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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  April 12, 2009
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Topic category:  Other/General


One of the things I liked about ships was anchors. Big, heavy anchors. You’d look at those brutes and you just knew in your heart of hearts that, when you were in a tight spot and needed to get things under control, they were there.

When used properly, things would come to a halt right now and you’d have time to get a sense of what was happening and figure out what needed to be done.

Nice things, anchors. Simple, easy to understand, been around forever, work like a charm.

Lately, (big segue here) there’s been a lot in the news that makes you want to shake your head and silently ask “Just what the heck is going on out there?”

That’s because, in a country of 300 million or so people, there are a lot of individuals who can make us cringe.

Locally, a father killed his 5 kids after his wife told him that she was leaving.

In Pittsburgh, a twenty-three year old who’d recently lost his job and believed that President Obama was coming after his guns got into an argument with his mother over a dog peeing in the house. The argument escalated. She threatened to toss him out, called the cops, and he killed three of them when they responded.

In Binghamton, New York, a Vietnamese immigrant who was apparently upset over losing his job and being “disrespected” (I hate that abortion of a word) for not speaking English well, marched into a building and killed 13 people.

Hearing all of this, you’ve got to wonder when was it that these individuals lost all (if they ever had any) sense of perspective?

They, and too many others, seem to have forgotten that life has never, is never, and will never be an even pull. That there are going to be ups and downs. That there will be stretches of pure hell and times that you’d wish would last forever. That, while things may be awful now, they will get better over time.

They also seem to have missed the class that explained that the only place on earth wherein every problem gets solved in under an hour (minus commercial breaks) is on television.

Too many people also seem to believe that, if they feel down or depressed, angry or sad, that the only thing left to do is to lash out at those they believe have hurt them, wronged them, or who (all too often and much more likely) just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Note to such individuals: You’re not now nor will you ever be the Lone Ranger because you’re in a tough (ugly, sad, scary) situation that you can’t find your way out of. You’re not the only person who’s ever felt so unutterably bad that you just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry or, alternatively, put your fist through a wall.

Just about every one of us out here has been through something similar - or, trust me, worse - and those feelings simply mean that you’re human. Welcome to the party. It’s been going on since we came down from the trees. Perspective, by the way, is over there by the punch bowl. Help yourself to a bunch.

The problem is that many of the things that used to help get people through the bad times have now been stuffed into society’s collective attic to gather dust.

Faith, family, friends, neighbors (just checking here, do you know the names of the families that live three doors on either side of you?), manners, respect for authority, self discipline (I could go on) are, all too often, looked upon as “old fashioned,” outdated concepts.

They are, however, precisely the things that can give us the time (and the comfort) we need to sort out whatever mess we find ourselves in. They can help someone going through a dark moment find the calm that would keep him from shooting 5 innocent kids.

Yep, I’m being simplistic again. But, you know what? Over the past 60 years, I’ve found that simple things work.

Like anchors on ships.

They can stop us from drifting into the horrible places we humans can get to when we don’t use them at all.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

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Copyright © 2009 by Larry Simoneaux
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