Smoke’em If You Got’em

bang bang shoot shoot

Happiness is  a Warm Gun
The Beatles (1968)

I always feel sorry for the people who have to go outside at work to have a smoke. Sometimes they’re standing out there alone in bad weather. If it was up to me I’d tell them to come inside. Oh, maybe I wouldn’t. I don’t want to breathe that shit.

But to be fair it isn’t as though there’s nothing toxic getting inhaled on the inside of the place. What about breathing all that second-hand delusion and pettiness, etc.?

I wouldn’t like it if I had to get up and go outside every time one of my little habits showed up.

It’s hard to keep us all properly separated, though, because the truth is we’re all connected. No matter how revolting that might be at times.

Some people are saying that we have a lot of gun violence because not enough people have guns.

By that reasoning, maximum possible gun violence should occur when nobody has a gun.

Would I be better off with more firepower? If my life is a game of who can get the drop first and cap off the biggest round into the other guy, then I guess so. Meet force with force and establish dominance.

That thinking sometimes comes with a watchfulness that has to do with waiting for opportunity. Bound for glory.

Vicki Soto is the first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary who put herself between the children in her care and the muzzle of a killer’s Bushmaster .223. She died teaching.

(How would the lesson she taught have been different if instead of doing what she did she had pulled out a Glock 17 and emptied a clip into that kid’s face?)

I’ve been trying to get at this for days, and I can’t quite get it. I’ve got this thesis that it’s all one and I can’t get the evidence put together. Things don’t just stop and go no further – life is in motion. What we think, say and do keeps soaking in. I’m not saying that what I’m thinking just soaks into me, I’m saying it soaks into you too. It might be sweet, it might be corrosive. And it all builds into whether we can stand being around each other. I don’t like being around attitudes I don’t like. I want them to stay in their own part of town. And as soon as I say that I know it’s messed up, but there it is. I’ve got this theory that I had nothing to do with it. I can’t see a cause, other than it being the parents, the government, the schools, commies, terrorists, liberals and conservatives. Grab the next goat running by, tie our shit on its back and chase it out of town.  Then we will be clean and the rains will come; the crops will grow and we won’t go hungry.

What can I do about any of this? I’ve got no business trying to change your mind; I have my hands full trying to change my own. There’s something in here about putting up with each other. Sympathy for the paranoid. Sympathy for the beautiful. I’m trying to drive this down to a clean connection. A, therefore B.

I’m working on this in a crowded coffee shop. There’s a little baby smiling at me. She’s looking all around at her new world this morning, and she keeps coming back to me. I am being offered joy, and I accept.

The old yogis tell me that what I need is always in front of me.

How could I not be humbled in the light of all of this. I didn’t know Vicki Soto, but from what I’ve read of her I don’t think that she lived her days planning for glory. I think that she probably lived each ordinary moment with integrity and compassion. And when a great moment came, she just did what she always did. Nor was she the only selfless hero at the school that day.

Maybe I’ll put a picture of Vicki Soto on my altar. Or, maybe a picture of Jesus. Same thing. I need reminding that my life is connected to yours and how I live each ordinary moment is everything.

Smoke’em if you got’em.