Friday Firesmith – Oh Well! A Deep Love Story

When my heat pump died two years ago, the decision to replace it rather than opt for repair was simple; the machine was twenty-five years old. I called the company who sold the original, and they were surprised it had lasted so long. I’ve spent most of the twenty years here alone, so I always waited until it was really hot or really cold to burn the electricity to heat, or cool, the whole house. Having large dogs on the bed reduces heating costs. When I had The Three, there was room for me, and three, and it was always warm and toasty. 

When Mom moved in all of that changed. She’s in her mid-eighties, and so there must be cool air when it’s hot, and warm air when it’s cold. The heat pump survived a year with Mom, and that was that. Not that Mom caused the demise of a heat pump older than most college graduates for its time was certainly overdue. 

So late Sunday afternoon, the water pump submerged deep in the ground was humming but no water was being issued forth. Not a drop. I called around, got answering machines and no humans. Finally, I did reach a guy who was a young owner of a well business he and his wife started. “First thing tomorrow morning” he told me, and the clock was ticking. I suspected they would come out, assess the damage, tell us what needed to be done, and then we would wait until they got all their stuff together and came back. Whenever that might be. 

What happened instead was a couple came out, man and wife, with a nicely stocked derrick truck, arriving early, and smiling. They searched for simple fixes, loose wires, the pressure switch, the electrical connections, and then told me, yes, it was the pump. One hundred and twenty feet deep, they pulled out section after section of casing to get to the pump. The shaft of the pump had sheared. It’s dead, Jim. 

At the end of the day, my fellow travelers, this might have been a simple description of the trials of getting water restored to my Mom. It was an interesting process. Yet what I would like to relate to you, is the teamwork of the man and wife. They worked with little excess talk, almost no wasted motion, and the conversation between the two was polite, respectful, and easy on the soul to watch. Like dancers who knew their music and moves, these two glided through removing the casing, pulling the pump out, showing me what was wrong, explaining which of the models they had with them would work and why, and then putting it all back together again. Neither appeared to be in charge more than the other, and not one harsh word left the other’s lips, despite the difficulty of their work. 

I have a new pump, Mom has water, all is, no pun intended, well. Yet I was moved by the depth of the relationship between these two people, how they interacted as if in a world of their own, of their own creation, and how much they seemed to enjoy one another. 

Words fail this task, and they should, for something this rare ought to be experienced in person, and hopefully, with someone equal to the opportunity. Love, true love, deeper than any well, might be found anywhere, true, but it is more often not. I learned much about wells yesterday, but in the actions of a man and his wife, I learned more than I had before. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Putin’s Problem

Putin’s biggest problem is he is losing a war that was supposed to be a cake walk. Then again, both sides in the American Civil War thought the conflict would last a month or so, and both sides were convinced they would win. Four years and 600,000 dead soldiers later, the war did end, but no one was happy about how it was fought, or what it cost. There’s a lesson here.  

Here’s Putin’s Problem: He’s losing a conventional war. He cannot afford to escalate the conflict to the point other nations night join in, because even against the smaller and less powerful Ukrainian military, Russia is suffering catastrophic losses. His calling up more troops has led to an exodus of men of military age from Russia.  Putin’s citizens do not have the will to keep fighting this war, and he knows it. 

But no one wins a nuclear war, and Putin has to see the truth in this as well. Even if, and this is the biggest if you will ever see in print, the use of nukes doesn’t wind up wiping out all life on this planet, it will leave deep and red hot scars on where they are used. If Ukraine gets nuked, Putin can bet the Ukrainian people will hate him for generations, and their war with him will never end. You can look for a world wide grain shortages even in the best case here. 

There’s a subarine gap in the Russian navy. From 1989 to somewhere around the year 2012, the American navy was still in the game, and still building and upgrading their sub fleet. Russia got behind, and they aren’t up to speed even now. The quieter and deadly attack subs the Americans have stalking the Russian missile sub fleet is going to extract a terrible price in the first moments of a nuclear war. If America goes after Russian submarines, it will be ruinous for Putin. 

Look for the Americans to strike not at political targets in Russia, but at oil fields, dams, bridges, and military airfields. Don’t discount the idea NATO might drive deep into Russia, and the Russian military might welcome them if Putin drops a nuke. 

Then again, you have one nuke, then another, and then two or three more, all sorts of hell breaking loose, and suddenly it’s the day after a nukefest, and no one is left with a country worth trying to save. 

At the end of the day, Putin just might be bluffing, hoping that the rest of the world fears a nuclear holocaust far more than they care about Ukraine. But this is a desperate gamble, and with Russia losing territory to a military it thought it could crush, and its men running for the border, Putin may have no other cards to play. 

Putin might do well to remember while he is trying to hold things together, there may be someone, or a group, who would like to see him fail, and then remove him. 

But the war is lost, and has been for quite some time. What else Putin loses in the process will be interesting, to say the least. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Pot for sale

Coyotes can coexist with human beings because they are smart, fast, and they know how to disappear. Charles Manson once said Coyotes were the ultimate embodiment of paranoia, and I think he was wrong about this, and a hell of a lot of other stuff, too. I think Coyotes are just more aware of their surroundings, their human surroundings, than even humans are. 

When I sold pot for a living, I kept up with who bought from me, and who they hung around with. It was easy in a town like Valdosta to lose track of where your product went, but over time, people tend to smoke with the same people. When you sell pot, you’re trusting the person you sold it to, and whoever they tell. That was the rub. 

I bought my pot from a woman named Sherry, and she had a lot of contacts, some of them shady. Her roommate was dating a married man from east Georgia, and I always assumed he was Sherry’s connection. He would come to see his illicit girlfriend, and the next day, Sherry would have pot. 

Sherry had another connection, Alf, everyone knew about him because he talked too much. Alf looked a lot like the character from the show by the same name. Alf wasn’t careful at all. When he was busted with a half pound of pot, I shut down selling, and wouldn’t even speak to anyone I knew had bought from him. A month later, three people inside his circle were busted. 

Three months without the extra income was painful, but at the same time, inexpensive compared to the fines associated with possession with intent. Alf was too mouthy to have picked up a new connection, unless that’s why a new connection picked him up, but I settled in to figure out who had once bought from Alf, and were now looking for a new connection. 

Sherry and I had something going, but we were just friends. Trusting no one I bought or sold too, fully, once thing I noticed was Sherry never seemed to take any of the precautions other dealers did. When I shut down buying, Sherry was still selling, which drew in customers from other guys like me, who were being careful. 

Six months passed, and just as I was about to get back into the game, Sherry told me she couldn’t find so much as a stem and a half dozen seeds. The market had changed, and that made me nervous. Two or three other people I knew had gotten busted, and as someone who knew busted people, I felt exposed. My name, very likely, had come up in conversations. Yet I needed the income, and pot was getting scarce. It was a seller’s market, but I had nothing to sell. 

The sweep was comprehensive. Parties were busted, apartments were raided, people were pulled over after buys, the pot market in Valdosta went to hell over the period of two weekends. I had nothing I had bought and nothing to sell. I watched from the cheap seats.

Sherry graduated in two months and left town, never to be heard from again. Her roomie and the married boyfriend left, too. I got out of the business entirely, because I realized had Sherry sold me pot, I would have been carrying when all hell broke loose. It wasn’t love, no, not that, but somehow, Sherry decided not to take me down with everyone else, and I knew it. I never saw it coming, never suspected it was really Sherry, until it was too late. The question is never if you’re paranoid, it is always is “Are you paranoid enough?” or in this case, aware. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The General is coming to inspect us

I spent twenty-two months, seventeen days, and ten hours in the Army.

Towards the end of my enlistment, “The General is coming to inspect us,” was something we heard, so the entire battalion began the process of getting ready for inspection. This meant we spent most of the day cleaning the already clean barracks, painting our commo shop, polishing everything that could be polished, trying to make the jeep look like it hadn’t died of old age in one of the World Wars, and rolling our socks and underwear into neat little rolls that tucked into themselves. There was a guy who knew how to do this, so we all had to learn how. All the wall lockers had to look like the same guy set it up. We painted fences, handrails, and scrubbed the sidewalks with Clorox. We washed buildings by hand.

Our efforts were orchestrated by Maddog Murray Murdock, our Platoon Sergeant, and our Squad leader, Sergeant Terry, who was a racist to the core of his bones, and a couple of other Sergeants, all of whom gave conflicting orders as to how we were supposed to get ready because “The General is coming to inspect us.”

We rolled and re-rolled our underwear and socks. We polished our boots until they glowed. We took down light fixtures and cleaned them. We rented a carpet cleaner and tried to clean the carpet but it was too old and parts of it came up. We even painted the trash cans.

Meanwhile, Maddog Murray Murdock was losing his mind. We were not ready. We were the worst ever. And this was the mindset you got used to in training, but we all had long since left training. Murray would arrive before breakfast and he would stick around until ten at night because “The General is coming to inspect us.”

D-Day rolled around. We rolled our underwear even tighter than Murray’s was on a bad day. The inspection was at seven in the morning, or 0700. Then, at the appointed hour, it was pushed back to nine, then ten, then eleven. Then, suddenly, the inspection wasn’t going to happen in the barracks, oh no, it was going to take place in the parking lot. Three hundred men scrambled to get their gear laid out in the parking lot. We skipped lunch. Murray and Terry were losing their minds, and even the captain seemed unhinged. By one, that’s 1300 hours for you military people, we were as ready as we could get. And we waited, because “The General is coming to inspect us.”

At four in the afternoon, that 1600 for you people who did your time, the General cancelled out. The inspection was called off. Everyone cheered. Except for Maddog Murray Murdock. If the General was not going to inspect our platoon, Sergeant Murray would. As the other companies and other platoons gathered up all their gear and headed in, Murray spent the next hour tearing our stuff apart. He unrolled every sock and every piece of underwear. He went through every piece of gear. He inspected every item, every item he had already inspected twenty times in the last week. It looked like a tornado hit us. I prayed the General would show up.

We finally picked up our gear and headed into the barracks, with just enough time to grab some chow before it closed. Everyone was furious. Everyone was pissed off and alcohol was on everyone’s mind.

I got ready for the inspection that was going to happen at five in the morning, that’s 0500, because I knew Maddog Murray Murrdock was the world biggest jerk, and that was exactly the type of thing he would do. Everyone booed at me, telling me I was nuts, but as I drank, I rolled socks and underwear, and made ready my wall locker, because if there was anything Murray could do to prove he was the world’s biggest jerk, he was going to do it.

At zero five the next morning, I had my uniform on, my bed was made, and I was ready.

Murray banged on our door like he was a pregnant woman about to give birth to twin donkeys. No one was ready in the whole platoon, but me.

I got a three day pass, and the ire of everyone else, even though I had warned them. Murray went to a meeting and told the other Sergeants what he had done, and told them only one soldier was ready. They laughed at him. The officers laughed at him. The CO laughed at him.

They laughed at me.

That was my military skill set. I knew when a jerk was going to be an even bigger jerk than ever before. That was me being all I could be, Specialist Firesmith, the Jerk Whisperer.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Rescue of Oscar, the Anole

Anoles are those ubiquitous green, or brown lizards that adorn the sides of houses and sheds, prowling the shrubbery for insects, doing push-ups and spreading their crimson throat patches trying to attract mates. My childhood was spent chasing them, catching them, and turning them loose again. Mostly, they are green, unless they are defeated in battle, caught, or cold. They do not, however, change colors to match their surroundings. 

Sunday, Mom and I had just settled down for lunch when I noticed on the window, outside, an anole, and it seemed to have caught something, or had been caught. The struggle was real, but finally, the lizard went limp, and hung there, its feet not touching the glass. I was curious as to what sort of creature might have caught the poor anole. 

Once outside, I discovered it had, somehow, gotten its snout firmly wedged into between the frame where the windows meet. Gently, I pulled, but the fear of harming the hapless reptile kept me from freeing the trapped anole. I got a screwdriver and pushed the metal pieces apart, and once freed, I place him in one of mom’s hanging baskets, then misted it with a water bottle in case it was dehydrated. And there, I thought, the story would end, a rescued anole, and a hanging basket which now had pest control. 

The next day, I went out to put a bag of trash in the two wheeled cart, and who knows what to call these things, really, and suddenly, I felt something land on my back, and then the anole appeared as it jumped off my back, and onto the two wheeled trash cart that has no name. I named it Oscar. And at that point, realized it was not afraid of me, and liked hanging around the two wheeled thing I put trash in. 

It might have been a different lizard, this is true, but Oscar is large for his species. Normally, males are not only larger, but they tend not to allow trespass into their territory.  I felt certain this was the same creature that required rescue on my part. Perhaps, however, Oscar was going to hang around, drift to some other location, who knows? 

Yesterday, I discovered Oscar huddled on the lip of the lid of the trash can, and that’s what I’m calling it from now on, and he leapt away, but did not run from me, but sat there, head cocked, looking at me. And this morning, there Oscar was again, on the window, searching for prey, and he moved away from me slowly, as I tried to take a photo.

It’s true, the world may not be made a better place by the rescue of a lizard. But my world is a better place when I rescue lizards. There are fewer insects, there is that of course, but at the end of the day, no animal ought to die of thirst or starvation for the lack of effort on my part, near where I can assist the creature. This is how I view my place in this world. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – As Summer Dies

I’ve got the back door open, and a window in my bedroom letting in the cool air upon this writing. The temps will be up in the 90’s today, scorching hot once again, but the length of the days is shortening now, the day and night are even on this very day, and heat is not ruling the land as it did just a couple of weeks ago. 

The garden is the surest sign of the decline, with the explosion of color of flowers and blooms, the fruit ripening in the sun, and the expectations of fresh food replaced with slowly dying plants, and flowers who have clearly seen their best days last month. There are fewer wasps on their nests now, and soon they will become homeless drifters, bereft of their need to defend their homes made of cells. They will swarm in benign groups, seeking out strangers to spend their last days with, and one cold night they will be killed. 

All of this is subtle, as the vines and autumn plants return, life is leaving for the most part, being replaced by the temporary residents, and even here in the Deep South, there are more and more leaves on the ground, even as Summer refuses eviction. 

A gray squirrel is harvesting acorns in a limb over the metal roof. Like plant based hail, the oak fruit play a discordant song against the steel, calling the dogs to chorus. The tree rat is indifferent to the barking of tame wolves, as his kind will ever be. The Big Oak in the back of the property will feed squirrels, deer, all manner of small mammals, as it has done of hundreds of years. I may try to sprout some of her fruit, and plant more live oaks out here. What better way to honor such a giant, than to ensure her generations? I would have to clear out the lesser beings, the water oaks and the bramble, create space for the saplings and guard them while they were young. Perhaps, if I am exceptionally lucky, I could tend them for twenty years, likely less, before I must leave. Then, like the giant on my property, fate would take over, and perhaps be kind to one or two of them.

It is an odd farmer, who plants without hope of seeing the fruit of his labor, nor would a generation of humans, and perhaps three or four generations removed, would see the trees here and wonder how such things came to be? Yet I would be long gone, remembered by none, except the trees.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Signs of Life

I belonged to a gym for a couple of years, whose name I won’t mention, and superficially, it was a great place. Large, spacious, with brand new equipment, it seemed perfect. I wanted to run more, lift weights, and take Yoga classes. But the classes were sporadic, and the instructors seemed out of synch with what they were supposed to be doing. I realized that at my age, Yoga is the only thing I can count on to slow down the erosion of time. 

The local Y is more expensive, but their fitness classes are more or less set in stone. If an instructor is out a substitute will be there, count on it. Three weeks ago, I returned to the Y, and signed up for my first Yoga class, an adventure at 7:20 in the morning. It was a painful lesson that sloth is expensive and will result in humility. 

The first week I took five Yoga classes. The second week I slowed down, listened more closely to my body, and narrowed down my exertion to three classes. There was no point in wearing my body down to the point of injury, and the instructors recommended I not try to undo years of not exercising with a month of damage. 

One of the instructors, who was filling in for the morning teacher, asked me what I was looking for, and I told her simply, “More.” She recommended I come to the afternoon “Power Yoga” class which provides core exercises, strength training, as well as the traditional stretching and balance of Yoga. 

The class began slowly, but the pace picked up, I began to sweat. Repetitive positions, stretching the legs, opening the hips, pushing endurance, and moving the body more quickly from one position to another, began to wear me out. Push ups, balance, move, hold this pose, breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, and halfway through the class I realized the water was over my head, the level of skill was beyond my physical ability, and my endurance was not up to this sort of thing. 

But my body remembered. It remembered the positions it once could hold. It remembered the pain of beginning is rewarded with the pleasure of muscles built, and confidence renewed. This is the body that can still wield an axe with proficiency, this is a body that can turn compost in the heat of the day, and this is the only body I have. Breathe, Mike, breathe, keep going, do not quit, do not falter, and every moment of this class, do everything you can do, the best you can do it. 

Suddenly, it was over, and the cool down positions began, slowing to relaxation, and finally, rest. 

As the oldest person in the class, I looked around to see younger people, much younger, sweating, panting, and they looked at me, and wondered how it is I am still smiling. Where they see struggle, I see Signs of Life. I feel it. I breathe it. I embrace the tension between being able to do something and not being able, yet. Each class, each hour, each moment and second are Signs of Life. 

You have only to live. 

Take Care,




Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

 I am the captain of my soul.

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Happy Birthday

I went to a party one night, and the hostess, Cat, was one of those gregarious individuals who could throw a party at the drop of a party hat and have fifty people show up on a moment’s notice. Cat and I, had a history. 

We met one night at a beach party, and the guy she was with was far too drunk to be useful, or tasteful, and Cat was looking for a way away from him. I was there with a friend who had met someone and waved goodbye as they rode off into the sunset. So Cat and I got into my car and we drove back to Valdosta, and had a great conversation. Somehow, people at the party thought we had spent the night together at the beach, and a rumor was born. 

The next year, the Christmas party was large, loud, and the amount of party favors and alcohol involved was stunning, even for our crowd. I helped get the tree in, helped stand it up, and it was very large. I’m good with a saw, always was, and when people arrived, they assumed Cat and I were together again. But we weren’t. She had a date arriving from out of town later in the evening, and I was seeing a woman who got off work at eleven. However, somewhere around ten, I was sitting in a chair watching a guy setting fire to alcohol in a shot glass then drinking it, when Cat came and sat on my lap, and kissed me on the neck. 

“You’re leaving soon, right, to pick up your date,” Cat whispered in my ear. 

“Yep,” and I thought to myself if Cat was trying to talk me into something, it likely wasn’t sex. 

“I got to meet someone at Exit 18, how about you drive me there, drop me off, and we’ll get that damn rumor going again, okay?” and Cat burst out into laughter. I did, too. 

Arm in arm, we made our way to the door, and out, and a rumor was rekindled. I have no idea how the party ended, or who was in charge of everything once I left. Or what happened when Cat returned with her date. In fact, other than calling her the next day and saying I had a great time, I didn’t think too much about it. 

What, you may ask, has any of this to do with Happy Birthday? 

Turns out a couple of Cat’s friends, if you could call them that, started talking about the party, and who Cat was with. She left with me, in theory, but returned later with some other guy, long story that. Things got weird, and the woman I was dating, who I left the party for, heard something interesting; Cat was pregnant. As I had not, ever, had sex with the woman, it didn’t concern me, but Cat told one of the women who started the rumor she was due on, you guessed it, September the 9th.  Cat wasn’t pregnant, I lost track of her before the end of the 80’s, and I never thought about it again until the Age of Google, and someone told me September the 9th was the top day for birthdays,. 

I can’t remember when I found out but I do remember laughing harder about it than the people around me could understand. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The half House

Emily was a woman that drifted in and out of Dog Rescue, bringing in some stray she found, and not seen again until another showed. She was a country girl in the truest sense; she picked produce, canned, carried a switch to remind her kids who was mama, and was incredibly polite. I went to buy some squash one day and Emily and her two kids were out in triple digit heat, working for halves on crates of squash on a Saturday. 

Roy, her husband, wasn’t worthless, but you never saw him out in the field, and he bounced from job to job, always managing to keep the bills paid, but nothing left at the end of the month. Roy seemed embarrassed by Emily sometimes, for she was anything but petite. Large boned, tall, and a buffet type of eater, Emily fueled her work ethic with southern cooking. Roy would bad mouth Emily for her size, and it irritated the hell out of me, and a lot of other people, too. 

Drinking was Roy’s hobby, and he lost a good job with the county for showing up drunk. He was scared to tell Emily and started stealing her produce money to hide the fact he didn’t have a job. Thinking he could make it up later, he took the money to be used for house insurance and drank it away.  Before Emily could discover what had happened, a tree fell, and destroyed their modest home, cutting it in half. Roy, never one to own up to anything, ran away.

Rolling up her sleeves and going to work, Emily started tearing the house down with a crowbar and an axe, working on weekends and after work, her kids dutifully piling up debris, but this is still south Georgia, and the people rose to the occasion.  A church down the road from Emily’s house, not even the one they went to, sent a dozen men out one Sunday and they took the damaged house down to the foundation, hauling away the wreckage.  A local contractor showed up and offered to rebuild the house at the cost of materials, and a crowd funded effort formed quickly. I was with the crew that took the tree out of the house, cutting it into chunks the tractor could pull out. Emily cooked breakfast on a portable gas stove, tears in her eyes, and even though there really wasn’t enough to go around, it was one of the best meals ever. 

The house was rebuilt, the flower beds replanted, the driveway fixed, and now to ride by that house you would never know what happened, and I suspect that goes for a lot of homes where you don’t know what goes on inside. One of the men who helped put a metal roof on the house took a liking to Emily, and they were a good match. A man out to help a woman in need, and a woman who worked hard, and had a good heart. Roy tried to slink back into Emily’s life, but she had met someone who treated her well and there was no going back. 

I saw her at a Rescue event, with her new man, and he put his hand on her arm, like he wanted everybody to know they were together, and liked the contact with his woman. They stood close together, and she smiled more often than I remembered before. I told her she looked happy and she grinned and said, “It took half a house to make me whole.” 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The World is on Fire

I’ve been saying for decades there’s too many people, and now, with the world on fire, rivers running dry, heat waves blistering cities and farms, we’ve come to the beginning of the end. Nature has a way of finding a balance, and if we cannot stop raising the temperature then nature will simply allow it to happen, until it happens to us. 

Putin’s war in Ukraine is about food. He sees into a future where food will be in short supply and he was, and still is, ready to go to war to take over a country that has a large grain supply. 

Lake Mead is running dry. California is running dry. Rivers all over the world are either so polluted the water is unusable, or the water is gone. There’s an island of trash in the Pacific the size of Texas. Fish everywhere are dying from the heat. As temperatures rise so will ocean levels and that means the displacement of hundreds of millions of people, all of them need a place to stay and water to drink. 

During the pandemic, for a very short while, we stopped a lot of the sources of pollution, but “get the economy open again” was more important than anything else, and that is what is going to eventually kill us all. The idea that human beings exist to work, and must work to exist, will put us all into an early grave. 

We humans in general, and Americans in particular, lack the ability, and the will, to pull together. It’s all about individual rights, like the person cutting a hole in the bottom of a cruise liner, claiming it’s their personal room, and they can do what they want, even if it takes everyone else down with them. 

You can’t legislate empathy. It’s taught at home, it’s learned from others, or it doesn’t exist at all. The big thing now is parents telling schools what to teach, but parents have no idea what their kids are learning at home. Everyone works, everyone has something to do, there’s binge watching and video games, and streaming television, and it’s too hot to go outside. 

The Japanese have coined a word, “kodokushi” which means lonely death. It’s how they describe someone who dies alone in their apartment, their body there for weeks, even months, before being discovered. No family, no friends, the television set on their favorite channel, all the bills on autopay, and one day, a body is found of a person no one missed at all. 

The world in general, and America in particular, embodies the essence of kodokushi these days. We want things to be the way we want things to be, and nothing else will do. We want people to think the way we think, and no one else will do. We want the world to be as we wish that it were, and it we can’t have it that way, then what is the point of its existence? 

What is the point of existence?

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.