Friday, December 21, 2012


Watching the Academy-Award-winning 1986 movie, "Platoon," yesterday, it crossed my mind that it really does take some courage to live this life. This life... not some other life.

The precipitating segment that aroused the thought came in the form of two soldiers discussing their reasons for being soldiers in Vietnam. The white soldier says he came out of a bourgeois family and he wanted to experience what the poor and less-privileged were going through. The black soldier responds that only a rich man could have such a thought -- that the poor always had and always would get the shitty end of the stick. Not a new or novel observation, but it struck me yesterday as an observation worth heeding.

This life is this life. No need to croon for Walden or some "simpler life." No need to yearn for some magical winning of the lottery. Rich or poor -- all that imagination is possible, of course. But getting square with the facts on the ground, the facts devoid of imaginative eyewash ... now there's a task that takes some courage.

Neither a puddle of deterministic surrender nor a well-ornamented course of action can cope with the facts on the ground. Anyone who strives for something different or something improved ... well, that's just one more aspect of facts on the ground, the facts of this moment.

Walking a mile in another man's shoes may be a nice thought -- an imaginative man's thought.

But walking a mile in the shoes anyone might already be wearing ... that takes balls.

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