My peeps hang out at the VA clinic in Austin.
I know none of them. Prolly agree with very few about a lot of things. It’s okay.
It took six months to get two appointments coordinated
(it’s a long drive), but I like it here (not sure why).
(Almost) all the paid staff and volunteers seem nice
and tolerant (from what I’ve seen, they need to be).
Eye exam. Will I see an optimistic optometrist
or a pessimistic ophthalmologist? New script
and my cataract is ready for R&R (remove and replace).
The drop dead gorgeous (and friendly) young lady in the glasses shop said I looked like Bryan Cranston (showed me an old pic of him) from Breaking Bad.
Go ahead, make an old vet smile, and feel good.
Couple years back a dude came in, sat down to wait,
pulled out his gun and blew his brains out. Yikes!
I guess he wasn’t there to get new glasses.
Some of us got some serious shitty problems.
Later, about half-past noon I got some new hearing aids.
Rechargeables because I drain batteries binge watching House on TV
streaming on Bluetooth. Thank you. I like them.
I am a veteran eligible for most VA services, either alive or dead.
I’m a vet but no old fart hats for me.
I’m neither proud (okay, a bit) nor ashamed of that fact.
Like being old, bald, male, or a Texas Aggie,
it’s just who and what I am. No changes.
Look both ways and see it all.
Mind the gaps, some of us need more help than others.
Because it’s Saturday, day 9 of the NaPoWriMo challenge, and the 9th of April, my numerically poetic task is to write a nine-line nonet poem. A nonet renders out to about 36 words. It’s a brief form. The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, and so on. The number of syllables reducing until you get to the nineth line, which has just one syllable.
I supposed that one could write an inverted nonet, which I did, beginning with one syllable and working up, line-by-line, back to nine. I felt like I had the time. Two poems, 72 words, 90 syllables. Not much for a Saturday. So, I also wrote a 57-word poem for Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt.
He had a quick pride which pained him much.
So many loves he’d won and lost.
His narcissism reflecting,
the part he’d never see.
Sadness lived within
his tortured soul.
When he died,
of his soul,
the cost to him
was in no way small.
I never understood
many burdens he carried
they just split his being apart,
making it worse, the curse of his heart.
Look both ways and up and down before asking why or why not.
Mind the gaps in mirrored perfection of human discernment.
Does hubris feed my ego? Is it the other way around, where my pride has need of honor and glory? Are the two without peer? Tell me please, the middle aged or old, has-been American male; and what of truth? When did somewhere in the middle cast the shadow of failure? When did wealth become honor, dishonor become firebrand, and fact become fiction?
Can I stand naked and alone, on my own merits and feel sufficiently honored in my own skin? Do I need groupie demagoguery to feel satiated at my needy soul?
Look both ways to see the approaching train-wreck.
Mind the gaps and seek the truth.
Who or what are you proud of? Do you feel proud of yourself? If so, do you consider it immoral or sin?
Pride is an insufficient word for the immoral feeling that is an exaggerated sense of self. Hubris works a little better. Pride is often normal and not bad. As with any of these so called sins, when taken to psychological extremes, pride can become a problem that others often are more aware of than we see in ourselves. Behaviors associated with pride can become annoying, but we expect a proud bow from anyone doing well.
So, here I go again; playing devil’s advocate in the defense of normal human feelings and behavior that many religious people accept as sinfulness of the highest order. What’s even harder to understand is that this one is considered the worst of the worst. This is Lucifer’s sin, if you believe that. This self-opinion allegedly paves the way for all badness (or sin, if you prefer) to follow. In the words of C. S. Lewis and many other religious writers, its primacy is made clear.
Are we to believe that humility, the alleged opposite, prevents us from immoral behavior? I can be most humble and immoral simultaneously. I can lust with humility oozing from my pores, or maybe it’s the other way around. Excuse me while I humbly eat the entire pizza and down a six-pack of beer.
Pride is mostly good, unless you’re Irish-Catholic, in which case you’ll hear, as I did in my youth, who the hell do you think you are? This put-down, shut-down, and buzz-kill phrase is more annoying than piles of pride.
Gay pride, black pride, being proud of self, kids and grands, other family and friends, school pride, pride in state or country, religious pride or pride in non-belief, the overcoming of adversity, pride in relationships, athletic team pride, corporate pride, and the list goes on. What’s wrong, bad, or sinful about any of this? Nothing!
My entire life I’ve worked on my humility (minding that gap). One friend made a sarcastically funny plaque for me because I often discussed trying to be humbler. I thought that I’d be a better person if I was humble. Of course, I could be proud of my humility, right?
I think power often corrupts, and I’m sure that pride plays into that human fault. We should get this pride deal straightened out. Going overboard on my ego is indeed bad for me and for those around me. Fortunately, my family and friends have the chutzpa to point out my faults. I no longer have my dad to ask me, “Who the hell do you think you are?” I can still hear his voice when others remind me that I may be a bit full of myself. It happens, preferably seldom. Maybe pride is not exactly the correct word for me.
What about the other prideful words? Vanity? I pine for my hair and regret the loss of my locks. Conceit? Probably not me. I’ve known none who admit to this, but we easily see it others. Arrogance? I have the tee shirt for this one. I’m guilty. I can be arrogant as hell. Conversely, I admit when I’m wrong. I’ll apologize for any harm done. I don’t apologize for being wrong unless harm was done. I’ve been accused of arrogance for that. To me, I’m being sincere. Otherwise, I’d constantly be apologizing.
How about self-respect, self-esteem, or self-love? What of narcissism? I know that’s not pride, but we agree it’s an abnormal extreme, unless you’re a politician. Dictionary synonyms include pleasure, joy, delight, gratification, fulfillment, and satisfaction. I think I see a pattern here.
Is it possible that Christianity and some other religions are opposed to people finding pleasure in life?
Yours, mine, or theirs – what’s your take on the pride?
Hold your head up and walk tall. Be the person you are – true to yourself.
Be proud when you have reason.
Be happy in life, but look both ways and be mindful of any gaps.