November 25, 2012 What Happens on facebook, Stays in Public
Some guy—friend of a friend—appears on my facebook page with the statement:
“The words 'listen' and 'silent' are comprised of the same letters. Coincidence?”
Unfortunately, putting such a statement in front of me is like placing a glass unicorn on a tree stump and handing
a 9 year old a slingshot. But, who am I to judge—6 people liked it. Harvey B. responded: “Yes.”
Dave L. said: “Nice one - that is seriously nice!”
I responded: “Also ENLIST...”
Several minutes later, the guy writes: “So is NISLENT, but it kinda throws cold water all over the point I was
attempting to make....oh well....”
I respond: “NISLENT, one--is not a word, and two--does not conform to your parameters. Enlist is a word, and
does. The fact that it throws cold water all over the point is the point. LIFE is messy that way, and you're old
enough to know it.”
The guy--showing what it really means to ‘listen’—responds: “Okay, this is over. Thanks for tossing a turd in the
Then he thinks about it a bit (I guess) and, as if to demonstrate the wisdom which is found in being ‘silent’, adds:
“Ah, well, folks, some people don't get humor. This thread is now closed due to a large turd, floating in the pool.”
On my page, apropos to nothing in particular, I then feel inspired to write this:
“Yeah, I'd rather throw a childish fit than to ever admit that there's more to the world than clever little slogans on
t-shirts or deny that such slogans are profound and full of wisdom.”
That evening, I’m explaining this series of events to my wonderful wife, and she—a person that every catalog
company on earth apparently yearns to sell something to—laughs. She then picks one of the many catalogs we
receive each day out of the stack to be tossed, flips through it, and reads aloud that very same statement. Silent
and Listen… It’s on a t-shirt. She reads me several others of equal depth. “Earth without ART is just Eh,” she
reads. And so I go back on the computer and fire it up, just to send that message to my new-found friend.
So, being much more sensitive than anyone would ever guess, this bothers me most of the night, until I finally
drag myself from bed and fire up the computer and go to FB and go to that guy’s site, and poke around a bit, and
discover Lao Tzu and Schweitzer and others, mixed in photographs of his guns and knives and endless
goddamned political rants aimed entirely at Republicans…as if those other self-serving buffoons wish us all well
with every breath they draw. But, I also discover the guy’s a musician.
He has a discrete little banner (I don’t know what you call such a thing) on his page, and if you press play you
can hear what he does. So, I do that. And I sit back and I close my eyes and I listen. It’s like 4 AM.
Through this process I discover that the guy is an excellent musician. He has a fine voice and he plays a tasty
guitar, with tremendous skill. The song is genuine and awash in heart-felt emotion. And I’m startled. I play it
through a second time, and discover that it’s all there. The man is authentic.
So, I leave a comment: “Such purity is too rare in this world. Thanks.”
Then I think about that for a while. And I go to my home page and I write:
“The diversity that resides within any one of us is remarkable...and somewhat mind-blowing.
(Yeah, I know you each knew that, and accepted it as a given, long before I discovered it.)”
Then I began to gnaw on ideas for a t-shirt.
After rejecting: “The words 'enlist' and 'tinsel' are comprised of the same letters. Coincidence?” as too oblique,
I found myself torn between: “IF it ain’t on a t-shirt, it ain’t wisdom”, and “WOW is MOM spelled upside down.”