Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When I sat down this evening in hopes of pounding out a brilliant think-piece about America's latest bout with Libya, I realized immediately that it just wasn't going to happen...at least not tonight. I did make a half-hearted attempt, but putting such massive amounts of hypocrisy, incompetence, and short-sightedness into one article was going to take more time and patience than I happen to have tonight. For now, "ROADHOUSE ON LIBYA" will have to wait. In the meantime, I offer the following substitute.

In recent months, it's been hard to miss the growing trend of anti-bullying messaging in the media and throughout my daughter's school. When President Obama referenced bullying in one of his many "let's talk about this so you won't focus on my total lack of competence" speeches last week, I knew I had to address the topic. And as usual, I will be taking a road less traveled on the issue.
Let's face it, being bullied is no fun. Yes, I do speak from experience. The effect it can have on your dignity and self esteem can be devastating and emotionally crippling. On the other hand, being bullied can be a lesson in life that you will draw on for the rest of your days. The choice is almost always that of the "victim".
As with most problems in life, liberals are under some weird impression that lots of your money, legislation, regulation and public service propaganda campaigns will somehow magically end bullying. Even if bullying could be ended with the wave of a hand, Jedi mind trick style, I think it is in our children's best interest if we take a minute to ask if bullying actually should be stopped.
Consider this. What lesson does a child take away from a scenario where he/she is bullied, and an all-powerful third party steps in and saves the day? Did the child learn self-reliance and the value of knowing how it feels to overcome adversity? No, he/she learned how to be totally dependent on some other person or group, reinforcing and solidifying his/her low self esteem.
Now, what lesson does the same child take away from being allowed or even forced to handle the bully on his/her own terms? Win or lose, the child will never be 40 years old, still living with the regret of not at least trying to stick up for themselves.
Personally, being bullied was probably the most influential factor in shaping my personality to this day. I don't even remember how many months I suffered, fearing my bus ride to middle school because of my bully. Thankfully, I had parents who were wise enough to push me into standing up for myself. So one day, shortly after he started his daily routine of pushing me around, my bully was met with a fist in the face, resulting in his blood on the bus floor. From that day on, he never bothered me, or anyone else on that bus again.
As far away as that day is now, I still reflect back on that particular bus ride whenever I have a challenge to face in my adult life. Call it survival of the fittest, call it natural selection, or call it the school of hard knocks, but my bully has saved my self esteem and maybe even my life many times over in the decades since that encounter. Looking back, I realize that being bullied was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Since the devastating earth quake and resulting tsunami, followed by impending nuclear disaster in Japan, there have been many lessons to be learned. As a distant observer nestled in my comfy country home hear in America, I have the luxury of picking and choosing what to take away from the tragedy in Japan. I could focus on the many political angles, or question the wisdom of building nuclear plants in known earthquake zones. I could focus on the media's complete and total incompetence in their reporting of the situation in there. Or I could simply distract myself from the devastation with basketball brackets and trips to Rio DeJinerio (like some people have chosen to do).
Rather, I am going to stick with my usual ROADHOUSE BLOG m.o. of seeing things just a little bit differently than most folks. Regardless of any religious or theological tendencies you may or may not have, there is one lesson that you are duty-bound to learn from what's happening in the land of the rising sun. The lesson is a simple one: You (we) just ain't "all that".
While you were considering the long term global effects of what particular type of light bulb you were going to purchase, there were tectonic plates beneath your feet considering what particular day they are going to shift, causing your entire house to be swallowed by a massive undiscovered fault line.
While you were wringing your hands at the checkout line because you had to decide which method of grocery bagging would have the least effect on the mating habits of some obscure species of field mouse in the year 2053, a nearby body of water was contemplating surging across the shoreline, destroying everything you ever loved.

The point is, you can worry about whatever unproven, fraudulent, over-hyped, yet-to-actually be witnessed, future faux-disaster you want to. But just remember this, as we learned last Friday, your recycling bin will not save you from twenty million gallons of water and debris rushing toward you at 100 mph. There is no natural disaster that will be impressed that you drive a Prius.
In short, we are small. As a species, we are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, that we are really not in a position to waste time preparing for theoretical dilemmas. Considering the size, scope, and longevity of Mother Nature, it seems to me that we would be better off spending our time, money, and energy preparing for things we actually know can happen. Maybe the climate will change to an un-sustaneable level because I bought the wrong light bulb, maybe it won't. But in the meantime, I know for a fact that there will be volcanoes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, and swarms of angry man-eating locusts sometime between the end of time, and the next thirty seconds. Maybe we should concentrate on some of that.