Positive Spin and Atta Boys


This afternoon, I saw a young man living two blocks from me who is Muslim. I know him from a previous experience in a writer’s group at the Frankfort library. His name is Farouk, he was  twenty-two year old college student when I knew him; today he is thirty.  The writer’s group organized in 2004 and lasted about two years before it dissolved. I specifically remember Farouk because of the genre of writing he chose. He was into macabre murder. Every short story he had us critique involved a college kid who killed for fun. Amazingly, no one in the group ever said a single critical word about his stories. There was a lot of positive spin and atta boys thrown at him, yet, we all feared for our lives.

Today, Farouk wears a black straight billed baseball cap and drives a BMW. He lives with his parents in a large two-story house with great landscaping. When I spotted him he sported a heavy black beard. I couldn’t help but profile him as a jihadist. He looks like one, loves murder, and is muslim. What else could I think? In my mind, I imagined that if anyone from Frankfort joins ISIS it would be him.

It is a sorry state of affairs when an American born citizen imagines his neighbor is a  terrorist. This tells me the terrorists are succeeding. Why else would I be looking at this guy with such a critical eye?

What I fear more than anything is that this guy actually does become a terrorist. Do I speak up and say, “I knew him and yes, he impressed me as jihadist material?” Or do I take pre-emptive action to avoid it from happening? If so, what action do I take? I think I’ll leave the neighborhood by another street to avoid going by this guys house, and forget I ever saw him before.

The Funk Rules Negative People

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerWow! It seems like forever since I last posted. So much has transpired. The baby steps have been ticking off faster and faster. In spite of all the positive activity toward my goals I have been stricken with a slight case of depression. My self-esteem is low, and that always is the result of depression. Some little thing triggered me into a funk. The funk is over, I’ve survived and now it’s time to BLOG again. How did I get myself out of the funk? Well first there is work. Good hard physical work. Thank God, I can still do physical work. That meant taking many baby steps in the garden. In the past week I planted about forty perennials around the pond. I added annuals, and planted seed too. All of it is doing fine except for the few plants that the rabbits are bothering. Two of my most expensive perennials being native hibiscus are being munched on by the rabbits. They gave up on the rose of sharon, and are now on tastier plants. If you are old enough to remember Elmer Fudd, and his ongoing battle with Bugs Bunny, you will understand how I must proceed with the critters. Unfortunately, my dear Peggy is an animal lover, and she will prevent me from openly taking a shot at the furry creatures. I’m a poor shot anyway.

A friend stopped by last week and deposited ten good size goldfish into the pond. We can now see fish from our kitchen window, whereas before, the little guys were invisible. Everyday, Peggy and I throw a handful of fish pellets into the water to feed them. I want to train the fish to come to us when we approach the edge of the water.

Another powerful tool for getting ot of the funk is to pray. I pray every night before retiring. I coax my sub-conscious into bringing me only good health, great stories, and abundance. Included is a request to help a bunch of people who need it. In the morning, when I walk, it is  another opportunity to pray and speak to God. I can’t walk without praying. It’s a habit I developed over the last seven years.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the endorphins begin to kick in and the funk begins to disappear.

Today, I wrote a letter of introduction to my new writing instructor. Yes, I signed up for writing school. Hopefully, my style will improve and I will get as good as the really fluid writers on the blogs I visit. Man are they good. I admire people who can write their thoughts clearly, concisely, and in a completely understandable way . They amaze me. How can some writers be so descriptive with their words and others like me are complete klutzes. Do you believe this, I’m writing myself into a funk just by giving someone unknown to anyone an “atta boy.”

I am not a klutzy writer, I do well. Even though others can write rings around me, I must concentrate on the positive in my life and not dwell on the negative. The negative, “or dark side,” can quickly envelop the id and predominate. We have to learn and practice being positive every moment of our lives. Being positive is much more fun than being negative. Funk rules the negative person.