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An Expensive Silence

Photo: Alexander

I think that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has been replaced as the American Ideal.  I’m not saying that we don’t value these things anymore, I just think that we’ve superceded those older ideals with a newer one:  “Get it now, spend the rest of your life paying it off.”

In many places in the world you can only get what you want after working in advance; cash or barter can be the only ways to receive goods or services.  In America we have the privilege to borrow against time.  People will give us what we want now if we are just willing to pay a little more for it over the long haul.

While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can become problematic when we decide we want an additional something before we’ve “paid off” the last thing we borrowed to get.  In short, we begin stockpiling unaddressed debt over time.

I’m not speaking in merely financial terms either.

We stay up late,

…”morning” will suffer the consequences.

We agree to partnerships,

…before we know someone’s character.

We get married,

…hoping to fix relationship issues later.

We worry about our kids,

…but keep putting off hard conversations

The snowballing effect of “un-reconciled issues” can build to a fever pitch where we find ourselves paralyzed- unable to make any forward progress because of the weight of our baggage.  It’s the sign of living beyond our means.

While we know what this looks like financially; the past 4 years have demonstrated that borrowing huge sums of money to be paid back over 30 years doesn’t actually put a family ahead but ties it down and strips it of vitality over time,

We are mostly clueless to what living above our means emotionally costs.

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Maybe She’s Old Enough After All

This isn’t a world shaping concern, but Miss Fiji is no longer Miss Fiji.

This isn’t a problem to a lot of folks in Fiji, many of whom didn’t believe that Torika Watters looked “Fiji’an enough” to represent them at the Miss World  Competition.

Watters is of mixed European and Fijian descent.  She looks like an especially bronzed Barbie with Shakira’s hair.  The complaints are reminiscent of the concerns that were voiced in America when African-American, Latina, and Asian women began winning pageants as Americans.

Which is funny because nobody griped that none of the first 62 Miss America winners looked like Pocahontas or Sacagawea.

Despite the complaints, Miss Watters title wasn’t vacated because she was “too white”, it was vacated because she was too young to be competing in the pageant… a fact that was discovered only after she had entered and won.

She didn’t hide the fact that she was only 16 years-old (you need to be 17 to compete) because she had been told by a promoter that she was eligible for this year’s competition.

After being openly criticized for her mixed ancestry and being told that she was ineligible, Watters didn’t protest or fight the decision that caused her to return a title that she believed she had fairly won.

She just walked away.

 “I had no intentions of doing anything sneaky or wrong and like the other contestants entered the competition for what I believed to be the right reasons—to be an Ambassador for Fiji and raise money for charitable causes… I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists.” 

I wonder how many of us would be willing to walk from a dream, and cash/prizes, especially after the poor treatment and confusion?

I know I often “fight for my rights” and “want to get what I deserve”, and I don’t think that I’m alone in this.

I have to admit that I’m pretty humbled to see a teenager approach this situation differently than many grown-ups do.  Torika Watters didn’t choose to wage war to get what she wanted, instead she asked herself “What’s my responsibility here?” 

In choosing to take responsibility for herself she not only demonstrated class, but character.  She protected the organization she was a part of and the people group she loved, but she also rose above the status of victim… rather than exploit it for all that she could get.

Maybe she was old enough after all.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine?


Photo: Bleacherreport

I’m not a Blazer fan. I wasn’t raised in Oregon so while I root for a different team, I still pull for the Trailblazers for all but 10 games per season.

That said, I feel like it’s time for a neutral party to step in with a reality check for ex-Blazer Greg Oden.

Yesterday Oden made headlines by giving a “tell-all” interview about the 5 seasons that he spent in Portland.

While admitting to blowing his free-time on alcohol, drugs, and amateur cell phone photography, Oden also took the time to point out how difficult it was to be underage, rich, and overexposed.

Here are some of the informational gems gleaned from the interview:

“It’s almost like a cloud has been following Greg since high school. He even had bad luck… landing in the same draft class as Kevin Durant.”

“the real reason he injured his wrist… defending himself in a fight with his ‘hotheaded’ younger brother… [their] occasionally ugly sibling rivalry is similar to a lot of brothers’ relationships, but the fact that Greg was the best basketball player in the country only intensified things…

“Portland isn’t a great city to live in if you’re a young, African-American male with a lot of money,” Greg explained with an embarrassed grin… I didn’t have veteran teammates around to help me adapt to the NBA lifestyle.”

“…it wasn’t an NBA veteran who took Greg under his wing… it was his cousin from the Air Force … If you know anything about guys in the Air Force,” Greg explained, “it’s that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time…”

“”I wish it [nude pictures] wouldn’t have happened, “But I’m not going to apologize for it… I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I’m not an a__hole.”

For those paying attention, Greg Oden coming to Portland and spending 5 years “getting his zoot on” is actually:

Kevin Durant’s fault… for being really good,

His brother’s fault… for not being good enough,

The fan’s fault… for expecting too much,

Portland’s fault… for being a racist city,

The Blazer’s fault… for not providing chaperones,

The Air Force’s fault… for being a bunch of drunks,

and Women’s fault… for sending him all those nudie pics.

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