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Friday, June 5, 2009

ORDINARY PEOPLE

Whitehead



Having a spell of not listening to the news. It's relaxing not to hear all that mess. Some of it is entertaining like Somalian pirates. Where are Captain Hook and Blackbeard among guys that use Evinrudes on the high sea south of the Suez Canal? They're no more in existence now than they were in sailing ship days. We tend to think of pirate ships full of guys that look like they're in Harley motorcycle gangs, threatening guys who get credibility in prison and like to strut with an attitude. What we see now is skinny guys in dirty tshirts.


Pirate stories were entertaining for a few weeks, but they're boring now. What wears me out with the news and sometimes causes vacations from it is one little word that has come to aggravate me over years and years of hearing it. That is that celebrities and the rich are real people and the rest of us are ordinary. They've got it upside down as far as I can see. Of all the people I've known who are neither celebrity nor rich, nearly everyone I know, not one is ordinary. Pay attention to somebody and find no individual is ordinary, even if they quit school and carry the trash to the dumpster at a fast food place.



I know what is meant by ordinary and it is generally accepted as the best way to name the nameless masses. Nonetheless, I tend to see it as something akin to racism, classism in a society where money is the only value. So if you have a lot of money and make your living in a golf cart, you're real. If you work for a living and wear white socks, you're ordinary. If you're a 'household name' like Diana Ross, then you're real. If nobody ever heard of you outside the circle of people you know, you're unreal, ordinary. Just another Joe.



In my life in the mountains I've found nobody is ordinary. Yet, as television has taken over as culture, I live in a world of people who have no objection to being called ordinary. Like comedian Dave Gardner said of Abe Lincoln making much of the common man, just call somebody common and see what you get. Like nobody would say to someone in decency, 'You are so ordinary.' It's an insult. But when the news labels us ordinary, we accept it and identify with it, like we do with consumer, taxpayer, voter. What went with citizen?



In the grocery store line I scan the headlines on the tabloids and look at the pictures of the real people, the stars. First, they all look brain dead, and a great many are. The same can be said for a politician who lives in mortal fear of saying something the press can run with and make him look as ridiculous as he is, somebody good at sitting around with drinks sucking up to the rich at country clubs where the rich pay his dues, and nothing is required but following orders. Vote for this over that? You got it, sir.



I've come to the belief that these people serve a very poor example for the 'ordinary' masses of what constitutes a human being. They're always after baseball stars for using steroids and being a bad example for the young. I say the people who value only money are an even worse influence on the young. As a result wealth and/or stardom amounts to the American Dream, which is shallow as a cookie sheet.



The part I don't like about it is I know an awful lot of 'ordinary' people; not one of them seems ordinary to me when I know them. I find this general belief that we're ordinary if we're not rich and famous is so upside down as to be the opposite of what constitutes a true human being. I prefer to see us as God's children, but they're not going to call us that on the news.



I'd far rather sit in a church meeting in the mountains with farmers and factory workers than some 'upscale' (another word I'm tired of) something or other in Beverly Hills where the stars go, or its likeness in DC where the pols go to be seen with lovely wife and lovely children. It seems to me the higher one goes on the money scale the more unreal becomes real. I've spent my life like Pinocchio wanting to be a 'real boy.' Where I have found the real people is in lovers of God.

3 comments:

  1. No ordinary message, by no ordinary writer, but I guess we would have to admit the topic is ordinary!

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  2. This could not have been written any better to sum it all up. Outstanding description. Thank you!

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  3. You got it ... "shallow as a cookie sheet."

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