely serious book about a group (is the technical term squadron?) of American soldiers stationed in Italy and the hilarious results of the inefficiencies of the war time hierarchy.

6. I'm really, really tired. I also need to shower...I'll probably do that after I'm done with this post.

7. I like pears. I need to do a lot of cleaning.

8. I like chocolate...I hate how good chocolate is expensive, though.

9. Gas is expensive, too.

10. The 2012 election is going down the tank.

11. I understand that I'm not a politician or an economist, but I can't even grasp how the country is running on an almost $16 trillion dollar debt. The interest on that debt must be a lot of money....Am I supposed to buy a US bond?

Now I'm sure I'm rambling...boy do I need that shower....

Have a fantastic day/night, wherever you are. Keep out of trouble, and God bless.

12. I almost died on Sunday...I was moving to the lane on my left on the freeway and I didn't really look and a car came shooting by me at 60mph or so right before I merged into the lane. In other words, if I had switched lanes 1/3 a second earlier I would have gotten side-swiped by the car as it came past me...Scary thought.

13. When's the last time I drank milk? Maybe I'll go drink some now, before my shower. Milk builds strong bones, and the fat in the milk isn't necessarily unhealthy fat.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

At Lunch, 3/14/12

I wrote this on 3/15/12:

    I gave a double cheeseburger to a homeless man at lunch yesterday. It doesn't seem like much, now that I think about it, but it's been a weird experience for me. I grew up with a rather traditional view on the homeless-- that they're all lazy drug-addicts who should go get a job. But recently, a number of factors shifted in my head as I spotted this scruffy, dirty, half-asleep, and wholly worn-down man sitting in a corner of Burger King.
    I noticed him only after I had ordered two double cheeseburgers-- and thoughts started running through my head. Should I go back and order something for him to eat? But I'm in a rush and I can't get back in line. Should I just ignore him and leave him alone? But he probably doesn't get much to eat and I'm sure he needs this lunch more than I do. Am I supposed to give him one of my double cheeseburgers? But I'd get hungry, and, besides, I paid for them. They're mine, aren't they?
    As I grew from my childhood, my mother's attitude to the homeless changed a bit; a lot of homeless people have troubled lives or mental disorders or just some bad luck. They might be on drugs or they might not, but giving them some food certainly won't hurt anyone. And anyway, didn't God say that whatever you do for those who are hungry, you do for Him? And wasn't serving the poor a big part of Jesus's ministry? And, after all, I did get baptized on Sunday, and baptism is supposed to be the outward expression of an inward reality-- to strain toward the plan and uses God has for you...And right now, God really wanted mt to give a double cheeseburger to this man. I didn't want to give my food to this man, per se, but I knew I was going to. It's only the right thing to do.
    When I got my order, I walked up to the sleeping man and said, "Excuse me sir." He didn't budge. I said "Hello?" but still he didn't move. So I took a burger out of my bag, looked around, and placed it on the table and slid it close to him, and I left.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Defending Death: My Stance on the Death Penalty

   Defending Death: My Stance on the Death Penalty

     The death penalty has long been considered a controversial subject: Is taking another person's life a form of justice or is it an act of immorality that should be abolished? Because justice demands death for some serious crimes and because the death penalty increases the net benefit to society, I ultimately agree with the death penalty.
    The death penalty brings peace of mind to the overall community.  Knowing that an offender will no longer commit a crime gives the community a sense of comfort and relaxation, for those who are put to death under the death penalty no longer have a chance to commit any crimes. While the death penalty may not restore a damaged family, it brings closure to the offender's actions and to the victim's family.
    Human life is important; that is why we must strive to protect it by enforcing the death penalty. By using the death penalty, society saves more lives than it loses; more people are apt to think twice about committing a crime if they know their life may be forfeit if they are caught. By deterring crime, the death penalty prevents many of the feelings of pain and anguish that families of victims often feel after an offense is committed and preserves the life and integrity of a family and community.
    Moreover, the death penalty does not commemorate the human disregard for life but rather stands as our testament to it: Were we not to use the death penalty, it would mean that we do not consider the value of human life so great that a murder by one person does not deserve the murderer's death.The death penalty is not the blind killing of criminals; rather, it is a legal form of justice by which we may uphold the importance of life we hold dear.
    Perhaps, too, the death penalty can be considered more humane and more efficient than life in prison; wasting away in prison, a criminal with a life sentence no longer really experiences life, and, perhaps, death would be a greater act of compassion.
    Justice is the concept of righting a crime or wrong-doing. It involves the consequences and the penalties of one's actions and the resolution of the fears and tensions of the offended party. Ultimately, justice demands the highest form of payment for some crimes, and that payment is the life of the offender.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February in One Post

All right... here we go:

Here's my month of February in one shot:

1) Got oral surgery....cheeks are puffy but I'm alive which is good :) It means I'm hungry though...
2) Some friend troubles, but I'm hoping they'll sort out.
3) Today, I had a dream in which my dream self realized that I was in a dream. That was weird. (I dreamt that I saw someone monitoring my hand and arm movements on a computer and thus I realized that I was in a dream (in the dream). Wow....this is getting really confusing. Moving on to the next point:)
4) I got a case for my Kindle...Did I post that I purchased a Kindle in December? Well I did.
5) Getting more sleep, which is good.
6) Bought a suit! It's charcoal gray and it's spiffy!
7) Been helping out in the community. Fun and a definite sense of accomplishment.
8) Finished all my work by their deadlines....Now facing more work and paperwork, but no biggy...
9) Currently wasting too much time on the computer on random websites...
10) Ever wonder how your new, out-of-the-box pencils are so neatly sharpened? This is how:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today I am very tired. I hurt my knee and that sucks a bit. Everything costs a lot of money these days.

Anyway, happy February.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I just drooled on myself.


Sunday, January 8, 2012


     Yesterday I went to go help out at a church: We were building a fence and lunch—Taco Bell—was provided. After we finished with the fence around 1 PM, I came home, and, not feeling too well, threw up in the toilet (twice) and took a nap. After dinner, even though I didn’t feel quite well still, I went to the store to grab some snack foods. I was coughing rather heavily (as I often do and am doing right now) at the time but I was trying to keep it discreet—after all, I hadn’t been feeling sick for 5 hours already and I didn’t really want to draw attention to myself. I wasn’t really sure if I was sick or if my body was just reacting to all that processed junk food.
     Anyway, there was this dirty looking man in the store, too—one of those people your mother would tell you not to look at or go near, simply because he looks like someone who doesn’t have his act entirely together. And sure enough, as I was checking out, this man joins the line behind me and calls out rather rudely and snidely, “You should cover your mouth when you cough. Maybe you should have gotten some of this!” and holds up a box of cold/flu symptom depressant.
     Confused and rather disturbed by his outburst, the cashier and I sort of look at each other and the cashier leans over and asks, “Excuse me sir, is there a problem?” to which the man replies “No, sir, just expressing my opinion, because I’m an American.” Since I had paid for my stuff by this time and didn’t want to reason with this shady guy, I left the store.
     Now, besides rudeness and manners and covering mouths when coughing (which, though I can’t remember precisely, I’ll admit I probably didn’t cover my cough and should have), there was one part in this entire scene that stood out to me and I hope it stood out to you too. “Just expressing my opinion, because I’m an American”? I think this man has a very solid point: he is allowed to express his opinion freely. And that’s what’s great about America—that regardless of our economy or our foreign affairs, our Constitution protects the basic rights of individuals and the states and our courts and Congressmen try their best (?) to maintain these rights.
     Unfortunately, the myth that America is the greatest country in the world* has also befallen the minds of some Americans and has birthed a sort of “American arrogance” in which being American means being entitled to everything in the world. I think some Americans have really forgotten what it takes to fulfill the American dream: a good helping of work and persistence and a bit of time. I don’t mean all Americans are blinded by this privileged pagan Americanism—no, I think many are hard-working and very kind individuals just trying to make it on their own. It’s just that throughout my very long life** I’ve been increasingly frustrated by Americans who believe they can say or do whatever they want simply because they are Americans. It’s no wonder that other countries have been growing less tolerable to us these last couple of decades! I bet Canada would have complained to the world about how bad we Americans make them look if anyone cared enough about Canada to listen***.

*I don’t quite think I’m in a position to say which country is the best. I’ve lived in America only so I don’t quite have the appropriate information or context to evaluate other countries, so I choose not to.

**A note of sarcasm. I’m not that old…yet.
 ***I'm just kidding...I'm expecting my good friend who is a Canadian to read this and he'll think it's funny. (Or I hope he will, anyway.)

      I just have a couple of words to say to the man who spoke so rudely to me yesterday. First of all, I would like to apologize for not covering my mouth when I coughed yesterday. I should have. Also, I am quite impressed by your knowledge of basic Constitutional rights. Yes, sir, in America, you are entitled to your opinion. It does not mean, however, that you should express it.
   God bless America…because, at the rate things are going, if He doesn’t, no one else will.

Happy 2012.

People Counter