Meat N' Taters wrote:(I've been in in introspective, serious mood lately...so forgive me dear ZS from deviating from my usual menagerie of poop jokes and sexual innuendo.)
1) I was on a middle school field trip to Washington D.C., and was approached by a homeless man asking for money so him and his friends could eat. Feeling bad for him, I gave him $20 of the 100 bucks that my mom had given me. A few minutes later, as we were walking back down that stretch of street, I saw the homeless guy smoking a crack pipe. In the years since then, I have given a shit-ton of hamburgers, sausage biscuits, cans of soda, packs of cigarettes, and to-go bags...but I have never given cash to a homeless person again.
2) A few years before that, someone robbed our house while my mom and I were gone. They took a bunch of our shit that my mother had worked her ass off to get for us. I was enraged, and it was explained to me that in this world, there are people that work hard to provide for themselves, and there are people that feel like they don't have to work, and instead let others work hard and then steal from them. My mother only told me about people who literally steal/burglarize in the literal sense. It wasn't until my late teens that I began to form my own opinions and realizations of how many people steal from the hard-working people in other ways (won't get into politics here). Aside from this, the robbery profoundly shook up my sense of security. I immediately felt the primal urge to protect my homestead. Being a boy of 12 or so raised by a single mother who didn't believe in guns...I was shot down when I begged my mom to get a pistol to protect our house. My mom believed that one's home and one's goods weren't worth harming another human being over. She also felt that for self-defense, a baseball bat was all a person needed. She let me keep a Louisville Slugger underneath my bed, but it provided me little comfort. I realized then that her and I had different opinions on what was worth fighting over. You see, I believed that one's home and one's goods ARE worth fighting for, even to the point of harming someone. To me, it wasn't about material things...it was what they represented - someone else's hard work; someone else's dreams. The fact that someone would try and take MY hard work and MY dreams sickened me. They had no right. They had every opportunity to work hard just like my mom did, just like I do now, to get what they want in life. I knew then that I was prepared to defend that with all I had. When I turned 18, I bought my first firearm, a piece of shit Marlin 9mm carbine. Since then, I have not slept without one or more guns within arm's reach.
3) I was 19 years old when my grandfather died. Ever since I was little, the man had absolutely adored me. Matter of fact, the day he found out that my mom had gotten pregnant (she was 19 and unmarried, with the father nowhere in the picture), he didn't get angry, judge her, or even say one word to her about how it happened. He drove straight over to the grocery store where she was working as a cashier, marched up to her, and said "Tell your boss you're quitting. Let's go buy a crib, and then you can live with us as long as you need." The man had his share of problems with his own children...he was an alcoholic, and kind of a stubborn old hardass. But with me, well I guess you could say he saw me as a second chance to have the relationship he should have had with his own children. The man treated me like gold. He was an imperfect man, and he made life rough for his kids at times. But he also made life wonderful for his grandson. I learned that within all of us is the capacity to create, and the capacity to destroy; it's just human nature. Sometimes we are lucky, and we get a second chance to rebuild things we've destroyed.
possibly more to come.
I really appreciate your post M & T. These kind of experiences are the crux of our lives that turn us one way or another. That guide, influence, and inspire us. I don't know you, but from the tone of your post, you seem to have taken lemons and made the best kind of lemon aide you can, and I assume a stash of lemons to continue making it with.