For I Am The Chosen One

Chosen_One

This morning I woke up with the clarity, I imagine, can only be achieved after years of deep meditative practice. Call it enlightenment. Call it an epiphany. Or a higher level of consciousness. Whatever term might be applicable, I woke up this morning with an important piece of convincing knowledge.

I. Am. The. Best.

I have to be the best and my reasoning is simple. I’ve come to understand that there are many things, for reasons not yet understood, that nobody else can do. Apparently, I am the only person who can do these things, and therefore, by logic alone, I have deduced that I am magnificent. Extraordinary. Fabulous. In light of the fact that I am able to accomplish tasks, which are apparently impossible for those around me, I have concluded that I am just really damn good.

So, what is it you ask that sets me apart? I’m glad you asked! Here’s my list of things that only I seem to be able to complete in my house:

  • Put socks in a hamper
  • Pick up clothing from floor
  • Put shoes on the shoe rack
  • In addition to previous entry, take off shoes and keep matching sets together in the same vicinity of the house.
  • Remember not to drape pants over dining room chairs
  • Hang up coat
  • Fill ice cube tray
  • To elaborate on previous entry, take empty ice cube tray out of freezer
  • Realize it’s pointless to leave only 5 ml. of juice/ milk/ beverage in its container in the refrigerator
  • Turn shirts right side out
  • Lift magazines the 10″ it would take to put them in their rack rather than on the floor below the rack
  • Put a couch cushion back on the couch in its correct orientation
  • Make a bed
  • Fold towels
  • Fold clothes
  • in addition to previous two entries, put said items away
  • Realize when the toilet is on the verge of having someone call CPS should they see it, and as a result clean it
  • Open and close curtains/ blinds/ windows at appropriate times of day

I don’t want to brag, but for brevity’s sake, I shall limit the list as it currently stands. I never used to think of myself as anything special. But I now see my unique abilities in a new light, for I am the chosen one.

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When It Was Still Alive

My initial impression of the large brick structure on Draper Avenue was one of curiosity and sadness. The vacant building was a school no longer. Now it was just empty and neglected. The first floor was boarded up, and we could see that many of the windows of the second story were broken. A general appearance of ruin was everywhere. It was obvious that many years had passed since smiling children had crossed the threshold of the old Draper school.

We had made the one and a half hour drive to Rotterdam, NY to follow up on a Craig’s List post advertising the contents of a school—tables, chairs, cubby units, shelving, wooden play kitchens, easels, chalkboards, whiteboards, and much more. My friend, Robin, had called me earlier that morning with the proposition of a spur-of-the-moment homeschooling excursion.

“You up for a field trip?” she asked. Naturally, I was!

I followed her in my own car and our caravan of two vehicles, two moms, and five children hit the road ready to claim what we were hoping would be homeschooling treasures. She had her eye on some real slate chalkboards and cubbies for storage. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but was interested in a wooden kitchen set for my two-year-old daughter, and was optimistic I might find something useful for my six-year-old son’s learning experiences at home.

Our exact destination was unknown to me. Robin had arranged to meet the Craig’s List poster at noon at a specific address. She followed her GPS, and I followed her. During the drive I wondered where we would find our treasures. Would it be a recently closed school? Perhaps it was a warehouse or some sort of storage unit, or possibly even someone’s garage. We headed up route 88, and eventually arrived in Rotterdam. Not long after that, we finally turned onto Draper Avenue on that rainy, cold day, and for the first time we beheld the sight of the desolate and lifeless building.

“So sad,” I thought though I wasn’t surprised. Many schools across the state have lost their purpose for different reasons. My own alma mater closed its door after merging with a neighboring district. The buildings of both districts were repurposed after a new and larger school was built for the newly consolidated district. Mergers, budget insolvency, declines in enrollment, and competition from Charter schools are some reasons why many neighborhood schools are now empty. They have closed their doors to learning, and the families of the communities in which these buildings stand must go elsewhere for their children’s education, while these grand structures of brick and mortar cease to serve their intended purpose. In some cases, like my school, these buildings are sold, renovated, and reused. But in many cases the structures stand vacant for years, slowly deteriorating from lack of use and lack of love. They become large crumbling reminders to those around it of tender years of learning and laughing, of Miss Smith’s caring demeanor or Mr. Wagner’s sense of humor. They contain memories of growing up and growing wise, while making a few of life’s mistakes along the way. They contain memories of chalk dust and scraped knees; of the big game and of passing notes in class; of first crushes and of broken hearts; of colors, teachers, locker combinations, and good friends. The memories are infinite.

After several moments of surveying the unwelcome facade of the school, we drove around the block to the rear of the building and the Vischer Avenue entrance to the school’s now vacant and cracked parking lot, where we were to meet the man from the ad and his teenage daughter. Viewing the unused structure from the rear galvanized the feelings of emptiness and despair. From the vantage point of the long-unused lot, the revelation of years of disuse and the immensity of disrepair was finalized. The severity of long-forgotten days of glory and purpose was complete.

The building and its grounds occupy an entire block in its community. This block is surrounded by streets lined with houses. People live here. This is a neighborhood with its heart far removed. My thoughts immediately produced visions of this school as the thriving and welcoming center of a community, bustling with the activity of teachers and children and parents. I pictured its residents, possibly many generations of families, who entrusted their children to this institution. I wondered if those who purchased houses in this neighborhood did so with the intention of living nearby their neighborhood school. I wondered if they moved in with the excitement and warm knowing that their children were nearby, safe and cared-for. I also wondered how many children were displaced by the Draper school’s closing. Where were they now? Where were they at this very moment, at noon on a Friday? Where were they having lunch today? And how does this community feel about the empty days that now occupy an entire block of space between Draper and Vischer Avenues?

Despite the grim picture painted by the outside of the school, I was not prepared for what we were about to see on the inside. We were led into the dark and cold interior through an auditorium door, broken glass, dust, and debris littering our path. Following the flashlight ahead of us, I urged my children into the gloom, up the incline of the auditorium floor with row upon row of empty chairs to our left, while the shadows of children who used to occupy this space for programs and events flickered in my imagination. We left the auditorium through the rear and found ourselves turning right into what was once the main hallway of the first floor of the school, and what had since become nothing more than a tunnel of destruction and broken dreams.

We paused momentarily while our hosts left us to turn on enough electricity to illuminate the chaos hidden behind the artificial night created by boarded-up windows and layers of dust. It was clear that vandals had on numerous occasions entered the building and left their mark. Nothing proved sacred. The lockers that lined the hallways in groups were damaged, dented in and covered with graffiti and splashed paint. That was just the beginning of the damage and decay we would find in the old school building. Due to vandalism or other reasons, the walls were riddled with holes of various shapes and sizes, some large enough to lose a child! The ceiling was missing in numerous spots revealing the internal structure of the building, with wiring and tubing that once supported the day to day activities of this school now tangled and hanging. The floor was in no better shape. Buckled and warped, any wooden floors were destroyed, while tiles throughout the hallway were broken and missing.

We were all filled with a sense of bewilderment, and with a sense of adventure. Continuing down the hall, we quickly turned right again into the gymnasium, now gray and filthy. Here, most of the school’s salvageable contents were assembled. Tables of all shapes, with adjustable legs, were stacked on one side—circles, semi-circles, rectangles, and trapezoids. Chairs of various sizes occupied another section of the gym, and I could already picture classrooms furnished for children of all ages. Many of the padded panels that used to line the walls of the gym were removed and stacked in several piles. There were shelves, cubbies, and storage units of all varieties. Desks, file cabinets, and other random items one would normally find in a school were arranged in long aisles down the length of the room. The entire gymnasium had become a warehouse of items for sale.

Upon entering the gymnasium, we came directly on a large charred depression in the floor. Vandals had set a fire there and it had burned several inches into the wooden gym floor. Although the fire did not penetrate the subfloor, in the dim light the charred black circle appeared to us as a deep hole. My son’s eyes widened as he asked our host if there were any deep pits in this school. Misinterpreting my son’s fear as excitement, the man answered, “Yes! The basement is a giant pit!” I quickly reassured my son that we would not be going there, then I stepped into the charred space on the gym floor as proof that he would not fall through.

It didn’t take our children long to discover the floor scooters, covered in dust and filth, which had once entertained countless children during gym and recess periods. They immediately began racing down the aisles created by the layout of tables, desks, and chairs while Robin and I examined the contents of the gym. The far end of the gym was the dumping ground for everything that was broken or burned. A large 50 gallon plastic garbage can caught my eye, filled with irregular chunks of thick glass. Above it, the shattered remnants of the basketball hoop and backboard hung solemnly.

We were told that pretty much everything we see or find was for sale. Most everything was contained in the gym, but we were verbally given a layout of the school, both downstairs and up, and were instructed to “watch the kids and have a look around.” The light switches in the classroom should work, we were told. And he added, “Be careful of the ice on the floor down the hallway.”

With our sense of adventure far outweighing any fear and reservations we might have had, we began our room to room investigation. Knowing that the school layout was essentially a horseshoe, our plan was to walk the entire downstairs to the end of the horseshoe, inspecting the classrooms one by one. We would then go upstairs and walk the horseshoe back in the opposite direction, where we would return to the first floor right where we started.

We approached the first classroom downstairs across from the gym. Groping the wall just inside of the classroom door, we flicked a switch to reveal the sad remains of a space once occupied by a teacher and many children. The classroom was largely empty of anything useful. It was dirty, with debris everywhere. Boarded-up windows lined the wall opposite the door, and a large empty depression on the floor beneath the windows was filled with rubble. Something used to be there and had been removed. I can only guess that this was where the radiator or some other heat source was installed. Chalkboards from days past still lined the perimeter of two adjacent walls. On top of one chalkboard, a white board had been permanently installed, perhaps a welcome upgrade to the teacher of this classroom. There were numerous desks that still remained and they were pushed together in one end of the room. There was a broken shelf against one wall, and a freestanding presentation board with its felt torn away. Like the main hallway, peeling paint and a buckled floor were the predominating features of this room.

Our survey continued, room by room down the first floor hallway. The rooms were similar in their state of chaos and disrepair, and they were similarly dismal. For the most part they were empty, the remaining contents varying slightly, with sometimes a desk and a shelf, or a table and a chair still present. Our children set to work immediately scavenging their own treasures. Where adults tend to perceive emptiness and lack of value, children often find importance. Small mementos of students past were revealed and gathered. Our kids collected pencils and sheets of stickers, among other things. My son found several hall passes, laminated cards that were attached to a rope that could be worn around the neck of the student going to the library, the bathroom, or the nurse. In one room, he found two photographs of the children who we could only assume were once students of that classroom. Pennies, long-lost handwritten notes, empty file folders, erasers, metal washers and other random hardware were among the collected treasures.

As we passed through the ice-covered section of hallway, I noticed that every fire hose had been removed from their wall boxes where they must have hung neatly coiled and unneeded for many years. Whether these hoses were used to put out the fires of vandals, or whether the vandals themselves pulled them out in sport, we did not know. The ice on the floor of the unheated school could have come from these hoses. It could have come from a burst pipe before the water was turned off, or it could have come from the weather leaching in through holes and broken windows. We passed carefully and turned left on the first corner of the angular horseshoe.

Here, we were obviously in the lower elementary grades. The tables and chairs that still remained were smaller. The cubbies were little and the bits of evidence hanging on the walls told a story of teachers in charge of the school’s youngest learners. Some rooms still had the names of the teacher written in large print tacked to the wall by the door. This is where most of the stickers were discovered. Despite the youthfulness of children who used to occupy these spaces, the story ended the same as in the other classrooms. These spaces too had lost their purpose and were deserted, leaving only trace evidence to the many wonderful encounters between teacher and student to which these classrooms had been privy.

After finishing our survey of every room on the first floor, we were ready to climb the stairs to the second. Fearing the potential of being locked in a stairwell, I went through first to test the door from the inside. It opened, and so we all piled through and walked step by step to the top floor of the school. Much of the glass in the windows of the stairwell doors was shattered. This was to be the case throughout much of the upstairs. There was more light upstairs as the exterior windows were not covered by plywood. Many were broken, and in back corners of classrooms and in holes in the walls, the carcasses of dead pigeons and piles of feathers and excrement were everywhere. Whether the damage was actually worse upstairs or whether we perceived it that way due to the increased visibility provided by the windows, the feeling on the second floor was one of eery desolation. Our children still searched for treasures, but my son became fearful, and his fear soon passed to my daughter who I ended up carrying through much of the upstairs tour.

At this point, my memory becomes blurry. Room after room of broken furnishings, filth, and destruction, had both anesthetized me to the experience and homogenized my response to the individual classrooms. Robin found a few large tack boards in good shape that weren’t permanently screwed to the walls and we took those with us. I found a bifold freestanding easel with a chalkboard on one side and a felt presentation board on the other, so we took that with us as well.

At one point, I remember passing by an elevator on the wall to our left. A large gap was clearly present between the doors that no longer closed completely, and a large hole had been broken through the wall to the right of the elevator doors. We could easily see into the deep shaft and I remember holding my daughter tighter and grabbing my son’s hand. We came to the end of the second floor, and I was relieved to walk back downstairs and find the entrance to the gym right there.

I had one more request however. I wanted to see the art room. I asked our host where it was and if I could go there. He said yes, and explained that it was located on the ground floor, below the first floor. He warned me that we would have to go by flashlight, and that I would find the room in shambles. Apparently vandals had centered one of their parties down there, turning tables and breaking everything in sight. I was looking for a flat file, but it quickly became obvious that there was nothing of value left in that art room. I came across many empty gallons of tempera paint that had been scattered and crushed. Their contents, which were spewed across floors, doors, cabinets, and broken tables, became visible in the ever-shifting beam of the flashlight. The only color I was to see that day in the entire school was in these splashes of paint. A space that used to breathe creativity and exaltation now exuded only malevolence and indignity.

Hearing the panicked voices of my son and daughter, who were in Robin’s care down the hall and who thought I would be lost in the dark forever, I quickly left and together we all returned to the gymnasium to pay for the few items we wanted.

While we were waiting for our host, we spoke with his teenage daughter. She was a confident and articulate young woman. She asked us if we homeschooled our children. When we said yes, she excitedly informed us that she had been homeschooled her entire life, excepting a one year trial of public school. I was blown away at how confidently she was able to converse with us, the way she carried herself, how capable she seemed in helping her father in this old building, and at the level of mutual trust that obviously existed between them. I thought to myself, “These are qualities I want to imbue in my own children. These are things that are just as important as formal academic achievement.” This young woman was fourteen and she explained how much she loved homeschooling. For some reason, I was relieved to hear this from a young woman who was obviously thriving at life on this educational path. I sometimes have moments of doubt about my choice to remove my son from the well-worn path of public school.

We left the old Draper school cold, disappointed, and maybe even a little bit depressed, and needed a hot cup of coffee to warm our bodies and our spirits. While we drove to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, my son bombarded me with many questions about the old school. We talked a little about it in the car and I left knowing that a homeschooling field trip, which at first seemed to me of questionable educational value, ultimately created a multitude of lessons in history and society.

I can’t help but continue to think about the old school, it’s history (which we are currently researching), and its ultimate fate. I replay the images of that Friday in my head and am still confounded by how one of society’s most recognizable structures (everyone know a school when they see one!) can simply be abandoned and left to rot. Is it in the name of progress that small schools are unable to serve a purpose in their communities no longer? Is bigger necessarily better? I’m sure there are correct answer from both sides of this debate.

As for me, I am a product of a small K-12 public school. I graduated with a class of 22. I never felt like we were lacking anything, though perhaps there is some truth to the idea that shared resources and consolidation can provide more opportunities for their students. While touring the old Draper school building, I was reminded of the experiences I had in a small community-based school, which as I mentioned does not exist anymore. I can’t help but wonder if what it has become is indeed an improvement. I sometimes drive by the large oppressive institution that was built to take its place and I shudder. I know that this new district has become one of the poster children of education reform, the Common Core, assembly line learning, teacher oppression, and scripted module curriculum. Although we do not live in this district, for me this is the ultimate horror and what I fear most for my own children’s education. To me, this is the reason I have chosen to homeschool my son and daughter.

The physical description of the Draper school building is difficult to put into words. But the societal implications are even harder. I think my son described it perfectly while we were beginning our tour of the first floor. He asked me a question. And although the exact question he asked escapes my memory, the way that he framed his question remains vivid in my mind. His words were, “…when this school was still alive?”. I can’t describe it better. The Draper school was once alive, vibrant and active, the heart of a community. And now… it’s dead.

A Post about Blood on this Happy Halloween

New York State law requires that all children receive a lead test when they turn one, and again when they turn two. My daughter just turned two and underwent for the second time in her life the simple procedure known as a finger stick. My daughter didn’t seem to mind much, and gladly accepted her Dora stickers when the nurse was done.

There’s just one problem… I hate blood procedures! Actually, there’s a second problem which just exacerbates the first problem:  Finger sticks have NEVER yielded an accurate test result in my children, and they (and I) are forced to endure the more difficult (in children) venipuncture procedure.  

In each and every finger stick on both of my children, the lead levels came back high. With my son’s first test, we were worried. After all, we do live in an old house (pre 1970) and it’s probable that some of the paint was lead paint. So, we were careful. We repaired, replaced, painted over, cleaned appropriately… and after the venipuncture test several months later, his levels were normal. But then it happened again on his second birthday. And then with my daughter, the same thing happened.  With her most recent two-year test, we didn’t even wait the recommended two months before retesting… we knew it was wrong. Her blood was drawn via venipuncture two days later, and as we all expected, the test result came back normal.

This post isn’t about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of obtaining blood by finger stick. It is about why I am so annoyed by the pattern of unreliable results that I’ve seen because of what it puts me through. The finger stick itself isn’t much of a big deal for the kids. But for me to sit there and tightly hold their little arm still while the technician squeezes and presses, and physically coaxes blood drop by drop from the tip of my child’s finger to fill up a tiny vial… well, I’m squeamish just typing this. I can feel the lack of circulation in my hands right now as my they become colder and colder with my fingers moving over the keyboard. I can feel just a hint of nausea coursing through me at this very moment. It’s awful. It’s unexplainable. It’s irrational, I know. But that’s a phobia.

Before I go on describing my annoyance at these mandatory blood tests, I’m going to tell you a story. Before I tell it, I have to preface the story with two details about me that are ironic and contradictory to say the least. 1) As long as I can remember I have hated having my blood drawn. I suffered from chronic tonsillitis when I was young. I remember having my blood drawn often before my tonsils were removed… I’m not sure why. My mom has been an ER nurse her whole life, and so she knew most of the people who worked at the hospital. She and I both remember that “it took everyone in the room to hold you down” while I was having blood drawn. 2) Blood and gore do not bother me. In fact, as long as I can remember, I have loved all kinds of horror movies. My dad brought them all home and we would watch them together. I don’t even want to think about how young I was at the time! Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, all the Friday the 13th films, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We watched them all. To this date, zombie films are my favorite–the gorier the better!

And so I believed that my problem was just my overreaction to having my blood drawn. (Injections were also problematic). Maybe it was needles? But something happened to me that makes my phobia even more irrational and psychologically-seated. I suppose it was about ten years ago that I was sitting in my parents’ living room watching a very interesting documentary on blood types. It was fascinating. The documentary talked about the history of blood transfusions and how doctors were baffled that sometimes it worked while other times the procedure killed their patients. This was before the discovery of blood types. The documentary also talked about old-fashioned beliefs and practices involving blood and blood-letting using leeches and that type of thing. They also discussed contemporary views on blood and that certain blood procedures that aren’t medically necessary, are still being performed today for therapeutic reasons. I didn’t know that contemporary blood-letting is still practiced with the same therapeutic goal as massage or a sauna. Fascinating, no?

The documentary began to show scenes of one of these sessions. A woman was lying on her stomach shirtless. The therapist began tapping on her back with a small mallet to prime the blood under the surface. Then she attached small bell-shaped glass cups fitted with a rubber depressor for suction to various areas of the patient’s back. The skin below each cup became red as the suction drew the blood even more to the surface. Then the therapist removed the cup and with a small surgical looking hatchet, tapped each swollen area to puncture the skin. The blood flowed….. And I felt strange. Slight nausea, loss of feeling in my limbs, light-headedness. Then I felt sick. I made my way to the bathroom, each second my body losing feeling and becoming cold. Starting in my peripheral vision, my sight was becoming shrouded in darkness. No sooner did I reach the door, then my vision became completely dark and I fainted. The last thing I remember was hitting the bathroom floor. I’m sure I came to only seconds later. Then I became violently sick.

My visceral reaction to something so harmless is irrational. I’ve retold that story several times, and each time, including now, I feel a strong reaction surging through me. Typing the previous paragraph required several breaks, and nervous paces around the room to make the feelings subside.

I’ve come a long way. I actually became used to blood draws during my two pregnancies, although I could never watch, and could never keep my lower limbs from fidgeting to make up for the stillness my arm had to endure.

My phobia, my irrational aversion, is the reason I am so annoyed at the finger sticks’ unreliability. Not only did my children, and more selfishly I, have to endure the first procedure which turned out to be fruitless, we all had to return to the scene of the crime for a much more invasive blood procedure. And let me tell you, kids hate the venipuncture. So do the technicians in my opinion… it must be hard to draw blood from a child’s blood vessels. Children are small, they squirm, they scream. Needles are tiny, attempts can be failed. It’s terrible… and I have to sit there and remain calm!?!?… holding my child still and comforting them all the while I feel like passing out and vomiting! Terrible.

I won’t even get into my annoyance on how the bureaucracy of health care turned an already unpleasant experience into mayhem. Well, maybe I will… briefly. When my daughter’s first year finger stick came back with high lead levels, we were told to make an appointment in two months for a venipuncture. We did that and had to talk to three different people to find someone to understand why we were calling. I was disconnected once and had to retell the reasons for wanting the appointment several times. The appointment was finally made with her doctor, which I found strange as I was under the impression she could just go to the lab… but who am I to question? They must know what they’re doing, right?

So we go and we wait and we wait, and nobody seems to know why we’re there. We tell our story to the receptionist, to the nurse, to the doctor…. they are confused and after all the waiting and chaos so far, we are indeed directed to the lab, where we wait and wait again. When we are finally called into the lab, the technician, like those before, has no clue why we were there and I have to explain things all over again. Then I noticed that they are setting up the table for a finger stick. “Excuse me,” I say, “but I believe my daughter needs a venipuncture.” Again, the story.

Ok, now we’re finally ready to perform the correct procedure. I sit, already sweating, holding my daughter furiously, wrought with anticipation. The technician is nervous so she calls someone more experienced. On the way into our curtained space, the new technician bumps another technician through the curtain that separates our spaces. The recipient of this bump yells quite loudly, “Oh my god sir, I am so sorry!” Who knows what is going on over there. Maybe the poor man was jabbed with a knife, but I don’t care because I’m thinking about me and how long this damn procedure is going to take.

Alright, I’m about to lose it. Panic is heavy in the air  Finally, it is done. My daughter cries. I hold it together for a few more minutes as we make our way out of the lab and upstairs to the atrium of the clinic. I have to sit down at this point. We both survive and then I file a vicious letter of complaint. My reward, free lunch in the cafeteria…. Woah now, don’t go overboard with the concessions here!

Why do little boys exist?

True Exaggeration

Sometimes the shortest conversations can leave the greatest impact.

Not five minutes ago, my son started a dinner conversation.  He is just five years old, an age when children start to think more deeply about their world.

“Why do little boys exist,” he asked?

How do you answer that?  We answered with an answer, “Why do you think little boys exist?”

He thought for a few seconds.  “Well… it’s complicated,” he begins.  He continues, “Little boys exist to play.”

There you have it… one small aspect of this interconnected existence explained!

Then we thought we’d try to get some more answers to life’s deep questions.

“Why do I exist,” my husband asked?

“To help me with things.”

“Why do I exist,” I then asked?

“You exist to take care of me.”

Finally, I asked, “Why does your sister exist?”  (She’s 17 months old right now).

“She exists to bop things.”

True Exaggerations

To a majority of my readers who follow this blog to hear my perspectives on education, I apologize.  Education will still be my top priority, but I have to add to this blog in order to satisfy a more multifaceted me!  In order “to preside over the sweet needs and plain satisfactions of life” I must talk about other things.  For my readers devoted solely to education, I will make it easier for you to skip these posts of non-importance by categorizing & labeling them as True Exaggerations.

What are true exaggerations?  For the most part they are stories.  Often times, they will have something to do with children and with parenting.  They might also be related to school.  They might be my stories.  They might be stories I’ve heard.  They might be based in truth, or made up entirely.

But what is truth?  And, how do we determine what is true?  Can truth be defined in the same way, at the same time, and for each person hearing it?  For me, I believe that truth is interpreted and manifests itself to each of us in its own way.  Truth can be a series of events looked at objectively, but we “read” truth based on our own experiences and expectations, our own biases and emotions.  Truth can change over time depending on who we are, where we’ve been in life’s journey, or where we are going.

When we hear a story, or experience an event, we can place varying degrees of emphasis on different elements of the story.  We can choose to ignore parts and exaggerate others.  We can twist the truth as we retell the story in our own minds or relay it to others.  They in turn can do the same thing.  And how do our memories of the truth change as the story is relayed directly or after it seasons for a while in our thoughts?

These stories might be funny.  They might be sad.  They might be serious or sinister.  They might even be downright crude!  I’m sure some with not be politically correct.  And it might not be clear if these stories are my truth, that of another, or even just a quick flash of neurological activity that never actually occurred.  Should you choose to share these stories, please feel free to adjust the level of truth to fit your own needs!

Let me end this particular post with a short story of dialogue between a mother and her son:

Mama, today I opened my penis and I saw that I don’t have any stinging testicles.

Honey, your testicles aren’t inside your penis, they’re below it.

But how come we don’t have any stinging testicles?

Ooooh, you mean stinging tentacles!