Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Most people don't know what that means but if you work at Home Depot you will. It is an anagram of the prevailing philosophy that dominates that environment. To become a part of that family you learn, first, what that means and you will recall it, first, before you do anything.






For the past weeks that has been the philosphy guiding my working hours. Interestingly enough that is a very military philosophy of which I was already well familiar with. It was, and still is, a guiding philosophy that I hold close to me heart. However, following it, recently, failed me.

I am unsure of how. Now, with my cognative disabilities, I could, all unaware to myself, be slipping into dimensia. After all, when you die it is not a problem for you. Just a problem for everyone else in your life. Same thing when you are Stupid... or cognatively disabled.

But, onward.

    At work I would always greet everyone I came across. (Find)

    I would ask everyone I came across if they needed help. (Inquire)
        Customer - Looking to help them.
        Employee - Just a customer by a different name.

    When responded, yes or no, I respected their decision and proceed to the next step. (Respect)
        No, moved on to my duties.
        Yes, how may I assist?

    If they needed my help, help. If not, moved on to my job. (Solve)

    Whenever I left, I said Thank you.

Now, I will be honest: My aphasia, which still crops up, made me seem like the most gregarious person in the world. I jokingly call myself the biggest Jester you will ever meet. And it is true: Like many good comedians, my life has sucked. Instead of crying about it, on the outside, I laugh at the world. Better to make a joyful noise at the universe (or to the Lord as I feel it) then to sit back crying over my little spot of it.

In the beginning of my work "career" I offended a co-worker (Find). Apparently my willingness to help made her feel bad/awkward. Over the next couple of weeks I found out more about her (Inquire). She is a care giver for a victim of traumatic brain injury. (Inquire) The victim is her grandfather who, proudly, dance the edge of life's blade without any remorse. When the edge reached out and finally bit him, it damaged his brain stem. (Inquire)

Now, my opinion regarding such sinful egoism is apparent by the way I described it. However I strove to be as considerate and helpful as I could be. (Respect) Without telling her, her position is very much the one that my lovely wife is in. My wife gets exceedingly frustrated but, in fairness, her frustrations are not with my brain injury. Even before my brain injury, I did not fit in well with society. (Read about me)

I needed training while doing my job. Many mistakes can be easily made especially by a new guy. She was very helpful in bringing me upto speed  and I was able to meld into my job nicely. (Solve) However I felt a personal debt of a two fold nature: As a care giver, she should be more thanked then she probably is. (Respect) And she started to feel like my guardian angel which obligates me to say thank you. (Thanks)

So at the end of my lunch on Monday, April 21st, I walked over to Target and bought a thank you card. I looked at the cute ones, they either didn't apply or could be misconstrued. So I swung over to the humorous ones. I picked one with a tall broad guy, of which I am, but he was wearing bad torn jeans. Inside the card said, "Wanted to Thank you in a Big Ass way!" I then showed it to a co-worker who chuckled and said she would like it. I then went inside, wrote thank you for your help and support. I then wrote her name on the card and, trying to keep inocuous level of interaction, I tossed the envelope to her saying I found this on the ground. (Solve) I then continued on with my duties without any hesitation of any kind. Some times thanks without elaboration is the best.

Little did I realize the damage to my career that I had just done.

No need to elaborate on this point as much of it involves the thought processes of others, however my action(s) raised, in her, the spectre of sexual harrassment. That spectre, by corporate policy, is to be laid to rest firmly and immediately. The appearance, just the appearance, of such issues far outweigh any substance regarding the situation. I, a Freemason, wound up blacklisted for the next 6 months. Any errors, even the tiniest ones, would see the termination of my employment and not in a favorable light.

So maintianing a straight face, while crying inside, I completed my tour of duty. I went home, stressed out beyond my mental capacity to handle, and fussed at my wife until I passed out. From a standing position in my living room I came to needing my wife's assistance to stand. (she respected my need to shut down and left me alone while keeping an eye on me.) I figured out one thing, that work environment is not for me. I still don't have feelings in parts of my hands and in most of my face. The one place I still have strong feelings is apparently very vulnerable - my heart.

So I resigned from Home Depot. I got what I wanted from them after all. Proof that I am physically sufficient to almost any task that the world can call upon me. Proof that I can function, well enough, in a large dynamic social situation. However this proved to me that I am not capable of dealing with disharmonious individuals, of which there are many in many work places. So, I am retreating a bit into a safer place but I am not retreating from work. Just I know the difference between resisting to your detriment or being enlightened and maintaining your dignity and faith... by leaving willingly.


People laugh at me because the think I am different,
I laugh at them because they are all the same.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I am an Explorer...

... and nothing short of death will stop me.

This is something that is a problem for some of the people in my life:
  •     My wife, who worries about me,
  •     My friends, the ones still dealing with the impact my accident made in their own psyches,
  •     Fellow Masons, especially those who's careers are impacted by letiguous hyenas,
  •     Even co-workers.
Co-Workers - Working at Home Depot is satisfying a number of needs, pay being the least one. There is alot of physical activity and exercise which is helping me develop into who I used to be. Sadly, some have some experience in dealing with the disabled. One with way too much experience with brain injury. Her trouble is she became the care giver for someone who took very foolhardy risks, with ego & pride. The risk finally caught up with this loved one, of her's, and she is torn between her love for the man and her frustration with his condition & opinion of how he did this to himself.

Another need is the fluid population. The co-workers, there are many whose schedules are very fluid, the customers, whose needs and personalities are extremely fluid, and vendors, again fluid needs. The exercise strains my cognition on a daily basis however it is restoring my confidence inside myself.

Fellow Masons - Have been at my side, like good Brothers. Which they are. However, like brothers, some of them are risk averse. My gregarious nature frightens some of them. Before my accident, it was contained and controlled. It made me something to watch and enjoy. I am relearning that balance however there are those who fear the potential lawsuits that could be slapped against me. Frivolous lawsuits, yes, ones based on the fact that I don't act like others of our society. The truth is I have never acted like others of our society. Just now it is much more obvious. (My wife found an excellent quote that she feels describes me but I'll share it at the end.)

My Friends - Local ones were greatly impacted by my accident. The are good friends, almost siblings. They supported my wife during my initial recovery, they supported me as my sapience grew and returned. One even served as a care giver during my first weeks out of the hospital. However they have developed a negative triat. If a goal come out of my mouth, after all you share these things with friends, the immediate responses are ones that are about how many troubles there are reaching for the stars. What they don't realize is that they are inhibiting me from being me.

My wife - Of course she is worried about me. Her love for me is of an epic nature. One the I brought down upon myself by choice. When I met her, I knew. Just knew, nothing more, nothing less. In fact I am tearing up right now trying to find words about her and my love for each other. She is the life of me. So much so that talking about her makes me regret my nature. I am the outer bounds of what she accepts from external behaviors, male or female. Irony being ironic, I found out that it is my "out of bounds" nature matched with my integrity and self discipline that is what generated love of me in her.

Another aspect of my condition is my inhibitions have been removed. It has made me something she doesn't like. Loves but doesn't like. In retrospect, that was the basis of our relationship. Someone who acts in ways that strengthens her love for him but, by her nature, acts in ways she doesn't like. That was a nice edge to live on for over a decade however my accident has added worry to the trifecta of emotions that runs through her heart. Will it work, that is the question regarding my marriage. Love her I do, love me she does, I think it is strong enough to survive this. No, I have faith that she is my partner the Lord has determined for me to have.

She found a quote that she feels explains me very well -

    People laugh at me becuase they think I am different.
    I laugh them because they are all the same.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Do you know what it is like to be unmade"

I owe Joss Whedon much more than a couple of movie tickets. I don't know how, I can't even guess, but somehow he gets it. Many it's I'll admit. One fine example among the many is in the Avenger's movie where Clint (Hawkeye) is strapped down in a flight couch trying to regain himself and having Black Widow hover over him. This scene is very much my life... over and over again.

I am strapped down by many things however with gentle firmness I have a dark angel who hovers over me. She loves me, she guides me, and tries to keep me within boundaries. Much to her frustration and annoyance however her continued presence and concern for me just shows me how much I am loved.

Whenever the pain of this becomes so much that I scream from it, and I do, thoughts of her bring me back to life. As the Lord intended, my Eve helps this Adam from going insane.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reconstructing A Life Dismantled... ...

... is time consuming.

How many of you have sat down and on paper identified aspects of your life? Just sit down for a day or two and figure out the important parts. Go on, do it.

It seems easy: Wife, kids, family, friends, home.

Wife: Where'd you meet her(/him)? How did the spark of love ignite? How many times?

Kids: Remembering the first time you held your child? Each time? When the spoke, when they "whatevered"?

Family: How many times did you do "x" to that sibling over there? How many regrets from growing up do you have or have created? Dad? Mom? Aunts and Uncles? On and on...

Friends: On and on... on and on....

Home: On and on... on and on....

Just in this small list of what makes a life which do you WANT deleted? How much of this can you stand to have deleted... by someone else's choices?

That's the depression I face now. Every day almost every minute. Remembering what I was going to do... trying to do.... consumes my waking moments. Along the way I endure many social jibes and pokes. Some good and helpful, some most definitely not.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Achievement List

I had planned to act something of a fool today. After all, it is my day off from work and April Fool's day. I have a murse (man purse according to my wife) that is rugged and masculine. Like a seattle sling but more suitable to my specific needs. I have also have a holster for my airsoft pellet gun(s). So I put those two together and was going to have some fun.

Now the trick to carrying on is never get carried away.

No police involvement if it can be avoided. If it can't, hands and arms raised damned high and no sudden movements of any kind. With the holster in view, a police officer must treat you (First!) as an armed weapon ready to fire. Getting carried away from that situation is not the goal.

Secondly, no scaring the normals. Will it may seem funny at times it is not socially acceptable behavior. Doing that brings in the Police (refer to above on that!).

So, I took out my old rucksack (from 1941) put a replacement (new) flag into it, put my U.S. Army flag into it (on the offbeat chance it could be used), grabbed my airsoft pellet gun M-16 mockup. (Clearly and brightly tagged) and went to the old Hill Top School to replace the weather beaten flag on that pole.


No police or citizen involvement. It even had clips for a second flag so I got to put up the Army flag. I even uploaded a video of my activity to youtube. You can even hear me exclaim when I spot the extra flag clips. So I figured my day was done. Took a quick nap and then drove my wife to work. On my way home.... some thing happened that I thank the Lord for with all of my heart.

After exit 9 on Route 16, you head towards 108 on 9 towards a very active intersection. Turn lanes, turn offs, and lights galore for 4 lanes of traffic, each way, meeting each other. In the slow lane, almost at the intersection a car was broken down with flashers going.

As I passed it, working my with the Eighteen wheelers, I noticed the driver. Young lady stressed out and worried. Almost panicked and she was about my daughter's age. I went through the intersection, did a turn around a few blocks down then worked my way over to the 5 Guys parking lot. Parked and walked over.

Tapping her back window, I got her attention. Introduced myself with my Pease Greeters name tag, attached to my Desert Storm Veteran hat, and asked her if I could be of assistance. She took in a deep breath and almost through her arms around me in despair and relief. She told me she called AAA but after that had no idea what to do.

I said, "You drive, I push."

As I was pushing her into the 5 Guys lot, a huffing and puffing, a pair of guys ran over and helped. Irony being what it was, they originally thought they were helping me. And, to be honest, they were: Helping me help another man's daughter the same age as my own daughter (I later found out).

Of course, once we got her to the lot I stayed on overwatch until AAA got there. And she picked my brain, as grateful young women do. According to her, it made sense that a Combat Veteran Freemason from Philadelphia would be the one of hundreds passing that would stop to help. I told her, those labels do apply but at it's simplest, for me, a fellow human being was on the side of the road needing assistance.

What else could I do to satisfy the Lord's gift in front of me?

In closing, this has really been a damn good April Fool's day.

I don't mind being a fool if I get these kind of achievements.