Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 12/12/08

Confessions of a Dislocated Texan
Sometimes we are more blessed than we think
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)
Collectively as a species, human beings tend to do an awful lot of complaining. We’re always talking about how much our lives suck, wondering why things can’t be any better and stating that we’d love to get out of insert place here the first chance we get.
Boy have I given into that sentiment an unknown number of times. Even when I was growing up I was looking to leave that town that had almost 250,000 people since it had nothing to do. You’d think a learned person such as myself would find a way to drop the bad habit, but it’s stuck around like a homemade Youtube video.
Not to fault the generous individuals of Jefferson County who have been as kind as any of my readers, but since I am not a native of Arkansas, I haven’t felt 100 percent at home. Like the adaptable dude I am I have made a home where I live, but too often I pine for any bit of that former family or friend connection.
Then on a recent visit to the region my better half came from I had a number of things smacked back to me in perspective. I really haven’t had it all that bad at all or at least to the degree I thought I did and I imagine the same is true even for the rest of us in a battered economy. Sure things can suck if we keep focusing on the ugly, but after a while it can make us blind to what is beautiful.
On my most recent visit to Mississippi, it was not for the most joyous of reasons as my wife’s grandfather had passed away. For all the understandable reasons I and many others could have been bitter about his death, but it was not all so depressing because the man was almost 97.
He had lived a full life, raised kids as well as grandkids and never left anything except the most cherished moments we will keep with us for years. Suddenly, I did not feel so bad about not being able to see my own elderly relatives or forgetting to call every time I should because they too have been as equally as wonderful. Heck, I called my own remaining grandfather during the trip and listened for more than an hour repeat and fill in some new information about how his own grandfather helped Henry Ford start the automobile industry.
Then I began thinking after a recent church service and sermon about being unhappy with one’s life situation and agreed with the preacher that I too was blessed and had not really been happy enough about it. Unlike many in Pine Bluff and the Delta I have a job, however low the wage might be, and I have a decent rent house that has more than enough to eat and drink.
My wife and I may be separated from each of our families by miles of road, but even some of the people I have had to cover on an assignment have made me feel in some way like I am a part of their family. There is a real connection in this region that is unlike any other and though we are different I think we ignore that racial boundary we say is so often in our way. Maybe we aren’t too late to make this place just a little bit better.
So when you think you are so bad off take a little bit of time to reconsider if you have it so terrible. I mean, if you are blessed enough to read my awesome wisdom you at least have a starting path to improvement.
In the end things can’t seem so wrong if we have breath enough to complain. That energy could be dedicated to helping someone else’s day better, even if it is a smile. You could try it, unless you just prefer wallowing in self pity.
Thoughts from Nevada

Black Friday!

By Puns McKenna

Everyone is familiar with the term Black Friday, aren’t they? Well, if you aren’t, here’s what it is. Thanksgiving Day, everyone is spending time with family and friends, but what about the day after? Does anyone know what those same, mild mannered folks are doing?

See, it starts about midnight on Thanksgiving. Those dedicated shoppers begin to delight or dismay the rest of us. They set up their little camps outside the stores. Living in a major city the day after Thanksgiving becomes a holiday extravaganza. The shoppers that are dedicated to spending the first day of the “After Thanksgiving Day” sales in the stores begin behaving like performing baboons. Black Friday, is the day when all shoppers throw caution to the wind and do tricks for the opportunity to get into the local Best Buy at 5 am.

Now, why is this entertaining to all the intelligent people who know its better to shop the week or two after Thanksgiving? Because it’s easy to be entertained by the performing monkey hopping up and down in front of the mall. Seriously though, I could see a movie about this selling big time at the Box Office. The marquee would read: Holiday Blockbuster! Black Friday: How I dropped my packages, broke my ankle, and met your mother!

They’d get Leonardo DiCaprio to play opposite of Kate Winslet, because everyone knows they have on screen chemistry that’s believable. *snicker* It’d be set in the local Best Buy where Leo would have bought a new DVD player and sixty new games for the Xbox. Because we all know he loves to buy presents for himself. Packages would go flying and the light would shine brightly on the pair at first. Then their eyes would meet and the light would soften as he came up with some witty or rather hokey apology.

She’d simper and blush. Because we all know she does that well. Can we say Craptanic here? She’d “shyly” give him her phone number. Then he’d try to get up and wince, making a poor attempt to be manly and hide it from her. She would get all “concerned” and drive him to the local hospital, where it would look like she was getting it on with one of the orderlies. But then everything would work out and she would insist that Leo come home with her, so she can take care of him. Of course, this is where Kate and Leo would get friendly and Leo would get a “Lucky” Christmas present.

Sounds like a bunch of monkeys hopping up and down at 3 am waiting for the stores to open can be a good inspiration, doesn’t it?

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