Sunday, September 27, 2015

What's the Big Ideal?

I have a friend who "leaks". Let me explain.

This weekend my wife and I attended the wedding of a wonderful couple: Shaun and Jessica. Lisa and I have known Shaun for a number of years. Shaun and I go back to before Lisa and I got together (over ten years ago). We've shared both times of joy and times of pain. The "highlights" and the "lowlights". Shaun is an "ideal" man. He is tall, handsome, has great hair, is physically fit, plays sports, and works hard. And he "leaks".

At one of our Memorial Day picnics, Shaun came with Jessica. Jessica. Talk about an angel. Jessica is sweet, gentle, funny, beautiful (she has the most amazing eyes), caring, and is in love with Shaun. And Shaun is in love with Jessica. Did I mention he "leaks"?

I said Shaun was the "ideal" man. In the eyes of society, he is. In my eyes, he is that and much more. Shaun is one of those rare men who is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. When he is happy, he smiles so big it looks like his face would break. When he is angry, you instinctively know to give him space. And when he is in sorrow, he is not afraid to cry. And it is that unashamed ability to shed tears that makes him more than the "ideal".

What is it about tears? Why do we cry? I heard it said that the reason we do is because we are experiencing an emotion so tremendous that our very being can't contain it. And we "leak".

When the doors opened and Jessica stepped into the church, Shaun's face showed his awe, his love, and all the pent-up emotions that came to fruition at that moment.

And he "leaked".

Shaun and Jessica: May you walk each day unashamed of who you are and who you are together: never hiding what's in your hearts. May you continue to love each other with all of your beings with such intensity that those moments come when words fail. And you simply "leak". God bless you, my friends.


© Emittravel 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Big Five-Oh

Back in August I received my first birthday card of the year. Now, two important points: One, my birthday wasn't for two months, and two, it was from AARP.

The only birthday I've ever had "difficulty" with was my thirtieth. I don't know why. I remember turning to my father and saying, "Remember when you were my age, you had me." He quickly replied, "Don't remind me." My father and I are almost exactly thirty years apart. So, that was a one-time joke.

Thirty was tough. At that point I was out of school, had served in the Navy, and was married (to my ex). We had a house, bills, and a barely paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. I guess when I looked at it, I didn't really have much to look forward to, and a lot to look back upon. I didn't have any regrets, just a sense of loss for the big life changes that seemed to have passed.

Forty was no big deal. Just another birthday come and gone. It's supposed to be the year of "over the hill" gifts (at least that was what I see in the local Hallmark store), but I didn't feel any different. I've mentioned before that I don't really see time as having passed, since I’m always looking at the world through the same "port holes".

This year? This year I get on the AARP mailing list. Great (that's sarcasm, in case you missed it). This year I can seriously consider that more of my life has passed than is before me. The chances of reaching 100 get better and better each year (I think there are more centenarians around today than in all of recorded history), but the chances of this guy reaching it aren't as likely.

(I just read the above to my wife, because I'm a bit stuck on where to go from here. She asked a good question: "Why?" My parents are both "up there" in age, and are both doing great. They are beating the odds gracefully. So, maybe my chances are better than I thought. I have SUCH a good wife!)

I can honestly say that I’m not anxious about turning fifty. I’m loving where life has taken me, and am looking forward to the trip ahead. There are many twists and turns, hills and valleys, and highways and byways to experience. There is so much to look forward to, and I'm prepared to revel in all that life brings.

Now, if only AARP would leave me alone!

© Emittravel 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Future is Now

In 1987, Alex Murphy was taking criminals "dead or alive" in "Robocop". I remember watching it for the first time (oh yeah, many times over the years) and seeing the scene in the Detroit police department locker room where both men and women were in various stages of undress (and no, I'm NOT posting a pic). The reason the scene got my attention, outside of the women in various stages of undress (I admit, I AM a straight male), was that both sexes were oblivious to the fact that the opposite sex was there in various stages of undress. I'll say that again: they were oblivious to the fact. It was normal. Just another day. And I wondered: what would it take to get us from "here" to "there"?

What I mean by "here" is a society that still has difficulty with male and female equality in all of its various forms (think "equal pay", for example), dress codes that determine the length of a woman's skirt and whether or not a man wears a necktie, and what gender "Pat" is.

Then one day it hit me. I finally figured out that unknown bridge: transgenderism.

Transgender people are throwing all kinds of confusion into "normal" society. Recently, an elementary school hit the news because a boy, who has determined himself to be a girl, has decided that she didn't want to use the teachers' or unisex bathroom, but decided to use the girls' bathroom. Both students and parents were up in arms, and the school made the statement that students are to use bathrooms that match their "plumbing" (my word, not theirs). I know of a business where an employee who presents himself as female, wants to use the ladies restroom as well. That business determined that if the employee is presenting himself/herself as a certain gender, they are able to use the bathroom that coincides with said gender. Part of the decision was based on the fact that the toilets are in stalls with doors, and the urinals have dividers (and I have never seen, in all my 49+ years, another male attempt to look past the divider - ever!): no one sees anyone in any form of undress. And does anyone really care the gender of the person at the next sink washing their hands? Hell, I'm just happy when people wash their hands. Of course, that business hasn't determined locker room/shower room use, but they will have to address it soon.

Having the opposite sex "invade" your bathroom is nothing new. Anyone who has been to a concert at the former Richfield Coliseum (I saw my first concert, Billy Joel - from A Piano Man to An Innocent Man - at that coliseum) has seen women skip the long lines for the ladies' room and grab a stall in the men's room. We guys noticed, but again, the stalls had doors. But now, that "invasion" is starting to become the "norm". (I noticed that I use a lot of quotation marks in my blogs. I wonder what the significance of "that" is . . . )

So for good or ill, trans genders are here to stay, so society needs to adjust.

According to an article by Jocelyne Zablit, "a California elementary school has become one of the first in the country to phase out gendered bathrooms". They are not adding a unisex bathroom; they are getting rid of those male and female silhouette-signed bathrooms.

Society is beginning to adjust.

Ally McBeal was the first to address a unisex bathroom (that I'm aware of), and that was back in the late 1990s. It was a novel idea that became a mainstay in the course of the series. And as has been said, good fiction soon becomes fact.

So, the future is now. We are slowly setting aside our long-held "hang ups" (there are those damn quotation marks again) and are beginning to allow the natural progression of society to become whatever it decides to be. And I think that is a good thing.

First unisex bathrooms, and next: silver jumpsuits!


(The above video is a clip from the 2002 Simon Wells film, "The Time Machine". That's right, Simon Wells: the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, the author of the book of the same name.)

© Emittravel 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stuff My Brain Says #75

Flip Wilson is famous for the line, "The Devil made me do it". Many Christians also believe the devil talks to them. I believe God speaks to us via His Holy Spirit. The devil, not having a similar representation of himself, does not speak to us in the same manner. The devil is neither omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent. Most of those "negative" voices we hear are our own, influenced by our fallen nature and sin. Others are memories of things spoken to us by people from our past.

Christians need to stop giving the devil more power than he already has. That may be useful to fire up a congregation to throw more in the offering plate, but it's not valid.

© Emittravel 2015