Ghost Ranger
A long haired, rednecked Indian Cowboy

May
04

Pavlov’s most famous experiment was done with dogs, food, and bells. Today we find many bells in our lives. There is the telephone, the e-mail notification, the school bell, the seat belt bell, the open door warning, the social media message bell and many others. Their purpose is to notify us but before that, it seems we had to be trained. We now appear to be spending a lot of our lives waiting on bells.

Listening for bells or alarms have become a part of our lives, but not all bells are auditory. There are a lot of visual bells; brake lights, turn signals, crossing signals, the news. We have been trained to react to bells, trained to the point where some people have been over-saturated with bells and now they ignore them. Are you inured to the warnings? Do you actually answer phone calls? Do you actually listen to the news? Do you listen?

After becoming a recluse, I thought I had refused to rejoin the realm of electronic umbilical cords. For most of my working life, I was tied to my job via walkie-talkies, pagers, mobile phones, two-way radios, and landlines. The problem is there are (or were) select people that I enjoy communicating with.  That problem is compounded when I really have a need to communicate. I have a tendency to overthink problems when communication is cut off; I tend to think the worst. When I anticipate some message or update on a situation, I tend to obsess about it.  I constantly check for messages. I start hearing that bell in my sleep.

As John Donne, said “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main…. Any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Any therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” I used to think I understood this, but as I approach the end I realize that when the bell tolls for me, it is one bell that I will never hear.

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May
01

Life is like a book. Page one, in the beginning… The first couple of chapters are written not from memory but from the viewpoint of others. The chapters give some backstory to explain what happens later. The following chapters describe the twists and turns that make up everyone’s life. And finally the last chapter, but it isn’t the end of the story. The story of our lives continues after our bodies have returned to dust.

The epilogue of the story is how our lives affected the lives of others. We really never die as long as we are remembered; by family, by those, we affected and hopefully by good friends.  As a writer, I hope my writings live on. I have no progeny and it pains me to think that after I depart this mortal coil my writings may also languish and become dust. I realize that to some my writings may seem banal but they are a part of me. Each one a small piece of me, words and stories from the bits and pieces that comprise my time here on Earth.  What I felt at the time I wrote them, I hoped to evoke the same feeling in others that I was feeling at that time. In each work I would place parts of me and often archaic or little-used words, not to appear erudite but to challenge the reader to expand their vocabulary and thus expand their world.

I have refrained from writing anything that would hurt good people. I have kept secret things that might embarrass acquaintances. Some are aware of the incidents and the facts that I have kept hidden. I believe everyone has some things that they would not share. I have been accused of having a self-depreciating sense of humor, but I know the truth and if other’s think it is funny, I will not dispute them. I can laugh at myself in public and in private; rue my mistakes and shortcomings.  Often my writings deal with dark subjects or heartbreak, these poems or stories were written because to me they were cathartic. They actually celebrate real life and emotions. These are the writings that were penned in blood. Some might consider them doggerel, but for me, they were the closing of a door or the burning of a bridge and necessary for my continuation of life.

To the outside or to history I would appear to be normal. Few people are aware of the extent of my knowledge or experience. I have been present at several events which made the news, but my role was covered up except maybe in some dusty files in secret archives.  Over the years I have adopted several different personae for my work that allowed me to glide through the various strata of society, but they were all a part of me. Looking back over them I have been able to see the minutia of truth behind the curtain of lies and found myself looking at myself in the mirror. Like many others, I feel that I am a good man who has done bad things for the greater good. I occasionally see people who are only alive because of my actions, but I also see people whom I know have committed heinous acts still walking free. Do my successes outweigh my losses? I don’t know.

Do I have some regrets? I must answer yes. Would I do somethings differently? Yes, I would.  The question I ask myself is if I altered the past would I be the person I am today? Could I have positively impacted as many people? Would I? These are not philosophical questions for the light of day; these are the questions that torment an aging man’s thoughts.

Apr
29

This has been on my mind for some time. I wonder if it is just me or do others experience this also.  Many of my ideas come to me while I am sleeping. Sometimes I actually remember my dreams, and sometimes they make no sense. Since my mind always seems to be working, I often outline articles or stories in my head when I lay down. This acts to focus my mind on one thing rather than its normal multi-tasking hodge podge.

As I get older I find it more difficult to focus on just a single thing. When trying to write, I get distracted and lost.  I have started completely deleting drafts and starting anew because I forget what my point was. Poetry used to flow; now it roils. The idea is there it is the words, the picture that has become fuzzy. In addition to my lack of focus I am finding out that I get older typing becomes more difficult, my fingers seem to have a will of their own and misspellings more frequent. This morning I arose and couldn’t even ball up my hand to make a fist. The arthritis and the swelling prevent me from doing ordinary tasks.

Aspirin and peppermint oil only help so much. I try to wear warming gloves but for some reason my typing gets even worse. I tried a dictation program but it required a set-up which took longer than my focus and I discovered that it interpreted my speech differently depending whether my teeth were in or out.
I wonder if ginkgo biloba actually works!

Mar
28

I have not been writing much fiction lately because my mind won’t let me.

Looking back over my life, I realize that for almost all of my adult life I have fought. Oh, I fought as young man, from the school yards to the streets of Bed-Sty, but that was a different type of fight. That was a primer on winning and losing. I fought for myself. After maturing, fighting continued but then and now I was fighting for principles and beliefs. From my time as a policeman, from my time in the Army, from my time in service to our Nation, I was fighting for my Country. The fighting hasn’t stopped even though I have retired, I just changed weapons, and I started fighting with words and education. The heightened awareness of the warrior did not fade, if anything, it got more intense.

I have come to realize that my state of heightened awareness has also negatively affected my health. As I watch many in our Nation spread their arms wide to embrace ideas which are antithetic to the principles upon which this once great Country was founded. They seem to be willing to adopt any tenets that have been proven throughout history to be detrimental to freedom.

At one time, I actually trusted the people in Government, that was before I was allowed behind the curtain and saw the pseudo-leaders reacting to their puppet masters. I watched men that the public looked to for guidance; wallow in hedonism, personal greed, and narcissistic fantasies. I have watched as our so-called leaders betray their oaths of office, betray their constituents and betray their Country. I have seen their egos over-ride the Constitution and common sense. I have seen our enemies create 50 and 100-year plans for world domination as we struggle to create a yearly budget. I have watched as our education system undermined free thought, indoctrinated students into socialism, communism, and the worship of false gods.

We have reached a tipping point, by my estimates and as a result of certain polls; I believe that our Country is divided about 50/50. I struggle to find a peaceful solution for our ills. Criminals have more rights than citizens; people, who swear to kill us and are an antithesis to our Constitution, are freely allowed in our government, our schools, and our media. They use our system of freedoms to deny us the right to oppose them and their primitive ideology.

I proudly voted for Trump. I truly believe that he actually wants to drain the swamp and return us to greatness. We are seeing just how corrupt our government and our politicians are; we are also seeing our enemies gather together, regardless of their conflicting politics, to destroy and conquer us.

I see an uprising coming. I see patriots fighting a war on two fronts. We have to fight the indoctrinated idiots and the foreign powers that would bring us down, but I am tired. The years of fighting have taken their toll. Previously in our history, the youth picked up the mantle of patriotism and could be relied upon, but not today.  Today, we must rely on the old men (and women) and the legal immigrants who have seen what has transpired in their old countries.

It would seem that few are listening, instead, the ranks of the subservient useful idiots grows daily. The drums of war are beating louder. Patriots have been pushed beyond the limits of reason. There is no dialogue, just ideologues. Two hundred and forty years of compromise have only decreased our freedoms.

Like the colors in Old Glory, I won’t run. I am willing to die for the tenets on which this Country was founded.   It’s time for the voting public to draw a line in the sand. It is time for the Patriots to stock up and prepare for what is coming. It is time to punish treason with death. This snake has many heads and they must all be severed. For too many years we have had to choose between the lesser of two evils, it is time to choose the best person (not the best politician) and then force them to vote the way we tell them to, not the corporations, not the donors, the people. We control the government, they work for us.

Feb
11

Zero One Fifty-one, that’s what the clock shows. I am still gasping for air and shivering from the cold air that is blowing across even colder sweat. I’m afraid to close my eyes again. A nightmare of being in a cave with an unknown, unseen gas causing me to gulp even more of the poisonous substance as the world fades to black. It is a familiar dream, I have yet to figure what triggers it, perhaps it is my impending session with anesthesia. Me and anesthesia have never gotten along.  I have often tried to interpret the dream but that usually causes even more vivid dreams of being crushed, either in a cave-in or under a destroyed building unable to breathe. I’m always alone in these dreams, much like in life. I just noticed my throbbing right hand and skinned knuckles; sometimes while sleeping I hit something…hard. After the dream, I always wonder what I’m fighting for, why I don’t give up.

Questions without answers, too much time to think, maybe that’s why I don’t like to sleep, maybe that’s why I multi-task to keep my mind on other things; maybe, maybe, maybe. Time to meditate on the blackness and let it envelop me…temporarily, for now.

Sep
20

He’d led a life that many would envy. He’d traveled the world, served his Country, all to prove himself worthy of being loved.  Over the years he’d built up an image of his lover in his mind, this image had kept him going. He had been with many women hoping to find one the one he had lost through his own stupidity so many years before, but these liaisons all failed. Gradually over the years he became hardened to emotions preferring the fantasy in his mind to the reality.

Late in life he suffered some physical problems and was forced to quit his adrenaline filled way of life. He became more isolated and introspective, but he was always dreaming of that special lady. Over the years he became acquainted with a few possibilities but they were committed to someone else. He lived by a strict code of conduct and part of that code was never to come between a husband and a wife. He wasn’t content alone but he was at peace. By isolating himself from the world at large he was able to continue his existence.  He built his walls tall and strong, believing that they would never crumble or be penetrated.

He’d known her for almost two decades but she’d been one of those that even though he was interested he had labeled her off limits due to her marital status. He’d found her easy to talk to and they had a lot in common, but he also knew she was way out of his class. She was one of those classic beauties who turned men’s heads where ever she went. They had infrequently run into each other over the years and she had always taken his breath away, but he had always suppressed his feelings and remained outwardly stolid.

He had prepared himself to quietly leave this mortal coil alone, leaving behind no progeny, a few friends, and some family. He was in no hurry to die for he was still hopeful that one day he might discover true love. Then they ran into each other again, but this time was different; she was no longer in a committed relationship. His heart leapt, but he still kept his stolid composure. She had become his paradigm of the ideal woman. Gradually over the months and years, she helped him open up his walls until they had finally freed him to speak openly about his feelings. She acknowledged that the feelings were reciprocated. They made plans, both had a lot of baggage that needed to be cast aside.

He became addicted to her. He could sit for hours just listening, and watching her. Then she disappeared leaving a cryptic message, “I could no longer be your friend. I love you”.

He sat there staring at the message unable to fathom life without her. Ten words destroyed his world,  demolished his dreams, and took away his hope. He no longer could see a purpose in life. He knew he would continue to exist, but there would be no joy. His only hope was that she was happy.

He existed for love, but in the end, it always eluded him.

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