Row Boat Man

In the Spring of 1976, I told my dad that I was thinking about quitting school. I was not asking permission. Back then, a 16 year old in Illinois could quit without parental consent, no signature required. My older sister quit every other day. Okay, just once a week, on average. She’d stomp into the school office on her way out the door, slam her books down on the counter and declare, “I quit!” And, on the very next day, mother would march her right back into the office to re-enroll.

Sis was emotional, so her quits were always in reaction to something, a tiff with a teacher or whatever. Mine was different. My quit would be an action, not a reaction. Much consideration needed to go into my decision, which is why I wanted to talk my dad. It never occurred to me that my parents may object. But, like I said, I wasn’t asking.

He did not tell me no. Dad never tried to control me, at least not in my teen years. I didn’t even have a curfew. I was expected to be courteous, to let my mother know if I would be home for supper, to call if I was going to be out late. At the most, he’d say, “think about what you’re doing.”

Oh, he did firmly ask me to stop trying to sign my sister up for the Army. That’s about as close as I can recall of him ever telling me no on anything, and that was just because they were getting tired of recruiters coming to the house. Yeah, every time my sister ticked me off, I’d fill out one of those military postcards in her name, get her a free pair of socks or whatever incentive was offered for requesting more information. Do they still do that? Maybe it was a 70’s thing. Those postcards were in about every scholastic magazine.

When I told dad that I was thinking of just not going back the next year, he knew it was my decision. I would be 16 in July. All he did was ask me why, and then he told me a story about a man in a rowboat.

Yeah, a man in a row boat. This poor sap set out to row his little boat all the way across the ocean. It was a long and perilous journey, months and months at sea. He was almost there, but he didn’t know it because he could not see the shore. Just another day or two, and he’d be there. But, he was tired, so he told himself that it’s too far away, he can’t make it, may as well give up. So, he turned his boat around and rowed all the way back.

It made a lot of sense. I already had 11 years of schooling, so what’s two more? Even if I did not graduate, I’d still have a 12th grade education.

Still, it was my decision. I opted to sign up for Graphic Arts at a vocational school for the next year to give myself a change of pace, with only a half day of High School classes. I was back in regular classes for 12th grade, as we moved to Ohio just before my senior year and Graphic Arts was not an option at the vocational school there. And yes, I graduated at age 17.

This is on my mind tonight… not exactly sure why. Maybe it explains why I don’t give up so easy, or why I hang in there far longer than I should at times. If it is a relationship, I don’t want to start over with someone new. If it’s a goal or a project, then it’s a “what if I’m almost there?” Maybe I’m just lazy. I don’t want to row my boat all the way back across an ocean.

Thanks for reading!

Dissident

Three days now, a third day of waking up in the wee hours with this song playing in my head. And always on the same lyrics.

At a quarter past, a holy no, she had to turn around… when she couldn’t hold, oh she folded, a dissident is here… escape is never the safest path… a dissident, a dissident is here.

Lyrics from Pearl Jam’s Dissident

Stuck songs in my head usually reflect something going on in my life so I have to ask myself: What the hell is my mind pondering in my sleep?

Well, there’s the obvious (relationships) but I think it is deeper. What is not safe? What am I trying to escape OR will I bail, try to escape?

I’ll tell you a little secret and it is not open for discussion. When I started my 59 days, a friend suggested reading a book called “The Artist Way, a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron.

It is not exactly what I expected. Yes, I read reviews first, both pros and cons, and opted to check it out as an ebook from the public library. Ironically, digital books are exactly like real books so I had to wait until someone else returned it. I placed my request and waited. When it was returned, the library checked it out for me and someone, I suspect the person who had it before me, had already requested to check it out again. That’s cool as it means someone else in this area is doing this book’s 12 week recovery program, I’m not the only one who needs the book longer than 21 days. Odds are, I will return it early as I’m waiting for the used paperback copy that I ordered on eBay in Week One to arrive.

Yeah, I dove in… opted to actually do it instead of just reading the book.

My mind twirls the lyrics, spins them around, replacing words… she has to turn around, a holy no, she folded, a dissident is here.

Lies! Total BS!

This arrived in my mail today REEKING of Alt-Right propaganda.

Do they think we are that frikkin stupid?

Ye gads… the petition they are spending MILLIONS to convince people not to sign is NOT from the Chinese Government… it’s a petition from “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts” to put Bill 6 on the ballot so the people of Ohio CAN VOTE for or against adding another fee on our electric bills. OHIOANS, not a foreign government.

WHY are they spending so much and going to such extremes just to keep it OFF the ballot? Because it’s worth BILLIONS to the utility companies. And, if enough signatures are gathered to put it on the ballot, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will spend millions more in an all out campaign to get that money.

It reeks of Alt-Right because: (1) Bill 6 was sponsored by Republicans, passed by Republicans, and signed into law by a Republican governor; and (2), falsely claiming a petition is being circulated by the “Chinese Government” is so far fetched that it sounds like something Trump would say.

Oh yeah, his base would believe it without questioning because Trump paints China as the enemy in his little tariff war. His base is too stupid to realize that tariffs are import taxes, just an extra fee paid by the American who imported the items (not China) who will, in turn, pass the cost on to American consumers, that they their own selves will pay slightly higher prices on imported goods down at their local Walmart or whatever store. It’s okay, just “Buy American” while wearing an imported hat. So what if a trade war hurts our farmers. We can’t have “illegals” picking veggies, so up goes the cost of produce, too.

Of course, that’s all “fake news” to Trump supporters, who are so conditioned to believe whatever he tells them is the gospel truth. Maybe Trump should take a Sharpie marker and drawn a line on the border map and claim that’s the wall, built between tweets.

Where’s the circulators? I need one… yeah, this over-sized postcard has convinced me. Bring that petition to Youngstown, Ohio… I want to sign it.