Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Syrian Refugees in Our Midst

There is a community of Syrian immigrants in Santa Barbara where I live. I talked to one of them at the local convenience store where he works. He said he came from Syria on a tourist visa in January, 2011, before the war started. Now he says he can't go home. His wife and his small son are left behind in Syria. He can't get them a visa. I said, can you send them money? He said yes, but what is money? He is my son and I can't seem him, I can't go home...... I couldn't say much after that, I shook his hand and wished him the best and then I left.
The Best Defense Against Terrorism. Organic gardening and farming is the number one defense against international terrorism. Evidence? There has never been a successful terrorist attack against an organic farm or garden in the United States. And this has been done without SWAT teams in armored vehicles or surveillance cameras.

What is there about a garden, a farm, or a ranch that makes it peaceful? What is there about a shopping mall, a public school, or an airport, that makes it dangerous? I can't tell you in so many words what the difference is, but the facts speak for themselves.

I suggest spending more time in your garden, or go to work on a farm. It's a good place for you and your children. The farms and ranches and gardens in America make us a strong and free nation.

Message to Ronald Reagan: The government does some things very well. We sent Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969 -- the federal government did that....... I mean, it does happen, now and then.
Message to the Democrats. The moon shot succeeded because it had broad bi-partisan support. What that means is that you need to gather widespread support before plunging ahead with a major initiative.

This is a Short Story ---- The Title is "Major Accomplishments."

Men are judged by their accomplishments, which is kind of tough for men who haven't accomplished much.

Like Larry. He said, There's nothing wrong with me, but I guess I really haven't done much. I tried out for the basketball team when I was a sophomore in high school. They said for a short guy I was pretty slow, so I didn't make the team. But it was the effort -- doesn't that count?

I don't know. I can't get a date. I try to impress women, you know, like I don't smell too bad. My personal hygiene is pretty good. But I haven't got a story or anything. Maybe I ought to make stuff up, like the time my car broke down in the desert, except it was only a ten minute walk back to the gas station and I got the guy to come and give me a tow, so it's not really a good story.

And I try new things. I'm actually not a boring guy. Like movies, I might go and see something different. Not Chinese food, I tried those noodles you can see through. I didn't like them -- but I might try other things … sky diving, something….

People say be yourself. That's me all right.

My mom says to be confident and have good manners. I like my mother. I mean, we don’t hang out, but when I’m back home for a visit, it’s okay. She doesn’t run my life. But you can’t talk about that. On a date, don’t talk about your mother. Which is weird. Because everybody has a mother, and if you like your mom, who is a woman, maybe some other woman would say you were all right. But that doesn’t work, so drop it.

When I go out on a date I don’t talk too much. I mean, I talk a lot, but then I stop and wait a little bit. Like if we’re eating, I go for the salad and keep quiet a bit, or I ask her a question so she can talk if she wants. I figure that’s good manners. Or what we’re going to do. They usually want you to say what you want – see a movie, or what movie you might like. So I say what I want, but in a way they can say no, and then we go and do it.

I don’t like it when they make me sweat. If she asks me a question like what kind of job I have, and then she asks my another question like she didn’t believe me the first time, like she’s checking up on me, and then I start to sweat -- who would like that?

I understand she wants to be sure, but I’m not some kind of hustle guy. I’m in no hurry. Maybe I am in a hurry. Maybe I want to find someone to love, if that’s not too corny. I just want someone to believe me. I don’t like it when they make me sweat. I’m not saying it’s her fault, but it doesn’t work.

I said I can’t get a date. I can. What I meant is I go out with one girl, maybe a second date, or even a third, but nothing happens. There’s no girl friend. I go back to the Internet and start again. I put on a smile. Hi, I’m Larry…. I’m getting tired of it.

I have a Mom and Dad, a brother, teachers, good friends, I read books, and I used to go to church. A lot of influences that I can think about. I can have a conversation with these people and they don’t even have to be there, I can just talk with them in my mind and figure things out.

I’m not some kind of hard-up case or desperate guy, no way. I have friends, people like me. I’m on the softball team in the summer, kind of a utility player. I play position in the outfield. I mean it could be left, right or center field, but I come in close or go back toward the fence depending on the batter. I go by my instinct.

I don’t have such a strong throwing arm for an outfielder, but it’s just a game. Anyway, I’m not a loser.

I take business courses at the community college part-time. I have an aptitude for business, and I expect I will be a success some day. My intelligence is better than average.

I have some ambitions, only I don’t feel like I should talk about that -- because I don’t like a bull-shitter, you know, some guy with big plans, all talk, and the next day he has another plan. Not me.

I guess you got me talking about myself. You’re a good listener.

I want to tell you about Mona the next time we get together. She’s a girl I met last week.

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Fred Owens
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