Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Observations Page 2 of 4

Observations: In line at the Grocery Store

Have you ever really paid attention to the things people buy, and in what combination, when you are at a grocery store?

My first realization that this could have any entertainment value was several years ago when I suddenly realized that I was in line with a bag of water balloons, strawberry jello, whip cream and panty hose.  Wait… it gets worse… I was sixteen and when I got to the counter, the clerk made the comment, “Fun time planned for tonight?”  I laughed, having pretty much no clue what the meaning of his comment was until I got home that night and explained to my mother what was said.

OK… everything except the pantyhose were for my little brother’s birthday… the panty hose were because my mom tore the only pair that she had left and needed me to get her another pair for work.  I was the one that had to go to the store for her and buy them.  Not something that is fun for a teenager that is already having problems getting in with the girls at school.

Since that time, the process of watching what other purchase has been a hobby of mine.  Not something that I dedicate a lot of time to, but I do make it a point to pay attention to others in line when I am at the checkout counter.

There are varying classes of these buying mistakes that people make.  I am sure that 90% of them are purely coincidentally, but I am sure that there are those last 10% that are as the result of some sinister plan.  Some act of creative fetishism that springs beyond the scope of the normal.

I will cover some of the things that I recall seeing here.  I will also try to give one or two possible reasons for the purchases to be made in that combination.

  • The Nervous Vegan -   I recall a time when I was in line behind a woman who had a shopping cart full of fruits and vegetables.  She also had some other minor kitchen items as well, but towards the end of her unloading her cart and the only reason that I even took note of her in the first place was the event that raised my eyebrows.  She lifted a bag of cucumbers out of the cart and placed in on the belt.  A moment or two later, she placed a tube of KY Jelly on the belt and immediately covered it with a magazine.

OK… So maybe that one was a little too obvious.  Who knows, maybe there was a logical reason for the two items that had nothing to do with what I, and maybe you, were thinking.  Maybe she was going to make cucumber salad that night and also had plans with her beau.

  • The Heavy Metal romantic -  Sometimes what I see is a little less clandestine.  The person buying the items is pretty much telling the world what he or she has planned right of the mark.  Like the person I saw in a Super WalMart in Gilroy, once.  When I got to the counter, there was a gentlemen who was, based on the clothes and the piercings, obviously a little bit into the punk/rock/etc scene.  His selection for that days purchase was a pair of silk boxers, an AC/DC DC, bottle of cheap wine and a box of condoms.  There is little doubt was this guy had in mind.  Let’s just be glad he was playing safely.

I tend to find the most amusing things I see like this are in the mega stores.  The places like the Super WalMarts, Heartland Target Stores and the like.  You have so much selection in these places that it is just a matter of time before you see something that makes you laugh or just really wonder.

  • The Would Be Babysitter – Of the ones I have seen, this is my favorite, unfortunately while I can recall most of what this person bought, I cannot recall what store it was at.  The person in front of me had what looked like all the makings for a fun day at a children’s day care.  Lots of coloring books and crayolas.  A few toys and some balls.  Even a couple “whiffle balls and bats” so that we could tell that there was a “Whiffle Ball” game in the near future for someone.  Then, when I saw toward the bottom of the flatbed he was pushing, I noticed about 100 feet of nylon rope and at least two sets of the electronic dog collars.  You know, the ones that shock the dog if it gets too far from the house or to stop them from barking.  If you were to ask me… they are perfect items for a Daycare.
  • The Evil Bartender – Saw this in a Von’s grocery store a couple if years ago shortly before New Years Day.  A young lady had a cart full of liquor and mixers for what looked like it was going to be a great party.  Rum, Vodka, Tequila, then there was the fruits and other items.  At the end, when the cart was almost empty, she placed two bottles of Drano on the belt, some cat food and a bottle of bleach.   I am not sure that this is a party I would want to attend after all.
  • Dangerous Lonely Housewife – Again, at a Von’s.  Lady in front of me buys a Ladies Home Journal, Us, People and another rag, then puts a bottle of Vodka, lemons and beer on the belt.  Why is it that I had mental pictures of this lady sitting on toilet, doing shots and reading her magazines, all while crying about something that happened to her.
  • From the “Honorable Mention in Love” category – Saw a guy once with a frozen pizza, six pack of beer and a “I’m Sorry” card.
  • From the “How not to say I Love You” Category – Again in the grocery store… guy buys a butcher knife, box of plastic garbage bags and a dozen roses.  I read the news papers for about a week after that one, looking for something that might have fit the image I had in my head.

These are just a few items.  I am sure that, when you think about it, you will see these.  If you never did before, hopefully this article will fire up that funny little section of your brain that will now start making these associations when you see the person in front of you in line at the store.  Now you might take note and realize that there might be something more to THAT story!

If you happen to run into a situation like this or something that you would like to share, please do so.

Gone but…………

Not forgotten……………………..

When is the moment you realize that you will never forget those who have gone from your life. You can’t really pinpoint it or plan for it, it just happens. Whether it’s sitting watching a movie, seeing an old t.v. show, reading a book, a news clip, a blog. What brings those memories flooding back….. Is it something that happened recently, something you saw or heard, a moment replicated to almost the exact way it happened when you lost someone. And when you react, is your initial reaction, to what you just read or saw, to the story or a moment in your own past, or both, one coming right after the other. Which also begs the question, which memories are the most important ones, the milestones or major events, or the little ones, or funny ones, or frustrating ones, or ones you should have laughed at, at the time, but instead felt anger or frustration.

For me, it was something I hadn’t really prepared for, to understand you will have to see the movie Marley and Me. If there is book written I usually read the book before I go see the movie, in this case though, I didn’t, so other than seeing the previews and having read the cover of the book several years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. And I have to admit during the movie I was starting to become disappointed, as the movie seemed to shift more and more from the main character Marley, a rather rowdy, but lovable Labrador retriever. While not having read the book I am sure something was lost in translation to the big screen, from the lesson’s learned by the writer, as Marley and Me was a true story, not a fictional account. You can’t really blame the producers of the movie either, after all they need to appeal to wide audience, and based on the packed theatre on a Saturday with kids and parents and grandparents I would say they did what they needed to do. Some of you at this point maybe wondering what the point of this thing is, don’t worry I haven’t lost my mind completely yet, it is coming, but like some things you have to wait for it.

I don’t know if words can describe it adequately, but here goes……. As the movie progresses, it dawns on you that the movie is leading up to what some would consider an inevitable conclusion. Marley’s heart wrenching passing, as the family that loved him looks on helpless. Not wanting to be caught of guard, I could see what was happening and prepared myself, even though it did bring up thoughts of several of my own Marley’s passing. So when, it happened I was prepared for it and steeled myself for it, while at the same time, wanting to make what was happening easier for the family, knowing that besides the family on screen, this scene had played itself out in real life with Marley’s family. So, it was not that scene, that got me…..In the beginning of the movie something happens that for those of us looking on, is funny, but to those actually experiencing was I am sure frustrating. Without giving it away, they remind us of that incident at the end of the movie, while the family is saying goodbye to Marley, and that is what got me. It was an involuntary reaction and caught me completely of guard. One of those rare moments at least for me, when emotions come out, without being stopped or self managed. A grown man, sitting in the theatre with tears in his eyes, wondering why he was reacting this way, when moments before, the scene that should have had most people crying there eyes out, had not brought up anything other than memories of having been lucky to have known, my own Marley’s. Sandy(and no, not that one), Ming, Scotch and Smudge, Dudley, Irish, Jake and Saunchin. Each unique in their own way, each teaching you something, each touching you in ways you never imagined, each with their own personality, each so much a part of your life, and each leaving it way too soon, But leaving you better for having known and loved them. Each moment whether it’s a fond memory, a funny, although sometimes not at the moment occurrence, is important and can and will come back to you at unexpected times and in unexpected places……….


We can all think of them… our first (enter subject here.)

Obviously, in order to keep this site family oriented, I am going to NOT share CERTAIN firsts in my life, and I would ask that you be so kind to do the same if you chose to join in on the fun.  This will be one of the few times I will invoke my right to edit your posts… if you post one that is great, but has a part that may push this site into the R rating, then I will remove or alter that one part with a note to the reader that I did so.

My first “first” that stand out the most is, of course, my first kiss (that was not under duress).  I am going to go out on a limb and embarrass the lady who gave me my kiss by telling you her name is Tonya Buck, or at least it was back then, she has long since married and had kids.  The kiss was in 1981 when I was 13 and my hormones were already screwed up.  We were at the dining room table and she was over for dinner.  My mom said something that embarrassed me and Tonya laughed at me and leaned over and kissed my on the cheek next to my lips.  To this day I cannot recall such a feeling.  I was dizzy, sweating, could not speak and my hands were shaking.  Looking back on it now, there was never another feeling like that again.

I think that of all our firsts… our first kiss it the most potent of all the experiences.  It is the catalyst that starts you into understanding, for a boy, what women are all about.  You learn right then and there that they will always have a certain level on control over you.

The second important “first” in my life, chronologically, is my wife, Naty.  That moment when we were sitting in the little restaurant in Solvang and I looked at her and like a flash, I no longer saw her as just a girlfriend.  I saw the woman that I loved and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and with that same giddy, heart-thumping joy that I felt with the first kiss, I remember taking Naty’s hand and telling her I loved her.  I had uttered it a few times in passing before, but this time I knew I meant it will all my heart and soul.  The beautiful thing about it is that I still do today.

Other, less important “firsts” I can think of:

  • The first time I got in a fight.  November 1986 – Got my ass kicked and was also the first time I tasted my own blood, my first black eye and the first time I remember pure visceral rage.
  • September 1986 – First time I remember that I swam.  Drill Instructor pushed me into the pool with my pack and rifle.  I do not remember the swimming part, but I remember climbing out of the pool sputtering and coughing.
  • The first time I thought I was going to die…  When I was learning how to climb and the rope I was using broke free and I slid thirty feet before the guy teaching me was able to stop me.  That was also my first talk with G-d, whomever I thought they might be.  😉
  • The first time I got kicked in the balls.  It was in 1976 on the playground at Plantation School in Bakersfield, Ca.  I cannot remember his name, but I remember his brother was named Lee.  Grrr…
  • My first “Crush”…  Jamie Maxwell.  We were in Second grade together.
  • The first time I realized I was smarter, in certain things, than my mother *sometime in 1980*…  The only reason that stands out is because I tried to prove in…  Parents do not like it when their twelve-year-old tried to make them look dumb.  🙂
  • The first (and last) time I told my mom to go F*** herself, when I was 16.  My jaw still hurts from that one.
  • The first time I felt true loss… when My Great Grandmother died in 1976.  I sat in the living room closet for hours.
  • The first girl I acted like an idiot to try and impress, that would be Christy, in… Grade school, Junior High and High School.  What can I say… hormones were not good to me.
  • The first true friend I ever made, Grant.  I called him “Laughing Boy” during Freshman lunch in 1982, he punched me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me.  Been friends ever since. Go figure.
  • The first time I realized how short life can be… February 27, 1991.  My Father Died at the age of 53, not a day goes be that I do not think of him.
  • The first time I realized that I turned out a lot better than many others I went to school with expected me to… July 2006… 20th South High School reunion.

There is no order of importance to the bulleted list above… they are things that I think of as being events in my life that made me who I am today.  We are all products of those events that shape and guide us.  The “Firsts” are the most important, though.  They happen to you and you learn through them.  Sometimes good things, sometimes bad things.  But they are the mosaic that makes us who we are.

I would like to encourage you, the readers, to share your firsts with me and the world.  Be as detailed or clandestine as you want.

If I have included your name in here and you wish for me to remove it.  Just say the word and I will.  If you see your name here and want to say hi… by all means, do so.

The Return of the Pin-Up

There has been a trend coming back around that I am actually liking.  It is the return of the “Pin-up” style of art and women’s clothing.

There are probably those of you out there that do not know what I am talking about, at least not with the term “pin-up”.  Though you have probably seen it several times, you just do not know what I am talking about.

“Pin-up” is a style of art that involves women that are scantily clad, at least by the standards of the 1940s and 1950s.  Art that adorned the noses of several hundred bombers over Europe and the pacific and in the pockets of the soldiers that fought the ground war.  Images that made women like Rita Hayworth and Bettie Page more famous to some soldiers than their movies did.

In fact, there appears to be a whole new class of this style of dress and photo-art that is making the rounds.  Some of it I like and some of it I am not so fond of, especially the ones with the women who are also sporting lots of tattoos.  That is not to say that they are not attractive, they are just not what I find attractive.

The new models that are making this style popular are people like:

Dayna DeLux

Heidi Van Horn – A few Tattoos, but still lovely

Bettina May


Amy – Again… a couple tattoos, but nothing overdone.

What really tickles me is that to this day, there are still people that consider this art a form of pornography or somehow ranks as smut.  I beg to differ, I think that the human body is a work of art.  These ladies do what they do because the have the bodies, as I am sure the minds, to do it and do it well.  They also show, through most of their work, that it is not what you DO see that can be a turn on, but what you cannot see and must be left to the imagination.

Songs that men probably should not sing…

Admit it guys… there have been time that you have been sitting at home, or in the car and a song has come on that you cannot help but sing along with… but is not meant for a guy to sing.

Unfortunately, I too am guilty of this.  There have been a couple times I caught myself, being a big fan of ABBA singing something like “Gimme Gimme Gimme” when it comes on the radio.  Granted… I will try, when I think about it, to edit the lines to say woman… so the result is no longer the “Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight” that are the real lines of the song.

There are many other songs that are like this.  Written from the point of view of the woman and sung by a woman, yet they are catchy enough that we all tap our toes and sometime sing along.

I was driving the other day and heard a guy in the car next to me singing Gretchen Wilson’s “Red Neck Woman”, and it looked like he was really getting into it, until he saw me watching him.  As I turned and looked forward again I heard his radio tune to a talk show and he was no longer singing.

Then there are the songs that guys sing when they do not know the meaning of them and the people that do sit, put their head in their hands and groan.  I used to have a friend that loved a song by the Kinks called “Lola”.  He used to say that it was a song that he would dedicate to his wife and reminded him of how they met.  This confused me, because anyone who really LISTENS to the song will realize that is about a guy’s first sexual encounter with a male transvestite.  When I explained this to him, he ignored me.  I am all for having the occasional romantic song in your life, but it might be a good idea to select one that you know the meaning behind.

Then there have been the times I have seen women singing songs that were meant for men.  Yes, ladies… you are guilty too.  Like a time I was sitting in a bar, out of town, having dinner… I noticed a young lady singing Dierks Bently’s “What was a thinking?” to herself and she was really getting into it, too.

Like I said… we are all guilty of doing this from time to time.  I know it will never stop and sometime we just do not realize that we are singing the song until you notice that people are looking at you like you like you just peed in the holy water at church.

So… keep singing… because the rest of the world needs a reason to laugh.

Just because it fits… Observations from a Gym.

Since there does not appear to be any guides stating that I cannot talk about this and my gym membership did not include a Confidentiality Agreement, at least not that I am aware of, I fee pretty “OK” talking about this subject.

I recently started going to a gym. I did this mostly due to the wake-up call I received a couple weeks ago and shared with you all in the piece I wrote called “A Place in my heart.” Last night was my first time going there, and I will have to admit that it was not all bad. There were some things that I saw that I really need to talk about… let’s call it therapy.

Warning: Some of the following may be considered crass, rude, hostile or even just plain mean hearted… but I mean it in the most constructive way possible. Read it and comment on it, but consider yourself warned.

Many years ago I belonged to a gym here in Bakersfield named Bakersfield Athletic Club. I went pretty regularly until they were bought out by a place called “24 Hour Fitness”. To me, this was like finding out that my local Temple (Jewish) was being run by Saint Frances’ Catholic school for children with spastic rectal disorder. In other words, not a good thing. 24 Hour Fitness could ruin half off happy hour at the Mustang Ranch.

I digress… the above was not what I came here to talk about. What I really wanted to talk about are the items that people wear to the gym and some of the things you see in a gym. Trust me, they are not all good and some of them would send Freddy Kruger back to the pits of hell looking for someone to hug him.

First of, let me tell you how I dress to work out. It is a matter of utility for me, I am not there to attract the women, expecially since I have been off the market for almost twenty years. So my attire is usually a pair of sweat shorts and a heavy sweat shirt. Yes, I wear this all the time that I am working out, even in the summer. The object of doing a good workout is to sweat, right? For the ladies reading, I will call it “Glowing”, but for me, it is sweating.

I am also not there to have a discussion, so you will not see me chatting with other people. I just go in, get on the machine that I want to use and sweat away.

The reason I talk about what people wear to the gym is because while I am not not on the market and I am not looking for a date, I am also not dead. I will notice the ladies if they are pleasing to look at. Which brings me to my first point.

Ladies… just because you fit into the size 6 unitard, when you are actually a size 12, does not mean you SHOULD put it on. There are many reasons that you should not wear it.  I know that there may be something that tells you that this looks sexy, but that is the same voice that keeps telling you that one more banana split will not make a difference. IGNORE THE VOICE.  I have NO problem with large women and I have no problem with them working out.  I do have a problem with seeing things that are better left to someone else’s imagination.  I will end that portion of the topic with two words, and leave the rest to your imagination…  Camel Toe.

To be fair, I am not slender.  I am 276 pounds and most of it is in my ass and stomach, but you will never see me in the gym in bicycle shorts or a tank top.  Heck, even if I had a great body and was built like Bruce Lee, you would not see me dressed like that.

Guys… I have two issues to pick on with the guys who go to the gym.  There seem to be three types of guys that go to the gym… people like me who are trying to get our bodies back in some shape other that pear or “bowling pin”, who go in at regular times and work our butts off… hopefully literally.

Then there are the guys that seem to mistake the gym for a pick-up joint.  They go in and try and pick up on the ladies to see who might be available.  You guys are the reason that many gyms have created a “Ladies Only”.  These are the idiots that come in, find a machine next to a lady and start working out on it for no other reason than to chat it up with a person that wants nothing to do with you.

Then there are the muscle types… they go in and work for hours on the free weights.  You can usually tell these ones, because they lose their sense of anything but themselves.  when they walk around they strut, if they happen to walk by a mirror then they watch themselves walk past.  That alone gives me the creeps, because the way they will sometimes look at themselves, you start to wonder if they are have some weird homoerotic fantasy about themselves.

Now… I know that anyone reading this may stop and ask me about the issues that I have… and I do have issues.  I lack a great deal of self-confidence, I am ashamed of how I look, especially when I thing that I was once a Marine and did have a good body.  I am paranoid that others are watching me work out and whispering under their breath about me.  There… I am not perfect.  That being said, I do get out there and do the best that I can.  I am not getting any younger.

Please do not be offended by anything I have written about in this post.  I am venting about things that I think are silly.  You will have your own opinion, I am sure, but I am sure that there are things you can all agree with in this.  We have all been to gyms and seen things like this.  This is no longer the late 70s or 80s… there are no more Kelly LaBrock’s or Olivia Newton John’s bouncing around in leotards and leg warmers, images that filled the fantasies of many a young man, myself included, in those times…  I cannot speak to what you ladies reading this looked at and fantasized about during that time .  Two decades of gluttony have caught up with us all.

Now we see the gyms filled with people more like the Michael Moore’s and Rosanne Arnold’s trying to do the same moves, and it is scary.

Good Night, all… with all I have written I hope that you have no nightmares.

Things in life that I do not understand…

When I came up with the title for this post, I was thinking of all the fun things I could put on here that would rank as the things that I do not understand. The possibilities for humor in such a title are endless. I am not sure why, but then I realized that there are other things that I need to express that do not rank as humorous, but still fall within the scope of the title. And so I shall begin…

  • I do not understand how a person can abuse or exploit a child, for any purpose.
  • I do not understand how you can hate a class or race of people based solely on their race or class.
  • I do not understand why people believe politicians who have a history of lying.
  • I cannot understand what we think we can accomplish by not pursuing nuclear energy
  • I do not understand why people insist on talking on the phone while driving.
  • I do not understand why people still try to run from the law when it is almost impossible to escape.
  • I do not understand how people can still walk around with messed up teeth, when dental services so readily available these days.
  • I do not understand why, as technologically advanced as we have become, we still have wars and conflicts over theological issues.
  • I do not understand why, again… as technologically advance as we are, we still think that the color of our skin makes us better or worse people.
  • I do not understand why our government seems to exist solely for it’s own benefit and not for the benefit of those that it is supposed to represent.
  • I do not understand why a person working on behalf of the government, doing his job to protect the borders, can be arrested and jailed for doing his job.  While the person he tried to stop, who is an illegal alien with a know criminal past, is treated like a hero.
  • I do not understand how people who have the task and honor of putting their lives on the line for our country, in many cases, do not make enough money to make ends meet.
  • I do not understand why every TV show uses the same plots, just with a few different changes to make you think you are watching something different.
  • I do not understand how if a show like “24” is supposed to be about the events through the course of one day, why it never has a 10 minute period while Kiefer’s charactor is taking a crap.
  • I do not understand how a person’s life can be so boring that they need to sit and watch a TV program about several people in a house with manufactured issues with the sole intent on exploiting those of the others on the show.

I like it in here…

I talk to myself.

I would like to think that we all do from time to time, personally I think it is healthy to talk to yourself.

I am pretty sure that I talk to myself more than most people that I know, however, and there are times that I have pretty good conversations with myself. Some of my best ideas and thoughts come from these conversations.

I would wager that my level of “self conversation” goes a little to far sometimes. I mean if you are having a conversation with a person and reach a point were the conversation goes south, you can walk away from one another. There have been several times where my discussions with myself have not gone well and I reach a point where I cannot agree with me, so what do I do? I cannot walk away from myself… I have tried to not talk to myself for a while, but that always ends badly. I thought about taking myself out to dinner once to make up for the argument, but that is always uncomfortable when you get to the restaurant. Especially when both of you forget to bring money.

Seriously, though… Some of my best ideas have come from talking to an empty room with a tape recorder going. It gives you a way to hear your ideas through another point of view. I have even gone so far as to video tape my discussions with myself to, afterward, view the process from afar. It truly can be fascinating.

Now… I am sure that there are those of you who are now saying something along the lines of: “OK… The Samurai has lost it.” No… I would say not. I know exactly where it is, but I just occasionally have trouble getting to it. I never put it in the same place twice and I do not always recall exactly where it was that I left it the last time I had it. 😉

I use talking to myself much the same way that Einstein used his mental simulations, to figure something out. If I am writing, it often helps to say the lines aloud to see how they will actually sound when spoken. When I am thinking about something, there are times that speaking about it as if you were discussing it with a person helps the thought congeal.

Then there are actually times that I do like listening to myself talk about something I know well. It makes me feel good, I suppose. After all… when I do that, I do have a captive audience.

All in all… I like it in here… and so do the rest of us!

Of rose’s and time……

How often do we and should we just take a moment to sit and listen to world around us. Every so often it nice to just sit and be and listen to the world. The sounds of the wind rustling through the tree’s, the sounds of birds communicating with each or calling out to friends in different places. Children playing and laughing without a care in the world, theironly concern what they are doing at that moment. No thoughts of what tomorrow will bring, or for that matter the next hour or afternoon. The just live in the moment. Living in the moment is something we should learn to embrace. Just be, enjoy, not worry about how well things are going at the moment, just enjoy the moment for what it is. The times when you can do that, are the times that will remain with you as good memories or funny memories at least, when things don’t go as well as we sometimes hoped they would. How often have we used the phrase, its funny now, when describing some event that at the time, had us pitching fits, or angry or rushed for time. Why wasn’t it funny then, because we wouldn’t let our minds just be in the moment. We are too worried about time or what is going to happen next.

Many years ago, while participating in a writing experiment that at the time I originally thought was silly, I experienced one of those moments, when the words just seemed to flow from somewhere, that I was not aware of. I can remember bits and pieces of what I wrote but not the whole thing. If memory serves me right, it was about time and the passage of it, and much like the earlier paragraph was focused just on the moment. Time is precious and meant to be enjoyed, because we can never have that moment back again. What we choose to do with moment however is important, not the fact the moment is gone, never to reclaimed again. We want to be able to relive those moments and laugh about them or remember them fondly, not as missed opportunities or wastes of our time.
Enjoy what you doing at the moment and do worry about it going right or wrong, just be in the moment. It is those times that will give you peace and happy thoughts when there are moments that aren’t going so well. You can look back on them, and get that feeling you have when you are with someone, that knows you well enough, that you don’t feel the need to filter thought or feelings. Someone who when you are with them the silence is comfortable, pleasing and calming, when just being around that person makes you at ease. Often times, just being with them, provides a calming influence, you don’t even need to be in the same room with them, you can be on the phone, doing completely different things and it is just a comfort knowing they are there. And often when you are not with that person, you still get the sense that they need you to call them, to provide that comforting influence, or call you and do the same. Cherish those moments so when you need them, you can recall them for the times when you can’t talk to or be near that person, and you will find that they are just as comforting as when you are near.

Racism or Social Imprinting?

Today (5 July 2008) I saw something that made me decide to write this piece. I saw a Black man walking two pit bulls. He was wearing a pair of jeans that were low in the back so that you could see the underwear and a white t-shirt. What struck me about this sight is that I felt myself immediately think of this person as a “gang-banger” type who probably kept the dogs for fighting.

The problem is that I as I got closer to this person, I realized that I knew him and there is no way that he would do that with his dogs. Add to this that he is the furthest thing from a “gang-banger” that I know a person to be.

So it makes me wonder, is what I experienced actually true racism, even in a small form, or is it a case of social imprinting, where we see something and based on news, past experiences or stereotyping, we assume something that is not always the case.

Using the black person I spoke about at the start of this as an example, how many people that saw exactly the same thing I did, would think the same way?  Granted, I am sure not all would, but I would wager that a majority of people would. I would even go so far as to say that it would not only be Caucasians that would think this way, I think that you would see similar reactions in various other races as well, including other Black folks.

Who’s fault is it for people thinking this was? Is it the fault of the person who is looked at and assumed to be what he or she is, in fact, not simply because of how they look or choose to dress? Is it the fault of me, or anyone else, for being so quick to judge a person because of certain things they do that fit in with a social group? Where DOES fault lie?

Here is my take on the answer and I am betting that many of you will not like it. The fault lies with us all and it is all about understanding and education. When I looked at that person today, for that briefest of moments, I did not see a fellow human who is almost 100% anatomically similar to me, I did not see human whose only difference from me was the color of his skin. For that moment I saw what he media wanted me to see based on the minority of the black people that appear on various shows in the negative light.

The fact that I reacted the way I did shows a certain level of failure on my part to, in that one moment, not differentiate fiction from fact and assume that because this guy was dressed the way he was and had pit bulls, I made the cardinal sin of thinking that he was a gang-banger.  This does bother me, because anyone who REALLY knows me, knows that this is not who I am.

The moral to my little rant here?  Be aware.  Be very mindful of your thoughts and actions.  Our thoughts and ideas about how we see things lead to actions, either obvious or hidden.  This is what creates hate in the world.  There is already enough of that, we do not need more.

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