I’ve been staring at the computer for a few minutes now. Well, if you count the three games of Solitaire I just lost, it’s longer than a few minutes. It’s Thursday night, and this column is almost due, but not that close to being written.
Nothing seems to be gelling, and I can’t seem to commit to a single topic. Let me go with some random thoughts.
First, I’ve watched all three of the videos and read and heard a lot of discussion on the recently gone viral video of the now fired deputy sheriff, who forcibly removed a girl from her seat in a classroom in North Carolina after she refused to put away her cell phone.
We (I’m using the proverbial we) have all seen it. We all have an opinion. No one’s going to change anyone else’s opinion. Coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s are rampant. And me? I’m going with shoulda.
My frequent counsel to my 14-year-old granddaughter is, you cannot create a situation then claim to be a victim. I imagine someday, when she’s my age, with grandchildren of her own, she’ll get my point.
Sometimes you have to do the simple thing just because.
In this case, the simple thing would have been for the 17-year-old girl to do what she was asked to do (stop texting in class and put away her phone) the first, second or third time she was asked to do it. And right, wrong, fair or not, while it was her choice to insolently refuse to comply with the request, the risk she ran by not complying was being unseated and thrown across the room. And perhaps the deputy was a jerk, and did not handle it in the best of ways. But, let’s just ask this. Who created the situation?
OK, second thought will seem totally random, but it is oddly connected. I am writing this column as the midnight hour of Oct. 29 approaches. Oct. 30 is the three-year anniversary of my last day as a full-time staff writer columnist at the Brownwood Bulletin – a position I’d held for just more than 10 years.
It took a huge leap of faith and a double armload of fortitude to leave Brownwood to move back to San Angelo. For 20 years, I’d thrived in that odd duck of a profession called newspaper journalism, but from my vantage point, the newspaper industry was changing drastically. My once good fit, wasn’t anymore. Besides, I was needed elsewhere.
Anyway, in my final column, I used a quote attributed to politician, writer, actor Robert Strauss. “It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla,” so goes the quote. “You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”
Seventeen-year-old with your coveted phone, tough row and fancy lawyer, you may win lots of points in your life, but judging from the three short videos I watched, you will probably lose the battles that mean the most for your peace and happiness. Sometimes it's OK to let go and just do what you need to do for yourself, and for others.
There will always be gorillas out there. But believe it or not, not all of them are looking for a fight. Some of them just want to get along the best way they can.
OK, third thought, and this one is totally, totally random. This is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead – actually the first day of a two-day holiday celebration in most Latin American countries. Nov. 1, the souls of children who have died are given homage and remembered, and their lives are celebrated with altars laden with fruits and goodies. On Nov. 2, the souls of adults who are gone from earth are honored and remembered.
Of course over the centuries in this part of the world, the European Catholic tradition of All Souls’ (or Saints’) Day remembrances have merged with the observances of Dia de los Muertos.
My life has been blessed by many I remember in so many ways. I am grateful for them and their lives. May they rest in peace.
And finally, my favorite night of the year was last night. It is in the wee hours of the morning the first Sunday of November we get to turn our clocks back and go for four short months without Daylight Saving Time.
DST is a gorilla I’ve fought long and hard, but I’ve gotten tired and given up. I’m glad he’ll be retreating to his own jungle for the winter.
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, formerly of Brownwood, living now in San Angelo. She can be reached at email@example.com.