Out of the Blue



It’s been a long day washing windows. The current job has more than 180 of them, some quite large, and most of them haven’t been cleaned in probably close to a decade. Cobwebs, dirt, dust and dead grass inhabit the nooks and crannies. I’ve had easier jobs.

I’m not complaining; more than anything, it’s been a labor of love at the building that once housed the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on the north side of Virginia. Now, it’s home to Grace & Truth Bible Church, of which my dad is the pastor, and it’s been enjoyable to liven up such a beautiful building, kind of like God livened up a hopeless life and made it joyous again.

I’ve been blessed beyond measure to be able to start my own business, a dream of mine for some time, though I never thought I’d be washing windows and houses and driveways and the like. But it’s fulfilling to make things clean and bright, even if it’s not nearly as glamorous as my dreams. But you have to start somewhere.

I’m doubly blessed with a loving, supportive wife, who tonight, after her dayshift at the restaurant and after participating – singing and playing violin – in a concert at summer camp, still had the energy to come help me for a couple of hours wiping down frames. We were home by 11. She’s now out cold on the couch, though I can’t imagine how that position could possibly be comfortable.

I should be out cold too, but I have to write this tonight, because I again have a long day tomorrow. Such is life. For a time, I used to live my life by the mantra “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.” It was a rather unfulfilling existence. Mostly I was trying to avoid the reality that there is a lot more to life than fleeting pleasures. Tomorrow I might die, but what then? The question haunted me.

“I am come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” That’s a promise that’s not haunting. That’s hope, and I am grateful for it.

I may have mentioned I’m a bit tired and slightly sore this week, so I’m not going to get too deep into anything; here are just some what I feel are relevant quotes from Thomas Sowell, maybe my favorite columnist. His wisdom is quite applicable in today’s world which seems beyond mad, especially in the wake of last weekend’s horrific crimes in El Paso and Dayton.

Unfortunately, Mr. Sowell doesn’t write much anymore – he recently turned 89 – but the many written words of the economist, social theorist, and Senior Fellow at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution speak resoundingly. His book “Basic Economics” is a must-read as are a number of his other more than 30 books. Mr. Sowell served honorably in the Marine Corps in the Korean War. He gained his bachelor’s degree, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958, received a master’s degree from Columbia University a year later, and his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago almost a decade later. He worked for the think tank Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. and was on the faculty of Cornell, UCLA, Rutgers and several other colleges during his outstanding career. Quite the resume for a high school dropout from Harlem, whose father died before he was born and whose family moved from Charlotte to New York as part of the “Great Migration” of African-Americans from the South to the North for greater economic opportunity.

We’ll start with a quote that’s personally applicable: “Maturity is not a matter of age. You have matured when you are no longer concerned with showing how clever you are, and give your full attention to getting the job done right. Many never reach that stage, no matter how old they get.”

I’ve written in the past that I’ve been afflicted with “Peter Pan Syndrome.” I never wanted to grow up and because I haven’t any children, the passing years haven’t resonated so much with me. I don’t have any gray hair at 42, though I have less hair than I did when I was 22. A poem I wrote a few years ago kind of says it:

Seems strange not to age ‘Cept to grow slightly more sage It rarely seems like I do

I see children get older And the weather seems colder But it feels I’m forever twentytwo

I know it’s all in my head And it fills me with dread That one day I’ll realize the truth

That I can never go back Or retrace these tracks That would lead me back to my youth

Well then. The days of being clever have passed…

“One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans– anything except reason.”

The lack of reasoning skills is the main reason I long ago developed an allergy to talking politics on social media. I’m all for a good conversation about ideas. It’s just hard to find one nowadays. It’s also why I avoid watching what passes for “journalism” on the news.

“Those who want to ‘spread the wealth’ almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?”

Put it this way: The odds of flipping a coin heads are 50 percent; of rolling snake eyes, 2.7 percent; of getting struck by lightning, 0.000065 percent; of collectivism working, zero percent. It’s never happened. It never will. It

always leads to the destruction of the working class and totalitarianism. Always. Which leads to our next quote…

“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago and a racist today.”

Well then. He wrote that more than 20 years ago. I can only imagine what he would have to say about the use of the term “racist” today. He definitely did have a lot more to say about it, including:

“Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racists.’”

And then there’s this insight:

“The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes

you a ‘racist.’”

Sadly, I fear Mr. Sowell was right on the money. The term is tossed around so much by media and politicians today that it has been cheapened and lost much its true meaning, which by definition is the belief that one’s race is inherently superior. I’m sorry but believing in “equal opportunity” but not “equal outcomes” isn’t racism.

Not everything is racist. Sometimes bad ideas are simply that – bad ideas. And arguing against them isn’t racist, despite what the media or a politician or anyone else might say. Going back to the inability to reason…

But what do I know? I’m just an overtired window washer, and a dumb Finn to boot.

Until next time…

Brian Miller is a longtime local writer who resides with his wife Bethany and The Lost Puppy Case™ in Eveleth, MN. He is the owner/ proprietor of Mr. Brightside Home Detailing. He welcomes glowing accolades and scathing reviews at brianm@htfnews.us.

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