Worldly Speaking

Changing the world? Now, that is an imposing thought for someone who, at the moment, has trouble changing his socks without at least 400mg of ibuprofen. Thankfully, after spending most of my adult life trying to make a difference, I realize the only way I can change the world is one heart, mind, soul at a time.

Yes, there was a time when I spent a great deal of time offering others strategies and techniques that would help them help others in areas of inclusion, diversity, life skills, and controlling our inner demons. The thought was if enough of us were reaching out to others and teaching them to reach out, we could have a significant impact on our society, if not the world.

Over the decades, I realized the problem with organizations, mass efforts, movements, and other such activities is how easy they are to infect with evil. If not evil, at least bad intentions. So, my plan changed.

I still work within or support groups and organizations dedicated to helping and lifting others. However, I’ve come to believe the best way I can impact the world is one person at a time. First, by being the best example of a human being I can, and second by supporting those trying to achieve the same goal.

Don’t let that last paragraph fool you. I do not claim the title of “perfect example,” but given what I have to work with, I give it my best shot, most days.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Daily Life, Ethics, Leadership, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Acacia and Me

When reading the prompt for today’s writing exercise, my first thought was, “hardheaded.” Then I realized the prompt was to describe myself as a tree, and trees do not have heads. However, the hardheaded tag continued to resonate in my mind.

One reason that term sticks with me is I can be pretty hardheaded. Which, by the way, does not mean thickheaded. I was reminded of my hardheadedness not long ago when chatting with an old police colleague. He said he remembered I was a bit hardheaded. I think he was joking, but who knows.

Our relationship was strange as he was my field training officer when I became a police officer. Not long after training me, he left our department and moved to another state. I have yet to figure out if he went because he wanted to live in the mountains or wanted to leave because I’d worn him out. Either way, he rejoined our department a few years later, and my training officer was now my subordinate.

Reminiscing aside, the observation of hardheadedness seems to fit. This brings me to the Acacia Tree. Acacia wood is one of the densest and most durable woods available. It is mentioned in the Bible multiple times because carpenters used it for items that needed to be strong and long-lasting, sorta like me.

Also, it seems to be pictured as somewhat standoffish and isolated from other trees, again sorta like me. Yes, I can be social, even the life of the party, if your sense of humor is a bit warped and you like puns, but I can also stand off to the side and people watch for hours.

So, that’s me in a nutshell, though I don’t think Acacia trees have nuts. Hard, durable, standoffish, and welcoming, all in the same package.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Humor, Police, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Lee, Fact or Fiction

Hello! If you’ve been following me, you know I am trying to complete a writing challenge and post a piece on a random topic daily. As luck would have it, I was also part of the first effort, of which I was aware of this sort a few months ago, and I have already written on one of the current topics. So, in the interest of my sanity, I am resharing Of Red Lights, Sirens, and Old Friends.

I hope you find it amusing. And no, I do not normally have conversations with inanimate objects, except for one girlfriend during my high school days.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Humor, Police, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Playlists and Instagram

First, let me admit, I am just as addicted to the digital world as anyone else. I just handle my addiction differently. Take playlists for example. Playlists serve a specific purpose in my life, and it is generally a seasonal matter. Therefore I do not have a playlist at the moment.

I always have a playlist in the fall. It is a list of hymns I am attempting to learn, and it focuses on the bass part. I can sing baritone, to a degree, and occasionally I can reach tenor when that part of the choir is down in numbers. However, neither my phone nor computer have playlists all the time that I can trigger and ignore from that point forward.

One reason I am this way is simple. I grew up in a time when a playlist was a stack of vinyl records on a spindle ready to be played in order. Between each list, one could reorder, or replace records to adjust to a different mood, hear a different voice, or simply listen to the instruments.

Yes, in some ways I am a dinosaur. I am a techie kind of dinosaur, however, and there are times when my entertainment for the hour, day or week is carefully programmed and set up. However, there are other times I like to allow someone else, in real-time or preprogrammed, set up a list.

That way, I can occasionally say, “What made you pick that piece of trash?” Then I can change stations, programs, or whatever and feel smug in my choices.

© – 2022

bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Of Dreams and Reality

As a teenager, I lived in two worlds. One was what you might call reality, and the other was created for me by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clark. Both worlds gave me dreams, even nightmares, at times.

One recurring dream as a teen was flying through the sky on a personal flyer. I cannot remember whose sci-fi universe included these one-person flying sleds. Still, I clearly remember the dreams, occasionally even daydreams of flying to the rescue or seeking out the enemy. Later, similar fantasy devices made it to the movie screen, giving me a touch of deja vu at times.

Of course, other dreams were not so uplifting. There were dreams of being lost and not knowing the way home and dreams of attempting something heroic only to fail miserably. If this sounds like a lot of dreaming, it was. Still, dreams were my only escape from the reality I lived at times.

The dream that remains the strongest for me recalls a night I would rather forget. I was a young street cop and responded to a major accident on the edge of town. I found a demolished car and the tractor-trailer truck, which tore it in two when I arrived. I also found a seriously injured driver and his beautiful daughter.

The daughter was not the first dead person I’d encountered as an officer, but she was the first child. For years she visited me regularly. Thankfully, she no longer comes to haunt my nights, but she still shows up at times.

I can still remember her lying there as if she had fallen asleep waiting for her daddy to pick her up and take her home.

© – 2022

bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Police, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Of Strength and Weakness

When someone suggests, “Write about something that makes you feel strong,” what would come to your mind. In my mind, the questions began. Physically strong? Mentally strong? Emotionally strong? Please give me a little help here. What do you mean by strong?

Of course, one reason to ask that question of another is to see what they think is strong. Here, at this moment, for this exercise, I want to talk about morality. No! I will not delve into a discussion of biblical character compared to social ethics. Rather, let’s think about a topic of personal morality, regardless of a person’s background.

This thought stems from a confrontation with a superior many years ago. It involved a decision made by one of my subordinates that led to a very heated complaint from an indignant individual who, in my opinion, had no moral backbone at all. He simply tried to use his position to create problems for a young police officer following policy, procedure, and law.

The details are of no consequence all these years later. What is of significance was I faced a difficult situation. If I failed to agree to changes that would make the complaining party happy, I could lose my job, which would have essentially ended my career, as no one else would touch me after that.

However, losing my job was the least of the bad results. My agreement with the change demanded would place people at risk. The police officers reporting to me would not know what would happen if they followed protocol and the law. If they did not do their jobs out of fear, the students on campus would be at risk.

The line in the sand was drawn when my boss looked me in the eye and asked a question. “What if I ordered you to change this procedure?” I did not even hesitate to respond. I said, “I would refuse.”

Suddenly, it was a scene from a drama—two dedicated men, suddenly at odds. The ultimatum was given, and the next question was who would blink first. The silence was deafening, and there was a bit of a staring contest. Then my boss, the number two person in the university, nodded, leaned back in his chair, and said, “I understand.” “I’ll tell the chancellor the policy and procedure stands.

In closing, let me make this clear. I could have walked away from that confrontation, high-fiving myself and thinking, “I showed them!” If I had, I would not have shown strength. I would have shown my lack of morality and professionalism.

Instead, I was proud to be working for men who would not cave to threats and lies from someone of privilege who just wanted to throw his weight around.

© – 2022

bloganuary #oneoldcop

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Of Solitude and Other Fantasies

From what I can remember of my childhood, I always had that place. That place where everything could come to a stop, and I could be. Admittedly, that was not easy with an overly protective mother and pain-in-the-neck little brother. Still, I could find solitude for a time when needed.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

One of my favorite places was my front yard at night as a teenager. We lived in a semi-rural area, and I had a great telescope. Everyone, except my dog, knew to let me be on a cloudless night. I had better things to do than watch television, play some silly game or plan an adventure that would never get past my mom.

Each major change in my life changed my place of solitude. The setting was often similar, a dark place on a cloudless night, but what made it my place of solitude changed. Today, when possible, I still spend time watching the night sky.

I use a different toy to help with skywatching today. My DSLR camera makes the telescope of my youth seem prehistoric. Of course, the advancements in optics are somewhat overshadowed by the fact many of my former places of solitude no longer exist or are no longer accessible to me.

The worst loss was the location pictured on the right. Day or night, this was a place of solitude, contemplation, prayer, or simply being. Even the occasional intrusions by family friends or others who live along the Guadalupe River could not destroy the feeling one had sitting alongside the slow-moving water. The plants waved in the breeze, the wildlife foraged, and the sun or moon made its passage across the sky.

I no longer have the privilege of sitting along that stretch of river. Still, I have the memories of what it felt like, and that is where I often go today when I need a moment of peace and solitude, my memories.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Daily Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Speaking of Time Travel

Time travel is a fantasy, a reality, and a potentially fantastical reality. As a diehard science fiction fan in my youth, I have considered the possibility and challenge from many angles. For example, would I want to travel to see the baby Jesus? If so, what year would I set on my flux capacitor?

According to some sources, “most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC.” Well, do I set my device for 6.1 BC and pack enough survival gear to live a couple of years in that era? Or, do I go back and plan short jumps forward until I hit the right time, hoping, of course, I am somewhere near Him at the time.

How about a less lofty dream. Perhaps, I want to witness Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. If I were traveling back from today, I would need to travel in high-quality protective gear to avoid the possibility of spreading COVID among the crowd or bringing a version of some other disease back with me. If something went wrong, my visit might cause an epidemic that made the Black Plague look like a high school prank.

So what, you say? Those people are all dead anyway. True, but for each person present that day who contracted a life-ending disease from me, dozens, possibly hundreds of their ancestors never existed. You and I may never have been born, nor many of our friends and family. And, don’t think those of you who live on other continents would escape the potential disaster. Diseases effect different people differently, and some might have made it to your part of the Earth.

The reality is this. We are all time-travelers. We simply travel forward one nano-second at a time. If we travel long enough we will see some fantastic developments, or if we travel for a short time at the right time, we may see something so fantastic to us, we think it cannot be real.

Another reality is this. We can travel back in time by reading the writings of those who lived in the time in question. We can travel back in time by visiting museums and historic locations. We can study archeology, or at least read about it. There are plenty of ways to travel back in time without a Time Machine or Flux Capacitor.

On the other hand, if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to choose a year, I’d probably pick 1996. The last time the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl. That’s a piece of history hard to imagine today.

© – 2022

bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Humor, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Picture Loved

According to my family, the picture to the right was my first photo. Of course, I was five or six at the time the picture was taken. I have no memory of taking it. What I have is a note on the back that reads, Eric’s first photo.

However, the photo was meaningful to many within the family because it represented a time when Mom and Dad’s marriage seemed to be working; I’m not certain the marriage was ever one of the storybook sorts, but it looked that way for years.

To me, the picture represented a period of relative normalcy. A period of time when my parents were loving, caring, and family-oriented. As time went on, the loving couple became untrusting and manipulative.

Dad was a photographer, so other pictures exist. Some were fun, some were interesting, some were of his models or young women putting together a portfolio of some sort. Some were pets we outlived, and others of what passed for friends in our world, as well as some of the grandparents and great-grandparents.

Still, this one stands out because I was the guy behind the camera, probably just pushing a button. Still, I captured this image.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in Family Vaules, infidelity, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

At The Moment

No, the title is not a quote from someone. It is my semi-sarcastic way of saying most of us have our favorite quote of the moment, of the month, of our lives, or that we can remember. The other side of that coin is a quote about what? So, I’ll share a little story about my favorite quotation of the moment.

The quote is made by Jack Nicholson’s character in a Few Good Men. The quote was made while the character was being cross-examined in a military-court. Tom Cruise’s character said he wanted the truth, and Nicholson’s response was loud, angry and condesceding, “You can’t handle the truth!”

There have always been those who thought they were the only ones who could handle the truth. The rest of us were too timid, too dumb, or too untrustworthy. Today the situation has been complicated by the advent of social media, and increased use and misuse of that medium of digital communication.

The subsequent attempts to limit, control or ban some content is understandable to a degree. Social media is beautiful way to share truth, half-truths, and lies. And each such action has increased the pressure of people in charge to get out truth. The question is whose truth, theirs, mine, yours or someone hiding behind titles, money and distance.

Whatever the truth, almost every Fact Check is skewed by those who publish it push their truth. If one knows how, it is easy to lie with facts and bits of the truth. Each time that happens the person twisting the information a certain way is yelling at all of us, “You Can’t Handle The Truth!” That makes this the quotation to which I most closely relate today.

© – 2022

#bloganuary #oneoldcop

Posted in communication, Daily Life, Humor, Verbal Communication, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment