I read recently that a writer’s initial job is to invite people to join the adventure. In case you missed the innuendo, come join the tribe. Begin to see your life as an adventure and your tribe as players in the drama and share your adventure with me.
More than a thousand times people tell me concerts and seminars, “You are making up those stories.” No. If so, I would make them better. We went to a funeral a few days ago and saw a former family member we haven’t seen for 30 years. She came to the funeral to see us. It was wild! We heard stories! (I didn’t know a person could talk for 52 minutes without taking a breath. While I was taking notes on my inner clip board.)
Tell me the adventure of being you this week. I said grace over a meal from the band stand in a bar recently. That was interesting. The funeral was sad and out of my tradition, but I experienced God’s presence. That was part of the adventure. Did I tell you about going to a coffee shop where they were cooking with curry, onions, garlic and other herbs? The adventure of trying to recapture my best winter coat from a horrible smell wasn’t funny, but it will explain why that coat is hanging in the middle of our kitchen if you should visit and wonder.
It is not a starving ego that makes me believe that “The Adventure of being Dean” is of value. I believe my experiences rung through story telling or my slightly-bent inner interpreter will teach us something that will bring added value to both of us. Let’s look at the day we left home early to beat the blizzard.
An experienced diver in Jupiter, Florida, put a shark into a trance so he could remove a hook from its mouth.
What does a working “anti-establishment” presidency look like? Someone has to convene the meeting and write checks to pay the light bill. We are not an absolute democracy which means we do not gather the entire population or membership to vote whether to pay each invoice or to fuel Air Force One. How does an anti-establishment presidency get the coffee made, floors swept and the kids to school on time? (Metaphorically speaking.)
One of the anti-establishment candidates is using the word “revolution” frequently. Does that word mean a movement or anarchy? Vince Lombardi began each training camp holding a ball and instructing the team: “This is a football.”
Back to the metaphors. Every four years, the Supreme Court—or someone—should get out the Constitution and say, “This is the Constitution.” You boys and girls can do almost anything you want (no eye-gouging or deflating) as long as you stay within the wide markers of this document. We are a republic and our economic system is capitalism.
Does an anti-establishment presidency just change who makes up the establishment?
I’ve been thinking about paradigms. A line from the “Family Ties” TV series. The teenage girl is making a case to her parents for her boyfriend: “Great citizen! He has already done 10,000 hours of community service.” A paradigm is bias in concrete. The bias may be good and accurate or stupid. The paradigm limits how we see reality beyond our own mind.
I meandered through a huge bookstore the other day while in a trance. I wanted a very good book for very little money. I kinda woke up in the Current Issues department with all the books by presidential candidates. Since I want to know the vision of each candidate, I would read every book. But not at cover price! A clerk was moving books around. I asked him how soon he thought the prices would drop on the “gone home” candidates. It was an effort at snarky repartee. He missed the cleverness. In explaining that not even store managers know ahead of time, he began making comments about each of the candidates. He doubted that Bernie’s book would ever go on sale. Then he landed on Dr. Ben Carson.
“The only reason he is running is for the book deals.”
And then the clerk told me a story from Mrs. Carson’s book which he concluded disqualified both Mr. and Mrs. Carson from everything, including membership in the garden club. Dr. Carson?!
In it for the book deals? What paradigm is that clerk stuck in? He can’t think a thought outside what he absolutely knows is true. It may be about physicians, all Republicans, Black people or a dozen other things. No one will ever convince him differently.
The diver successfully removed the hook from the shark’s mouth. If a shark can be put into a trance, how about humanoids?
It is a dangerous question, but necessary: What am I not getting right? Or, Am I thinking straight?
Regularly questioning your pet paradigms may be the greatest adventure of all. And most important.
©2016 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer