Do you know what I’ve discovered recently? I need to practice what I preach. Last week I revealed that I had been diagnosed with a chronic disease, and one of the things needed to manage that disease is to tone down the stress and take a break from all the bad news. I was dragging my feet on taking a little time off (maybe I was exaggerating the news’ crippling effect on me?) when I read that my good friend Sarah Palin (wink, wink) and her entire family had allegedly been involved in a drunken brawl recently. It was right then and there that I knew it was time to exit stage left for a season of news withdrawal. (I mean if Sarah, et al, doesn’t have enough integrity to control her temper as a Christian family-values champion, then surely I must be teetering on the edge as a bloody Christian liberal.)
So I plan to stop reading the news for a season, stop posting on my blog for a couple weeks, and go stretch out on a park bench and watch the leaves change as I listen to the new duets CD (“Partners”) by Babs (Barbra Streisand) coming out on iTunes on Tuesday (how’s that for product placement?). (I think I’ll even start doing this pull-back every eight weeks or so to foster better mental health.) I shall not return to blogging until I’ve memorized every new Streisand duet, written six more chapters for my second book, and brought my blood pressure down to normal. BUT before I go . . .
. . . I thought I’d relate a conversation I overheard between an alien husband and wife (not from south of the border but from outer space) as I took one of the first of my many naps (sans CNN) in my hammock in the garden. I could have sworn it was real—but maybe not. Judge for yourself.
ALIEN WIFE: So where would you like to go on vacation this year, Dear?
ALIEN HUSBAND: Not really sure, Snookums. We’ve been just about everywhere, as it is.
ALIEN WIFE: Yeah, I know. My favorite was the space ship tour of the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy. Wasn’t that awesome?
ALIEN HUSBAND: Oh, I don’t know. The trip was so God-awful long. If I recall correctly, it took us 20,000 light years to complete the tour. The dance band sucked, and I missed playing golf for what seemed like an eternity. I’m never staying away from a golf ball for that long ever again.
ALIEN WIFE: Well, at least (according to Trans-universe Wikipedia) we got to visit it before it gets completely sucked into the Milky Way. Speaking of the Milky Way, how about visiting that pretty blue ball that was formed four and a half billion years ago in that galaxy? You know, the one that has billions of humanoids and so many species that I can’t even begin to keep count of them.
ALIEN HUSBAND: Yeah, you mentioned visiting Earth before. They always seem to be at war, though. How would we know where to land and what people to chat up? If we’re going to travel that far, I want to stay in human homes—no cold, sterile hotels like on that other planet, whose name we dare not mention lest we break out in hives from the horror of it all.
ALIEN WIFE: Ugh, the giant roach motel—never again! Well, since we both enjoy being around creatures with integrity, why don’t we dip down into Earth’s Internet, pull out names of people from their recent news cycle who claim to model integrity, and we’ll give them a call and see if they would be open to hosting a couple of alien travelers for a bit.
ALIEN HUSBAND: Okay, let’s see what we can pull up on the Universal Wide Web. Hold on a second, it’s buffering (damn Galactic Cable). Okay, here we go. It says here that a “Mr. NFL” and a “Commissioner Goodell” are trending this week. When I enter the word “integrity,” Mr. NFL’s mission statement pops up. Look-a-here: Integrity is number one of Mr. NFL’s seven core values, and Commissioner Goodell has signed off on the values as well. Wooooo-hooo!
ALIEN WIFE: Excellent! What does it say about their commitment to integrity? Someone who models integrity should be a marvelous representation of their planet and a good vacation fit for us.
ALIEN HUSBAND: I’ll read it to you verbatim from Mr. NFL’s website:
“We safeguard the integrity of the game.
We are ethical in all of our dealings with fans, clubs, business partners, and each other.
We follow through on our words with action. We are honest and direct.
We create an environment that inspires trust and confidence.”*
Used by Permission Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
ALIEN WIFE: Oh, isn’t that lovely! Sounds like our kind of beings. And their leader is Commissioner Goodell, you say? He must be full of integrity and honesty. Given that mission statement, I bet he is a great leader. What about his family? Anything about them?
ALIEN HUSBAND: Nothing about his immediate family, but he has scores of young men who are part of 32 clubs that he is responsible for, and they play something called “football” for billions of their currency. It is a very lucrative sport that only the country called the United States plays. From first blush, it looks alarmingly brutal. They are trained to slam their bodies into each other, trained to crush their opponents, trained to maim and almost kill each other just to capture a ball that is the shape of a prolate spheroid while millions of fans go insane with apoplectic glee and buckets of something called beer and Buffalo wings.
ALIEN WIFE: Are you serious? Why would I want to visit people like that—people who make wings out of Buffalos and then eat them? Eeeuw! Not to mention that they sound as if all the gentleness and sweetness has been beaten out of them once they learn to play this ball of the foot. What if they can’t turn that violence off, and they beat the ca-ca out of us like they do their opponents?
ALIEN HUSBAND: You have a point. Maybe they have a switch that can turn them from violent to docile. What if they can pulverize their opponents on the field within a game, but become as gentle as doves when they go home? Would that be acceptable?
ALIEN WIFE: I don’t know, Babe . . .
ALIEN HUSBAND: Look, I’ll keep searching for information on that possibility because I really am intrigued by this national pastime called NFL football and drinks with suds, and edible wings of buffalos. Besides, I hear they have great golf courses, and I can’t imagine a golfer not having the utmost integrity.
Used by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune
ALIEN WIFE: Mksrock, that is so disgusting. Sometimes you can lapse into such a Neanderthal. Look on the Mr. NFL website again and see if they address the violence potential off stage, so to speak. Does it say anything about them considering the long-term consequence of such violent behavior just to snatch a ball from one another and run around a piece of ground while other humans cheer their brutality? This is very, very upsetting to me. I don’t want to visit these NFL Earthlings, Mksrock darling, if I will be beaten to a pulp because of their worship of violence in order to win a game. I’m a woman. How will they treat me? They sound absolutely horrid. I won’t go, I tell you! I won’t!
ALIEN HUSBAND: Now Ezricka, dear, please calm down. I won’t make you stay with an NFL player if you don’t want to. But if it helps you get a better picture of these guys, their third core value has a line that shows they do understand and support the consideration of long-term consequences of internalizing violence. Surely, they don’t take this aggression off the field. And it is clear that Commissioner Goodell makes it an important part of their character development that they treat other humans with respect and kindness as they go about their everyday lives. We should be just fine. Here, read this:
TRADITION AND INNOVATION
“We recognize that the NFL’s traditions are an asset, but we also embrace change. . .
. . . We are thoughtful and deliberate in our thinking, and always consider the long-term consequences of our decisions.”*
Used by Permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
ALIEN WIFE: You must think I was born yesterday Mksrock instead of billions of years ago. We come from a very civilized corner of the universe, and I don’t plan to spend my old age being humiliated by this Mr. NFL or his commissioner. Pick someone else (not in the NFL) that claims to have integrity who will treat me with respect as a woman.
ALIEN HUSBAND: As you wish, dear. (I wonder if Earthling wives make it this hard for their husbands to plan a vacation?) Let’s see here: how about a politician—an ex-governor? Bob McDonnell of Virginia. He’s been trending on Twitter. It says here on the Universal Wide Web that he has so much integrity he ran for office as the family values husband, father, and leader, and was on the short list of vice-presidential candidates when a Mr. Romney ran for the Office of President of the United States. Let’s stay with ex-Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen. How lacking in integrity could they be having been a Christian governor and a lovely Christian wife?
Used by permission: Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
I am discovering our country will probably never be destroyed from “without,” but most certainly will collapse from “within” if we don’t change our moral compass. I do not fear an ISIS takeover, a Muslim jihad, or the threat of a dust-up with Russia. I do, however, shake in my boots when I see a preacher (Eddie Long), a politician (Scott DesJarlais), a businessman (Bernie Madoff), a beloved coach (Joe Paterno), a revered assistant coach (Jerry Sandusky), another family values governor (Mark Sanford), a stellar golfer (Tiger Woods)—the list is endless—saluting righteous core values in public, but doing just the opposite behind closed doors. It makes me very afraid for the future of our country—it makes me very afraid for the salvation of our world which is why I need to go and rest now. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks! Be kind to one another, and remember to do the right thing by each other. Who knows—maybe aliens are watching!
For the love of God, show us some integrity!
“Don’t walk through life just playing football. Don’t walk through life just being an athlete. Athletics will fade. Character and integrity and really making an impact on someone’s life, that’s the ultimate vision, that’s the ultimate goal – bottom line.”—Ray Lewis
“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”—Oprah Winfrey
“Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.”—John W. Gardner
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