Friendship…Or I’m Trapped

April 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

I was brought up by generous parents and was taught, the way we usually are, by example and not by lecture, that when you could help, you did.

My father went overboard and when he was living longer than he expected and started to be seriously concerned about running out of money, we had a long conversation over finances. We reviewed his savings, his social security income, his small investment portfolio, and the state of his health which was surprisingly good considering his age (over 90) and his medical history (two small strokes). In a way, he was preparing me for the fact that when he died there wouldn’t be much left for my brother and me to share. But, more important, he was wondering if he had to start to make those frightening choices between buying food or the prescriptions that were keeping his health devils at bay.

We reviewed his checkbook and quickly advised him to stop sending contributions to every charity that solicited him in the mail. These five and ten dollar contributions added up to hundreds of dollars a year and he could no longer afford the luxury of sending money rather than spending the time to investigate how his contributions were being used.

He agreed and I think he was relieved that we insisted he be more prudent.

About two weeks ago I thought about him. A friend of mine who had no storage space left in his house asked me whether I could store a few cartons for him so he wouldn’t have to pay for commercial storage space. Naturally, I agreed. Then the van backed up into my driveway and carton after carton was removed and packed against one wall of my garage.

I’m not one who is anal enough to carpet my garage, but I am proud of the way the tools and seasonal items are carefully stacked and hung on pegboard and generally arranged so I have room to navigate my car into the garage without a problem. Now though, things are different. The “few” cartons make moving in and out of the garage a slow and tedious process.

I feel angry because I believe that my friend took advantage of me. There is no doubt that it has colored my relationship with him. It would be a lot easier for me if my father was still around and could insist that I call my friend up and tell him how his cartons are impacting my life and ask him to remove them…or at least all but the “few” I had expected. But my father died some years ago. I will eventually bring myself to do it…but for now I just hope that he reads this blog.


Let’s Take A Second Look

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Like the rest of the world, I, too, watched the meticulously planned and very well executed celebration of Michael Jackson’s eccentric and complex, yet professional and simple life.  Sure, he was different in so many ways, yet so amazingly like so many people that we know and care for.  Much has been made of his weird, childlike behavior, his undeniable ability to amass wealth beyond expectation, his equally hard to believe knack for creating debt that would exceed some small countries, his  proficiency and delivery of  some of the best choreographed dance routines and music videos ever seen by anyone of the readers of this blog.

What isn’t discussed much, at least until yesterday’s service at Staples Center in LA, is his raw, unabashed. unrehearsed, sincere love of people … all kinds of people … all colors of people … all ages of people, all religions of people … all people, period.   Speaker after speaker, all exuded the same message:  Michael loved what he did because he loved the results that it brought to others.  Michael loved making people happy.  And watching the numbers of viewers from around the globe, it was pretty evident that the people approved of what he was able to do for them.

MJ was generous beyond our wildest imagination … try setting the Guinness Book of World Records for most charitable contributions by any celebrity in the recorded history of donations. After Tuesday, I dare not think he did it for the notoriety; he did it because that’s what he was about.  Actually, the huge amounts of money that he distributed were a small factor at best for my conviction of his generosity.  It was the charity of his love for others that convinced me to take a second look at this new age phenomenon.

As I watched, in just a few short seconds, his daughter, Paris, so proudly and sincerely claimed her dad as the best there was. There was no doubt in my mind how caring and loving he must have been for her and her two brothers.   As she cried for her father, a good portion of the world came around to seeing and understanding a Michael Jackson they had never known before.

So often we make judgment calls based on what seems to be, but not on what really is.   If the ”King of Pop” was to be likened to another animated character other than Peter Pan, I would certainly nominate the Energizer Bunny with a slight twist … this one would simply keep on giving and giving and giving and …..