Monday, March 01, 2010


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"


Kulkuri said...

Dirty Old Men need love too.

This attitude of greed in country has always been there, but at times everyone would pull together for the common good. Now it's like there are two themes running through the country, one is the Puritan one of someone somewhere is having fun and we got to put a stop to it and the other is some poor bastard is getting something for nothing and we got to put a stop to that so we can give everything to the rich who don't need it.

The Blog Fodder said...

To this day, I still assume honesty first and sleaze second.

Me too. And I would far rather take the occasional royal screwing than go through life not trusting people.

I live in a country where no one trusts anyone, where everyone is one the take and the rich openly steal everything. It is sad if that begins to describe every country you care to name.

susan said...

I think you're correct that most people are cool and trying their best to be good neighbors and friends. Of course, the country isn't being run by average people like us and instead, is owned by a very small percentage of the outrageously wealthy and operated by a management class who are subservient to the owners. This may sound overly simplistic but it's as close to the truth as I can describe in brief. As Mr. Natural said 'Twas ever thus.'

Beach Bum said...

I try to avoid conversations with my coworkers that go beyond sports, weather, and the lucky guy or gal that wins the lotto.

But still I sometimes do and I am never surprised. One particular fellow went in the matter of a few seconds from a "normal" guy to a rabid lunatic mad because no one had ever given him anything. He spouted off several incidents where charities and government agencies rushed to help people.

Now this guy never suffered any disasters but still felt slighted that no one was giving him anything. Far from being the self-sufficient individual he liked to claim he appeared more the spoiled child. I continue to hope this guy is the exception but to varying degrees I feel more and more people are just like him.

I could spend considerable space getting more detailed on this guy and his mindset cohorts but all I will say is that such people tend to tear each other apart sooner or later.

MRMacrum said...

Kulkiri - Certainly greed has always been around. it's intensity seems to rise and fall as times get tough or easy. But this recent rise which I contend started with Ronnie Reagan and the "Greed is Good" decade of the 1980s has not abated. It has gotten worse. Since I have only the short period of my life relative to the overall historical time of Man to make judgements from, this trend bothers me to no end. We are becoming mean spirited as a nation.

The Blog Fodder - We cannot change who we are. I will always look for the good side before I look for the bad side. But with continued disappointment, my attitude about it plummets.

susan - I like yur term "management class". A wonderful moniker to use when describing the cubicle mentality and economy of our nation. Your Mr. Natural reference made me smile. Say what you want about the Hippy days, but they were onto to something. Too bad it all fell apart before more of that attitude could permeate our culture.

"Keep on Truckin"

Beach Bum - It's odd, but on the heels of this post, last night I finally connected with an old friend I had not talked to in almost 38 years. He had inherited millions and was the mirror image of your co-worker. All he could talk about was "His money" and how the liberals had screwed him out of what he should have gotten when his Mother passed. I will try my best to remember him as he was, and not remember him for what he has become.

Randal Graves said...

I'll never trust anyone. Well, maybe you all if I'm nice n' sloshed. But the key to happiness is avoiding as many people as possible. That way you can smile when they get hoisted on their own petard.

Kulkuri said...

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

Found this quote and thought of your post.
I agree that St. Ronnie and his followers with their "Greed is Good Mantra" have made the situation much, much worse in the last few decades.
Keep it By-Tween the Balsams.