On Melvin Pond
When we moved a few weeks ago, I jokingly said that since we had a pond, I was going to call the place Melvin’s Pond and walk around thinking deep thoughts. I already spend a great deal of the day walking the dog and thinking all sorts of thoughts, some deep, some dumb, and everywhere in between so it wouldn’t be a big stretch. Just needed a pond.We have found that sitting on the lanai (That’s Floridian for screened in patio) in the evening gazing a the pond, reading, chatting or even just sitting is a pleasant way to end the day. As I sat deep in thought last night just before the iced tea turned to wine and it occurred to me that Thoreau was worth deeper consideration. Although seen primarily as a tree hugger-primarily because no one actually reads him anymore- his reflections of self, society, government and the individual are worth consideration by your pastor. As always, my thoughts and observations are mine and mine alone. If you do not like them, I don’t give a fuck. If you do gain some insight or knowledge, please feel free to send money.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
This is Thoreau’s best know quote and rings ever truer by the day. All around me I see people getting up every day to f go to work at jobs they despise with coworkers they can’t stand to earn money to pay for houses they wish they never bought. They spend their lives with spouses they stopped liking a decade ago and attempt to raise children they would secretly love to be the ever-loving shit out of most of the time. They spent an inordinate amount of time thinking what if and if only as they look at their lives. They are risk averse to a fault and look to the government and social structure for the answers to all their problems. Far too many people have traded their ability for joy and experience of living for the illusion of security and safety. It’s the worst trade of all and leads to a quiet desperation and worst of all a dull life with no appreciation for the beauty and potential that is life.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
This is probably the second quote of Thoreau’s that we hear repeated by the toe dippers of the world. I have seen it on posters, and the self-help set uses it constantly. Very few ever do it, but it sure is fun to say. Most of the people I talk to couldn’t tell you what their dreams are or have dreams that are heavily reliant on winning the lottery at some point. I was well into middle age before I screwed up the courage to just say fuck it and go do what I wanted to do. My life is not the perfect reflection of my dream life but it is pretty fucking close, and I continue to move in the direction that reflects what I want from life. It was not always easy, and there were plenty of bumps, puke, shit, and blood along the way but it is far more rewarding than all the hours, days and weeks spent in offices listening to managers spout drivel and having clients whine about just about everything. Someone asked me recently asked me what value I add to the world, and the real answer is that I have no fucking clue but every day I add value to my own life and that of the people I love. Looking at the world, we live in most of the value-added propositions I come up with involving napalm, so I will just concentrate on my little corner, focusing on my life and my dreams. The rest of you are on your own, and my single solitary promise to the world is that I will do nothing to impede you doing the same.
It’s more than just a cute fucking poster. Quit bitching, live your life, chase your dreams.
Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
Only idiots blame their lack of success or good fortune and someone else’s opportunities. Yes, indeed there will be people who are born with more opportunity and privilege than you. Yes, people that go to Ivy League universities have more opportunity and a network of alumni that will give them an advantage over you. We can sit here and point at all sorts of privileges that others have, and we lack. We can complain mightily about the inherent unfairness of life. Allow me to point out that their advantages and opportunities do not have one fucking thing to do with you and your life. All you can do is look for the possibilities around you and exploit those. You might have to work harder, work smarter and bleed more but if you focus on your dreams and where you want to go, you can indeed get there. Live your life. To the best of our knowledge, there is no do over. Right here.Right now. That is what you have. What you do with that is entirely up to you.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Like Thoreau himself, I am amazed at the shit people put up with from governments at all levels. It is stunning that so many people blindly accept the limitations put upon them by a group of morons whose only skill is being able to lie is so skillful a fashion as to convince their fellow citizens to grant them highly paid jobs requiring no skill or thought. While the skill of making one’s self electable has been the source of many fortunes down through the annals of history, I am not sure it means that the ones so elected have the common sense God gave a puissant. Giving such folks the ability to tell us how to live our lives, raise our kids and what dream we may dream seems a tad ridiculous to me.
It is not just government we must disobey in today’s world. The politically correct absolutely convinced folks are not elected but they sure as hell have set themselves up as the best judge of how you may think, feel, speak and live. If we track the incentives of the PC and Resist crowd of today, we find that mostly what they want is what you have and respect far beyond any they have earned on their merit. While no one should ever be judged on race, gender, sexual preference or any other outward criteria nor are you entitled to any particular privileges or compensation based on such factors.
Disobey governmental ignorance. Disobey the herd mentality. Disobey the absolutely convinced. Be not a slave to government, opinion or crowd think. Not easy but worth doing to the greatest degree possible.
I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe
— “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. The government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.
I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely despise government at all levels. From the UN to the Fed and right down the line through state, county local and even the fucking HOA of the community I live in here in Florida. Whenever an august body of men and women gather to make rules governing how I live my life I know that very little good will come of such activities. Governments may start as a good idea but they all eventually become a bureaucracy that lives only to grow and protect its own interests and limit individual behavior.
The government has but two legitimate functions-providing for the common defense and taking such measures that allow commerce to flourish. Providing for the common defense would not seem to me to include poking your nose, rifle and young lives into the affairs of other nations around the world. Nor does it mean function as the world’s policeman merely because you can. Allowing commerce to flourish does not mean choking out innovation and entrepreneurship with regulations and taxes. Government truly does best when it does less.
All of the government’s interventions are done with the best of intentions, but somehow the end result is always a larger bureaucracy with little or no benefit for those they seek to serve. Consider first the war on drugs. Erasing drugs and drug related crime seems to be a worthy endeavor. We should do it for the children. Except it has not, does not and will not work. We have spent trillions of dollars in the war on drugs, and we are getting our ass kicked. The government in all its wisdom seems unable to recognize that drugs are a demand problem, not a supply problem. People like to get high. As long as that’s true someone, somewhere will find a way to make a shit load of money meeting the demand.
We would be far better off if we legalized drugs across the board, taxed the ever-loving fuck out of them and regulated the production and delivery methods as we currently do alcohol. It will be safer (give your teenager $100 bucks and tell them they have an hour to come back with the equivalent value in weed or whiskey. You will be getting weed as it’s far easier for kids to buy), we will raise revenues. Users can get higher quality cheaper dope from legal sources, so cartels and drug related street crime are history. As a bonus, we now have thousands of unemployed lawmen we can hire to actually make a difference by going after illegal guns. It is the smart thing to do, but it means dismantling a massive bureaucracy that has sprung up to keep our children safe from this scourge and enrich themselves.
How about the war on poverty? We have spent trillions and poverty has not improved. If anything, it’s worse. The only thing we achieved is creating an alphabet soup of federal, state and local agencies that suck up an enormous amount of tax dollars and achieve almost nothing.
Government cannot fix your problem. Far too often government is the root of your problem. Less is better, and none would be best (We will discuss the personal responsibility implication of this at another time).
How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book?
Not reading is the equivalent of making the jockey riding Smarty Jones wear a 500-pound chain mail suit during a Triple Crown race or sending Bryce Harper to the plate wearing handcuffs. No matter how great the latent talent or potential you are placing an enormous handicap on you odds of success by not reading. As I study great thinkers, philosophers, theologians and successful people, there is a common them. Almost all of them read enormously and widely. Charlie Munger has commented that he knows of no successful person who does not read a lot. Everything I am in life is largely a result of my voracious reading habit.
Read to learn. Read to relax. Read for knowledge. Read for entertainment. Put down the damn smart phone, get off Facecrack and Instaboobs and read a fucking book. Turn off the TV (unless baseball is on. You can leave that on in the background) It doesn’t have to be some weighty tome of a deeply serious nature. In truth, I avoid most to those. I have learned much about life and morality from the westerns of Louis L’Amour, picked up cooking and fighting tips from Robert Parker; cocktail formation, exercise, and philosophy from John D’ McDonalds Travis McGee and Myer; a smattering of marine biology from Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford; and law from Mark Giminez novels. I don’t care what you read but read. Reading expands your mind and your universe. You gain exposure to new ideas and ways of looking at the world and live. It strengthens the imagination. Want a better life? Read.
The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well.
What is this good you speak of? Good manners? Moderate behavior? Accepting the alleged norms of civil society? Fuck that shit. I do not want to be polite to those undeserving. I retain the right to call an asshole an asshole and a moron a moron. I would count myself as living well if I were polite to the harried clerk at the store but call the grandiose community leader the pompous fucking asshole that he is. I want to play the music a little too loud, dance the funky chicken(it is the only dance I know besides the hokey pokey), slurp the wine loudly from the glass, dream, dare, proclaim and live the life I desire without a single fuck given what someone else may think of me for doing so. I want to read the books that were banned, see the art that was covered, hear the music the preacher damned, curse loudly at morons, fools, and charlatans, fornicate to my heart’s content, to move noisily and happily though this grand adventure and enjoy all the really good shit some generous creator has made available upon this earth. I have no time for good behavior. I am too busy living.
We must stop here for now. We are already at the point where my Iranian Jewish co-founder who constantly urges me to write shorter pieces is going to shit his proverbial pants at the length of this piece. Like HL Mencken Thoreau has left us much to read and think about so I am sure we will revisit his works and word again but for now we must move onto other tasks. I leave you with a final thought from Thoreau worthy of much consideration and contemplation.
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.