Tuesday, May 24, 2011


"Pride Comes before the Fall"
"The bigger they are the harder they fall

Between the ages of 18 and 21 I learned the hard way that "Pride" is only useful in ideal circumstances. On other times it is only a national illusion. For example, he "died" proudly or they "died" proudly covers up a whole lot of other things that also may be true. For example, it might also be useful to say, "His girlfriend married someone else and had a child so he joined the army and died proudly." Or "Our nation is a proud nation." But what does that mean? If it only means that our men after having been spurned by a loved one joined the army and died proudly does it still have the same meaning? Or is it then just an honorable way to commit suicide because all personal meaning has been withdrawn for life from that person. I submit that both can be equally true. That a man (or woman) can die for their country because all real personal meaning has been withdrawn from their lives and simultaneously they could be committing suicide in defense of their country for this kind of thing has been going on for thousands of years already in every country and tribe on earth.

My father was a very proud man and up until about 18 to 21 I followed in his footsteps. But at the same time I noticed that he was a workaholic that would outwork the next 300 men he worked around. He said that his father being Swiss-German demanded this of his 3 boys that they be more proficient and work harder and faster and more efficiently than anyone else. So, starting at age 12 during the summers I learned to be an electrician's helper working in my Dad's Electrical Contracting Business all over Los Angeles County, California and learned to be the quickest, fastest, electrician's helper around just like my Dad. I made him a lot of money through my quickness and efficiency in everything I did. Everything was about efficiency in every way. But he never stopped working ever and the most fun and good times I ever had with my Dad was when I worked with him summers from age 12 to age 17. So I decided I wasn't going to be a workaholic like my Dad. I was going with the "Work smarter Not Harder" philosophy of college. Many of my generation went in this direction because like me they saw the older generation mostly being loyal to their companies for 35 or 40 years or more being given a gold watch and then soon dying either before or after the gold watch. So those of us born during the 1940s thought this level of loyalty and no energy or health or mentality left for retirement as being "sort of stupid". However, we hadn't seen the Great Depression or World War II except maybe as babies under ages 5. (I was born in 1948) so I just watched recreations of all the battles on TV during the 1950s as I grew up along with Disneyland and getting ready for going to the moon.

So, pride was demonstrated to me by many people including my father. Between 18 and 21 it became obvious to me that pride was a weakness and not a strength. Difficulties in my life taught me that "Being a Survivor" was much more important than being a "Prideful Person". I watched many of my most prideful friends die or go crazy from Viet Nam, trying to hard in school, career or even in an impossible marriage. So as I watched the prideful carnage all around me I contemplated suicide myself because of the seemingly irresolvable problems in my own life. But only when I decided that pride itself was not only my enemy but my whole generations enemy did I actually begin to succeed in life.

I began to take the attitude that what I really cared about was important and not  what other people were trying to put upon me as being important. So, more and more I went my own way and defined my own reality more and more rather than let anyone define it for me.

I realized that if you let other people define your reality often you won't survive. You will die in a war, die in a bad marriage, die in a hell job, die in a hell place, or just wish  you were dead all the time. "NO", I thought, "I'm going to live a life that I can stand to live." And yes I did. But then I had children and all this got much more complicated than I ever expected. I wound up divorcing twice and raising my son alone from my first marriage until I married again 3 years later. I wound up divorcing once more around age 45. I then remarried within 2 years and moved on. Then at 50 I almost died from a heart virus. And then I have been relatively happy since I was 50 years of age. I'm now 63.

But if I now look back some of the most important decisions of my life were: First, go your own way and don't listen to people regarding pride and what you must do with your life because mostly they just want you to suffer in the same ways that they did. (Misery loves company). Second, stand by your children. Without you, they have no hope of a decent future. If someone gave you a good chance for a future make sure your kids have one too. Pass it down the line. Third, if you can find a good mate who is also your best friend that you can trust you just might be able to always stay with them as long as you both will live. I don't find pride that useful but all these things are useful if you want to live a life you will feel good about to the end of your life here on earth.

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