It can be quite enough to discover one no longer has a job, or maybe even a home, or has just lost a loved one, or learns one has an incurable illness or disease, but then to have to face those people all around us who are “only following orders” that invariably make our lives miserable — those who never answer our questions with honest and useful information — either because they’re told not to give out that information or because they don’t know the answers and don’t want to
have to admit it; those who deliberately lie to us, and, based on those lies, cause us to make certain decisions — sometimes creating life-changing (and not for the better) situations; those who don’t have a kind word for us because they “don’t have time,” “don’t have to answer” our questions, or because their job description apparently calls for only those who can get rid of callers, patients, customers or the like in the quickest way possible so they can then go on to deal with even more people that they also won’t help. And of course, there are those who just perpetuate “the way it’s always been” because it’s too much of a bother to take a stand.
And that might be just the “soft” side of those planned pitfalls of life. I am not a conspiracy theorist, as those who spend lots of time tracking down the stories behind the stories of the whys and wherefores of the events in which any aspect of our government — from any local level up to and beyond the White House — is involved, but one has to admit that some of those stories are more than enough food for thought.
As I’ve mentioned before, not everyone is, wants to be, or can be, a world-changer, a country-changer, a system-changer, or even a thought-changer of some person they might meet in their ordinary day.
If all those stories behind the stories were perfectly clear and easy to see, understand and believe, they might eventually become an actual part of our history, replacing some of the lies — or, shall we more generously say, the misrepresentations that are passing for truth — that are in our history books or our school classrooms, or discussed at the water cooler.
I certainly do not have the definitive word on anything, not even on myself; no matter how I may see myself, how others experience me is a very real aspect of the truth that I am — and I cannot discount anyone’s personal experience. Yet apparently many have no trouble discounting the person in front of them, as their customer, patient, coworker or friend. And many who are doing the “discounting” now, from behind the shield of their own arrogance or the possible safety of the
government’s protective armor, may soon find themselves on the other side of that shield, hoping that their previous connections or “better-than-thou-ness” will keep them safe. If we entertain even some of the stories that surfaced about the many who were no longer protected by that shield and had to face life as an “ordinary” and “unprotected” person, persona non grata, we would be more than shocked if we were formerly of the opinion that such an entity was really there to help us in whatever way it could.
We know that the government cannot please everyone. WE can’t even please everyone. And heaven only knows what the BIG SECRETS are that will yet make our lives even more difficult or uncomfortable in certain ways. Apparently when one is part of a big and powerful entity, such as the military or some complex system ostensibly set up for either helping those in need or just operating according to its raison d’etre, there are so many rules and regulations that if one falls on the far side of the hairline of a rule, that simply means that one is disqualified. Yes, I have been there. And I’ll bet others have too.
When I was in the military, working as a recruiter, I had an applicant who was a body-builder. He looked perfectly fit, met all the criteria, and really wanted to join. There was just one little problem: he was five pounds over the acceptable weight because his muscles weighed more than all the “allowable fat” that let other less-in-shape applicants join. I felt he needed to be an exception to the rule. I took the time to put together a waiver for him (kind of like an appeal) so that the powers that be could easily see why they should grant him that exception. He scored high on the entrance exam, had absolutely no problems of any kind — with the law or anything else — and was eager and ready to go. I was told that when he got to MEPS (where they take their physical and actually enlist), the doctor there would make the final determination.
Yes, you have already guessed: they denied his waiver. That five pounds (of muscle) was just too much for them to bear. Better he would have carried 30 pounds of excess fat, as long as it didn’t go over their sacred carved-in-stone weight limit. Chalk up one very fit could-have-been soldier, and for no reason that could possibly have made any sense to either me or him.
Where can we possibly go to avoid some of the miseries, difficulties, and/or planned pitfalls that we might experience in this country in our everyday life? Pick a place. Go there. Then realize that every country will likely have its own set of miseries and difficulties to be experienced; and unless we’ve done our homework really well, and picked a planned pitfalls-free country (do any exist?), we might better deal with the “monsters” we know than the “monsters” we don’t know.
Just don’t believe that that means we have to settle for letting “monsters” overrun us. We ought always strive to make any changes for the better that we can, even if we don’t succeed the first ten times we try.
A better world is possible, and surely we can contribute to that by striving for a better piece of that world right here in our very own Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada. It’s always worth a try.
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.