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From “APRIL” Part 2

NOSY

In Accordance with the Promise and the Law

Then . . . And Now . . .

The Way of the Cookie

Love Is a Bitch And It Has Puppies

Love Story

Losing Propositions

Way Out and Way In

Colored Man



Finally, the English Edition!
Third Wish
A NOVEL IN FIVE PARTS

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March 29, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The end of March, the beginning of April - 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.

I’ll be away for a week on a trip to Santa Fe, where my wife has the opening of her solo show at Gallery 901. See her website and Facebook page for details: http://willowbader.com/

Meanwhile, March flows into April – bringing Spring with the flow of time. At this intersection, I always turn to the poetry of e e cummings, whose words I cannot improve upon – (best if read aloud):

FROM “APRIL” PART 2

“And still the mad magnificent herald Spring
assembles beauty from forgetfulness
with the wild trump of April: witchery
of sound and odour drives the wingless thing
man forth into bright air, for now the red
leaps in the maple’s cheek, and suddenly
by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress
ascends the golden crocus from the dead.

On dappled dawn forth rides the pungent sun
with hooded day preening upon his hand
followed by fay untimid final flowers
(which dressed in various tremulous armor stun
the eyes of ragged earth who sees them pass)
while hunted from his kingdom winter cowers
seeing green armies steadily expand
hearing the spear-song of the marching grass.

A silver sudden parody of snow
tickles the air to golden tears, and hark!
the flicker’s laughing yet, while on the hills
the pines deepen to whispers primeval and throw
backward their foreheads to the barbarous bright
sky, and suddenly from the valley thrills
the unimaginable upward lark
And drowns the earth and passes into light.

(slowly in life’s serene perpetual round
a pale world gathers comfort to her soul
hope richly scattered by the abundant sun
invades the new mosaic of the ground
- let but the incurious curtaining dusk be drawn
surpassing nets are sedulously spun
to snare the brutal dew, - the authentic scroll
of fairie hands and vanishing with dawn.)

Spring, that omits no mention of desire
in every curved and curling thing, yet holds
continuous intercourse – through skies and trees
the lilac’s smoke the poppy’s pompous fire
the pansy’s purple patience and the grave
frailty of daisies – by what rare unease
revealed of teasingly transparent folds –
with man’s poor soul superlatively brave.

https://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

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March 22, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
Third week of March, 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.

I’ve been away in Arizona for the weekend to be the master of ceremonies at a celebration of the life of a dear friend of fifty years who recently died.
I had a packaged of tissues handy the whole time, not for the funeral but for another state of being almost as predictable as death and taxes – allergies in spring – and what my nose does to cope.
It’s sneezin’ season.
Here’s a meditation on the subject, a revision of something I wrote several years ago. Not much has changed. . . .

Warning: this is going to get gross – realistic – but still gross.

NOSY

There’s pollen in the air this week - big time.
My sinuses are overworked – my nose is running mucus non-stop.
My explosive sneezes could set off car alarms and scare dogs.

I’m not alone.

Spring allergy season not only affects adults, but children as well.
Unlike winter colds, the runny nose of spring is usually not a sign of illness.
A kid accepts this as just a normal inconvenience.
Without the presence of a parent a kid will just let it run.
And unconsciously lick it off when it reaches his mouth.
Gross.
But I’ve seen it done - often.
Done it myself - a long time ago.
A pediatrician told me this mucus recycling actually may be the immune system at work.
We’re talking snot here – or phlegm, if you want the technical term.
(See Wikipedia for more than you ever wanted to know about phlegm.)

The sight of goo running from a nose into a mouth alarms mothers.
And the reflexive parental act of producing a wad of tissue alarms children.
But a parent has an automatic handicap.
Wiping a kid’s nose is necessarily an awkward one-handed act.
Because the other hand is needed to get a grip on the kid.
That’s because the kid usually goes into head-faking gyrations that would make a contortionist proud - they dodge and weave and squirm in retreat.

It’s my opinion that just wiping off most of the surface slime is best.
It’s a big mistake to insist that the kid blow its nose.
A single tissue cannot handle the results.
Snot will explode from the edges of the tissue, smearing the child’s face and the mother’s hands and clothes before the encounter is over.
And if the kid sneezes while blowing . . . well . . .
Sometimes only a garden hose and a bath towel could clean up the mess.

In time, as the kid achieves independence, he will learn to use his sleeve. Before his mother can make her move.
Crusty sleeves are the mark of a shrewd kid.
When the sleeve gets overused, a kid knows that the front of a shirt can be pulled up to deal with the drip.
T-shirts are perfect nose wipers.
Also a handy and willing shaggy dog will solve the problem.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned fathers yet.
Fathers avoid all this - ignore it - if their kid slurps his own snot, so what?
Besides, fathers don’t carry tissue if they can help it.
Tissue is for sissies.

At some age one becomes aware of the social implications of tending to one’s own nose - it’s just not a public act.
But you have a nose and you have to deal with it sometimes.
If you really want to clear all the goo out of your head, seek privacy.
Go where you can’t be seen or heard and blow good.
Forget tissue.
Paper towels are the tool of choice.
Job Squad is my brand.

Why am I telling you this?
My thinking was provoked while waiting with my cart in a supermarket checkout line.
The mother with a child in the kiddy seat in the cart just ahead of me was engaged in hand-to-nose combat with her little boy whose nose was running free and loose.
She came at him with a Kleenex and ordered him to “BLOW!”
He did.
This kid was good - he really had the moves – just before he blew, he dodged, and goo was finely spread.
BLOOEY!
And she and the kid and the cart needed steam cleaning before it was over.

Those around the mother and child – having stepped safely out of range - were amused.
Knowing smiles.
Been there.

And I thought, I can’t recall anybody talking about this or discussing it in print - so why not me?
There’s nothing illegal or immoral or shameful about it - just nasty.
Snot happens.
Phlegm occurs.
One small condition that unites the human race.
If you have a nose, or ever had a child who has a nose, you know.

https://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

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March 15, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The middle of March, 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.
The old apricot trees along the irrigation ditch have bloomed.
Must be spring . . .
(This was written on March 12 – the thinking was provoked by cookies.)

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROMISE AND THE LAW

“Sir, may I offer you a free cookie?”
A sweet voice from behind me in a supermarket parking lot.
I’m fishing around in the back of my car for shopping bags.
I turn around to find a young woman holding out a plate of cookies.
“They’re chocolate,” she says, “with pecans,” she adds, “Free.”

My mother’s admonition suddenly came to mind:
“Never ever accept candy from strangers.”
But she didn’t mention accepting cookies from young women – especially chocolate cookies, with pecans – free.
I wonder if my mother’s rule covers this situation?

Now, to say I am fond of cookies is to greatly understate the case.
“You can have more than one, if you like,” the young woman says.
My mother is not here to advise me.
I take three.
“You can buy a whole bag of these if you like them,” she says.
She pauses, smiles, and adds: “These are Girl Scout cookies and we’re selling them at our booth over there on the sidewalk.”

“Girl Scout Cookies! Oh, well, then, lead me to the booth,” say I.
“I’m a lifelong patron and consumer of Girl Scout Cookies.
Count me in – take me to your cookie supply.”

Turns out the young woman is the advance point person working the parking lot – trolling for old guys like me who look like cookie-buying prospects – luring us in with free samples.
The Girl Scouts, as usual, are on top of their game.

The cookie booth, attended by a troop of Girl Scouts of assorted ages, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, offered an assortment of cookies beyond my most extravagant expectations. [want to see, click on this link] http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/meet_the_cookies.asp

My first inclination was to explain that cookies were not really good for me, and I would just give the girls a contribution to their fundraising.
That first inclination last about 3 nanoseconds.
And so . . . . you can imagine . . .
I mean these are righteous cookies - supporting a good cause . . .

Sensing my hesitation, the troop went into full court press.
I learned that the Girl Scouts are up-to-date on marketing.
I could buy cookies now for myself, of course.
If I didn’t eat cookies, I could pay for some that they would give away.
If I didn’t want cookies now, I could go to their website and order.
Cookies would be delivered to my house.
If I didn’t want cookies soon, I could go to their website any time of year and order cookies to be mailed to me.
If I was in a hurry for a goodly supply of cookies, I could go to Amazon,
and get cookies by UPS or FedX in two days – free shipping - or have the cookies delivered to anybody else as a gift.

In other words, I could have Girl Scout cookies anytime, anywhere, anyhow – no problem.
So . . . over to me – how many cookies would I like to buy?

How could I possibly turn them down?
And a cookie in hand is worth a lot more than cookies in the future.
So, I’ve got cookies now – never mind how many.
And I have a fine memory of an encounter with some shrewd cookie
salesgirls, who know a soft touch when they see one.
It’s a good thing they weren’t selling kittens or puppies.

But that’s not the main reason I’m telling you this.
The heart of this essay is not really about cookies.
Here’s the rest of the story.

Once upon a time, an American woman named Julliette Gordon Low met a famous Englishman – Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a war hero, and the founder the Boy Scouts. With his sister, Agnes Baden Powell, he responded to the interest young women expressed in scouting by setting in motion the Girl Guides.

Julliette Low was a child of the American South growing up in Savannah, Georgia, the heart of the Confederacy, with all its values and misfortunes. She was a beautiful young woman who was sent to the best finishing schools to prepare her for her place in society.  She married the wealthy heir to an immense fortune based on cotton.

She was, in short, a real southern belle – properly brought up and educated – who married well and went off to live the good life in England in the best and most proper society. But there was more to Julliett Low than that stereotypical image might suggest.

Julliette Low – called “Daisy” by her friends and family – was so impressed by the ideals of Scouting and the Guides that she decided to start a similar organization for girls in the United States.

And she did that.
On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded what has become the Girl Scouts of America. In Savannah, Georgia. She assembled 18 girls for that first meeting.
She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Keep in mind, this was in 1912, before women even had the right to vote in the United States. You can imagine the response to a Southern Lady who wanted to take girls camping in the woods without male supervision. A scandal. The woods were full of bears and panthers and wild Indians – it was dirty out there, and no place for nice girls in dresses, much less trousers. Outrageous!

Even worse, from the beginning, the Girl Scouts affirmed diversity as a core value – all girls were welcome, whatever their social class, race, or religion. Disgraceful, shameful, even sinful!

Nevertheless, within a few years, Daisy’s dream for a girl-centered organization was realized. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults, a significant growth from its modest beginnings a century ago. In fact, more than 59 million women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae.
The message to young women is the same: Be all you can be.
And their commitment to diversity remains.

The Girl Scouts still have mean-spirited critics.
They are accused of being the recruiting arm of Planned Parenthood.
They are accused of being a refuge for lesbians led by dykes.
They are accused of being the training ground for militant feminism.
Though absolutely untrue, the accusations are examples of the ongoing and unrelenting defamation of the place of women in our world.
As with racism, progress has been made, but the task of equality for women in all ways is unfinished – the goal of equal rights and status has not been attained . . . yet.

An admonition:

Don’t buy Girl Scout cookies on-line or from their moms or sisters.
Buy the cookies direct from a Girl Scout in person if you can.
When you do, ask them about being a Scout.
Ask them, as I did, to recite their Promise and their Law.
This is what you will hear:
The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

When you’ve heard this recited, by heart, you’ll feel better about the world for a little while.
And you’ll get some damned fine cookies in the bargain.

https://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

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March 02, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The beginning of March, 2015
Snow and cold.

THEN . . . AND NOW . . .

The first week in March, 2015 brings back memories of the
first week of March, 1965.
Fifty years ago.
Selma, Alabama.
(http://goo.gl/8Z4nls)

A man I know well was there. . . .

He has not ever said or written much about that experience.
Because he has always felt embarrassed – even somewhat ashamed – of how little he actually contributed to the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement or to the confrontation in Selma.
He was just there . . . for a few days because Martin Luther King asked white clergymen to come and be there, for support, as witnesses.
He has never been back or returned for the symbolic marches organized on the anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery.

He feels the history of that time belongs to those who were there from the beginning to the end – who had the courage to risk everything, even their lives, for their civil rights – and not to those who only showed up in Selma for a few days and went home.

Recently, the man I know came across notes that he wrote when he went to Selma in March of 1965 – fragments of thoughts that take on new meaning for him 50 years later.

If these notes seem disjointed, it’s because the man himself is conflicted – then – and now – about his part in making a civil society – the part about deeds, not words, being what counts.

Time recasts and reshapes memory – facts fade – yearning polishes the hopeful images that remain.

Here are some of the notes:

“How should I dress? What to wear? Look like a respectable white man in suit and tie or like the majority of the community?”

“Can I get to Selma safely? Fly Birmingham, rent a car, drive the back roads? What if that only calls attention to me?”

“Never been as scared in my life before – soldiers, police, guns, dogs, mounted sheriff deputies, and white people with clubs and taunts –
Confederate flags flying defiantly – American flags flown upside down.
KKK signs are everywhere. One sign said, ‘Outside Agitators Go Home . . . or ELSE!’
That would apply to me.”

“Now I’m here – what am I supposed to do?”

“First time I was ever a racial minority – not many whites standing at the protest line. Awkward. Don’t know the songs or how to act.”

“Aware I’m being filmed and photographed by serious-looking men on the other side of the line.”

“A bus-load of Roman Catholic Nuns just arrived from Chicago –
in black and grey medieval outfits – some with what looks like white swans on their heads. Even a Negro nun. Never met or talked with nuns before. Strong women – a couple of real babes – at least by what little I can see of them – beautiful faces. They say they will walk in the front line of the next attempt at marching – let the police beat them first. Gutsy ladies.”

“Tired. Scared. Hungry. But nothing compared to the people who’ve been here all their lives. I can go home. They will stay and bear it.”

“Not really an outsider – mother grew up in Alabama – father’s family from Virginia, Tennessee, Texas – me in Texas – I’m one of THEM. 
Can even still talk like them. But not anymore.”

From memory:

The confrontation went on day and night without letup.
Finally, the man I know lay down on a patch of grass and fell asleep.
He had been up 36 hours and was numb with exhaustion.

When he woke the next morning, he was wrapped in an old army blanket on a cot in an unheated two-room shack.

In the pale light of morning he saw the wrinkled black face of a very old Negro man – his clothes were worn and patched – he had no shoes.
He said his name was Ozzie Davis – that he’d found the man passed out on the ground and brought him home to protect him from any overnight violence that might come from the police, soldiers, dogs, and the white madmen surrounding the neighborhood.
Safety had depended on the kindness of a stranger.

Mr. Davis smiled and said, “Here’s a cup of hot water. I don’t have anything else to give you.”
The man I know had never slept in the house of a Black person before.
And he had never had only hot water for breakfast.
It was like a holy sacrament of the brotherhood of men.

But he was still scared.
Ozzie Davis was scared, too.
“This is going to get real ugly before long,” he said.

Yet, in parting, Mr. Davis hugged him and said,
“Someday, someday, this will all work out. We will overcome.”

Years later, when the man cast his first vote for Barak Obama for President, it was also a vote on behalf of Ozzie Davis, who did not live long enough to see Someday.
But he believed. He hoped. He prayed. He protected strangers.
He did what he could do.

And, in many ways, Someday has almost come.

The man I know stayed a few days and went home to Seattle.
Great forces of social and legal change had been set in motion by Selma.
But he always felt guilty for not staying longer – for not marching all the way to Montgomery, the state capitol.

But Ozzie Davis was right – things were going to get ugly.
James Reeb, a young, white Unitarian clergyman was beaten in Selma on March 9th, by three members of the KKK.
He died on March 11th.
The attackers were acquitted.

At the memorial service for James Reeb, Martin Luther King made remarks that still apply to the ongoing quest for universal civil rights.
(I have edited this summary from a much longer text.)

“We are compelled to ask the question:
Who killed James Reeb?
The answer is simple and rather limited.
He was murdered by a few sick, demented, and misguided men who have the strange notion that you express dissent through murder.

“There is another haunting, poignant, desperate question we are forced to ask this afternoon.
It is the question,
What killed James Reeb?
When we move from the who to the what, the blame is wide and the responsibility grows.

“He was murdered by the indifference of every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained glass windows.

“He was murdered by the irrelevancy of a church that will stand amid social evil and serve as a taillight rather than a headlight, an echo rather than a voice.

“He was murdered by the irresponsibility of every politician who has moved down the path of demagoguery, who has fed his constituents the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism.

“He was murdered by the brutality of every sheriff and law enforcement agent who practices lawlessness in the name of law.

“He was murdered by the timidity of a federal government that can spend millions of dollars a day to keep troops in South Vietnam, yet cannot protect the lives of its own citizens seeking constitutional rights.

“Yes, he was even murdered by the cowardice of every Negro who tacitly accepts the evil system of segregation, who stands on the
sidelines in the midst of a mighty struggle for justice.”

That was then - this is now.

King’s elegant words ring as true in 2015 as they did in 1965.
The Civil Rights news of the past year declares that the fight for liberty and justice for all is not finished.
(For example, the legislature of the State of Alabama is still trying to limit voting rights in subtle ways.)

But it must be said that change and progress have come about.

If you consult the web and look at the official website of the City of Selma, Alabama, you can see a video of a city that prides itself on its history, it’s progressive values, and its attractions – it has been named by the State of Alabama as the “Butterfly Capitol of Alabama.”

Selma remains a small town of about 20,000 people on the banks of the Alabama River.
The mayor is Black, as are six members of the City Council – two of them women.
The Chief of Police is Black.
Selma is in the 7th Congressional District of Alabama – the elected representative is the Honorable Terri Sewell, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Selma is a quiet, peaceful town – except once a year.
The main community celebration this year is the Bridge Crossing Jubilee next Sunday, March 8th – marking the 50th anniversary one of the major events of the struggle for Civil Rights in the United States.

Those who were teenage participants in 1965 – and there were many – are now approaching retirement age. Many of those who were in their 20’s and 30’s are quite old or dead. The elderly lionesses of Selma in 1965 – the old ladies who stayed on the line night and day – planted in place like trees by the river – they are gone.
Ozzie Davis, too.
But their unflagging sprits live on.
As do the songs they sang: “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round . . .”
“We shall not be moved . . .” and “We shall overcome . . .”
The man I know still knows the words by heart.

On the other hand, many of the supporters and survivors of Selma will come for the Jubilee crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge – it will be a major event - a crowd of thousands – of many colors – covered by the world press.

Among them will be John Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and a heroic figure in the events of Selma in 1965, who still bears the scars of the beatings he received.
He has been elected to Congress of the United States 13 times.

President Barak Obama will be there, with his family.
And the whole world will take note.

Who would have thought that all this could or would ever come to pass?
And one wonders – what hopeful dreams for the future will yet become reality?
Someday.
One must have dreams.
Martin Luther King did.

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February 21, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
Third week in February, 2015
Mars, Venus, and the crescent Moon in conjunction in the eastern sky,
just after sunset –lovely.
Storm coming – chance of snow and rain showers – below freezing at night.

For an introduction to this essay, first take a look at my Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum
and check out this link:
http://goo.gl/YVcmdH

THE WAY OF THE COOKIE

The Urge-to-Purge is what I call a mood that strikes me unexpectedly in spring.
Usually it leads me to a disorderly closet or to the mess in the basement.
But this week I decided to look through a wooden box labeled “Small Keepsakes.”
Lots of little things had been tossed into that box over the years, and I wondered what was in it.
Half-way through the assortment of odds and ends I found a little strip of paper.
I’ve kept it since the summer of 1972 – forty-two years – when I lived in Japan – in the city of Kyoto.

Backstory:
At most Japanese Shinto Temples or Buddhist shrines one is offered a chance to learn one’s fortune. The process varies, but at the temple where I got mine,
you made a small donation in yen, pulled a stick out of a bundle, checked the number on the stick, and then pulled open a small drawer with your number on it.
Inside were small rolls of paper the size of a jelly bean.
You then unrolled the paper to learn your fortune.

It’s called an o-mikuji. link: http://goo.gl/d82BW1

Mine said: han-kichi,半吉
My Japanese companion translated for me:
“It means you will get a half-blessing – not a big one – just half.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s good – keep it.”
And I did.

A week later, at the same temple, I thought I’d try again.
What harm?
Maybe I would get the other half of the blessing.
I went through the same ritual and got another little roll of paper.
This one said: han-kyō, 半凶
“It means you will get a half-curse – not a big one – just half.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s not good – but there’s a way to deal with the prediction of misfortune. You take the strip of paper over to the strings tied around that big tree, and tie it to the strings – like all the ones already there.
By doing that, you leave the negative in the hands of the gods to deal with.”

So I did that.

I suppose one so-so good fortune was balanced out by a so-so curse –
a kind of net-zero outcome.
But, then, I kept the good news and left the negative in care of the gods residing in an ancient tree.
So I’m ahead – which is why I have kept the o-mikuji, expecting a half-blessing.
Or, perhaps, I have already received the blessing and didn’t notice?
I should take a retroactive view of blessings?
I thought back on half-blessings – maybe one of those was the payoff?
As my Japanese friend said, it’s hard to explain these things.

I tell you this because it’s my first-hand encounter with the root source of fortune cookies, which are not Chinese at all.
Though the exact history is controversial, it’s accurate to say that the cookie with the fortune inside was introduced by a Japanese restaurant in California around the beginning of the 20th century.
How the cookie shifted to be associated with Chinese food is also controversial.
Even more interesting is the question of how fortune cookies came to be such a pervasive American phenomenon.

It is estimated that more than 3 billion fortune cookies are produced each year in the United States.
As is often the case in our country, the original cookie is marketed well beyond its connection with Chinese food.
You can get Valentine’s versions – dipped in chocolate – with love messages inside. You can get dirty fortune cookies containing raunchy thoughts.
There are fortune cookies for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, corporate events,
personal parties and even for funerals.
You can write your own fortunes to be included in your special order.
There are Mexican fortune cookies made from masa – (corn flower) in small or taco size.
And there are Giant Fortune Cookies – 5 x 7 inches - weighing one pound – and stuffed with candy, small toys, or souvenirs.
Or, if you’re really in a down mood and want to spread it onto your friends after dinner, you can get misfortune cookies that predict the worst.

So . . . what?
For one thing, it’s a tribute to human imagination that something so small and trivial can be turned into a thriving industry.

The on-going-ness of the cookie is connected to the word fortune, and the everlasting desire to know one’s fate and future

“What will happen to me?” We want to know the answer.
Even if it comes on a small piece of paper inside a cookie.

What’s this about?

(Sometimes it’s useful to stand outside of one’s self and take an objective view. Now is one of those times.)

A man I know is intelligent, well-educated, thoughtful, and rational.­
By category he is an agnostic humanist.

Here is his public stance:
He does not believe in the paranormal or the supernatural.
He does not believe that any kind of gods take an interest in his personal affairs.
He does not believe in luck, chance, fortune, fate, devils, or good fairies.

Yet, in the privacy of his inner self, contradiction reigns:
He has had experiences with psychic mediums, horoscopes, tea leaf reading, palmistry, tarot cards, black magic, the lottery, the Ouija board, the Magic 8-ball device, and he consults the divination technique of I-Ching from time to time.

And he takes fortune cookies seriously – keeping the good ones, just in case.

What’s going on here?

Is it that he holds contradictory views about being human and alive?
Yes.
Despite his rational clarity, does he secretly wish to find a crack in the great wall of certainty where he can get just a peek into what’s beyond?
Yes.
Is it that there is conflict between what he knows and what he wishes were so?
Yes.
Would he like to have a dance with Lady Luck?
Yes.
Would he like to be able to hack into the algorithms of the Great Existential Computer and move some assets into his personal account?
Yes.
Is it that he has a congenital trust in hopefulness?
Yes.
Is he a sucker for any sign of good news?
Yes.
Is he a simple-minded optimist?
Yes.
Can he live with both sense and nonsense?
Yes.

But what about the realities of the dark side of his life – misfortune?
No problem.
He buys fortune cookies by the bag – and when a cookie lets him down, he picks another cookie – and waits for the good news.
He believes you get the luck you look for.

Is he an idiot?
Sometimes – but it works for him

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