Monday, April 9, 2018

Fake Knews & Social Sins

Maybe it's because I'm 55. Or maybe it's my heart. Or maybe it's just because my soul is still Catholic. But I examine my conscience each day. Well, I don't know if that's true. I do it with each verb I conjugate. That isn't new. My yardstick is.

I want to become a better man.

Incidents / Reflections

* I'm using a walker. When I'm able to graduate to a cast, I will. But for now I'm hunched over the horizontal bar and alternating between a hop and a slide. I often lift the area rug or hit the furniture that bumpers my path. I remember when my father first slid from a cane to a walker. I felt irritated when he disrupted the rugs. I felt angry when he collided with the chairs. I didn't see the degree of difficulty. I'm ashamed I wasn't more patient. I'm contrite I became an obstacle. Each slide of mine is filled with remorse. You can't go back with a walker; fortunately you can move forward.

* Last year I stared at the ceiling in a hospital room. I had been hospitalized because of the complications of congestive heart failure and I awaited an ablation in the morning. I received a text from a woman I know. Oh you know her type. She wanted to use my social connections to make new social contacts. She asked me if my friend needed her to help him set up for his party. Now catch that. I was in a hospital and she wanted to know if I could arrange for her to help him. Seriously. Now I've never been that masturbatory but I have neglected a need to participate in a joy. I was too thunderstruck to be hurt or angry. But I wasn't too ill to be aware. I considered her while I was hospitalized last week. She was a great example. I'm a better man because I make great efforts to avoid the occasion of her sin. She wanted me to contact him from my hospital bed to see if she could help him. Really.

* I've realized that I often seek a sympathetic ear - and then resent the intrusion of advice. Now recently I've considered this. If I tell you I have a problem, then I make it your business too. For instance: if I tell you peanuts make me ill and lament their potential loss in my diet yet continue to eat them, you have the right to question why I'm snacking on them regardless of the consequences. It's morally wrong to ask for empathy when I have no intention of ending my behavior. It's my choice to continue the chew and not your responsibility to silently clean up the vomit.

* In the last year two people - who rarely and barely know me - have started arguments with me about judgments they've made about my behavior or motivation. "Well the reason you do that ..." or "No that's not what you're like ..."  I found myself justifying my motivation to people who had no real knowledge of my impetuses or inclinations. I actually said the sentence, "you don't get a vote." I've considered this at length. We don't actually know why anyone chooses to behave in the manner he chooses. We don't really know the situations people experience or the impulses that propel people through decisions. I think we need to realize that in most situations - we don't have a vote.  My cardinal rules: 1. if it isn't necessary - shut up. 2. Unless you can point to a diploma, you're not an expert. Here's a truth: everyone participates in fake knews. We don't know everything. Or hell, most things. I'll give us some things. And that's something but not everything.