Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shoulder to Cry On

This week on the Island of Misfit Toys, the Gospel Doctrine lesson was all about Job. It's too bad that we get to spend only one week, one too-brief 40-minute class period on Job and his eponymous book in the Old Testament, because there are so many lessons we can learn from both him and from the people who were close to him.

I had a boil once when I was a eight or nine years old, and it occurred "across the pond" when we were on one of my family's and my trips to England to visit my mom's family. I remember my Aunt Mary, one of the greatest, kindest souls ever to walk this Earth, applying a poultice for multiple nights to help treat it and to bring down the swelling. She always knew what to do.

I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be covered head to toe with boils. And yet, somehow, Job lived to tell the tale.

Specifically, however, tonight I'm not thinking of Job but of the three friends, Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar, who came to comfort him when he was in the middle of his afflictions. Upon arriving to visit their old friend, "they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great" (Job 2:13).

Later on, of course, as those who are familiar with the story will remember, they made the mistake of berating him for what they perceived to be his sins or errors, and they were chastised for it. Nevertheless, I try to give these three men the benefit of the doubt. They were human, as we all are, and I believe that the simple act of keeping him company for that entire week, just being there with their friend when he needed them, yet not saying a word, did far more good than anything else they could have done at any point during Job's misfortunes.

Thus it is when we mourn, too. A friend (#1) of mine who lost his father far too soon essentially said the same thing recently when he spoke of another friend (#2) of ours, who lost his mother to cancer. Friend #2 was there for Friend #1. He didn't try to console him or to say it would be all right; he was just there, spending time as a friend, to let him know someone cared.

Years ago, Angry White Mom witnessed the slow, painful death of a friend of hers to a debilitating illness, her body literally wasting away until she passed from this life. The night of the friend's funeral, AWM saw me in the kitchen and, needing the same comfort, I suppose, that Job and Friend #1 sought, she simultaneously burst into tears and hugged me tightly, not letting go for at least 10 minutes.

Sometimes, you literally need a shoulder to cry on. I'm grateful to have shared that moment with you, Mom. Mainly, I realize I got to share it with her because I was there. It's something I'll never, ever forget, a memory I will always cherish.

Family and friends reading this, I hope you'll consider me "there" for you if you ever need it. That goes for both my recent post about those who struggle with depression, as well as with any other problem or worry under the sun.

I also don't get many hugs like that these days, but I'm willing to give if the need arises.

Ladies especially.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pretty in Pink

Yesterday, I went out to lunch for corn dogs. Because, well . . . corn dogs.

'Nuff said.

Upon sitting down to eat my meal, I noticed that there was a man seated in my vicinity whom I can describe only as "pretty in pink," as in the '80s song/movie. Decked out in a bright pink shirt, a bright pink hat, bright pink shorts, he also carried a cell phone with a bright pink cover on it and was accompanied by a bicycle with a bright pink seat and pink handlebars.

It was a lot of bright pink for any human being, especially a guy with more facial hair than your own Angry White Loner.

My first inclination, admittedly, was to take a photo of this man with my camera. Because there's no way anybody else would believe I had seen someone go out in public dressed this way.

Fortunately, a second, better thought occurred to me soon after:

That man is a child of God.

On second thought, it's often a good idea to listen to and to be guided by those second thoughts that occur following those "natural man" initial impressions.

No other editorializing by me this time, folks. I'll simply leave it at that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tell 'Em Big Baby Sent Ya!

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, "I just don't care"?
 -P!nk

I used to be somewhat more adventurous of a person than I now am. I don't know when exactly it was that I turned into a fuddy-duddy, but it happened a few years ago. I woke up one morning, and there he was: a bona fide fuddy-duddy, staring back at me in the mirror.

You'll all get older someday, too. That's both a threat and a promise.

I think that it is a good idea, nonetheless, to occasionally take a look back at some of those things that used to be part of your routine and wonder why you don't do some of those things anymore, maybe even to do some new things that might scare you a little bit. For example, going to Lagoon at least once every summer.

It's something that your very own Angry White Loner used to do, but until a couple of weeks ago, he hadn't been to the friendly confines for 13 (count 'em, 13) years. It was beyond time that he give it another try and go on some rides, for heck's sake.

When I talk about doing things that scare you a little, I'm not, of course,  advocating doing unnecessarily stupid things, such as drag racing through your neighborhood or tying rubber bands together and then bungee jumping. Or even eating at Five Guys Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning. Ever.

It was good to be back at Lagoon and to try to, once again, erase those horrible memories of having worked there for a summer when I was 17 years old.

OK, a little off topic there. Anyway, the rides have changed a great deal in my 13-year absence from the park. Some of the ones that were there last time are still quite terrifying, like The Rocket. My ride on the new(ish) Samurai was quite possibly the most frightening experience I've ever had. And I've witnessed a terrorist attack up close.

I spent the course of the ride much like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, chanting, "I do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks!" over and over again, until after what seemed like 17 straight hours strapped in, it mercifully ended, after which I basically French-kissed the ground and promised her that we'd never, ever fight again.

When you've not been on a roller coaster or other amusement park ride for 13 years, you apparently have about 13 years' worth of motion sickness to make up for. That, or the lap bars fit a bit more snugly than they used to, if you catch my drift. Whatever the reason(s), I had to sit out for a few rides while my friends continued to party on. I never fully recovered that night, but I did end up going back on a few more rides to round out the evening. And I'm glad that I did.

It's what fun is. Or what it used to be. There's still more fun to be had.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dog Daze

Thanks to all of youall one of youwho responded to the Angry White Loner's latest post. He didn't receive any questions to base any future blog posts upon, so he supposes at this point that he'll just have to continue to come up with his own dithering ramblings about life, the universe, and everything for the time being.

The AWL has taken the past couple of weeks off from bloggingnot because of the aforementioned fact of not getting any responses, but because he's needed some time to think. About a lot of things. It's been his longest gap between new posts since he began this blog a year-and-a-half ago.

It's the dog days of summer right now. I do not know if there is a specific timeframe to them. Personally, I consider it to fall somewhere between the end of Pioneer Day in July and Labor Day in early September. In other words, it's basically the entire month of August.

No offense intended to those of you who get excited for August, for whatever reason. But I just can't. It's my least favorite month of the year. The only good thing about it for me is that autumn is right around the corner.

I was all ready to post something new earlier this week, and then Robin Williams happened. I read the news online Monday evening, and I was crushed. Like many of you, I spent several days reading various blog posts and retrospectives about the life of one of the most unique talents we've ever seen.

I'll spare you my going into much more detail on the matter, because others have already done so and have done it well. If it affected you or caused you to think in any way, shape, or form, then I say: Congratulations. That means you're a member of the human race, and you give a darn. Whether or not you personally or someone close to you struggles with depression, substance abuse, or Parkinson's disease, then at least there is something of a desire inside you to want to understand and to help others who fight those battles.

It's one of the most important lessons we can learn here in this human experience.

Depression is not something that you just "get over," like a cold or measles or having your tonsils removed. It is something many people have to battle on a daily basis, and it can, at times, feel like a dark, bleak, and hopeless fight.

Nevertheless, there is hope, and there is healing. I had to learn this the hard way, but I'm glad that I know now that such a thing exists. I feel like I've said this before here on the Angry White Loner, but if you're dealing with depression and need someone to talk to or someone who will lend a listening ear, please count me in as one of those who will drop whatever he's doing to help. However I can.

Carpe diem, my friends.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life's Greatest Mysteries . . . Solved?

Got an (intelligent) question for the Angry White Loner? Would you like to see him take on a new blog topic answering your queries about life's greatest mysteries? Post your question in the comments box, and you, too, could achieve fame and glory here on http://angrywhiteloner.blogspot.com/.

Yes, I'm being serious. The asking me a question part, I mean.