Tag Archives: Santa Claus

The Debts of a Traveler

This is totally my kind of woman.

As a nomad, I live light, both in terms of possession and debt. I cannot afford to be lacksidasical with baggage of any form, and as I grow older, I shun more and more the offer of others to give me possession, or indebt me by even offering gifts.

I understand it’s frustrating for them to want to give to me and for me to push back, and I cannot make more clear how very grateful I am for their generous hearts. I am touched and warmed by their offers, but it makes the onus of my litepack lifestyle no lighter.

From friends, family and other colleagues, I do not want gifts of any greater merit than meals and the offer of a place to stay in my travels. As a nomad, that is a measure of generosity that meets me where I need it, and I hope in every way and at every turn that I might return that favor as I may when the need arises according to the needs of my friends. For me to offer to others the very gifts I shun is a matter meeting their perceptions of generosity, where my perceptions differ. Also, my giving of gifts still satisfies my personal need for a light footprint, as money is a tool for me and the giving of items a method of personal satisfaction in the giving, itself.

In a more specific example, as I deploy overseas, I don’t want care packages. I don’t want people to go out of their way to send me something I do not need. I will not need super niceties from back home for several reasons. First, leaving comforts on a regular basis refreshes my appreciation of them and reminds me that they are, in fact, niceties, not necessities. Maintaining that frame of mind is more important to me than giving others the satisfaction of giving me gifts.

A gift for youIn other words, my focus on my lifestyle is more important than making other people feel better about giving me a gift. The only foundational argument I can offer is that if I permitted or encouraged others to give to me while still maintained my litepack lifestyle, I could in no good conscience so freely give away what was given to me, especially if it was given to me, specifically.

“How’re you enjoying (that thing I bought you)?”
“Oh, I gave it away the next day, I don’t keep more than my happy minimum, but thanks for giving me something, anyway!”

Does that make sense?

Now, were I to need something and someone generously provided it for me, I would keep it, and my generosity would remain just as soundly, but that gift connects far more to me since it satisfies a very particular need or passion.

Secondly, I’m deploying to somewhere that does not have all the niceties of my homeland. Were those niceties so important to me, I would have stayed home in easy reach of them.

parcel_1651366cLastly, if there is something overseas that I lack or otherwise desire to possess, I will contract with a particular friend to satisfy that need or desire and no more, avoiding excess and the need to dispose of it.

When it comes to the future woman I may marry, the rules change, not for the accumulation of things– something I will continue to avoid as possible — but also for the nature of its indebtedness. Indebting myself to others comes with a particular cost of which I attempt to remain keen, despite my general forgetfulness. With the woman I would marry, however, it would be no different than being indebted to myself. As we would pursue the merger of our lives, the service performed to each other is a selfless benefit of ourselves, something we forget when in thought we exclude our special one from our personal goals in life.

What does all this ultimately mean? It means I want little more than your love, companionship and respect. Should I need or want something from you, I will ask with clear understanding that even if I never can return your gift in kind, your generosity will not be forgotten; furthermore that I would rather avoid the disposal of that generosity to satisfy the needs of my lifestyle.

I don’t think I can ask for more, or have anything further to say on it.

My Beef with Santa

I never grew up with Santa and my best friend calls me a holiday grump.

I just find it lamentable anyone finds it justifiable to systemically lie to children. Or really to lie to children at all. While there are times to couch information appropriate for age and maturity, you can still always be honest in the doing.

“Mommy, where do babies come from?” “Honey, when mommy and daddy come together, a baby is formed in the mommy’s tummy.”

“Mommy, why is Uncle John drunk all the time?” “Honey, Uncle John has things from his past he needs to fix and chose a bad way to deal with those feelings. There are healthy ways, like … A, B & C.”

“Mommy, what happened to Slippy?” “Honey, Slippy got hurt real bad and he died. We buried him. And while he’s gone today, we’ll never forget the time we had with him.” (Hug moment)

“Mommy, all my friends say Santa is real. Is Santa real?” “Honey, Christmas is a time to appreciate the greatest gift our faith gave to the world — Jesus Christ and the promise of redemption. We celebrate his birth and the lesson that giving is better than receiving. Santa Claus is based on a real person, but he is not alive today. We can learn from him, though, and give to those in need. So tomorrow, we will … etc.”

I’m not a holiday dud. I’m a recycled bullshit dud. I don’t like obsession with shopping for Christmas gifts for people, depleting your bank account because your family expects you to get a gift for everyone, or the concept that the happiness on a child’s face somehow justifies your complete lack of decorum throughout the process.

I’m all for giving gifts, but being the minimalist I am, I think when you set a precedent for your children that getting what you want has anything to do with giving to those in need, you spoil them in more ways than one.

A personal wish for my own family — not a tradition I necessarily advocate for others — is every year, at the end of December, everyone in the family draws a name for one other family member. Everyone then spends the entire year preparing a gift for that other member that meets a few main criteria: The recipient should be able to remember roughly when they received it, from whom they received it, and it must not be easily acquired or made. For example, should my future wife love carved wooden horses, I might spend all year learning to carve a horse for her. Or if she liked rare porcelain dolls, I might spend my time searching for it.

The idea is that we spend more time considering what we’re giving than receiving.

There were times in my life where I had little to nothing. One christmas I got a bike, but everything else I got from the dollar store. I’ve had Christmas dinners at Denny’s and Waffle House. I’ve spent holidays on the road, and not always traveling to some big dinner or family waiting.

It’s because I didn’t have the best holidays I feel Christmas should really be more than an annual excuse for pigging out and getting crap. I don’t want to start singing Christmas carols two weeks before Thanksgiving, I don’t give a rip about Black Friday, I don’t care about decorating the house as soon as my T-giving food coma is over.

If you really value Christmas, make it special. Not for it’s flair, but for its meaning.

Santa Claus is a cheap replacement for the true concept of the gift of forgiveness and redemption. Even if you don’t believe or even like Jesus, the idea of finding solace, forgiveness and saving grace is so very powerful that to cheapen it with a fat man who travels the world in a single night to bring crap to children is an insult to what Christmas really means.

How many children do you know appreciate most Christmas toys past the first two weeks? Then it’s on to something else all the other kids want that they.

I consider my LACK a much more powerful gift than my receipt. There were christmases I got CD players and a Playstation and toys. There were times I got little to nothing, and while my mom always wanted to give us more, I can look back today and be more than grateful that we had hard times and I didn’t get everything I wanted.

Like failure, lack is a powerful state of being. Its austere nature bares the soul to necessity and true appreciation. No spoiled child is as ever satisfied with his hundred christmas presents as is the 7-year-old orphan who gets a hot meal during the winter cold.

I do have a beef with Santa, because he cheapens true depth. I won’t tell your children he isn’t real, but I won’t advocate him to my own. I don’t believe a child’s happiness depends on a lie about a fat man coming to give them crap.

I think learning to give is a far more powerful gift, indeed.

Simple, Honest, Free

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.  ~Mark Twain

Simpler words have been said, but none truer. A man who always speaks what he believes to be true, can never fault himself for living dishonestly. Sure he might be wrong, but there is a cleanliness to a man who never lies. If he must be corrected, an honest man will take it and move along, knowing with peace that while he may have been wrong, he was honestly wrong, and has honestly changed according to evidence presented him and is free to move on.

While I wouldn’t say man shouldn’t have to remember anything at all if he’s honest, the point of Mark Twain’s quote is less about remembering daily things in life, but ever having to remember what one says in a lie so as to remain consistent, and thus concealed.

I wish I were a more holy man, one who read the Bible more often and spent more time in prayer. As it is, I go through periods of success and periods of failure in that department. But I try never to deceive myself on what I’m really doing at any given point. That action does not make up for my failure to live up to my commitment. But even with my flawed living — being a human being and all, you know how that is — I will feel at peace that how I conduct myself is honest and clean.

There is little comparable to a clean conscience, to know that you have nothing to hide. Trust me when I say that even a single lie is a very heavy weight, and is not worth carrying.

For the arguments for time’s when lying is appropriate, consider better that lying is never the only way out of anything, it is merely the easiest, most temporary way. Someone asks you an opinion how they look, find something positive to say about them! If you can’t, you either don’t care to try, haven’t tried hard enough, or don’t believe they have it.

What harm is telling a child Santa Claus exists? To be honest, there’s very little harm. But what joy do they get out of Santa Claus they wouldn’t get from just you? Or perhaps about celebrating the actual reason for the season? But dissecting Christmas is (and has been) for another post.

Santa Claus aside, imagine a live where you never felt in the least afraid for being questioned on the honesty of your statements? Consistency is key, and the more you do it, the easier it gets! Lying always requires complicated stories and memories of those stories to keep your ass out of hot water, and when you’re found out, you’ve lost more than you would have gained otherwise.

When I was a wee lad, I learned early that being honest with my mom about my misdeeds often brought less of a punishment than otherwise, simply because I fessed up. How much worse for lying! I would have received punishment both for the initial infraction and for the lying! Why add to my misery? Why add to yours?

While it’s not always easy to say the honest thing, it is better. Being honest also helps the person you’re talking to for at least two reasons: 1) They trust what you’re saying but you are always honest. 2) If it’s something difficult to deal with, they can get on with dealing it in a manner that best serves them, and possibly both of you!

Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind.  ~Austin O’Malley

And as for white lies, of what difference are they? You either lie, or you don’t. It’s really that simple. And check this out, if you’re always honest, it makes compliments that much more powerful, especially if that person knows you never lie! And if you lie in the small things, why should I trust you not to lie in the big things?

Everything is connected, everything relates. You can’t expect to be forgiven as easily if you try to make concessions for some and hope to be trusted in others. You either are, or are not, trustworthy. Being somewhat trustworthy is like stepping out on a branch with no real surety if it will hold or not.

In the end, the greatest benefactor of your honesty is, you guessed it, you. Peace, dear reader, is more important than anything else. Peace is not the absence of violence but the presence of calm in your soul, waters untroubled by misbehavior. You, yourself, know without doubt that everything you say, purport, behave and believe is pure, simple, honest and free.

There is great freedom in honesty, freedom induplicate anywhere else. It says: “This is me, this is what I know, this is my method, this is all.” It builds trust in others for you, and calm inside of you for others.

So, if perhaps you might wish to try absolute honesty, write this somewhere and remember:

Honesty is not only the best policy, it is the only policy.

Letting the Anger out of Me

I get angry during holidays. I’m not quite sure why, exactly. It’s not like I had “one of those Christmases” where mom came home drunk one night and beat us all with a bar of soap or something.

Maybe it’s because I grew up on the outside, as somewhat of a social outcast and forced to move around. And this isn’t what I would be angry about, but rather, displeased that others have to invent specific days throughout the year to celebrate things in life that I learned the hard way must be celebrated every day. It’s like, I don’t find any real value in people waiting for days to be happy when I learned how to do it every day by myself.

I extend that to things like Christmas where I see the very valuable reason wasted on commercialism and, even worse, Santa Claus. Thanksgiving‘s great, but I don’t need one day to be grateful for God. I have every day for that.

I see a great deal of hypocrisy in holidays, and yes, that even extends to MLK Jr. Day for me. A holiday celebrated by people who remind themselves of the great strides black people have made, and while I’m grateful to see that, I’ve learned people best leave things behind (such as racism) by actually leaving them behind.

One of today’s post on FB brought me a few volatile responses from people I know about my point of view on the value of today as a holiday. With no intent of degrading the work MLK achieved, and he did great things, I see people clinging to him while still waiting for something else to happen. At some point you have to say, MLK started it, when are you going to finish it?

People are people, regardless of skin color. God made us all equal. If we believe it, are we waiting around for someone to do something else for us?

For those arguments that “whites have oppressed blacks for years.” Yeah. It happened. At some point, the victim culture’s gotta stop. I grew up unwanted and made fun of. I stopped acting like a victim, then I stopped getting treated like a victim. I’ve seen the same for people’s terror about race and the race card. How do I know that?

I’ve met men and women of varying colors stop acting like victims. They’re not victims, they’re men, women, regardless of color. They act with dignity and honor, treat others with respect while demanding it for themselves, and they handle their business. It’s what I expect of any and everyone else. If some can do it, why can’t everyone do it? Are some unequal to others? No, God made us all equal, right? Well, if you don’t believe in God, how about nature? Did nature make you equal? Unequal?

I do not care about any culture’s sensitivity to past oppressions. If a culture had a lifetime, when do we expect one to finish puberty and grow up? Are sensitive minority cultures a 13-year-old girl with self esteem issues? I’m not going to offer to hold “her” hand. Oy freakin’ vey.

And this is the kind of stuff I get angry about.

I just see anyone who gets caught up in how everyone else sees them as the issue itself. Racism is a problem, sure. But which is worse? The insult? Or the insulted getting worked up about it?

Thank God for MLK and the work he did, but it’s time for people to stop caring what color they are. Trust me, the majority of white people stopped caring a long time ago. Or, at least the ones I associate with — you know, the intelligent ones.

We’re always going to have bigotry in this world. Let a people (usually rural) live alone long enough and all strangers (especially those most easily distinguished, such as other races), will be discriminated against. And today, the cities have it on their own as other neighborhoods segregate themselves into boroughs. When we can’t live with everyone else, we become an US vs. THEM mentality that is natural to humanity. It’s an instinctive reaction to living in a system that works for you and you don’t want to see changed.

I suppose, most of all, I shouldn’t let this kind of stuff get to me. I can’t quite explain why it makes me angry, and I recognize that there’s probably a lot of unfounded reason why I get so roused up. Why do I get frustrated about such things? Maybe I have some deep rooted anger about something completely unrelated and it’s just coming out this way.

My points listed above are perfectly valid, but I don’t think I should be so angry or caustic about it. There are more mature ways, more warm/loving ways to make such points without being so brash about it.

Well, that’s where faith in God over faith in me comes in. :) Night all. I love you as persons first. You’re each valuable in my eyes and, more importantly, God’s. Sleep well!

Broken Purposes

Someone close to me has found evidence her significant other is likely being unfaithful to her, and for that, I am very sad. I find no excuse for unfaithfulness. If something is broken in the relationship that cannot be fixed, end it and move on. If it can be fixed, address it. If you have to wait to address it for whatever reason, keep your f___’n dick in your f___’n pants. Or if you’re the girl, keep your pants up and zipped. Put a “closed” sign on your ____ and stay home.

Now, while the evidence is incredibly against him (evidence I won’t share for her integrity), he isn’t here yet to defend himself. No matter how bad it seems, I would still like to hear his side. Or, not me, rather. It’s not my honor at stake, but hers.

Perfection isn’t often a requirement in a relationship, but honesty is, and integrity. If you can’t offer that one simple thing, you’re not worth the time of a good woman or a man. Be real, be honest, be true. Is that so difficult?

Why can’t people just tell the truth? You’ll get in less trouble! Seriously! I know! Growing up honestly, I was the first one to tell people when I screwed up! You know what that accomplishes? 1) People trust you. 2) People believe your word more than others. 3) If you’re the one telling people, others have a harder time making fun of you for it. “Hey! Did you hear what Christian did!?” “Yup. He told us.” … Kinda takes the thunder out of it.

If you choose to live honestly, it doesn’t mean telling everyone everything. It means best honest about what must be told and when. Sometimes it’s not best to tell everything, but it can’t be done with a dishonest heart. I don’t believe in little white lies, nor teaching your kids about Santa Claus.

If you think being honest all the time is really that scary, then you’ve never really had a night of fully peaceful sleep, have you? Imagine going to bed every night knowing every person you deal with has nothing of weight to hold against you for anything you’ve said with negative or dishonest intention. I know this feeling, and of the things I my life that might, in some way, weigh upon my conscience, that’s never one of them for me.

If you are looking for someone to date and connect with, demand of them from the get-go that honesty is paramount to you (if it is), and if you demand it, you better damn well deliver it, yourself. This is a two-way street, and if you expect it, you better offer it.

So ask yourself, what do you want out of life? Live in fear of your own integrity or that of others? Or demand it all, from both yourself and everyone you meet and, most especially, commit yourself to?

Good night my friends. I hope, for your sleep, you choose integrity.

My Make-Up Post

For having missed a post this week, I’ll make it up here.

I will be using Santa Claus in my next Peter Pan book and I am absolutely ecstatic about how I’m inputting him into it. I won’t go into any detail, but he’s a badass and fits beautiful into the allegorical nature of the trilogy.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m not putting enough detail into my stories, but I don’t necessarily want to take forever to get from one point to another. I’m no Robert Jordan, however much I love his fiction. I don’t have the mind for the slow pacing he carries, even if he’s good at building it. I prefer a bit more color in my stories, but still want to ground my characters realistically through how they talk and interact with each other.

Somewhat like: ordinary people with extraordinary abilities and situations.

I want to write daydreams. When I was younger – and in certain more boring situations as an adult — I find myself a rabid daydreamer. I love placing myself in extraordinary situations with incredible abilities. I want my characters to embody that desire, and yet keep them absolutely human all the while.

Sometimes thinking about sitting down at Starbucks to write on my fiction gives me an indescribable thrill, such a pure, unadulterated joy in this otherwise complicated life. The fiction answers to me, is my baby, is my passion. I absolutely love to write.

Pursue your passion, even if you can’t do it for a living at the moment. We were all designed with one, we should fulfill that in our lives. Otherwise, what is life about? Getting by?

Reindeer are Shallow bastards

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!

Okay, anyone realize how terrible a song this is? Let’s break it down.

Rudolph is a freak with radioactive nostrils. The other reindeer don’t want him infecting the rest of them, so they ostracize him. A freak storm appears and Rudolph’s freak nose suddenly has a short-lived purpose (as if Santa Claus couldn’t get through fog for the first couple thousands of years of his job without him), and without warning or any character development, all the others suddenly fall in love and celebrate him, all because the fat guy appreciates him.

Now, some people might say I’m getting bitter the older I get. Maybe I’m just getting more and more tired of meaningless things in life. Or just eyeing the preposterousness of some of all of it.

But seriously, the reindeer suddenly love Rudolph when, without warning, he’s placed as lead? Sounds like they love famous people, because now that he saves Christmas, he’s worth everything. What if he turns into a cocky little reindeer bastard? “Oh look at my nose. Yeah, Santa could NEVER do it without me.”

So, I’m not a big fan of Rudolph. And what’s with the name Rudolph. A little too close to A-dolph, if you ask me. Shiny nose? More like Blitzkrieg spotlight. He and his little flying reindeer and, seriously, Claus? Try Klaus. German commie bastard.

In the meantime, there’s still Canada up there, just waiting, watching, eating their mount-me hats and tartan-style flannel croissants. I say we invade them first, finally get somewhere legal to start dumping Alabama and the rest of the nuclear waste we produce every year. Free energy and new farmland for us. (Alabama, not Canada), which I will henceforth name …

West Georgia. :) Though, now that I say it, I might fear it will grow the same connotation West Virginia has to Virginia. So, perhaps another name. Southland? Cherokee. Hunter’s Paradise. Bubba. Eastern Louisiana. Yeah, let’s go with that. Sandwich ol’ Mississippi into giving up.

Let us dream together of a day when … I might care to finish this sentence. Good night all.

Songs for Marriage

I’m singing for a friend’s wedding in August and just found out I may not have to pay my way out there as I’ll have government business in the area before I head out, which blessedly enough means they have to pay my way out and back, even if I take a week in between. And, not only that, but the area of my duty will be only a few miles from where his wedding is in Denver, and I’ll be spending time in CoSprings, too.

It’ll be great. Once I can verify my trip and travel, I’ll cancel my other tickets and hopefully get a refund. And if I can’t, I’ll just resched them for another time. In the meantime, I’m rather excited about the prospect of killing two birds with one stone.

My friends getting married want me to meet a nice young lady the bride-to-be thinks I might hit it off with. I’m open for meeting people, as always, and will try to go there with an open mind, but I’m otherwise going to occupy myself with just relaxing and seeing the Springs again, which I’ve rather enjoyed every time I’ve gone, though, thankfully, I’ve yet to go there during winter.

I don’t much like snow.

But, I’ve also been asked to play a few songs for the wedding. Ha! I’m not a Wedding Singer! LOVE STINKS!! Boooo hooo hooo! Waaaauughghghgh!!!

So I’ve got two lovely songs offhand specifically designed for marriage, or at least long-term love. Then I have a few other love songs I need to find that don’t have any real depressing elements within them.

You see, I write songs that are usually dark, but they always have hope in them. There’s always a silver lining or a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, I’ll find the nice happy songs and practice my nice instrumental stuff. Nothing major, just background with some occasional vocal songs.

I hope I make it nice and pretty for them. I’ve got to start practicing. So, I’ll have to spend more time playing than writing for awhile, though I’m in a good niche for my writing, so I can’t stop it altogether. I’m one more sitdown from getting chapter two complete on my next book, and I’m really enjoying getting there.

I probably won’t write tomorrow night, as it’s a fourday weekend, so consider this my Thursday night posting. I might on Friday as I’m off, but, as usual, I guarantee nothing.

So, enjoy your fourth of July. Remember that our country is free because the price was paid for it. And that not only must people pay in blood, but must sacrifice naivete in order to perpetuate liberty wherever it stands. As we sacrifice our knowledge of evil in exchange for revelment in debauchery and ignorance, we lose our ability to even understand the value of freedom.

So don’t just eat your hotdog and hamburger, strike up a conversation as to why we celebrate in the first place. In the same way Christmas didn’t start because of Santa Clause, but for the birth of Jesus Christ, so we didn’t get together to watch fireworks, but celebrate the birth of the greatest nation this world has ever seen.

And at this rate, may yet ever.