Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Grover Norquist's Paradise

Grover Norquist is famous for saying we need to shrink government to the point it can be drowned in a bathtub--and then drown it in a bathtub.

Guess what? There is a country on Earth where the government has figuratively drowned in a bathtub. There has not been an effective government there since 1991. This country should be a Mecca for all those of Norquist's ilk, and all the Ayn Rand devotees, and the John Locke Foundation, and everyone else who agrees with St. Ronald Reagan that "Government isn't the solution. Government is the problem."

This anti-government paradise levies no taxes, offers no welfare to its citizens, does nothing these people want government not to do.

This paradise is called Somalia.

I propose raising the money to send all those opposed to any government action a one-way ticket to Somalia. They can then see for themselves the logical extreme of their anti-government philosophy. They can see the Italian Mafia dumping France's nuclear waste off the Somali coast. They can see the pirates running free and terrorizing the passing commercial shipping traffic. They can see people dying for lack of opportunity to live a decent life.

Let's send them all to Somalia and be done with them.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Highs and Lows

Every life has highs and lows. I realize that. But I think that my life has had higher highs and lower lows than most lives.

Consider: On the high side, I have lived in a 2800-sq. ft. house and had a higher-than-average income. Yet I have not been up to the McMansion level. I haven't earned $100,000 a year. Ever.

On the low side, I have been unemployed and not eligible for unemployment insurance, but I haven't been on the street. I was lucky enough to cash in a couple of pensions to tide me over and enough credit cards to live on.

While on the low side, I have had to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, but not Chapter 7.

On the high side: I have enjoyed better health than most people my age. Yet I haven't been able to be really good at anything athletic, and I don't know if I'll make my goal of living to be well beyond 100.

On the low side, I have had cancer, but it was thyroid cancer, easily removed with surgery, and I have never had to experience chemotherapy or radiation, yet.

On the high side, I have the happiest marriage of anyone I know about.

On the low side, this is my third marriage. Yet others have been married more times than I have.

On the high side, I have children who know how to make money. Yet they aren't as affluent as some others I know of.

On the low side, my daughter is the highest earner at her sheltered workshop. Yet she isn't as severely handicapped by her mental retardation and autism as the children of some of my friends. On the other hands I have friends who have children that are not as severely involved as my daughter is.

I have had three careers, the second of which was the one where I earned the most money. I have been on television and radio, but only locally. I am a published writer, but not yet a published author. I have had pictures published, but I haven't been able to make a living as a photographer.

In other words, I have experienced better times than average, and had more misfortune than average, yet I haven't had the extreme highs of a lot of people, nor the extreme tragedies that others have.

Average people experience highs and lows in their lives, and I have been higher and lower than average, as far as I can tell.

But a lot of people have had higher highs and lower lows than I have, and I'm a lot closer to average than they are.

I wonder about the pattern here. Is it what they call karma? Or is it something else?

I'll put that on the list to inquire about when I get to Heaven.