I’m Batman

A few weeks ago, a friend brought up a program he had watched which stated you can tell everything you need to know about a person by their favorite super heroes. Yes, middle aged folks still have favorite super heroes. My favorite is Batman. To me, Batman is the epitome of duality. Bruce Wayne by day, Batman by night, both working towards the same goals.

 

Duality is central to my life. Sometimes I display it on purpose, other times it just occurs naturally. I have an androgynous personality, some tests identify me as male, others as female; a recent survey actually determined I was “undifferentiated – androgynous.” I was born and spent formative years in Texas, then moved to California, arriving in the bay area just in time for the Summer of Love. The cultures could not have been more different, I love them both. I was a peaceful little flower child who enlisted in the Air Force because I believed working in the Intelligence community would save lives. I embraced the duality, it works for me, most of my friends thought I had lost myself.

Following the superheroes conversation, along came Armed Forces Day, and in my group of Full Metal Jacket fans came the comments of millennials who failed to grasp the meaning of the film. Being millennials, they felt the need to lash out at other members, even the group itself, for failing to recognize what the film (made more than a decade before they were born about events from two decades prior to that) was about. It was about duality, children forced into the role of warrior. It was not necessarily an anti-war film, it was a war film, accurate in the effects of this duality on a range of personalities. In fact, the film resulted in increased enlistment. Being able to see more than one point of view is an advantage to those of us who embrace duality. Prior to the making of the film, near to the time reflected as I faced the possibility of conscription, I had a poster with a comment repeated in the film; “Join the Army, travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting and unusual people…and kill them.”

A dark sense of humor is essential to dualism. The alternative is insanity. The rise of political correctness signaled the death of humor, dark humor is always the first target. I believe this speaks to almost all of the troubles of society, I had always heard that laughter is the best medicine, but cackling at the perceived weakness of others is not laughter. The dual mind sees absurdity standing hand in hand with necessity, laughter is the only sane response.

 

My bat, man 

 

The following week, I once again faced my inner bat. Clinging to a conduit in the hallway was a small (5 cm) red bat. I considered leaving it there, with the possibility he would never be noticed. Then I realized that when he woke up, he would have no way to escape, so I went back to capture him. Sam came out to watch, thinking I would need help mounting the step ladder to get close. My only caution to her was “I need you to stand here (2 meters away) and if he flies away just don’t freak out.” I have always been startled by people who are afraid of small animals, and if by chance she started screaming it would have drawn attention to the presence of the bat, which no doubt would have led to its demise. Everything went smoothly, the bat objected vocally to being moved but crawled into the coffee can I placed underneath it, I walked out to our balcony and released him. I think Sam was amazed that the little guy had such large wings, easily a 30cm wingspan. He stretched and glided into the woods.

At one time I was “Batman” for a group of communities outside Philadelphia, an Animal Control Officer, part “dog catcher” and part “Doctor Doolittle.” I would speak gently to animals and put them at ease, sometimes to capture them, sometimes to kill them. My acceptance of the duality of the position made it a positive experience. I earned the respect of every other member of the police department, not by being a tough guy, but by fulfilling my lifetime occupation of problem solver. Nothing was impossible, nothing required violence.

Most folks I meet cannot discern who I am, where I am from, what my motivations are. Pity, all they need to do is ask, I am the proverbial open book. Far too many people expect hidden agendas and deception, an honest and forthright person can hide in plain sight. Over the years I have never hidden my religious beliefs, but I have never insulted other religions, so most people think I share their beliefs. The other day Sam and I were on the balcony discussing the events of the year, and she mentioned how incredible it was I had found Dr. Wackym, who performed surgery on my inner ear. It was an indirect path, which allowed him time to arrive at the hospital where my neurosurgeon practices, who I asked for a referral just after he had arrived. Had I asked a month earlier he would not have been there, a month later and the waiting list would have been several months. Events in my life often work out that way, timing and connections. Sam, born Jewish and now a self described Hedge Witch, asked why I am so “lucky.” I told her. “Because my heart belongs to Jesus.” We don’t discuss religion often, she usually treats all religions with some level of disdain, I remain simple, direct, and devout.

As I welcome the return of my personality, clues to who I am come in waves, as these Batman/Duality clues have come. I am of the impression I was a gentle person, and I will be more so in the future. But I am still a warrior.

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
His reserve a quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events

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Petitions

I’ve signed petitions. I used to believe that if a large number of people showed support for an idea, someone would listen.

As I began to understand how meaningless the number of people who sign a petition is in the eyes of who the petition is directed to, I became less interested in signing petitions. Add that to the fact that petitions, even when signed by meaningful numbers of a politicians electors are often ignored, and the lack of actual support by many “internet activists” who think that clicking “LIKE” has some impact, and you can see why I’ve turned to more effective means of protest. Not quite back to blowing up buildings, but my radical days are too far behind me to make that kind of jump. In my heart I hope the spirit of revolution continues in the less than lethal ways it was pursued in my youth.

I still have fun with people who ask me to sign. Walking through Philadelphia I was approached on a near daily basis at first, then the “professional activists” started to recognize me and stay away.

Excuse me sir, would you like to change the world?

Already did, your turn.

Do you really think a petition will feed hungry people? Here, maybe they’ll like this lunch menu.

Oh, GreenPeace. Pretty boat go boom. How does it feel to be the only people to lose to France?

Or in the case of the Lyndon LaRouche people, I would just point at them and laugh out loud as I passed.

Yes, I heckle fanatics. It was my only source of entertainment back then. Today I entertain the incredible, as when I signed the petition asking the government to build a “Death Star“, because if they’re going to laugh about the pointlessness of petitions, I might as well laugh with them.

So imagine my surprise when the White House refused to entertain a petition to have the President of the United States intervene in a Hollywood casting decision. I mean, don’t we all understand the power of the Joker? The majority of Americans have realized that the Clown Prince of Washington is only acting like a president, isn’t it natural that they would appeal to him on an issue so important? For some reason, this petition violated the “Terms of Participation”, but the petition to build a Death Star was worthy of consideration. We are not amused.

Fortunately, the folks at Change.org know what is important, so they have their own petition to remove Ben Affleck as Batman, having been so successful in ending world hunger and stopping war.

I know it was a long time ago, but doesn’t anyone remember how unpopular the decision to cast Michael Keaton as Batman was? Nobody asked Reagan to intervene.

I hear a lot of talk about America being a democracy, but I don’t think many people still know what that word means. if I don’t like a casting decision I’ll ask the president to step in, if McDonalds is out of McNuggets I’ll call 911. We can’t tell the banks how to run their businesses, but we should be able to tell Hollywood? If you don’t like Ben Affleck, don’t spend fifteen dollars on a theatre ticket.

Perhaps this is an act of frustration. The American people, feeling helpless and without control, buy into the idea that if just someone would listen, things would be different. Seeing the success of Change.org and other for profit petition sites, the White House decided to get in the game, creating a false sense of engagement. When that sense of engagement is betrayed online, the next step is “marches”. Oh yeah, we’re already there. There’s at least one march every week in Washington DC, and countless others across the nation. The “Occupy” syndrome has encompassed every issue, with the somewhat troubling mascot of “Anonymous“. Protest were supposed to show unification, but have become attempts to become faceless mobs. Without identity, there is no responsibility, and a lack of responsibility unleashes violence. Here is where I get sad. If you’re going to break the law, expect law enforcement to respond. Don’t whine about getting sprayed with pepper spray, it should be a badge of honor. If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. There was very little whining in Chicago in 1968, and that song by Stephen Stills was about a riot following the closing of the Sunset Strip.

I strongly support freedom of speech. It’s about standing up for what you believe. Standing up and being counted, not being anonymous. Jeffrey Glenn MillerAllison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Lee Scheuer weren’t anonymous, they changed the world. That’s how things get done.

Activism is about acting, not posing. Not “What have you done?” but “Here’s what I did”.

Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after you
Hear the past a callin’, from Ar- -megeddon’s side
When everyone’s talkin’ and noone is listenin’, how can we decide?

(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground

Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground