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It’s A Secret Service

Charles McCain
photo: Charles McCain

I’ve been fascinated by the United States’ Secret Service ever since 1981 when I watched television coverage of men in suits emerging from the shadows to throw themselves in front of a wounded President Reagan.

As disturbing as it was for a second grader to watch a deranged man shooting other men on television, it was also incredibly inspiring to see good men run into danger to put an end to it.

What is it that causes a man to unquestioningly step in front of a bullet for another?

While we admire the kind of bravery that gets put on display in situations of duress, most of us don’t ask what comes after these moments of bravery.

Especially if you live through them.

We tend to think that staying alive is it’s own reward, but consider that the victor usually gets to:

Clean up the carnage.

Rebuild what has been destroyed,

Then tend to their own wounds.

There’s a human toll that comes from protecting people. Sentinels and their famlies make sacrifices to operate in a world where long stretches of the mundane are punctuated by moments of tangible horror and violence.

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Posting Our Rules

Unless you’ve been flush with cash your entire life, you’ve probably shopped at a non-union grocery store.

I spent much of my early childhood in rural Californa, bouncing between “The Grocery Outlet” and “The Alpha-Beta.”

For those of you who’ve only shopped national chains like Kroger, Albertsons, or Safeway, non-union grocers are able to sell “quality products for less” because they do not offer certain services to their customers or employees.

You pay for what you get, and you get only what you’re willing to pay for.

Finding a non-union store isn’t hard. Just look for a grocery store that is being picketed by a lone protester who:

1.) Isn’t holding his sign right side up.
B.) Is listening to a bright yellow DiscMan.
3.) Never worked there… because he’s being paid to protest, by a union.

A non-union store doesn’t spend the same amount of money training, insuring, or paying their employees.

You also won’t find a Starbucks or a bank in their store. Often the lighting is spotty, the refrigerators loud, and the background music non-existent.

Non-union grocers provide great product value at the expense of employee and customer service.

This mean’s that you’ll regularly save a gang of money, while finding yourself having some pretty… interesting… experiences.

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Shaken Up, Not Stirred

In my experience, people tend to resist a change to their routine with all of the power at their disposal.

This is because routines mean comfort and predictability, while change puts us in a place of inconvenience and vulnerability. ¬†We innately turn to routine for safety and refuge, and instinctively understand that change is exciting… If not downright dangerous.

This week “the people” voiced their negative opinion about a change to the predictable routine of Her Majesty’s greatest secret agent:

It was revealed that James Bond will drink a Heineken beer during his 23rd mission: “Skyfall”, which will hit theaters this November.

This is a shock to many Bond fans who are used to their hero ordering a Vodka Martini, “Shaken, not stirred.” It’s one of the most predictable moments of a James Bond movie, which is to say that it’s the most predictable moment in a series of events that are as obvious as Lemony Snicket’s are unfortunate.

For the uninitiated, 007 spent nearly 40 years operating out of a routine so predictable that it’s almost “un-credible” that he survived so many outings… especially being so careless about dropping his real name.

The first 20 Bond movies opened with a glimpse at a completed mission, then an excruciating performance of one the year’s most mediocre pop tunes, accompanied by any number of barely clad silhouettes whose lady parts were cleverly obscured by things like gun barrels, or cigars, or bubbles.

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