My mom, raised as a privileged 3rd generation San Franciscan (her ancestors preceded the Gold Rush), always told me to never trust a Mormon.
My dad, raised in the East in upper income circumstances until age twelve when his father, the meal ticket died, would roll his eyes and just say, "Trust no one."
Both agreed though, I should never ever trust a politician.
Over the years as I tried to reconcile these implanted prejudices, I experienced enough back stabbing and broken promises to finally decide my father was right.
Did that stop me from continuing to fall prey to outlandish claims, slick talk, and trust me, I won't screw you types? No it did not. To this day, I still assume honesty first and sleaze second.
Even after all the harsh lessons passed down to me by my parents and the ones hard learned on the road of Life, I have continued to believe most of us are really good honest brokers of our characters. That for the most part people are like me. We don't mean to screw someone, but sometimes, once in awhile, it happens.
When I think of honesty in the idealistic World, I tend to see it as an either/or situation. Like being pregnant, you either are honest or you are not. But when I apply it to the actions of my own life, I see a life that has tried it's best to carry itself with integrity, but on occasion has slipped and fallen below that invisible line that separates honesty from dishonesty.
I am a very average kind of guy. I am not famous. I have no special talents. I will most likely not create any cures, solve any World problems, or take outlandish chances. I am what cyclists call Pack Fodder. One of the teeming masses who is trying to stake a small claim and get by without much fuss or anguish.
I seem to be at a crossroads of sorts. At age 57, almost 58, I have been worn down by the overwhelming dishonesty I think now has its grip on our national attitude. This every man for himself attitude permeates our culture. It seems we have become a nation that does not trust itself.
The lack of trust that has saturated our national psyche is eating us alive. And this makes me sad. The take every advantage you can mentality is eroding the ideals this country was set up on. As our population grows in size, our legendary generous natures shrink. No better examples exist than the recent expiration of unemployment benefits or the indignant outcries I heard over all the money we sent to Haiti.
So as I said, I am at a crossroads. I can feel the nasty side of me winning. I am also facing the twilight years of my life. It would be so easy for me to become an angry, bitter old man. And that scares the shit out of me. I would rather become a dirty ole man who smiles at least once a day and still enjoys whatever he can in Life.
Anyway, this is what came to mind this morning. I hope there is a smile waiting for me later today.
Keep it 'tween the ditches...................
Image from "The Dictionary of Specific Generalities"