What is a friend?

When I think about friendship, I get that ole disappointed feeling with humankind all over again. Friends exist to milk you for whatever they think they can take from you. If you get some kind of satisfaction out of playing that role, friends might be useful.

I knew a guy who liked driving people around. He loved having a car and he took pride in polishing it up on the weekends. He didn’t realize that this was why his buddies stuck around. His idea of friends was “You drive your buddies wherever they want to go.”

One day, my friend had a stroke. He couldn’t drive anymore. He gave his car to his son. What happened to his buddies? They didn’t stick around. They didn’t have any use for him anymore. They found someone else with a car. My friend eventually died.

I had a car once and it was about the same. I had friends who didn’t have cars and they only wanted me for the rides. I was so thrilled to get rid of my car and watch those friendships I never wanted melt away.

After that, since I still had a lot of faith in people I figured I would find meaning in friendship. I really thought a friend was someone you could share stuff with and trust. I had decent friends (as many do) but life changed.

I found that people will eventually disappoint you. Those you trusted will suddenly betray that trust. They will let you down in ways you couldn’t possibly fathom before.

They say when you are very much down on your luck, only your really good friends will stick around. However, I have learned not to set the bar too high here. I have learned not to expect too much from other human beings. If I do, I will be let down.

Because I was subject to medical torture, I feel that I can no longer put any trust in other humans. This is likely a positive thing because it has helped me return to my previous self-reliant ways that I had proudly (and stubbornly) held onto prior to ever stepping foot into a psych’s office.

I was in a discussion the other day over whether to trust God. People were encouraging what may have sounded like a passive attitude if you don’t listen carefully. Basically the philosophy is that God is in control and we are not. So one should let God do “His” thing. (Yes I cringe when I hear “His”!)

Some people see a problem with this because on the surface the philosophy sounds passive. Actually, it isn’t. Who is in control? Your husband? NO! The teacher?  NO! The government? NO! The pastor? Actually, no, except in certain churches, likely. If I heard correctly, the person was talking about a human-like God but not one that was embodied in an actual living human.

Here I get confused over the Jesus thing because Christians apparently claim there was/is a human being that was/is God. I am baffled over how on earth they can claim God had a son! Isn’t this over-personification and hugely presumptuous? Okay, God actually has sperm? Something is totally wacko about this.

“Let go and let God.” This being the idea. Is this too passive? The philosophy has been criticized for that reason, because those that “let God” may not take action when they should. But is this true?

I would rather see people believe “God is in control” than “The government is in control,” or “My doctor is in control.” See the difference? I would rather see the locus of control be either the self or God than some other human such an abusive husband, doctor, therapist, cult pastor, political leader, or oppressive boss.

Seeing as I was in a religious venue at the time I knew I should be extremely respectful. When one person started talking about God being in control I held my tongue! I am glad I responded by saying, “You know I think we are really saying the same thing, just using different ways of going about it.”

Friends will let you down. So don’t expect them to be like gods. Will God let you down? Don’t ask me, because to answer that would certainly be presumptuous.

Toastmasters Speech Monday April 30, 2018

Hi Everyone. I’m opening up my blog just for a bit even though I have some privacy needs for a while. I feel like many of you will never get to see me perform in person nor will we ever meet. Here is your chance to hear me do a live performance, right here, right now. Please, please, please, click on the arrow up above where you see it on the screen and turn on your sound.

The name of the speech is “When the Chips are Down.” Have a nice day y’alls.

Murder in the midst of sickening affluence……

Just one look at their house makes me dizzy…


Isn’t that like….overkill? What the heck were they planning to do with that huge house, anyway? Ten kids? A sauna and Jacuzzi? I suppose they were planning all that and more, and nanny quarters, too. And how did they get that rich that fast? They look too young. Aren’t they still paying back school loans?

This one looks like a break-in gone wrong, doesn’t it? The kid broke in, wanting some good loot, then, found they were home. Oops. He killed them in a panic and took their car as a getaway vehicle.

He was smart to ditch it as fast as he could. I’m not sure how far he had to drive to where he got rid of it in Philly. If he is smart he will stay off Amtrak.

No, I’m not on the side of murderers. As a writer it’s my job to get inside the heads of all the characters involved. That’s all.

Now who else “escapes”? Mental patients. Why “escape” anyway? It makes no sense! We have not committed crimes, so what’s to escape from? And why on earth should we be brought back like we’re criminals?

Think on that one.

Once I was on a bus in the North Side of Pittsburgh in the early evening. This was a Thursday, before 8pm. I can’t recall which bus it was. Maybe the 17. For those of you who haven’t ridden the 17 in the past few years, they re-did the schedule. They increased the frequency, expanded the route, and even added Saturday service. Folks are extremely thrilled about this and the bus was packed even more ever since they made the change.

So I believe it was the 17 or 15 that I was on, going Southbound into Downtown. I was on Cedar, just passing the Giant Eagle, the only one in the North Side there. The bus was not full but not empty. On Cedar many buses pass the Giant Eagle and head under the bridge at Stockton where the highway passes over, and then,  the bus goes over the Allegheny River on whichever bridge isn’t closed due to construction. At this time of night there’s no worry about traffic. I was early to connect to the bus I was picking up at Liberty.

The bus stopped at around East Ohio and then, just sat there. We passengers wondered why the driver wasn’t moving the bus. What was going on? Was the bus broken down? What did he want us to do? Were we supposed to get off and get onto another bus?

I was starting to worry, but the driver wanted us to stay where we were. If I recall correctly there were some unruly passengers on the bus, more than one, in fact, several, but this wasn’t too concerning to me as it was evening and sometimes you see that. They were not a problem, just a nuisance, no more a nuisance than a loud baby or giggling teens.

I recall conversing with someone at some point. I believe I wrote it down but I can’t recall now. (I will have to look that one up.)

The bus was still not moving. Suddenly, about three cops came onto the bus, passed by me and then, looked sheepishly at each other and said, “Is this the right guy?” Then, they grabbed one of the guys and hauled him off.

I figured it out by their dialogue. He was an “escapee” from a rehab. I felt so, so sorry for the guy. He was disoriented, true, but god knows what they’d given him in the place and what kind of “treatment” they’d done to him. Maybe he was having second thoughts. He had the right to decide he didn’t want it anymore. He was an older guy, over 40 or maybe over 50. Very sad.

I ask why we patients were even seen as “escapees” when “treatment” should be a choice.

This fellow who murdered the couple in Bucks County is a criminal (now) and a fugitive. But my history as a patient somehow helps me see some parallels.

I remember when I saw fellow patients “escape” and I cheered them on. Go….go…run run run……….

I see this ridiculous “good guy/bad guy” mentality and I want to scream. We’re human beings as I figure.