Monday, January 16, 2006

Lo! Tolerants.

Tolerance can mean all sorts of things. People develop tolerances to noxious compounds. Exposed to poisons in a diluted form over time, one's body can learn to handle these potentially lethal substances enough so a serious exposure will not result in death or permanent damage. The same goes for diseases, hence vaccinations. Yesterday we conquored polio, today we conquor...erectile dysfunction, and tomorrow, ...err...uh...polio? Of course there are some poisons, heavy metals for examples, that will screw you whether they get into your system all at once or gradually. Is that Flipper's menacing chuckle I hear?

Psychologically, those who dare may learn to withstand the minor irritants facing those living in proximity to other sentiant beings: the smokers who dare foul the air whilst relaxing your sandal-clad tootsies on a park bench; the oncoming ambulance making you pull over to the right even though you're 2 minutes late for bikram yoga; or the guy standing behind you in line with the crusty booger up his nose that makes a high-pitched whistle right in your ear each time he breathes in. With maturity we learn to foster the Zen mind towards these petty annoyances bringing us in harmony with our environment, our neighbors and ourselves. Om that, mother-$#@%&*!

In mechanical systems, high tolerance means that for a given variable, temperature, torque, friction, or other, the system continues to function even when the variable deviates greatly from a given standard. Hence the AK-47s ability to fire as reliably as it did when they first came off the line even after being buried in sand for five years. I guess that would make body armor a pretty sound investment, eh?

So I love it that on a day like today, the day we remember the life and sacrifices of Dr. King, so many folks audaciously proclaim the gospel of racial tolerance. It reminds us that we need not wax nostalgic for the days of bitter acrimony and misunderstanding that was crucible and backdrop for Dr. King's lifelong struggle, nor that we consider such struggle a relic of days gone by. After all, political correctness, our modern day guide to manners and civility, dictates that folks like me are to be tolerated. Poisonous and infectious are we, yet regular incremental exposure to us will bring the sanctity of immunity to John and Jane Q. Public. Deviants (from the standard) that we are, rest assured that our existence warrants little more attention than a petty, fleeting annoyance.

So to all of you tolerants out there who, today parade your true nature for all to see, I thank you for your honesty and courage. May pride and contentment fill your heart, may tuna fill your dinner plate, and may second-hand smoke fill your nose perpetual. From the other end of the park bench, this is TheAphro.

Note: Had you read this before, you may have noticed that I changed the last line. When I originally typed this, I was groping for a third metaphor for the last line (above). Suffice it to say that the metaphor I chose (sand and a certain type of weapon) didn't sit well with me. No one's commented to me or complained about it, so my decision to modify the line was all my own. I was seriously reaching as far as metaphors go, but more importantly I felt it implied a sentiment I simply do not hold, and wouldn't even want suggested. Having considered (and sometimes still considering) serving our nation's military the last thing I'd wish on any of our soldiers (yep, even the dickheads) is for their weapon to jam. The thought makes my heart stop. My views about our leadership and its chosen misadventures overseas are largely shaped by my feelings for our soldiers. The fact that current policies and their execution is at the expense of too many young men and women simply galls me. A friend of mine, my age, joined up recently, and has been training for the past year. Far from being a neo-con or a friend-of-W, his words to me before heading to basic were "folks like us have gotta be represented in the service. And those kids going in are just too young not to have folks our age helping them out." God bless you and all there with you G. Keep your head down, your clip full, and your chamber clean.

So, long story short, that's why I changed the last line. You gotta admit your mistakes to correct them. My apologies to you if you did read it in its original form and thought I might have meant something I didn't. Peace and blessings.

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