“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed, and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon.” ~ George Aiken

Photo by Tu Nguyen

Prejudice (a usually unfavorable evaluation of another person) is alive and well. It is widespread, but contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with race. It is more a matter of perception.

We are all prejudiced. Some people are judgmental about overweight individuals… Others are biased about political affiliation, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, occupation, education, national origin, foreign accent, black cats…
The list is endless…

We are all affected (and often offended) by what is unfamiliar, foreign to us. When I was a child, I remember the solemnity and the somber mood of funeral processions. The hearse was pulled by a plumed horse, and a crowd dressed in black walked silently behind the carriage. The atmosphere was subdued.

In my first California wake, I recall being shocked by the rather jolly mood and the colorful attire of the crowd. I was disturbed by the perceived lack of respect shown to the deceased.

When it comes to prejudice, vulgarity (not race) is what offends me the most. I don’t care about ethnicity, but about the image projected. Haircuts, clothes, mannerisms, language are what is first registered… and often generating prejudice. Rednecks and morons parading with weapons are also high on my list.

We have all been subjected to prejudice and discrimination. Human beings (as well as animals) are naturally attracted by beauty and turned off by imperfection. A hunchback, for instance, does not have a ghost of a chance to attract a beautiful woman or to score a corporate job.

But it does not have to be that way, and it is not always the case. Charm (an indefinable enchanting quality) upstages it all. Charm is the ultimate weapon. No matter how you look, if you have charm you have got it made.

“Charm is the ability to make others forget that you look as you do.” ~ Jean-Paul Belmondo

But charm is a gift from Heaven and it is bestowed to relatively few people. And (this is the best part) no matter how much money you have, you cannot buy it. Sorry DT!

Yes, prejudice is alive and well, but it is up to each individual to do some damage control. Be pleasant, helpful, respectful and the world will magically become your oyster.


No tests, no vaccine, no masks!

This ludicrous proclamation sounds like 5th-grade rhetoric, but it seems to have resonated with a small vocal minority.

Wearing a mask has long been seen as a sign of dissimulation and hypocrisy. But no more. These days it is an indication of mutual respect and solidarity.

The so-called “freedom” to go maskless is nothing but a misguided idea of what freedom really means. This word has often been discredited by its misuse. Everybody ought to understand that the right to act or to speak as you please is always subservient to higher concerns. Today the superior concern is the nation’s health as a whole.

The pseudo “freedom rebels” should remember that “One person’s freedom ends where another’s begins.” My neighbor can play his music as loud as he wants, as long as it does not interfere with my own rights. The minute it does, his “freedom” is curtailed.

The majority of (literate) citizens abides by this dictum and respects their neighbor’s well-being. Unfortunately, this issue has been politicized, and now serves as a tool to bait and further divide an already divided nation.

Wearing a mask should not be optional but mandatory and transgressors should be penalized. If they don’t care about their own stupid lives, that’s their sorry business. But when they endanger the rest of the population, this is our business and our right to chastise and penalize them… Or even brand them with a scarlet letter.

In the middle ages, lepers had to wear special clothes and ring a bell whenever they went. If the “freedom fighters” want to parade without masks, they should be constrained to wear such attire and ring such a bell.

By comparison, health workers should be praised and hailed as heroes. It is now worth repeating Winston Churchill’s declaration “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” I was gratified to see that in their July 14th national parade, the French authorities included these shining examples prominently in their ceremony.

The throngs of young people ignoring the call to wear masks have the most to lose. They are just starting their lives and have only experimented a few of its many delights. Sexagenarians, septuagenarians or generations beyond, have already lived a full life and have much less to lose than the kids.

The question that young adults should ask themselves is “Are a few beers and a few hours of merriment worth mortgaging at least 50 years of your lives?”

Wear a mask and live.


I want to live in a Commercial World

I want to live in a “Commercial World” … like the one you observe every day on television.
In this enchanted tale, everybody is good looking, friendly, smiling, considerate, helpful, accommodating, color blind, politically correct, and every mother’s son unconditionally loves you.

It is my Holy Grail and I have been on a crusade to find it and to infiltrate this world. I know that it exists, but locating it has proved difficult. After much research, I have come to the conclusion that the Commercial World is a secret society, similar to the Freemasons.

Like every hush-hush organization, its members use a secret handshake to greet each other, and I have been on the lookout trying to spot that gesture. Why do you think that I always carry a camera?
But the damn pandemic has thrown a wrench in my plans. Nobody shakes hands anymore… Curse that virus!

In a Commercial World, there are no tears and no sorrow. There is not even a word to describe that. It is a Disneyworld for adults. Bankers will lend give you money, car dealers will beg you to accept a free car, and lawyers will put their lives on the line for you.

Like many secret societies, the Commercial World provides many perks. Some crucially important.
A long time ago I read a story dealing with this subject. The event took place during the 1870 Franco-German war. A French prisoner was about to be shot when he flashed the Freemason sign. The German officer in charge of the firing squad (who was himself a Freemason) immediately stopped the execution and released him.

Nothing has changed. Recently, some despicable felons were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. They repeatedly flashed the secret sign and the Grand Master of the Lodge instantly pardoned them.

The Commercial World is an arena where everything is easy. The arduous task of finding a suitable mate for instance is child play.
Boy meets girl. She flashes a wide smile showing gleaming teeth. The young man is instantly smitten. He falls on one knee and puts a ring on the girl’s finger. She accepts enthusiastically.
I have seen this happening a thousand times on TV and I absolutely believe that it is gospel truth.

I suspect that some of our club members belong to the Commercial World. They are polite, friendly and smile a lot… even when they lose. This is definite proof that they belong to a parallel world.

My search is not over. It might take time, but I am dedicating my life to penetrate the wondrous Commercial World.