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The Ode

Ode to the Writer

By Tom Foster

 

We are the lords and ladies of creation, yet we are still just players.
In the beginning we are as in the end.
We do not aspire, we simply do.
There is the dream, tempered by the reality, and given form by the thought.
By our thought, by our dreams, and by the reality we impose.
It’s a madness of the sort that only poets and writers can truly understand, and even among those only a few can comprehend.
Comprehension, that is a truly frightening thing.
We play with words, we are those that can immortalize, and those that can do what must be said and say what must be done.
It is confusion, this comprehension, and in the midst of it all, it is the single word that carries power, the one among all that is ever elusive, ever there, always waiting for us to return to, to remind us what it is that drives us, what keeps the fountain flowing.
Every last soul that has ever put ink to paper, ever put finger to key, every vague idea that swirls inward from the maelstrom we call the world, the universe, and everything in between and without.
For everything that could come, for everything that has and will come, we are there. We are the ones that do not deny the voice that tells us, “this must come to pass”, or “this must be remembered”.
It is who we are, what we do, and through everything, it is the lifeblood of those who cherish this timeless art form, this undeniable urge to say, in their own manner, “I AM”.
We are not gods, we create, and yet in the process, we are created. It is our words, penned and copied throughout the ages that have helped to shape the world, to say that, “WE ARE”, that “WE EXIST”.
Whether tyrant or savior, good or evil, saint or sinner, the words that are put to time’s test are those that will come to define the world we know. Memory is not enough, though it serves.
As do we.
We are the lords of creation, the ones whose words will last and echo into the ages, for all to see, and all to remember.
Is it truth?
The better question is: Does it matter?
We are the lords and ladies of creation, and by our words, the world we know is shaped, molded, and given to the next generation, and so on and so forth until the whole mess ends, only to be rebuilt, and to crumble again.
We are the lords and ladies of Creation, and this is our legacy.

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Revenge of the Parents

Being a parent is just wonderful isn’t it? You wait the 9 months, then you take care of a squalling infant that grows into a trouble-happy toddler, then you watch as they grow into a smart-aleck adolescent and then, even better, into a know-it-all teenager. Parents love their children and they’re great no doubt, but there are those moments when our kids decide to push buttons that ought not to be pushed in order to test our limits.

But the greatest part about being a parent? You’ve got years of experience on them and can use it in the most delightful ways…..

Why Faith Trumps Religion

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Let’s not get anything twisted and take this as my attack on religion, okay? People are allowed to worship as they will and what works for one person might not work for another. Instead of an attack consider this a debate on the fundamentals of belief and what it means to really dig into the roots of it all.

Faith unifies people as it is the core principle behind any religion. If you ascribe to a religion without faith then you’re paying lip service to a group without truly believing in anything they say. In many was this is an effort to belong to something without having to give up anything in the process, and it’s a hypocrisy that far too many people are guilty of in this world. Quite often, too often in fact, it is the product of a mind that wants to avoid being ostracized when it’s discovered that they don’t belong to any particular group. Faith however is unifying in that people of different religions can, with a good amount of tolerance, can still get along despite their differences.

Religion is not inherently evil, yet neither is it inherently good. It is the collection of rules and guidelines laid down by imperfect beings that wish other imperfect beings to join in and create a community that is based upon, you guessed it, faith. Faith takes a back seat, in a way, when religion becomes organized, as the code of ethics and guidelines that are established tend to become the driving principles behind the religion and the main focus that people notice and apply. Faith is still necessary, but at times it becomes less of a concern and therefore is allowed to slip into the background.

Most religions however cannot exist without faith as it is the most fundamental principle of any religion that simply cannot be done without. Faith can exist without religion, but religion without faith becomes a social club that has no other real point other than to bring people together. If not for faith, religion would likely not exist in the first place.

Faith is, quite honestly, the most basic thing in the world, and is the easiest thing to follow as it has no set rules. Faith is simply the idea that we believe, without question, and trust without reservation.

Living Up to Greatness

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We all leave a mark no matter if we’re famous or not, but the marks that are left on history are personal things that many of us never seem to acknowledge and go by the wayside when we fail to recognize them. The examples we’re given in life aren’t always the greatest, but in some cases they’re the best we can get. And then sometimes they’re the examples we want to live up and live up to, but somehow we fall short, or at least think we do.

A person doesn’t have to be a celebrity or a world-renowned individual to be considered great. The parent that teaches you how to be a decent human being, the relative you idolize, the teacher that educates you outside the classroom, and even just the friend that stands at your side. These are examples of greatness we don’t often take note of and yet are the same examples that many of us hope to live up to one day. They are the building blocks of a life that they can only hope will someday become greater than their own, as this is the hope of many an individual that raises and encourages those of the next generation.

I’ve lived around great men and women in my time, and while none of them are known worldwide, and in fact none of them are even remotely famous, they are inspirations in my own life that I know have changed me profoundly throughout my time in this world. Without them I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, so I believe.

Yet I feel now and again that I am failing, that these legacies left behind, that are not mine to claim, are still marks that I cannot hope to match in my time, even if I was given two or more lifetimes in which to do so. I look at my children and wonder if perhaps I am failing them in not living up to the potential that was laid down as a guide for me to follow, and I fear that they will suffer the consequences.

But the smile of a child, the absolute trust that is put into us as parents, and the belief of those same children is enough to break such thoughts like a ray of light bursting through a darkened thundercloud. The moment a child smiles and responds to your presence is validation that you have done something right, and that you are creating your own legacy.

We won’t live up to the legacies that are left behind, that’s simple fact. But we will honor those that came before us by recognizing that the lives we lead are made all the better for those individuals and their part in it. Don’t live for the legacy of another, make your own path and forge ahead to create your own story in this world. The mark you make is your own, and no one else’s. The legacy you create are the memories you leave behind, and the stories that are told long after you are gone.

Monsters Are Necessary

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People are afraid of monsters, both fantastical and real. We are taught to fear them from a young age, to tread carefully in case the boogeyman is about, or to be wary of a certain individual in the neighborhood because of a bad reputation. But what if those legends and those risks weren’t there? What if the angels we depend upon and the happy endings that we’re told were all there were?

That sounds incredibly boring, not to mention much danger than admitting to and recognizing the need for true monsters in the world. You might think I’m a bit off my rocker, especially since very human monsters tend to be among the most dangerous, but without these malevolent individuals within our midst, humanity becomes rather complacent in their assumed safety. We don’t want the monster at our door, but we surely don’t seem to mind deriding them when they’re at a safe distance.

In life, monsters of all sorts are useful as cautionary tales, myths told to children to make them behave. As we get older and learn the truth behind the myths we also learn the reality that human beings are often far more monstrous to one another than any legend that’s ever been told. We are this time the only species that continually seeks its own demise for no better reason than the thrill, the desire to simply kill and gain some measure of excitement from it.

Monsters are necessary because they remind us that life is not an easy trek from one point to the next, but a maze that’s meant to be traversed in a careful and cautious manner. Monsters remind us of the faults we have as human beings, and the very real idea that there is not one among us that is perfect.

Monsters are needed to remind us of our humanity, and how truly fragile it is.

Life Just Isn’t Fair

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So who exactly thinks that life is supposed to be fair? Who thinks the world is supposed to be fair? In all honesty the idea of fairness is, as much as anything, a human construct. To be frank though this construct is usually made up by humans to cover up the horrible iniquities of a world that we don’t always understand and therefore want to imagine will be fair and nurturing to everyone, not just those that nature deems worth of survival. Does that sound a bit simplistic? Well it is really since the world doesn’t give a damn what we think when it comes to fairness.

To the world, fair is something that exists when the lion is fed and the herd is thinned. It’s fair when the wolf is able to feed their pack and the deer are kept in check. Fair is when things are balanced and able to harmonize with one another, and fair is definitely a transient idea since it’s never the same thing to anyone at any given time.

We like to think that we’re a species that wants everything to be fair and equal within our ranks, no matter who we are or where we come from or how we live our lives. But the moment that idea is challenged in any way fairness shifts gears and becomes a different ideal for many people since it’s not a concrete idea that can be set in place and expected to carry the same weight with every person.

Life isn’t fair, we know this from the moment we’re born and have to endure the cold air that greets us as we’re expelled from a warm and comforting place. What’s our first instinct in life? To cry about the unfair treatment we’ve been given and in our own way denounce our current predicament. Sadly, some people will go on doing such a thing for the rest of their lives.

Let’s not preach about what’s fair in life and what’s not, since quite often what’s fair for us is not as fair for others. You want to cry about life not being fair? Find a psychiatrist that’s paid to care about what you think. Otherwise, suck it up and get on with it like the rest of us.

Preferred (part II)

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June 23rd, 2019

Multnomah County Courthouse

Portland, OR

A few hours later Tate was out finally booked and released and was walking down the court steps hopefully towards a ride that was supposed to be there when he got out. The wait had taken longer than usual, according to a chatty fellow he’d had the misfortune of being sat next to in the waiting area, and by the time he got out he was hoping that he could just go home and forget about all this until the court date. Thankfully since he had no priors he’d been booked and released with a promise to appear in court in two weeks to stand before a judge. But the charges that the woman he’d supposedly assaulted were already being circulated and since no one else had come forward with any witnesses to the crime he was the only one currently on the hook for anything.

Walking out of the courthouse should have been easy enough, but as he took the first few steps his aching head was only made worse by a sudden shriek that had him wincing as he stopped in his tracks, looking further down the steps as he closed his eyes and groaned.

“That’s the guy! They let him out after he raped someone! The police are colluding with rapists! A-C-A-B, All Cops Are Bastards!”

The last chant was taken up suddenly and with great fervor as Tate tried to look beyond the small mob that had gathered on the steps, no doubt triggered by the fact that there were camcorders and phones galore wherever people congregated these days. And yet for some reason no one had been pointing one in the direction of a young woman getting beaten, leaving him shit out of luck for the time being.

He took a breath as he dared to make his way down the steps, hoping to just push through, but as he reached the front line he saw that not only had a few protesters made it out to welcome him, but several of them were dressed head to toe in black, with dark glasses and bandanas tied over the lower half of their faces. Antifa, swell. Now all he needed was a few Pride Boys to come tromping around and they’d have a full dance card.

“How’s it feel to rape a woman you sick prick?!” shouted someone on the front line. He didn’t bother to answer as he tried to move to the left, only to find that the mob was going to move in front of him. He tried to move to the right and had just as little luck.

“Rapists don’t have freedoms in this country! You need to go back in there and rot!”

He wasn’t ready to start swinging just yet, but as he looked past the milling crowd he could finally see the car he’d been hoping for as it pulled up to the curb, and was almost immediately surrounded by Antifa members and protesters.

(to be continued)

Broken and Left (part IX)

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March 5th, 2018

Finding the three goons that had been hired to beat him senseless was easy, they were in one of the little-known back rooms playing cards along with a few of their buddies. Obviously the belief that he would be coming back wasn’t a heavy burden on their minds since not a one of them had their weapons readied, and a couple of them didn’t even have their guns nearby. Killing them all without hesitation almost felt too easy, but he hadn’t paused as he’d walked right by them, beating down a door that lay behind the mercy-killings he’d just committed to find one of the men he’d been looking for seated at a large wooden desk, smoking a cigar, and looking for all the world like he knew that this was bound to happen.

“Kinda thought you’d be here earlier,” the Brit said, a grin on his face as cigar smoke wafted from between his teeth. He was called the Brit because he was in fact from the UK, but also because very few knew his actual name. He was a bruiser of a man with a bald head and rough-looking features, but out of all the people the Brit had done business with, he was the one bounty hunter the big man had never tried to mess with, until now.

“Y’gotta understand that it was just orders now,” the Brit said, seeming not a bit worried that there was a man that fully intended to kill him standing in the doorway. “You’da done th’ same if they’d tapped you for the job.”

He shook his head, “I wouldn’t have done the same. I would have finished it.”

The Brit laughed as he reached for a glass that was half-filled with an amber liquid that he swirled around a bit.

“Let us finish, yeah? Me da’ always said that hell has a place for those what don’t finish good scotch.”

“That the reserve?”

The Brit grinned as he closed his eyes, “Oh yeah, nuttin’ but the best.”

He merely nodded, letting the other man swig the drink in one long swallow as he winced, holding the glass up for a moment as he swallowed. The two of them had knocked a few drinks back together in the past, and he knew very well that the Brit was right. It was just business. But he took getting assaulted rather personal all the same. As the other man put his glass down he didn’t look the hunter in the eye, but did work up the nerve to speak.

“It’s a right fucked up day when two mates gotta square off eh?”

He didn’t answer, knowing very well that the other man usually had a weapon on him, even if it couldn’t be seen.

“Right,” the Brit said with a sigh, “Come on then.”

If someone had been there to witness the exchange they might not have been able to track their movements in that moment. The Brit was fast, but he was just a hair faster as he raised his dual pistols and took aim in the same breath, squeezing off two rounds and then, lowering the firearms just an inch or so, fired off two more.

The Brit rocked back in his chair as the shoulders of the jacket he was wearing tore suddenly, the fabric flayed open as red flew to strike the wall behind him. Only a second later both arms were hanging loosely at his side, useless as two more red patches had appeared at the middle of each arm. The first shots had taken the Brit in the shoulders, no doubt creating massive exit wounds that had likely damaged his shoulder blades, while the other two had been hit with a bit of luck and a lot of practice, obliterating his elbow joints as his arms had become little more than unresponsive lumps of flesh at his sides.

And despite all that, after the initial shock wore off, the Brit actually found it within him to laugh. It was a coarse, barking sound that came from his lips, but it was still there as he rocked forward, looking up at the hunter as he walked towards him.

“I had, to try,” he said, working through the pain as his eyes narrowed with each word, “Couldn’t, just, let you, send me off.”

“I know,” the hunter replied.

“Do me favor then,” the Brit breathed, “End it. I think I been nice enough t’ deserve it.”

Some men might have hesitated in that moment. Some might have argued. He simply put one of his pistols to the top of the Brit’s head and pulled the trigger. It was more than he deserved, but it was something anyway. From another doorway behind where the Brit had been sitting he could hear the furtive sounds of someone trying to be quiet, and failing horribly.

Time for the headman then.

(to be concluded)

To All Those Complaining About Their Job, or Lack Thereof….Grow Up

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Ever notice how some folks will whine and piss and moan about being unemployed even if they’re healthy, able, and can take just about any job that is offered to them? Here’s just a few things you might here on an average day, and things I know I’ve heard.

“This is my first job, I wanted a high-paying position.”

Well, are you educated? Do you know anything about the job? Is there any reason why you should be getting the kind of pay that a five-year employee is getting or are you just whining about having to start at the bottom since you have no experience?

“I can’t get a job in Trump’s economy.”

Go ahead and slap yourself once and then twice across the face and see if that knocks any sense into you. It shouldn’t matter what economy we’re in, there will always be menial labor jobs and other types of employment that are willing to hire people that have little to no experience and there might even be jobs that will be available if you have experience but aren’t getting what you want. There are times when you might have to lower your standards until another job that you’re qualified to do comes along, but until then, don’t turn your nose up at an employment opportunity when you need it.

“It shouldn’t matter what I look like, they can’t discriminate against me.”

This is a sticky one since you can look to the picture above and get a good chuckle before reading ahead. Jobs don’t have the right to discriminate when it comes to a number of things. But if you don’t fit the image that they’re attempting to push then the chances are that you won’t be getting hired over someone that’s willing to conform to their style. If you’re sporting tattoos all over your body and have to work in a very high-class establishment they can easily find a loophole to not hire you, especially if you come in with an attitude. Jobs want you to represent them, it has nothing to do with who you are, but everything with the image you present.

“I have a very strict schedule that many jobs don’t abide by.”

Guess what? That’s not their problem. They’re in business to make money, not to cater to your needs. It’s possible to luck out and find a job that will work with your school or social schedule, but don’t go in expecting them to say okay to any disruption in their business. The moment you expect something from a job is the moment they might be looking past you to the next person.

“I have mouths to feed!”

Then get your butt to work, and don’t be picky about what you accept. It’s not hard folks. There are so many opportunities out there for people who are educated and those aren’t that just walking down the street should afford many people a handful of chances to do something that will bring home a paycheck. But crying and moaning, last time I checked, only works for those that plan on using GoFundMe because they’re too lazy to do anything else.

The Bridezilla

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A lot of us in this country are married, a lot of us have been there more than once and probably don’t want to do it again. But there are still those unfortunates that have experienced a phenomenon that is something beyond the ken of many married couples who are perfectly happy with one another or who are perfectly happy apart and have never had to deal with this issue.

It’s an occurrence that one would hope might only happen once, as the shockwaves from such a happening are said to multiply on that one fateful day until lives are ruined, property is damaged, and ear drums are ruptured by the shrill, haunting scream of the only beast in the world that can possibly shrivel a man from the inside out…..

The Call of the Bridezilla.

This condition is felt by those women who, upon learning this will be THEIR day, want it THEIR way, and will not stop until every aspect of THEIR wedding has been closely scrutinized, ripped apart, and then redone only to be torn apart again when the colors are just a shade different than what they desired.

The dreaded Bridezilla is known to entertain thoughts of cancelling a wedding due to the mass number of family and friends that choose to ignore her shrill cries as she demands their utter fealty. There can be nothing else but HER problems, HER wedding, and HER desires leading up to HER day. Jobs must be put on hold, lives must be wedded to her whims, and none, NONE, may entertain even the thought of doing anything without her express permission…..

Seriously, women do get this bad, but if you’re lucky, you only did it once or never had to deal with.

BEWARE the BRIDEZILLA….

The Problem With Your Kid being Entitled/Spoiled

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You would think this would be entirely easy to discover, right? Well the truth of it is that some parents either can’t see it or will refuse to see it, thinking that their kids are just ‘particular’ ‘choosy’ ‘free-spirited’, or even just ‘willful’. Yeah, they’re willful alright, willfully snotty and entitled without a doubt. The worst part however is that it’s the parents that tend to cause this in numerous ways and then wonder just how their kid got so out of control. Most of them don’t want to take a look in the mirror to see just what went wrong and then fix it.

Here’s another great example of this:

But getting off the parents for just a bit, because some of them when they hit the wall know very well that they’re complicit in this and will at least think of ways that they can change. The kids that have been allowed to get away with their bs for so long are, at some point, able to at least conceive of right and wrong, and while some might change as they grow, some will continue to want the spoiled, entitled life and think that they deserve it. And woe to anyone that tells them the truth, that they’re entitled to absolutely nothing.

Anyone from a working-class or poor background know what it means to actually get up and earn what they have? The entitled brats of the world could use a good lesson it seems when it comes to actually paying their own way and figuring out just what they’re owed in life. Has anyone else mowed lawns for their money, or raked leaves, or cleaned houses, or done any kind of manual labor or grueling task that left you tired and sore at the end of the day but feeling good about yourself all the same?

Yeah, it’s time to let the generations after us remember just what that’s like. If you don’t want your kid feeling as though the world owes them anything, make it clear and to the point that it doesn’t. That, or cut them off the moment they think that you’re there for their pleasure, and see how quickly their attitude changes.