Archive for January, 2011
In high school, our AP Economics teacher was also one of the sponsors of our Senior Class (to collect dues, advise event planning, etc.). One morning, she started her class with “the importance of being responsible” and proceeded to tell the story of a senior girl who claimed to have paid her senior dues (that were due that day), but could not show a receipt, and therefore would not be attending the prom happening that week. The teacher verbally lambasted this girl’s character, calling her a liar and telling us that her tears were not going to change the situation. All of this while never admitting any fault for record-keeping (which was shoddy at best) or ever once giving her any benefit of the doubt.
When it was ultimately revealed who the girl was through our questioning, and we found out that she marched next to me in drumline (who i talked to everyday, who worked to take care of her family and didn’t have a lot of money as it was), I went ballistic. “She’s one of the most responsible people in our class! There’s NO way possible that she didn’t pay her dues.” Down the hall, I could feel this friend’s tears, knowing that she had just saved enough to buy her dress the previous weekend and had finalized her plans. Our classroom rallied behind me, pleading with our teacher to give her a break or some time to pay it back, even if it was her fault. But the teacher was relentless. “Sorry, rules are rules, Mr. R___. I can’t just let anyone who claimed to pay their dues waltz into prom, now can I?”
Source: In Context
A story from the late aikido teacher Terry Dobson.
The train clanked and rattled through the suburbs of Tokyo on a drowsy spring afternoon. Our car was comparatively empty—a few housewives with their kids, some old folks going shopping. I gazed absently at the drab houses and dusty hedgerows.
At one station the doors opened, and suddenly the afternoon quiet was shattered by a man bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses. The man staggered into our car. He wore laborer’s clothing, and he was big, drunk, and dirty. Screaming, he swung at a woman holding a baby. The blow sent her spinning into the laps of an elderly couple. It was a miracle that the baby was unharmed.
Terrified, the couple jumped up and scrambled toward the other end of the car. The laborer aimed a kick at the retreating back of the old woman but missed as she scuttled to safety. This so enraged the drunk that he grabbed the metal pole in the center of the car and tried to wrench it out of its stanchion. I could see that one of his hands was cut and bleeding. The train lurched ahead, the passengers frozen with fear. I stood up.
I was young then, some twenty years ago, and in pretty good shape. I’d been putting in a solid eight hours of aikido training nearly every day for the past three years. I liked to throw and grapple. I thought I was tough. Trouble was, my martial skill was untested in actual combat. As students of aikido, we were not allowed to fight.
“Aikido,” my teacher had said again and again, “is the art of reconciliation. Whoever has the mind to fight has broken his connection with the universe. If you try to dominate people, you are already defeated. We study how to resolve conflict, not how to start it.”
I listened to his words, I tried hard. I even went so far as to cross the street to avoid the chimpira, the pinball punks who lounged around the train stations. My forbearance exalted me. I felt both tough and holy. In my heart, however, I wanted an absolutely legitimate opportunity whereby I might save the innocent by destroying the guilty.
This is it! I said to myself as I got to my feet. People are in danger. If I don’t do something fast, somebody will probably get hurt.
I served a Mormon mission in Tijuana, Mexico. We were switching partners that day, so I put my old partner on a bus to Tecate and waited for my new one to arrive on a hill by our house next to the freeway. I planned things so I’d be by myself for like 30 minutes.
Anyways, there was a huge wreck on the freeway and my new partner was 2 hours late. I was sitting there minding my Mormon business, my legs dangling over a ledge that overlooked a 30 foot drop onto the side of the freeway, when this cholo guy came and sat down by me. “Uh, oh. This guy is going to be trouble.”
He offered me a cigarette.
We sat there in silence for a few minutes.
Then out of no where, the guy pulls a freaking ice pick out of his pocket and brings it towards my gut. I grabbed his wrist before he was able to poke me with it.
“Dame tu wallete!” he cried. (Give me your wallet!)
Source: Strange Experience: The Autobiography of a Hexenmeister, by Lee R. Gandee
This was written in 1971, before Keel’s book was published. I felt a chill run down my spine when I realized this excerpt makes mention of the same events, including the Mothman (by a different name) and the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant.
In the Spiritualist vocabulary … familiar spirits are called “guides.” James Andrew knew his guides by name, and came to know as much about their background and personalities as he knew of his neighbors’. One was Elenipsico, who was murdered (along with his uncle, the great chief Cornstalk, and another great Shawnee chief) by treacherous whites at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, while on a peace mission.