Sunday morning, April 6, 2014

Sunrise came to close out the week and officially put Sunday on the books. And since this is my one day off, and regardless to my tax appointment before the looming deadline of April 15, I have no choice but to follow my usual routine, arm myself with a cup of coffee, and enjoy the day.
s backyard. I suppose this means springtime is among us.

Currently, my daughter is sleeping in her bedroom. She is curled up on her side while surrounded by her favorite stuffed animals, and the covers are pulled beneath her chin. Upstairs, my wife sleeps, and she is surrounded by Buster the Bulldog and our other dog Brody the Pit. If I had to guess, I would say she has a pillow placed over hear ears to drown the noise of Buster’s snore.

There have been some changes in my house, which in turn, has led to some changes in my routine. Usually, my early morning trips into the kitchen are accompanied by Roxxy the Dog.
Roxxy was the smallest of our three dogs, but she was biggest in my heart, and after my usual visit to the coffee-god machine, and while I typed away in front of a computer screen and emptied the thoughts from my head, Roxxy the Dog laid on the rug behind me, either chewing on the bone, or quietly waiting for me to turn around.
Sadly, after losing Roxxy to a bout with congestive heart failure, I am sitting quietly in the back room of my house, typing away in front of a computer screen, and emptying my thoughts onto a page without her.

Like you or anyone else, I don’t like when my routines change.
I am a creature of habit and comfort, and as I write to you, I miss the dependable loyalty of my dog Roxxy.

I have been thinking about the term we call loyalty.
I have been thinking about what it means and how the term has become somewhat altered. Perhaps not in dogs, but in friendships.
And friendship, that too has become an elastic term, stretched too far by this thing we call social media.

Strange, however, is while I complain about today’s social media, and about the occupied minds of cell phones and other technologies, I also depend on them with hopes to reach more viewers and grow my own readership.

The other day, I met an 18 year-old with nearly 1,000 friends on a social website. When I asked him about this, the young man smiled.
He shrugged when I asked, “And out of those friends, how many of them do you actually know or speak to?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I guess a few of them.”
But missing my point he asked, “Do you have Instagram?”
I suppose he will understand the humor in this when he gets older.

The weatherman says the sky will be clear today and the temperatures will be warm, which means it’s going to be nice. But this hardly something that could be shared with almost 1,000 virtual friends.
The weatherman promised a beautiful day, which means staying indoors would be a waste, and since this is my only day off, the last thing I want to do is waste it.
But back to my point….

Loyalty: loy·al·ty [loi-uhl-tee]
The act or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
An example of devotion, fidelity, or allegiance.

I associate this word with terms like trustworthy and truthfulness.
And trust is another word that we misuse
“Trust me.”

There is a saying tattooed in traditional Chinese lettering along the top of my spine, which translates:
I have no trust in man but the trust I save for myself.
This was my first tattoo, and like so many in the tattooed world understand; one tattoo leads to another, and the other lead to the next, and so on, and so forth.

Suffice to say, my tattoo collection has grown over the years.
Safe to say, the meaning of each tattoo is as true now as the day I etched them into my skin. And while I agree I may have sunk deeper into this culture than others, this does not take away the truth in my message.

All too often I put faith in places where it did not belong. This doesn’t mean the world is not trustworthy; it only means I placed my trust in people that didn’t deserve it.
In some cases, I was surprised when my trust was broken. This happens…but we learn and grow as a result
In many cases, however, there were always signs—but for whatever reason, I closed my eyes to those signs and I hoped for the best.

Maybe I wanted to believe in certain people instead of being alone or feeling excluded. So I accepted the trade and gave away my trust.
Maybe I needed to believe, and the words, “I promise,” sounded so binding.
But a promise is like a bank check; without the funds behind it, the check is just a piece of paper.
And so, a promise without truth behind it is nothing more than vaporized words, or meaningless.

Rather than forget these lessons, I have mapped them on my body as an artistic expression, ever reminding me which way to go and what to stay away from.
Part of my tattoo collection is an hourglass placed on the lower section in the middle of my back.
The sands of time are red, symbolizing blood and mortality, and with the sands of time running out, I placed the Chinese character which translates to the word, “Redemption.”
This means we only have so much time to redeem ourselves, until eventually, it’s too late. The sands of time have run out and we missed our window.

Me…I’ve missed too many windows.
After years of mistreating myself and settling, or accepting poor trades in exchange for my time and friendship, I learned the value of my trust and loyalty. I learned about my own importance and how to invest myself with other people

All too often, we destroy each other with language. But love, trust, loyalty and truth are not only words…they are actions.

Maybe that’s why I miss Roxxy the Dog so much. She never said anything; she never tried to sway me with language, or manipulate to receive love.
Instead, she showed her love.
I guess that’s what I miss most….

A woman on the train told me, “All men are dogs.”
I laughed and told her, “Women should only be so lucky.”
To correct her, I explained, “That’s not an insult, if you think about it.”
“But I will give you this,” I told her. “All men are animals….this is true….some just make better pets.”

Maybe she’ll understand that when she matures.
Or, when she is able to look at herself instead of pointing fingers at my gender
…maybe that’s when she’ll truly understand the punch line.

Enjoy your Sunday, folks.

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