Friday, November 29, 2013

Sad Day

Went to Saratoga yesterday to be with the in-laws on Thanksgiving. The food was good and the visit was nice. But it wasn't a very good day.

After eating, I went to a couple's house that are very dear to me. They are up in age and have been friends to my family all my life and before. Prior to my leaving, the husband, who I believe is 90, rose from his chair to show me an old photograph. He is quite unsteady on his feet and ended up falling, hitting his head on an open drawer. I rushed to his aid and helped his wife get him back in the chair. He wasn't hurt badly, but it shook me up to see him fall like that. I stayed for a little while longer to make sure he wasn't seriously hurt.

I was heading back to my in-laws when I had an urge to go see the old house that my dad built and lived in with my mom for over thirty years. A nice man and his wife bought it from my mom and have made many improvements. When they were thinking about buying it, I told them they had to promise not to cut down a cedar tree that was in the front yard. In 1973, I found this little tree in the forest. It had chosen a poor spot to grow, the seed having landed between two huge pine trees. I returned home and got a shovel and uprooted the little thing and re-planted it in the front yard. It only stood six inches tall when I saved it. Over the years, it grew like a weed and was a magnificent looking tree. The man agreed not to cut it down. I was there about eight years ago and the tree was still there and growing. However, yesterday...when I arrived at the house, the tree was gone. All that was left was a stump about a foot high. The man came outside to greet me and I asked about the tree. It seems the last hurricane that came through that area almost uprooted it and it was leaning perilously close to the house. He had no choice but to have it cut down by professional loggers to save future damage to his home. The man told me the tree had reached about forty-five feet in height. I could tell by looking at the stump that it had gotten very big. It was almost two feet in diameter. When I saw it was dead, it broke my heart. Why the death of that tree affected me so, I have no real idea.

The man took me inside the home so I could see the improvements he had made. There were many, but I also noticed that many of my dad's fingerprints were still intact in the home. The glass wall was still there that he put in so mom could sit and drink her coffee, watching the squirrels and the birds at their many feeders. The fireplace he built and the cedar ceilings were still there. All put in by my dad. All this did was remind me that I could never spend another Thanksgiving or Christmas in that house with my parents. It brought back memories of him working so hard on that house that at times mom would have to pry his fingers from the hammer when his hand would cramp up. I remembered Lulu racing her wheelchair up and down the front porch with a smile of pure glee. The four by four posts that hold up the front porch were still there, and the concave shapes on some of them were still apparent from when mom's cats would use them as scratching posts. Tears were coming from my eyes, so I took my leave and ended the visit....probably for the last time.

Back at the 'ranch', my mother-in-law was falling asleep in her chair. She looked so old and tired. This lady has been my best friend in this family for over thirty-five years. I remember her being robust and full of life and, most of all, happy. Back in the day, the whole family would gather round on this day and Christmas and the house would be full of laughter and good food. Now, we're the few that show up and stay for a while. Oh, there are a couple who come for a short visit, but most have moved on and live too far, and their children have had children and life has taken a different turn for them. I'm not being critical of any, only stating my perspective. Still, looking at her in that rocker, with her chin almost touching her chest; all I could think about was that soon, Memaw (as we call her), wouldn't be able to get the fixin's together for the holidays and that her diabetes was fast taking a toll on her.

Then, right before the Dallas game, my wife informs me that we have to leave. Upon asking why, I'm told that our daughter has to go get a friend of hers who has arrived from up north and was in Huntsville with her family. This really hit me wrong and I said so. I defiantly watched the first quarter and then begrudgingly loaded up the car and left. Believe me, the day only got worse from there.

Sometimes I'm not too happy that we don't get three wishes in life. One of mine would be to go to sleep and wake up on January 2nd...after the 'holidays' have passed. I don't need them

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some Things Are Sacred

I don't ask for much in my house. Here's the list....

1.  Don't hit me with an emergency the moment I walk in the door. (Unless there's an intruder in the house or it's on fire) Give me thirty minutes.

2.  During football season, I own the TV when the games are on and everyone else needs to leave the room or shut up.

3.  When I go to bed, don't be loud.

4.  Do not try to save money on toilet paper.

That's it.

So, I come home the other day and had to go to the throne room. Upon finishing my business, I reach over to grab some toilet paper and it feels like sand paper in my hand. I could only imagine how it would feel where I commit the application of said paper. Further, it already had brown spots on it. I inspected further and it looked like bark. Like tree bark. I've heard of this before. A comedian was talking about this kind of toilet paper one time and he took a roll to his wife and said, "How do I know when I'm through?!" Exactly.

The purchase of this paper was an egregious transgression of Rule Number 4. In my mind, it ranks right up there with the Cuban Missile Crisis. At a time when Venezuela is suffering from a severe shortage of TT paper, why is this type not being sent to them by the freighter load? I mean, they don't like us anyway, so send them the bargain basement paper. They already have the red-ass about us, so let's make it redder. Right? Why do I have to suffer with this?

I immediately went to She Who Holds the Purse and registered my complaint. This included the following:

A.  I want velvet type construction put in to my TT paper.
B.  If possible, get some that has lotion in it and smells like a spring day among blooming Dogwoods.
C.  I want virgins singing outside my window from just dreaming about how it feels to the touch.
D.  I want the Number 2 experience to be in the top five of things that bring me pleasure.
E.  Buy TT Paper from a specialist boutique, not Wal-Mart, Sam's Club or any other bottom dollar establishment.

And finally,

F.  Never should I have to speak of this....again.

She Who Holds the Purse listened courteously as I laid out my complaint. I was, told....the paper would not be thrown out and it would be used according to its purpose until gone. But, I was then informed that allowances would be made concerning the comfort of my tuckus and no expense would be spared from that day forward where TT paper is concerned.

Some things are just too sacred to mess with. I'm glad we got that straightened out. Still, having a hard time sitting right now. Too much 'ruffage' I guess.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Of all the subjects I post about, I think I can honestly say that on this topic...I'm an expert. After all, my last name is Coward. How do you think I was approached while going through school?

"Hey, let's see if yer a coward!" Wham!  "Hey, coward! Git outta my way!" Slap! Push! Bam!

Bullied? Yeah, until I got to my sophomore year in High School at West Hardin when my parents moved us to Saratoga. Seems country folk are a little less screwed up than city folk, at least in some areas.

The way I always looked at it, my name prevented me from backing down. In my mind, if I backed down, then my character would befit my name. Running was never an option for me. Junior High was where it was the worst. The leading 'gang' was a group of kids that had failed two or three grades and should have been in high school. They were much bigger than the rest of us and used the size differential to intimidate and browbeat their victims. They were led by the smallest of them all. Let's call him Shelby. One day, in seventh grade, I was waiting for the coach to come out of his office so P.E. class could start. Shelby comes up to me, out of the blue, and starts slapping me in the face with his jock strap and asking me if I liked it. I knew two of his goons were in the same class, and to retaliate would mean a certain beat down with me on the receiving end. I also knew that if I took this humiliating treatment, I better get ready for a steady diet of it. So, I took the only option available to me. I jumped up, and with the back of my left fist, came around and caught him squarely on the jaw. My right fist followed in quick succession and took out Shelby's nose. Blood started running from it as he reeled backward, trying to stem the flow with a hand. Like two hell bats on fire, his goons come rushing up, towering over me, when one of them said, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" I looked at them with a "What?!" expression. Before they could pounce, the coach came out of his office and blew his whistle, indicating that we were to go into the gym. Saved by the shrill bell, I was. However, I was warned by Shelby that I was as good as dead. The next day, my dad went up to the school and spoke with the principal. When he found out the perpetrator was Shelby, he told my dad, "I wish your son had killed him." It was then we found out this individual and his minions had been more trouble than just at the school. The local police knew them all too well, and they were bad news. Shelby and his gutless wonders were put on notice about me, and I had little trouble out of them after that. I also found out that other 'bullies' at the school had a newfound respect for me and left me alone, seeing how they might just get their noses busted if they messed with me.

All this drama about Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito is crap. When you're in a locker room with a bunch of other jocks, there are different rules to live by than anywhere else in the outside world. You take care of business....mano a mano. And, if you're six foot eight hundred and weigh more than a battleship, what are you afraid of? The NFL is a business built on controlled violence. I have seen many fights among football players in my years of watching, and not once has anyone been killed, maimed, or disfigured for life. Nor have I seen any of these men put in jail for assault. It's the code of the locker room. If some guy won't get out of your face, you make him get out of your face. Martin would be completely respected by his peers if he had locked horns with Incognito instead of running home to momma and hiring an attorney. Instead, his NFL career is likely over because he's been labeled a 'cry-baby' by those he would have to line up with and against if his career were to continue.

We read almost every day about this person or that person getting bullied at school or at work. Then, every now and then, we read about someone who commits suicide because they were bullied. If you could still fight at school without being arrested, suspended, hogtied and tattooed, bullies would be cut to a minimum. Those who bully are the real cowards. Once you smash their nose to the back of their skull, they leave you alone. I don't care how big they are. They are like any petty criminal. They go to the weaker of the flock. If you establish yourself as NOT being one of those, bullies let you go in peace.

And what about work? Too many people today are 'afraid' for their jobs and allow their bosses to mistreat them to the point where they lose their own souls to these people. Don't ever be afraid to defend yourself. I had a boss one time that gave micromanagement a bad name. After six months of this idiot, I determined to not take it anymore. One day (2005), I told him that nothing he said surprised me, because he hadn't made a correct decision on the project since I had been there. That was when I effectively quit. He was too stupid to realize my last name is Coward and that might have some history behind it. He went insane and pointed at the door, yelling, "You wanna step outside?!" I smiled and said, "Yeah. Let's go. I've been wanting to whip your ass for four months." Walking into the hall, I turned to see him still standing where I left him. I said, "You comin'?" And, he wasn't. Let's just say I burned that bridge down to the ashes when I walked back in the office and said, "If you aren't man enough to go outside with me, after YOU gave the invitation, then you aren't man enough to say another word to me. If one more thing comes out of your pie hole, I'm gonna stomp a mudhole in you and march it dry." I then asked him if he understood me and he nodded that he did. I packed my personal belongings and walked out. I had an F-150 pick-up at the time and started a hot shot business until something better came along. Never be afraid for your job at your personal, self-esteem expense. Bullies are like Frankensteins. They aren't born, they're created.

Bullies are more prevalent today because our society has been pussified to the point that if you defend yourself, you're the bad guy. Well, I don't mind being labeled the bad guy by a bunch of pussified twerps who don't have the backbone to hold up a feather. I've been called hot-headed, crazy, intolerable, and a host of other names. But, nobody messes with me. During my stay in London, I built a reputation as someone who got the job done and didn't care who he had to step on to get it done if they were standing in my way. And believe me, there were a ton of them. The project director came up to me one day and said, "I need a person to go down to Nigeria and be the project coordinator for getting our equipment loaded on time and all the site receipt tests completed. This person has to be willing to knock heads if he has to in order to get the job done, and I thought of you." During that six month period in Nigeria, I was grossing $55,000.00 a month. If they were going to pay me that much, nobody was going to prevent me from doing my job. Nobody. I ended up running the client rep off my job site one day. Another time, I told a lifting expert if he didn't want to hang around to watch a 45,000 pound lift, he could get in his car and shag the hell out of my face. He did. We were having trouble getting the port to have our heavy equipment arrive on time at my job site. I told the port master that until my equipment started showing up on time every day, he would be having breakfast with me EVERY morning until it did. I never had to have breakfast with him. Several Nigerians working on my barge kept coming up to me for money. I went to their supervisor and told him that if they asked me for money again, I was going to throw him overboard. Never heard a peep from them again. The client engineer tried to intimidate me, but after three weeks, he preferred to stay in his office and let me feed him reports on progress. One night, a fellow in our bungalow decided to bring one of the local prostitutes to his room, which was next to mine. After about thirty minutes of head board bumping on my wall, I knocked on his door. The young man opened it and I said, "Do you have to go to work in the morning?" The young man replied that he did. I said, "So do I. Keep the noise down or I'll have security throw both of you outside." Their 'lovemaking' was of the silent type after that. Another gentleman decided to get so drunk one night that he was slamming doors and cursing loudly, keeping us all awake. The next morning, I found him passed out on the front porch. I took several pictures with my cell phone. Later that afternoon, once he was awake and sober, I showed him the pics. It was then I informed him that I OWNED him. I said, "If I hear one more peep out of you that disturbs my sleep, these photos go to your boss and you go back home without a job." As you can see, bullying comes in many shapes and sizes. Some say these examples might be defined as being discourteous. What do you think bullying is? It's where a person thinks their behavior supercedes any liberties you may have.

To defeat violence, of any type, is to meet it with greater violence. No? Then how did we defeat the Nazis and the Japanese? It is easy to reduce such analogies to our personal spheres. Those who know me don't mess with me. Those who don't know me learn quickly not to if they decide I'm their next mark. I don't care if I lose my job. I was looking for one when I found this one. I don't care if people don't like how I respond to others who think they are better than me. I respect others as long as they respect me. If they don't respect me, they find out it is to their detriment if the behavior continues. Most recently, back in June of this year, we had a man on the phone during a meeting who kept interrupting me while I was speaking. Being the 'client', this perturbed me to no end. I informed the gentleman to stop interrupting me. He continued. I then said that if he interrupted me again, I was going to conclude the meeting. He did it again. Meeting was concluded and I issued a formal protest against this man's continued presence on the project. We haven't heard from him again.

Weaklings pervade our society and they scream and whine and cry and wring their hands, waiting for someone else to ride in and save the day. Save your own day, you mealy mouth bunch of babies. Stand up for yourself, instead of cringing in the corner and whimpering like an idiot. Be strong, and of good courage. That's what will stop bullying. Nothing else.