Involuntary Loner

Grumpy

I lost my brother recently. Thanx for the condolences, but he’s still alive. I just don’t know where the Hell he is.

I am content to be surrounded only by immediate family, and a tiny group of online friends. This is a cautionary tale about seniors growing older, isolated and alienated from society. (Visit your Grandma in the home!)

My grandson is getting married, and we tried to invite my brother to the wedding. His landline number had been disconnected, and his cell phone number had been assigned to someone else.

My daughter contacted his daughter through Facebook, and a sad, protracted tale of woe came to light. He had turned into a grumpy old man with no friends, although it wasn’t clear whether he was grumpy because he had no friends, or had no friends because he was so grumpy – perhaps a bit of both.

His wife left him and divorced him some years ago. He moved 25 miles, to a small village, to be near his older daughter. Within a year, she disappeared, moving out without telling anyone where she went.

The younger daughter admitted that she had been preoccupied with kids going into teenage-hood, and a small, retail business that she runs. His old buddy, “24 beers in a case/24 hours in a day” Norm, hadn’t stopped in to see him in over 5 years. We didn’t improve things, because, despite the wife’s nagging gentle reminders, I hadn’t phoned him in almost 3 years.

He had a lady friend-with-benefits for several years, but he was retired, with time to drive to Florida, and spend some time there in the winter. She had just started a home-cleaning business, with a growing list of clients, who she couldn’t leave hanging, so she also left him.

He had a guy that he’d gone to school and worked with, who would split on gas and motel rooms to attend curling bonspiels in Ottawa, and North Bay. But he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and brother finally called him a God-damn asshole, and dumped him.

There was a pair of male twins his age who used to give him some time, but neither one was interested in curling, and no longer wanted to car-pool and drive 500 miles to watch a NASCAR race. He never read, and he didn’t own a computer.

There was mention of “some trouble with a neighbor” (or neighbors), and apparently what passed for a village council, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, solve his problem. Suddenly, one day, he put his house on the market, sold it and just moved away.

His younger daughter says that she knows physically where he is, and has a telephone number. When she found out about his decision, she tried to contact him. He felt betrayed and abandoned. He said, “Screw all of you! If you weren’t there for me when I needed you, I’m not going to be there for you. The Government knows where I am. The rest of you can go to Hell. I don’t want to be bothered. Don’t give my contact information to anyone.”

My Mother used to say, about his sulking moods, “He just wants to go out in the garden and eat worms.” I am sorry that he feels betrayed and abandoned, and the situation that he’s in. He and I have led very different lives. For obvious reasons, we were never close, but I’ll still miss him.

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Flash Fiction #197

Harry Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

OVER THERE

They both diligently saved from their wages, determined to see at least a little bit of the world, before they settled down to careers, marriage and family.

London was fantastic, and they did all the touristy things. Being nerds, they located a Harry Potter store, bought wands, and enjoyed butter beer. They couldn’t find a platform #9-3/4, but they booked a tour on this old steam train, like the Hogwarts Special. The views of the countryside, the quaint little railway stations, and even a castle on a hill, were delightful.

Happy, but resigned, they returned to face the workaday world.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

On a personal note, this is my 1100th published post since Nov. 2011. Also, if you note, it’s FF #197. If all goes well, in a couple of weeks, I’ll reach another milestone of 200.   😀

Is Atheism A Bad Idea?

Atheism

He was an Atheist for 40 years, then one day, he became Catholic. (Or so he claims. I suspect a troll.) Not A Catholic – merely Catholic. He and I had some words. They grew too numerous for a comments column…. so here we are again.

And how miserable does atheism make you? Choosing it is a bit like choosing to be fatherless in the world. Left to your own devices.

For someone claiming to be Atheist for forty years, his assumptions and questions are bewildering. He seems to imply that morality must be applied from outside. A moral framework must be accepted internally, even if it is supplied from the outside. I know “Good Catholics” who believe in divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, and priests being married – all ‘sins’ to the church. Atheism does not make people miserable. It frees them to enjoy the natural beauty of the world and the Universe, revel in the companionship of friends and family, and be proud of how much better they’ve made and left it all.

He seems to feel that he needs some kind of social and moral crutch. Most Atheists want to be left to their own devices. They have the strength of will and character to deal with life and reality on their own. Is he too stupid or lazy to formulate and apply his own moral code??

True Atheists simply do not see convincing evidence of the existence of God, or gods. They do not “choose” to be Atheist. Anyone who claims they do, or that someone else did, is mistaken and often an intentional liar.

Do you have children? Do you have a set of values? How do you pass them on? Do you even want to pass them on or do you want to just let the thousands of ancestors of yours who struggled to survive only for you to say, “eff it, my line is OUT”? (He wants me to continue to be Christian – and fruitful – simply to please my dead predecessors??!)

I have a set of values – Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. – which is neither original, nor exclusive, to the Bible. Do the greatest good for the greatest number. I passed them on to my children, and now to our grandson – who received a small award in college for his assistance to others. I not only told them to aid and be kind to others. I showed them how, by doing it myself. From empirical observation, our practiced moral values are better than many ‘Good Christians.’

I certainly feel my/our moral values should be passed on. Some of my ancestors were deeply religious. Others were completely not, but I’m sure that all of them would agree and be proud of me and the good I do.

I hear you and agree with most of what you say, however, I don’t condemn all of Christianity because some people abuse it or make it look bad. But let me ask you this question, beyond those phrases like “do unto others” how do you guide someone to resolve complicated moral issues? Do you ever talk with your children about morals? Is that enough to lead a person through every moral quagmire he or she might face? Not in my view.

He doesn’t say why he feels that’s not enough. Perhaps I’m simplistic, but I do. Adultery is wrong – not necessarily a sin – but wrong. Her husband may beat her, or ignore her. That makes it more complicated, but that’s social, not moral. It’s still wrong. You wouldn’t want to be her husband, nor her to be your wife. You’re not doing unto others, nor the greatest good for the greatest number.

I grew up in an atheist household, and we had some discussion of morals but it was very infrequent. Until atheism offers me the discipline of continually working to be a good person, I decided I’m done with it. And given that atheists or secularists tend to not marry or have kids at nearly the rates of religious people, how do you expect your values to live on beyond a generation or two?

I don’t view life – or religion – as a contest to be won. I hope to influence my descendants, and society in general, by my example. I would not dare to attempt to impose my code on others. People who do that are called ISIS. I believe my opinion to be the best, but if it dies out after I do, that’s not my problem.

Unlike Religion, Atheism has no real structure. There is no Pope, no hierarchy, no Bible, no tenets, no dogma, no sin, and no handy rule-book with a ready-made list of acceptable actions. People have to work that out on their own. He makes no mention of belief in God, Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven, or everlasting life. He just wants someone to hold his moral hand and lead him down the Holy Garden path. It’s like someone wanting to save the Earth from Global Warming, but buying a Hummer because it has cool wheels.

Hummer

Jim says

“The reason you returned to religion is self interest. That’s how it always is. Just because you failed to find a meaningful life outside of faith, you have joined the herd to find solace. I, and many like me, find complete satisfaction finding our own way in the world. You on the other hand, profess belief in something you don’t believe, to have community. That is hypocrisy and lacks integrity.

There is no meaning but what you make it. Searching for it inside of prearranged dogma is cheating yourself of possibilities. Spirituality comes in billions of options that are quite fulfilling outside the plug-and-play religions. It’s even true inside religion. Everyone just picks the parts they want to believe anyway. Your mind has now been hijacked by the herd.”

 

Ego And Insecurity – Episode 2

Bible

Trying to debate the existence of God, with someone who has renounced critical, rational, logical thinking, is like trying to administer medication to a dead body.

A Fundamentalist Christian recently declared that, if he found a passage in the Bible which stated that two plus two equaled five, he would unquestioningly believe it. Another was quoted as saying that, if it was proved to him that the entire Bible had been written by forgers, he would still believe that they were Divinely-inspired forgers. Who could have a meaningful debate, or even an intelligent conversation, with someone with such desperately hidebound assumptions?

A recent Christian response to anyone presenting Biblical mistakes or contradictions, has been to defensively ask (demand), “Do you think that you are smarter than me?” That question is as vague, insecure, irrelevant and meaningless as all their unproven beliefs and claims. Smartness is almost impossible to define or measure. I’ve written of a woman so clueless that she didn’t realize that she had Polish ancestry. Yet she owned three homes, while my MENSA-grade IQ was still paying rent.

“Smart” is not the matter at hand. Instead, it is the gullible, sheep-like, unthinking, dogmatic rejection of any portion of evidence of reality that conflicts with their (and their church/religion’s) unthinking hope/wish that their existence was exactly the way they needed it to be, to make them feel good about their life choices.

I realize that ‘salvation’, and ‘eternal life’, are very important concepts. It’s just that far too many people put far too much belief and energy into things that have no real connection to God. In a legal sense, I’ll stipulate to the existence of God. That means that I may, or may not, accept the concept, but I’ll allow it for the purposes of discussion. I’ll also, grudgingly, agree to ‘Christ as Savior.’

ALL the rest, is bullshit! Petty rules and orders, dreamed up by men, for the benefit of men. God doesn’t need you to kneel. Even if He did, he’d want you down on BOTH knees, not just the right one, with the left foot forward. He doesn’t care if you accept Him, dabbed with ashes, or oil, with a little water sprinkled on you, or dunked whole-hog in a creek or pond.

I can manage to get born, married and die without some guy in a funny hat and dress being there to demand his 10% – not for GOD, but for him, and his church. Ritual actions can be important, not in terms of God, Jesus, and salvation, but for ‘the group – the congregation,’ as well as those performing them, so that the group will accept them.

They are an external indication of an internal decision of belief, but no specific rites or actions are any more “right”, (or wrong) than any others. Lutherans will not go to Hell, just because they don’t genuflect, no matter what your priest/preacher tells you. In the Old West, preachers were often not available. Many couples were ‘married’ by gathering friends and family, and performing some overt, ritual act, like ‘jumping over a broom,’ with a Bible present.

“Church” becomes a place where we go once a week, to pass judgement on others. A lot of folks would do well to dispense with the irrelevant details, dreamed up and enforced by men, having nothing to do with God, Christ, or salvation, and concentrate more on ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto others….’

Episode 1 is here, if you’re interested.

Something Old, Something New, Something Stolen, Just For You

Garter

“Some scientists now believe that Jesus Christ had a wife. They also believe that Jesus’ nephew called Jesus’ wife the “Auntie Christ.’”

***

Three blondes died and are at the pearly gates of heaven. St. Peter tells them that they can enter the gates if they can answer one simple question. St. Peter asks the first blonde, “What is Easter?”

The blonde replies, “Oh, that’s easy! It’s the holiday in November when everyone gets together, eats turkey, and are thankful and stuff…”

“Wrong!,” replies St. Peter, and proceeds to ask the second blonde the same question, “What is Easter?”

The second blonde replies, “Easter is the holiday in December when we put up a nice tree, exchange presents, and drink eggnog.”

St. Peter looks at the second blonde, shakes his head in disgust, tells her she’s wrong, and then peers over his glasses at the third blonde and asks, “What is Easter?”

The third blonde smiles confidently and looks St. Peter in the eyes, “I know what Easter is. Easter is the Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. Jesus and his disciples were eating at the last supper. Then the Romans took him to be crucified and he was stabbed in the side, made to wear a crown of thorns, and was hung on a cross with nails through his hands. He was buried in a nearby cave which was sealed off by a large boulder.”

St. Peter smiles broadly with delight.

The third blonde continues, “Then every year the boulder is moved aside so that Jesus can come out… and, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

***

If you’re singing Christmas songs on your neighbor’s lawn at night with your church group, it’s called “caroling.”

But if you’re doing it alone with no pants on, it’s called “drunk and disorderly.”

***

How come writing your lover’s name in the sand is considered romantic, but if you write her name in a snowbank…. Ew, ew, ew!

***

My wife has this red ‘Christmas’ lingerie with faux fur around the neck and cuffs and it comes with a little Santa hat.

“I hate this outfit,” I said when she walked into the room.

She replied, “Then why are you wearing it?”

***

A daughter said, ‘Mom, how many kinds of ‘willies’ are there?’

The mother, surprised, smiles and answers, ‘Well dear, a man goes through three phases.’

‘In his 20s, his willy is like an oak tree, mighty and hard. In his 30s and 40s, it is like a birch, flexible but reliable. After his 50s, it is like a Christmas tree.’

‘A Christmas tree?’

‘Yes — dead from the root up and the balls are just for decoration.’

***

A new survey found that 81 percent of parents admit to stealing Easter candy from their children. While the other 19 percent of parents don’t think it counts as stealing if you bought the candy in the first place.

Hah-ppily Married

Wedding Cake Figures

Thomas says to his best friend Davis, ‘You know,
I reckon I’m about ready for a vacation, only this
year I’m gonna do it a little different.

The last few years, I took your advice as to
where to go.

Two years ago you said to go to Hawaii; I went
to Hawaii, and my wife Julia got pregnant.

Then last year, you told me to go to the Bahamas.
I went to the Bahamas, and Julia got pregnant again.’

Davis says, ‘So what you gonna do different this year?’

Thomas says, ‘This year, I’m taking Julia with me!’!

***

“Mom, I’m dating a man.”

“Whom, sweetheart?”

“Mike the mailman.”

“Mike the mailman? But he could be your father!”

“But mom, age is just a number.”

“Sweetheart, I don’t think you understand.”

==========

I work with a Chinese guy called Kim and one time at a work function,

We were having a drink and I said to him, “Do you ever get fed up of us Westerners saying that all Chinese people look the same”?

He replied, “Kim’s at the bar getting drinks, I’m his wife”

==========

A weeping woman bursts into her hypnotherapist’s office and declares, “Doctor, I have been faithful to my husband for 15 years, but yesterday I broke that trust and had an affair! The guilt is killing me. I just want to forget that it ever happened! Can you make me forget?”
The hypnotherapist rolls his eyes, and says under his breath, “Oh, brother.  Not again …!”

***

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO REALLY LOVES YOU

Put your partner, your cat and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open it up again, who’s happy to see you?

***

So it’s okay for the cat to run away and hide under the bed when company comes, but when I do it, I’m being antisocial.

***

Moses was the first person with a tablet to download data from the cloud.

***

Feefiphobia is a chronic fear of giants.

***

If laziness were an Olympic sport, I’d come in fourth so that I didn’t have to walk up to the podium.

***

I do weights for muscle health, cardio for heart health….and chocolate for mental health.

 

One-Line Into Comedy

Comedy

Commit suicide??….
….That’d be the last thing I’d do.

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?….
….Great food, no atmosphere

The inventor of AutoCorrect died today….
…. His funfair will be hello on sundial.

I say hooray….
….for speech therapy

Somebody gave me a book on anger management….
….I lost it

People say that I’m egotistical….
….but enough about them

I used to be addicted to eating refrigerated poultry….
….but I quit cold turkey

I asked my wife what she wanted for Christmas. She said, “Nothing would make me happier than a diamond necklace.”….
….so I got her nothing

I have an EpiPen….
….My friend gave it to me when he was dying. It seemed very important that I have it.

What did people do before they had sandpaper?….
….They just roughed it.

Tony

We’re G-r-r-r-eat!

Tony the Tiger for president!….
….Make America Grrrreat again

Why does Peter Pan fly?….
….Because he Neverlands

Disneyland is a people trap, built by a mouse.

Beer is a gateway drug to Aspirin

Drunk is when you feel sophisticated….
….but can’t pronounce it

Resolutions….
….In one year, and out the other

If your fridge was running….
….I’d vote for it

I looked up my family tree….
….and found three dogs using it

Forklift operators hate our puns….
….They find them unpalletable.

Where there’s a will….
….there’s a greedy relative

Only dead fish….
….go with the flow.

I asked a lone wolf for a stick of gum….
….but he didn’t have a pack

Remember, if the world didn’t suck….
….we’d all fall off

I scream. You scream….
….The police come. It’s awkward.

I’m not a fan of the design for the new quarters….
….but then, I hate all change.

Life is short. If you can’t laugh at yourself….
….call me. I’ll do it.