The Serenity Prayer

I saw a poster today that read, `I`m afraid to live in a world run by people who weren`t disciplined and got trophies for just participating.` This, along with other things like `The Supper Nanny` and `That Super Dog Trainer` guy (I only get one English channel) lead me to believe that the tide may be finally turning on the ridiculous fad of parenting and educating that Americans have embraced for the last ten or fifteen years. I call it the Pamper Method of raising children for two reasons; they coddle the children abusively, rendering children defenseless to the realities of the real world and because they are full of shit.

The Pamper Method of child raising goes a little something like this: Spoil your children like they were Turkish royalty, NEVER tell them NO, never allow them to either take or feel responsible for anything they do, no matter how sociopathic in nature it may be. Always as convincingly as it is fierce, blame someone or something else for their obscenely wretched behavior. Shield the child from all negative aspects of the human experience as if real life were something only poor people have to deal with and finally but most importantly, the ONLY acceptable form of feedback on anything and everything should be overwhelmingly positive in nature no matter how small or undeserving the deed.

The Pamper Method of child raising is ABUSE plain and simple. The Pamper Method of child raising looks at discipline as a form of punishment instead of responsible child rearing. Again, kind of on par with something only poor people have to do, as opposed to what it actually is which is loving, responsible child raising…which leads me to the Serenity Prayer which every alcoholic as well as anyone on Facebook now is familiar with that begins:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Now think of this in terms of raising kids; what is something you cannot change in children? How about crying. Every kid cries every now and again, yeah? Some more than others but the fact is all kids cry. This is something you cannot change and need the serenity to deal with.

Now what is something you can change in regards to children’s crying? Well, you can start with your reaction to the crying. Do you drop everything you are doing, panic and start dangling new and shiny things in their face in an attempt to get them to stop? Do you blame the other parent for not jumping at the chance to do exactly what you are doing, and them some? Do you hold the child, sing a song and let them cry it out?

This is where the wisdom comes in. Does one reaction offer a quick solution that will condone the behavior in the future. Does one put the burden on someone else and cause tension in the adult relationship? Or does one allow the child to feel loved, secure and able to move on and know that annoying behavior will not always get you what you want. It may seem like I`m biased towards the last response and perhaps I am but I know that every situation calls for its own reaction, thus calling it wisdom.

That seems the problem with this generation of child raisers. They have lost the wisdom to realize what is changeable and unchangeable in the children they are responsible for. I actually saw a teacher of 3 year olds who thought it was her responsiblity to be a human shield against the lovely little darling children she was teaching and the door while she tried to have an informative conversation with the parents she `taught` limiting their running around wild from pouring out to the street where they would surely be smashed like little bugs by passing cars. Not a lot of serenity in that. After taking over the class it took me a week to teach the class of 15 three-year olds the Three S`s: Socks, shoes, sit down. While the children were busy putting on their shoes I was able to have a calm, adult conversation about what went on that day and the other various kinds of `improvements` I was making with the class.

How was I rewarded for this turn around in the little princes and princesses progress? Getting them to eat by themselves, having them take responsiblity for their own belongings, sharing and not hoarding toys like little sociopaths, etc…? I was fired. Yes fired from this school which I will not name but only say that it is an International Pre-school…in Kakuozan. Fired for having the audacity to set standards and boundaries and just an ounce of structure.

These were fairly wealthy families and apparently it did not fair well with the parents that I was actually teaching their children something…anything. No, if they wanted that they would have sent their kids to the public school down the street where kids were actually happy and played together. Their kids were special and the thought of treating them like peasants was more than they could bare.

This is to be accepted in wealthy society but it seems Americans have ( like christianity, guns and Facebook) taken it and made it religion. All it takes is to see one 20-year-old audition for American Idol (again, I get one English channel) who thinks they are the next Diana Ross, who has never been told anything other than that she is special and talented and is entitled to a life of fruitful rewards for her one long day of waiting in line in her hometown to audition only to be absolute shite and finally be told the truth, that she is mediocre at best and have her completely break down in front of…well whoever still watches that show but me.

America, you have fooled this generation into thinking that hard work is Blue Collar and you deserve that and well beyond what your parents earned by just being the strongest swimmer in your Daddy`s bag. It`s cool to reach for the stars but foolish to think you can grab one by jumping on your trampoline then blame your mother for telling you that you could have. Blame later, now it`s time to man up, get a suit and for god sake stop smoking weed! You`re not Paul McCartney for fuck sake, get your head straight (sorry Vodka, I mean not what I say) and get a job, work hard AND smart, just don`t be lazy. This is YOUR life! Cut the cord, grab the reigns and get going kid. You can do it.

Also by this author is Boug Boys by Mike Black available on amazon.com. An e-book through the free kindle app. The book is ironically contradictory of what I just said. But I`m not a kid anymore.

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The Big Chance

If you were magically given a peek into the near future and saw your wife/husband die in a totally freak yet painless accident…would you try to warn them? This was the question raised in an otherwise crappy movie starring that lady that looks like she still has her baby teeth…Meg Ryan (I think). It`s a simple question. Some people will need very little time to answer either affirmatively or negatively, for others this question will linger in their psyche like a drunk at a bar, growing increasingly desperate as the evening carries on without him.

I`m of course limiting the perimeters of this hypothetical question to husbands and wives, any other relationship can be walked away from with no need for such a dilemma. Only the bond of holy matrimony and the legal merging of assets is, in it`s very design the most permanent, legally binding contract you can ever sign into in your lifetime…and a lot can happen in a lifetime. Feelings change, money is acquired, habits are formed, tastes are cultivated and a harmless, innocent, `unpreventable` accident could be the perfect remedy.

Hundreds of people try to have their spouses killed everyday, there wouldn`t be CSI spin offs in every city in America without it. This is nothing like that, make no mistake. This is getting a sneak peek at the natural occurring future and choosing to either alter it or not alter it. Who are we, after all to tamper with fate? We all know what Doc Brown from Back to the Future would say, `Changing the events of the present can have devastating effects on the future.` We wouldn`t want a future where Biff runs everything now do we? I think not. The worst you would have to fear is an Obi wan Kanobing consisting of less than encouraging advice from beyond the grave, nothing that could hold up in any court.

The answer is easy for me, of course I would tell my wife and do anything I could to save her life. We have a small child and in the absence of my wife that would leave 100% of the dirty nappy changing solely on my shoulders. No thank you. So please feel free to comment. I`d love to hear your thoughts, and if you’re struggling with the morality of the question I would refer you to read the book Boug Boys By Mike Black, available on amazon.com and ask yourself, What would Schultz do?

 

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Facebook

I`ve already began drafting my excuse for using Facebook for when it inevitably becomes an outdated fad. Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, one day; could be tomorrow, could be 5 years from now we will all look back on this time and squirm at the ridiculousness of it all. And I mean it ALL! The pet updates, the baby ultrasounds, the declarations of frustration with no explaination, the classic pictures with crude messages, all of it.

Children will ask their parents what the big deal with the `Like` button was and pretend to understand when an explanation attempt is failed. Comedians will say things like, `You used to take pictures of yourself in the mirror and post them on Facebook didn`t you?` and `You used to wish Facebook a good morning, good night and a Happy Friday didn`t you?` and you won`t be able to deny it, you`ll be able to only hang your head in shame and laugh in confirmation.

No one knows when this tide will peak and begin to ebb, it could be a Ziggy Stardust and someone will get killed, maybe a movie or star will diss it and wake everyone up. Maybe some star will pull a Billy Rae Cyrus and take it way too far and eyes will open. All I know is, when people do start to distance themselves from the Facebook mania that has capured America and the memories begin to get shorter and shorter of all the stupid crap you used to put on Facebook just remember one thing, the Facebook time line will always be there…ALWAYS.

Think about that the next time you find yourself considering all the extra Likes you could get if you post what you had for dinner with a before and after picture of your plate. As for my excuse, hey, I live in Japan and am trying to sell my book; Boug Boys by Mike Black available on amazon.com through kindle.

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Welcome Back

Welcome back to East Egg, me. I created East Egg about a year and a half ago and started writing blogs but kind of abandoned it about a year ago to write a book, Boug Boys. Today someone recommended that I keep up the blogs to promote the book so here I am, back where I started, so I`ve got some catching up to do. I suppose I`ll begin with the obvious…

Living in Japan through the Fukushima`s tsunami of March 2011 and the nuclear fall out that followed has made a lot of people aware of the fact that nuclear power plants fall into Douglass Adams` `law of improbability` as well as Cinderella fell into her glass slipper stating that the probability of a nuclear disaster is highly improbable, almost immediately causes it to happen. For a government to say that the chances of something going wrong with a nuclear reactor are very unlikely, therefore worth the risk is as irresponsible as a high school kid telling his date that he has banged a hundred chicks without getting pregnant, therefore it`s safe will almost always result in a pregnancy. It`s commonly refered to as `jinksing`. While there is a definite ora of superstition involved, who hasn`t or continues to fall victim to jinksing every once in a while. For me, just last spring things were looking good and at one point someone very close to me said enthusiastically, `Hey, this may be the best spring for you ever!` which actually led to one of the most depressing and pathetic springs ever. It happens to us all, we fly too close to the sun only to be burned and shot right back down to reality.

So please, stop flirting with nuclear power plants Japan. The fall out from the disasters that are inevitable are not worth the affordable energy, no matter how much the media dosen`t try to convince you or dosen`t cover the protests that are going on EVERYWHERE.

While it is commendable to seek energy alternatives, other than oil from extremist countries whose customer service is on par with White Castle employees, knowing that the consumer, you, has no other option for their product is them, therefore is able to act as inappropriately and rude to the customer as to go so far as to try to destroy their very way of life or spitting in your cheese fries while still profiting solely on their business. We have to ask ourselves, is it worth it?

Let us all just remember, there are always other markets. Whether supermarkets or energy producing markets, we are not actually married to those we may currently be in bed with. Gnaw your own arm off or do what ever you need to do to get away, pull up your trousers and GET OUT!!! Talk to you again soon.

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fire

My nod is tactlessly interrupted by a banging at my front door followed by a commanding voice ordering me to, “Leave Everything!” My poor, measly front door is no match for a banging on of such severity. Surely there is trouble of the gravest of nature afoot, only uniformed officials armed with heavy badges and a low tolerance for humoring one’s self would dare abuse a meek, hollow sheet of kindling with such aggression. They’ll no doubt be bursting through like bulls in an antique shop in seconds rather than minutes.

I should be quite worried, no? But where is the panic? Where is the trepidation? Somehow I can’t muster up the energy for anything other than to mourn the cigarette I was nursing that I now notice has extinguished between my fingers and wonder how long I have before the opiates wear off and the burning pain begins. “Leave Everything!” “Did I hear that correctly?” I wonder as I try to brush away the cigarette burn in the belly of my  T-shirt, “an odd thing to ask of someone whose buzz you’ve just cut short not to mention whose door you’ve just sucker punched and are positioning to knock out.” I try to wrap my mind around this new reality I’m facing, how long will it take to inure prison?

“Am I dreaming this?” slowly stumbles into my mind, then waits patiently as I come to terms with only being capable of thinking about 1 or 2 things, tipity tops, at a time. “Leave everything” reins at number 1 while “How much stash do I have left and where did I stash it?, How’s my hair?” and “Why won’t Todd Young confirm my `friend` request on Facebook” all grapple for second place.

I decide to take one final look around before the storm troopers invade. The Who are on the television singing Pictures of Lily in black and white, Paul is the dead guy, George is the gravedigger, Ringo is the priest and John is…who again with his white suit? Is he God or the funeral director as they casually walk across Abby Road in my poster that I’m squinting to see. My dad is right where I left him, sleeping restlessly on the sofa next to me. Man, I sure am gonna miss this place, once the storm troopers come barging through the door it`s all over. What the hell are they waiting for anyway? An invitation? Are they positioning themselves all around the perimeter in case I jump off the balcony in an escape attempt? They obviously haven`t done a whole lot of servalence on me…Wait, what was that? I think I hear them thumping aro… BAM BAM!! “Leave Everything!” Here we go, it`s all over now, “Cancel Christmas!” I think to myself, bracing for what`s about to come storming through the…BAM BAM!! “Leave everything!… FIRE!!”

Fire! Fire? Ah, Fire. It hits me like a snails fart. Fire, of course! I totally could`ve thought of that if I wanted to. Another BAM BAM! “Leave Everything” comes from outside again, a lot less confusing this time, in light of this new information. Fire, well, this changes everything now doesn`t it, and, oddly, somehow doesn`t change a thing. A low grumble comes from the big guy on the sofa, “Schmeckle, what the hell`s going on? Who keeps banging on the door?” He asks, yawning and reaching for a cigarette. “There`s a fire.” I say with an air of confidence, like I`ve known all along. “Fire? Do we need to evacuate?” He asks in a sarcastic, slightly accusing tone. “Yeah, I think they want us to leave everything.”

BAM!! “Fire, Leave everything!” comes again from outside. The phrase that, only moments ago had held my imagination hostage was now nothing more than an annoying nag, “Yeah yeah, I`m coming.” I say peeling myself from the couch slowly to my feet. “Leave everything huh? Ok, Ok, Well, let`s go then.” I say, half to myself and half to Dave who`s carefully looking at the labels on prescription pill bottles before tossing them into a blue velcro bag that looks as if it were specifically designed to hold lots of prescription pill bottles. “I`m comin` I`m comin`”, he says obviously with no intention of following the “Leave Everything” instruction. “Right,” I think, “No reason to leave empty-handed, after all this isn`t an airplane, they`re not going to ask for my help or anything.” So I go to the cabinet in the kitchen and get the Macho Mug mug I stole from Cheeks that one time and dump whats left of the Segrum`s 7 in it, followed by what`s left of a bottle of Vodka and fill it the rest of the way with wine from a box, leaving no room for ice.

I can hear the commotion in the hallway growing more and more impatient, we really should start to be on our way, I think I smell smoke. “Dave, you ready?” I shout over the counter, “We gotta get outta here. Dave? Dad!” I say walking around to the sofa to find him sleeping with a cigarette burning the other cigarettes in the ashtray. “Dad, come on, we gotta go.” The noise from outside is that of a small-scale exodus complete with screaming, swearing and panic. Pulling my dad up off the sofa while not spilling any of my drink would have been something to stop and take a minute to revel in at any other time, but this wasn`t any other time, time was of the essence.

So after doing a quick check; smokes, drink, pills. Check, check and check and after grabbing my guitar from the corner and doing a quick sound check, we hurry out the door without the least bit of hesitation. The scene in the hallway of the apartment building that is in such grave danger of burning to the ground isn`t as smokey and filled with ash faced people, scrambling in all directions as my imagination had allowed me. This gives my thoughts, that had been patiently waiting in the queue to get into my mind a chance to have their voices heard. The first of which is the one involving my stash and where it`s stashed. Of course, it`s all coming back to me now, after coming home and dumping it on the mirror on my dresser, I did half of it and then, like the sneaky fox I am, left the rest of it right there on the mirror for later.

I take a quick look around, surely I have time for this. I debate whether to intrust my dad with the responsiblity of carrying my guitar out to safety or leaving it by the front door and after a moment’s deliberation decide on the latter. I set her down gently by the front door and head back in like a true fire fighter going in to save that last scared little kitten. I brush past the smoke, comming from the ashtray, to my bedroom where, sure enough, there are the goods, right where I left them. I do my business then plop down at the foot of my bed to think about how many different wrong turns my life has taken that have led to the possibility that I may die in a fire that I`m pretty sure I didn`t start, chained to a mirror and a razor blade when, suddenly I hear a rustling from under my bed. What in the Sam Hell could that possibly be? A rat? A squatter? Then I hear, “Hey baby, what`s all the noise about?” a groggy voice manages from under my comforter.

Amy! Damn, I totally could`ve thought of that if I wanted to. “Hey, baby. Wake up, there`s a fire or something. We should probably leave everything.”

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Waiting

The ants in the park

All look the same from where I stand

Even the one marching up my leg, with all it`s power and strength

Is no match for my left hand.

The lights in the dark

All fighting for the attention of my eye, though as bright as they may shine

All fade when I put my sunglasses back on.

The girl in my heart

I give her a blanket for the cold, tell her to sleep tight but I know

The blind fold is tied on way too tight, and that it can`t block her mind`s sight

Or stop her from shivering.

There`s a band in the park

They don`t sound too bad, but the drummer`s bird is a girl that I`ve already had

My presence more than throws his rythem off.

The city feels alive tonight, I can`t keep my feelings bottled tight,

The tourist`s flashing bulbs all scream “Take Me!”

The green light has grown tiresome and given way to a lazy blink,

before surrendering to a solid forbidding RED.

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Amen

Class of 2011, congratulations on your completing the necessary requirements for earning a high school diploma, now let us all bow our heads and… Oh, wait a minute, sorry that`s church where some of us go and bow our heads and pray and school is where we all go to learn the three R`s; Reading, Writing and arithmetic. Wait, isn`t that just one “R”? I`m always mixing little things like that up, silly me.

Apparently so is the valedictorian of Madina Vally High School, Angela Hildenbrand, who is fighting a court order banning her from “leading the student body in prayer” at her public school graduation stating, “After all that I`ve been taught about the freedoms of speech, expression and religion in our country, I am disappointed that my liberties are being infringed upon by this court`s ruling to censor my speech.”

This is the valedictorian of her school, the very best they managed to churn out this year, number 1, numero uno, and this is how she views the United States constitution!? That she`s having her liberties infringed upon? Why is this boundary so difficult for religious fanatics to wrap their minds around? Every holiday season, every spring graduation, every military burial we have to re-teach the “separation of church and state” boundaries to these nut jobs. Separation of Church and State is not to protect the Church from the State, it`s to protect the State from the Church.

Look darling, the deal is that you get to do, say or act however you want in your home or place of worship, and no one gets to mess with that, no matter who you are or what you believe and these places are everywhere given the tax exempt status on faith-based institutions in this country. But places that everyone chips in on, like PUBLIC schools, cemeteries, court houses and brothels need to stay neutral.

The litmus test is very simple; if you wouldn`t want the other guy, and I`m sorry but in this argument, YOU always seems to be the fundamentalist Christian so “the other guy” has to be a Muslim, doing the same thing, then you can`t do it yourself. Didn`t someone say, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  ? If you wouldn`t want to sit through some weird Muslim ass sniffing ritual at your High School graduation, then don`t impose any of your sleep imposing rituals on the same occasion. It`s really not any more difficult than that.

Christians, you`re not being persecuted anymore (Unless you`re in Egypt) you are the ones doing the persecuting. When you ask yourselves, “What would Jesus do?” also ask yourself, “Who would Jesus be pissed at?” In his time it was the Jewish religious leaders who were the hypocrites and blasphemers. Ask yourself, “Who is it today that I need to be weary of ?”

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