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The Village Idiot

Before You Go to War, Know Your Enemy - Part 2

Jack Deatherage, Jr.

(9/2013) Iím kicked back in one of those fold-up camp chairs, a Cussler novel resting on my belly, a soda pop at hand, the garlic table set up, the Village Idiot garlic sign down by the road, a self-satisfied smugness comfortably surrounding me as Iíd just shot 5 arrows off the kidís bow (all of them landed within 10 feet of the target set about 45 yards out in the field) when the first garlic customer of the year pulls up in front of me. Time to sound knowledgeable about garlic. Ha!

Oh, I recognize this woman. At best, I should just nod and smile. No, I better not smile. Iím told my broken teeth are frightening. As if the rest of me isnít?

She looks over what little garlic I have on the table. "How much?" She ends up buying two pounds of Kettle River, I think. (Not that she seemed to care what cultivar it was.) I attempt to explain what a bad year for garlic itís been and how sheíd be better off with maybe a half pound. "I have friends Iíll share it with." She replies somewhat distracted.

I take her money and thank her. DW will be pleased.

"Youíre Jack Deatherage arenít you." Sheís not asking, sheís stating.

I get that sick feeling that comes when I know Iím about to be handed my backside. I allow I am Jack Deatherage. (Jack, Sr. is buried in Florida and Jack,3 moved to that horrid state a little over a year ago so it ainít like Iím going to weasel out of being the Jack she thinks I am.)

She begins. I listen, allow and listen some more. Mostly she disagrees with what I write about here, but she tempers that with some of her background, what she went through getting to where she could confront me about my thinking, or lack there of, though sheís too polite to put it that way. (Iím a puppy being educated by an elder. I struggle to learn.)

She hit me with so much information Iím sure Iíve jumbled it all. Several times the innate contrariness in me boiled up, but so nimbly did she change directions I was able to let it pass as she presented me with some fascinating tidbit to ponder. (I doubt Iíll be as interesting to listen to when Iím an elder. Gods forbid I should live to elderhood!)

Two things I think I understood. She believes (these are my words, not hers) children need to be stripped of their smart phones, dragged out of their fabricated caves, set down in the forests and fields, and taught to be humans. I didnít disagree with her. Thatís part of what I do while coaching archery at the Izaak Walton League of America chapter house near Frederick after all.

She also seemed upset that some people of influence (I thought of two Iíd heard on the radio) are pontificating societyís ills descend from females. She tossed some Scripture at me to backup her point. Me, being neither a Jew nor an Xian, I only shrugged. For a second I considered telling her I agree that females who allow pigs to crawl in bed with them are responsible for males behaving like pigs. Not that most males need the encouragement, but we certainly get enough of it these days. I probably missed some of what she said next as I was imagining females and pigs in bed. (I was feeling sorry for the pigs.) Anyhow, she said men were just as responsible as women are. I agreed with her.

If females, in general, are going to bed pigs and give up their natural civilizing effect on males (responsible females "women" cause males to become men) then, to save civilization, males will have to become men on their own. Having considered that for 10 or 20 seconds, I doubt I can gather enough food and water to last through civilizationís collapse into chaos and the long slow recovery until females reclaim their superior (civilizing) role.

Back to the future, the kids. Everything seems stacked against them. So many fatherless homes, so many mothers bedding pigs. School systems designed to support the system rather than educating the children. Few, or no role models worth considering. A culture of rights rather than of responsibilities.

I mentally flash back to sitting in a shopping center parking lot watching people passing by. Several teenaged boys approach a soda machine as another boy wearing a store uniform comes out on break, a cigarette dangling from his lips (heís obviously a minor and admits he stole the smokes from the store he works for.)

The first boys confront him. "Are you still doing heroin?"

Uniform gets all defensive, starts protesting.

The boys stare him down. "Youíre lying. You know that stuff is going to kill you."

At that point they notice me watching them. All their faces become as expressionless as my own. They know Iíve heard them. We consider each other. They realize I am no threat, nor help to them. They ignore me and go back to calmly dealing with their addicted friend.

I watch them and decide there may be hope for the species after all. These boys are trying to save one of their own on their own. If they had the power, and knowledge of what to do with it, theyíd probably get the boy off the drug. They have neither. Worse, if they chose to act to save their friend, our current society would crush them for their efforts.

Among those who have dealt with opium addiction, in its several forms as part of their cultures for centuries, the methods are simple and brutal. The results rather permanent. The addict either dies or suffers so greatly during withdrawal that the drug is never touched again. In this place and time we think we are sparing the addict pain by bringing them down slowly or simply addicting them to a socially more acceptable drug. Pain is avoided if at all possible. Because they havenít come close to death, they (the addict) mostly seek the high, the temporary escape, again.

Iíve sat among alkies, cokeheads and crackheads whoíve told me about their being run through rehab repeatedly, some of them six and more times, before they finally got a clue (they all got a peck on the cheek from Death.) It takes a visit with Death to shake an addict hard enough to lift the drug-induced haze. Their stories make my own pale, though the shotgun muzzle pressed hard under my chin was as real as any death-filled needle they wept over.

We, as a society, make damned sure the addicts never get close enough to death in rehab to make a choice for life. And why should they? Law enforcement, lawyers, courts, rehabs, as well as drug dealers are making money off the addicts. TV, music, the culture entice the next fool to the needle.

For the childrenís sake, I hope the chaos comes soonest.

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