An Ethical Person

An Ethical Person:

Someone who pulls the

door of the newspaper

machine before putting

in the change and finds

the door open, reaches in

and pulls the last copy

out, looks around, thinks

about it and then puts

the money in the slot.


Or maybe it’s the one

who puts the money in

first and doesn’t think

about that move at all.


Or maybe the one who

pulled the door first hoped

the door would open and

then he could pay for the

paper and feel good about

himself or, even better,

have someone else see his

honesty and say, “Oh,

what a good boy is he.”


Maybe the one who didn’t

think about it at all, merely

didn’t think about it at all

and if given another oppor-

tunity would have and would

try the door and if it was

open, would have kept the

paper without paying for it

and might not even have cared

if anyone saw him or if some-

one saw him, he might have

thought how clever the observ-

er might have thought him to

be to beat the machine out of a

buck and isn’t that about the

same as the first guy’s logic?


The Ethical Person:

One who just puts the money

in the newspaper machine,

opens the door, takes the paper,

goes into the restaurant, sits at

the counter, orders a cup of coffee,

opens the paper, reads all about

the unethical behavior of the day

before and leaves the waitress a

tip of, for sure, a minimum of a

buck on a two-fifty cup of coffee.

Waiting For A Clerk

Waiting for a clerk to figure

out how to exchange

a canister of CO2,

I stood aside while she told

me she didn’t have a clue

what to do,

so she called another clerk

and they stood there pondering

what to do

about exchanging the empty

canister but they would

surely find out

and then a woman in a really,

big hurry called the two

clerks out

saying it only took one to

wait on her so her business

she could go about.

She wanted to exchange a

piece of clothing she thought

she couldn’t live without

but it didn’t fit and she was

having a fit standing in line

waiting to check out.

One clerk quickly exited and

the other said she was

the only one on duty

and I was willing to let the

rude woman go first but

then she got snooty

and approached the counter

swishing and swaying

her booty.

So glibly and sarcastically, I said,

“Sorry things are so bad for

you at home.”

And about her mouth, I saw,

she was beginning

to foam.

Well, I couldn’t let go now as

she stated that she had a

wonderful family,

so I just remarked “Fiddle

dee dumb and fiddle dee


You’ve butted into line

just like you are

British royalty,

and demanded service while

reducing the clerk to


so take a deep breath and

scratch whatever is that

irritating itch

and stop being such a pain

and that which starts with ‘B’

and rhymes with that itch.”

With a huff and a puff,

she charged out of the

store like Evel Knievel

and in parting words called

me a man of con-

summate evil.

“I’m sorry but that category

is Dick Cheney


With that retort her cold Re-

publican manner became

completely unnerved.

She could have saved

time and a lot of


by simply stepping back

and assessing the depart-

ment store situation

and courteously asking

if she could go first

and then flee

thus avoiding what seemed

like the first days of 

World War III.

But I did have to acknowledge

my own participation

in the sad situation.

I could have stood there

and simply observed,

with my mouth shut,

the swish and the sway

of one particularly

large Dutch butt.











He Just Saw the Name

One Sunday evening as he sat in front of his

T.V. with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn

at his side, he saw the name David H. Koch

as a sponsor of Nova on PBS.  How can that

be? He wondered, is this one of the brothers

accused of many things including trying to

break the back of PBS and NPR and get them

de-funded from the federal budget? And sure

enough, it’s baby brother to older brother Charles.

Is this an act of  “join ‘em to defeat ‘em” —  a

conspiracy of sorts? A Koch Syndrome like the

China Syndrome with the possibility of  a PBS/

NPR national meltdown? Really?  Maybe. Seems

that way, but he didn’t know. Their collective

reference – The Koch Brothers – sounds, in

reporting, as carrying the weight of many nations,

as in “China said…North Korea did…Russia

said…the Koch Brothers are reported to have

done…” and in reality, their collective material

worth makes many nations’ GNP look like last

year’s chicken feed. And then he thought about

this one particular, individual guy, the fourth

richest American, sitting in front of his T.V.

watching Nova on PBS with a bowl of freshly

popped popcorn at his side as so many other not

really very rich nor particularly rich or maybe

just middle of the road middle class and maybe

some particularly poor people, the 99.9 % because

it only takes an antenna to watch PBS, maybe even

one with Reynolds Wrap wrapped around it. And

with that in mind, he thought there may be, just

may be, a glimmer of hope or maybe David H.

just wants it all to himself.


St. Paul Wrote

St. Paul wrote that we have nothing

to fear from the authorities, but

what in the heck was going

through his mind, except

maybe the survival of the church

in really hostile territory?  Just

think of history. Now we

have an affable president

expanding surveillance unprecedentedly

of everyone on the face of the earth

not to mention those protected

by the Fourth Amendment.

And not only the government guy, but

corporate America bombarding every-

one via the internet with every

interest and preference and

choice and purchase anyone ever made

since visiting a link on the internet.

Foolish man. He thought by avoid-

ing Facebook he was safe from

the long arms of corporate interest and

paranoid government inquiry, which

in other times and places formed an

unholy alliance called Fascism.

And, so now he  realizes that this could

be interpreted as a diatribe against

the powers-that-be by the powers-

that-be and it could come back

to bite him in the butt, when in reality

it is but a simple poem by a simple

blogger.  And all this is not

even to mention the discom-

fort of the man’s having to adjust his under-

wear in a store knowing the affable

president might be eavesdropping.

And then, horror of horrors,

he envisioned Dick Cheney as the

president with the prurient interest

who keeps a water board in a

closet in the Oval Office

spying on him while he tugs

through his blue jeans  on

on the wedgie of his

celebrity named

underpants .

A Mother and Son Reunion

It was a television

mother and son reunion

which means more

myth and magic than


But what fun to see

two people poking

and prodding each other

and pleased to

out pun the other.

It made the viewer

remember the

best of the other-

wise dreadful days

of life with mother,

who, because of early

childhood experiences

not to mention pre-natal,

lived a life of covetousness

which spoiled

most of their interactions,

but watching T.V.,

smilingly, he recalled,

refreshingly, the occasional



Is it God or the God-spot?

Several years ago he wrote a piece

about a visitation from his late wife

about a year after her death.  It had

been as real as real could get for him

and it shook him to the core of his

being. Evidence of life beyond death

or hallucination due to extreme

anxiety, something outside and

beyond or all contained in popping

neurons in the three pounds packed

in the protective shell?  Was it a gift

from God or simply the God-spot as

some refer to the source of spirituality

tucked away in those folds and who

is to say only the God-spot when

something authored the spot;

and who is to say only God, when

God is unprovable scientifically?

What the man does know for sure?

The vision was a gift for there in

his late wife’s voice he heard

unconditional love and he knew

his journey to healing was secured.

And so in faith nineteen years later,

he remains grateful to God for the

God-spot in his brain.

He Heard the Stories in Sunday School

He was a little boy

         who wanted to

                  save the world.


He heard the stories

         in Sunday school

                  of Jesus –


all the stories about

         all those poor –

                  the Sermon


on the Mount and the

         one on the plain

                  just the same


and Matthew 25. He

         watched Superman

                  in black


and white and he

         jumped off the



onto the floor with

        towel cape flying



He ran down the

         walkway onto

                  the sidewalk,


in front of the house.

         Today, sixty-years



he knows Superman

         can’t penetrate



but he still remembers

         the stories of Jesus

                  as he gets


ready to send a letter

         to the Governor

                  to find


a way to save the

         pensions of the

                  retirees of


the bankrupt city of

         Detroit, which isn’t

                  the world


but it is Detroit,

         and that’s enough

                 for now.

But it could

be the world —

one city

at a time.

The Need for Speed

It is said that ignorance

is bliss,

and while that gives me


given global warming

and fossil fuel


I see on T.V. commercials

cars flying by with a


and it makes me wish

once again for

this –

the rush I used to feel

and that state of heavenly


of seeing myself behind

the wheel roaring past

the Indy 500


What Later Would Be

What later would be named

the Everly Brothers’ Lodge

served as the Old Kentucky

State Park home to a speech

by an Illinois Yankee in Gov.

John Y. Brown’s Court on

the relationship between

Christianity and Shake-

speare. It seemed like a broad

subject for a one hour present-

ation but presumably not for the

young, wet-behind-the-ears, full-

of-himself preacher with only a

B.A. in English (and not that

good of grades) and a newly

minted Master of Divinity



Years later, toting a doctorate but

toiling away as the low-man on

the proverbial totem pole, front-

line spiritual-care-giver with hos-

pice, a step or two below the

social workers and a drone’s

distance from the Queen Bee

nurses, he gave a lecture to

inquiring seniors at a lifelong,

learning class at a local college

on the Hindu and Buddhist seven

Chakra in relation to Christianity

and later a class to Protestants as

a Protestant on healing and contemp-

lative prayer in the Roman Catholic

mystic tradition.


Retired, he wonders at the auda-

city of the Kentucky kid and smiles

at the presumed acumen of the

middle-aged chaplain while he,

now an inquiring senior citizen

himself, simply wonders about

Christianity, period.