In my morning review of the day’s headlines, I came across this piece by Newsweek’s Janice Williams about a Bobcat who was kicked out of a Dollar General in Kentucky for not adhering to mandatory coronavirus prevention measures. She wasn’t wearing a mask. My initial reaction was, “This is a failure of the public education system.” My second reaction was, “I wonder if Dollar General carries waffles.” They do.
It’s too late for the current public school system to catch this problem, and in a more progressive society, I think the animal’s core rights would be called into question. Properly dealing with ignorance is becoming a bigger and bigger problem globally, and this is the perfect example of how we continue to drop the ball. Rather than giving her a chance to cover up and resume her shopping, the Bobcat was forced from the store, costing Dollar General sales, and involving the authorities when they could have been busy with far more important cases. The animal is not to blame for her ignorance, especially since masks have not been made readily available to members of her species.
I propose hiring additional employees at stores such as Dollar General to handle the assistance of the lingually challenged species in our world. This creates jobs and builds bridges between species that have almost always lived with tension existing between them, not to mention things like hunting and picnic raiding. By extending a helping hand, behaviors between the species will change and the ignorance will slowly fade, and humans and Bobcats alike will enjoy full (and safe) access to stores like Dollar General. New employees could provide masks, offer assistance in the use of the masks, and even lead people like this Bobcat to areas of interest within the store. As the relationship grows, jobs could be offered to Bobcats as well.
Rather than dwelling on the oddities and irritations associated with the 2020 US presidential election, perhaps we should look forward with hope to the future when civil rights issues such as this become the platforms on which our prospective politicians stand.
The pace of life has only quickened in the wake of the technological explosion over the past few decades, amplified by a society that mimics the equally fast paced lifestyles of the celebrity influencers who have shaped our modern world. Many of those influencers burned out bright, running themselves into the ground in their often drug fueled frenzies. The concept of artificial intelligence or technology itself rising as force to be tamed (in my opinion) becomes important in aspects of life that we may not have considered as we built our current system while instant gratification and boredom become a monster that can be compared to things like drug addiction. However, it is not just addiction to technology or a false sense of reward that arises. Socially, life is becoming incredibly fast paced (we’re addicted to it), and when technology hits a plateau, the spiral into addiction begins to drive evolution and the progression of society. That is a problem.
How do we continue in insatiable desire for more when we all reach the top, or hit our plateaus? From my vantage, this is where desperation sets in. This is where a drug addict or adrenaline junkie turns to increasingly destructive behavior in order to fill a void that they created in themselves. Unfortunately, destructive behavior is not always seen as destructive until the damage is done. Many times, it is not. The social media monster is providing a platform for individuals to indulge in behavior and conversation that they would otherwise avoid entirely. Innocent flirting with dozens of others desensitizes people to emotion and reduces empathy. It’s an opinion, but Dr. Helen Reiss agrees. Arguments that spiral into the hateful and senseless trading of written lashings become a point of contention that just can’t be resolved if and when those individuals (or others with similarly opposing ideas) meet. All of this feels oddly safe when the players sit behind their portals into cyberspace. Here I am, sitting in a café and doing the same. The difference is, I believe I should and would be able to have this conversation with someone face to face without allowing it to devolve into a lust or hate filled rendezvous.
How long into the future can this continue? Consider how life has changed since the 90s, 00s, or even since 2010. At this rate of change, how many decades can this trend be followed before a boiling point in society is reached? When the dam breaks, it’s a free for all, I think, at least in my homeland (The US). I also think the seams are bursting as I type this. With the existence of coronavirus and HIV, political tension and civil rights activists forcing their opinions down the throats of their childhood friends, I tend to think it won’t end well. In a world where everyone lives in the same virtual home, we’re all family, and we’re not getting along. That perceived level of comfort with one another creates a sense of entitlement over one another’s ideas and lives.
My call to action is to ask ourselves why we should really care. Freedom, financial security, and personal rights, I suppose. Really, none of that is threatened in the United States. The United States government is not corrupt, though in a democracy, corruption is more likely when the masses are spoiled. Think about it. As it is, The US government gave its citizens money during a health and financial crisis (COVID-19) when many other governments took the opportunity to do the opposite, though not necessarily directly. A time out is necessary. Go to your rooms and think about what you’ve done before I talk to you. Really, the people who are social distancing online are doing it right (stay grounded). Take the opportunity to slow things down a little. Rawr.
A charming and romantic novella, Take Me to Heaven is sure to capture the hearts of fans of drama and romantic fiction. The story is deep and rich, heavily driven by dialogue rather than a sludgy narrative where every character’s every thought is analyzed and explained in detail, leaving the reader tired and overwhelmed. Take Me to Heaven is written from the perspective of the main character, Major Katherine Miller, as she is courted by Lieutenant Logan Reed of the US Army while also separating from her husband Jason. The dialogue is lean and concise but complete, and the emotions felt by the characters come through in the rich banter.
This is a new and modern take on the classic American love story. Nothing is simple, and the complex lives of the characters lead the romance through twists and turns that will delight and surprise the reader. The playful dialogue is executed through the use of modern messaging technology, and the story unfolds in ways that will resonate with the modern romantic. Short and sweet, this novella can be read through in under three hours, even for the casual reader, and its charm should stick with the reader in a way that begs a second or even third read.
At the end of any major event or life transition, it is usually beneficial to take a few moments to reflect on what occurred, and how you’ve been affected by those occurrences. We have all been through an intense spring and summer, and while the coronavirus wave is just building, the quarantine and transition period stand as one of most important times in human history. The world is globalizing, technology is taking hold of society, and our way of life has been irreversibly altered in a profound way. As we move forward, it is important to make peace with the recent past and proceed with open hearts and eyes. Today, I reflect on my own experience with the hope that the conclusions I draw have relevance for my readers.
The three major aspects of my life that were most significantly affected by 2020s quarantine are romantic, professional, and political.
Politically, and as an American, I would have considered myself to be (more or less) libertarian, but while working as an editor and academic ghostwriter up through the beginning of the quarantine, I was shown a different side of the socio-political sphere. I also stopped believing in our democracy. It isn’t a democracy, at least not from a purist view. Much of the research that I was involved with focused on education (in a general sense) and public policy. Minority Rights. There aren’t such rights, or those rights are extremely limited (in terms of democracy) in states that are not swing states, unless the minority just so happens to align with the mentality of the political majority. So, get rid of the electoral college. I wrote a research paper on the topic in February or March, and at the time of writing, I rode the fence. Looking back, I’d go with abolish. It is what it is. As an academic, I believe that to really squeeze the juice out of any democracy, education on the system itself should be mandatory for voters. Annual state or county wide (federally funded) seminars online or in person, with mandatory proof of attendance. Watching Fox News or CNN is not the same as being presented an hour long refresher course on how the system works from an objective perspective. Many choose political alignment based on policy or social issues rather than core political constructs or an understanding of the long term impact of specific policy implementation, which is difficult for anyone to predict. I’ll bring the discussion back around to the socio-political situation in the US in a couple paragraphs, but Americans are oddly intolerant of their perceived state and federal or social oppressions and seem to me to take their relative freedom for granted when compared to people of other countries and foreign cities that lie in extreme proximity.
I lost two jobs during quarantine. Or at least two steady sources of income. Most of the work I do is contract based, and since universities and businesses shut down and started conserving resources, superfluous expenditures were cut, including contracts for writers and consultants. Since then, I’ve changed the way I see the socio-economic ladder. No matter how hard people try, the uncertainty of life can strike anyone at any time without warning. Money and success are not a static measure of a person’s worth. I never really thought they were, but potential can be expressed at any time and in a multitude of ways regardless of the circumstances leading up to those actions. Similarly, wealth can be fleeting and even the most successful people can be left destitute and helpless at any time. What they choose to do in that situation speaks more to their characters than what they choose to do when moderately successful. Inversely, the way that the extremely wealthy use their resources and spend their time can be a keen look into their true character.
I fell in love with a Mexican girl living south of the border on March 12th and the quarantine forced us to be each other’s worlds. The experience was both beautiful and incredibly difficult and allowed me to re-examine the things I consider important in any relationship. It also gave me the opportunity to fine tune the way I express love and affection. Being connected to someone in a foreign country also changed the way I see social issues in the US. The problems being faced in Mexico, especially along with the global pandemic in 2020 generally roll off the backs of Mexico’s citizens, especially when compared to the ways Americans handle their perceived adversity. This gets controversial. I watched the movie American Son with my quarantine love, and the point of the movie was entirely lost on her. The script follows the wealthy parents of a mixed black/white teenager who was accidentally shot and killed by police while they attempted to subdue the boy’s fleeing friend. Wrong crowd, poor choices. The film was shot on a small set, taking place in the beautiful living room of the family’s expensive Miami dwelling and the story aims to identify the dead youth as the “face of the race”. In Mexico, successful accountants are making 17000 pesos (800 dollars) a month and even having some of their benefits cut due to COVID. Their water (regardless of status) is being cut several days a week, and gunshots are a common sound in gated communities with spiked and razor wired 15 foot walls surrounding the homes. To watch the people I love live happily and put on karaoke parties despite their situation, rarely and if ever showing anything but gratefulness for what they do have, while Americans argue and whine about problems that have very little to do with actual political policy (mostly civil rights issues) during an election year (not to mention the rallies, riots, and raids) while the US government handles the situation far more graciously than others would ever dream elicits a feeling I don’t enjoy about the country I was born into. It makes me appreciate my government, but it makes me feel something entirely different about a large percentage of my countrymen. To think that civil war is potentially imminent in the US, racism is making a resurgence, and… I’d rather not continue the discussion. Watch the movie.
The love part of the summer was wild and untamed. There were fights and intense reunions. Despite it all, the connection that developed (and was found when we kissed on our first date) was never lost, and it reinforced my belief in a love that transcends circumstance, race and culture, and even the individuals themselves. It was something magic, unexplainable, and unexpected.
To conclude (though I’d prefer you make your own conclusions), it takes adversity to develop, and sometimes its good to give yourself a change in perspective. In perspective, the objects in the mirror are as far as they appear. And… the straw that breaks the camel’s back can inversely be the last push the camel needs to transform into something altogether different. Not all camels are created equal, and not all the objects you see in the mirror are even there.