Twenty years ago this morning, several kooks from Middle Eastern countries flew four commercial passenger jets to their dooms with innocent people aboard, in an attempt to bring the United States of America to its knees.
If Osama bin Laden were still alive today -- as he would be if then-Vice President Joe Biden had had his druthers back in 2011 -- he would be kicking himself for believing the way to do that was with terrorism. Rather, he should simply have funneled money to his would-be protector's political campaigns like so many other corruptocrats and enemies of Western civilization have done over the course of his career.
It would have taken decades, and the results would have been less spectacular than the collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers, but it would have had the advantage of succeeding -- as it appears to have done without Osama's money.
Instead, it appears poor Osama served only as a distraction, a sacrificial target for Western wrath and preparation while civilization's true enemies made good their ambition by other means.
And we fell for it.
Fool me once...
Originally posted Tuesday, August 3; bumped.
What would a rodeo cowboy do?
Trying to live by the rules foisted on us daily by our cultural elites is enough to drive a man crazy. The rules keep changing, so why comply? Compliance is futile.
I was still in school when I noticed this about eating healthy -- whatever the latest study showed, another would appear next week that contradicted it. Why comply? I decided that the most reasonable advice was simply to partake moderately of a wide variety of foods. I haven't been perfect in following that rule, but to the extent that I have, I'm sure I've avoided a lot more trouble than what I've ended up in.
In the wider context, I've concluded the best rule is to live like a rodeo cowboy. What would a rodeo cowboy do?
The most obvious defining rules observed by such men and women are be polite, play fair, and be a good sport. In short, they live by eternal verities passed down for centuries by patriotic, hard-working people who make, build, and grow what every human society needs. They don't listen to ivory-tower pointy-heads who contemplate their own navels and propose new rules we're all supposed to live by, a new set of rules every day that contradicts the day before, none of which make sense to sensible men and women. Why comply?
A rodeo cowboy goes for it; he does his best; he takes his lumps, tips his hat to the crowd, and moves on to the next rodeo. He knows about all the variables facing him in his life, and he accepts them. He takes it on faith that they'll all even out in the long run, and meanwhile he'll trust in God and the luck of the draw.
We could all do worse.
Lord, today marks one month since you called Mrs. McG home.
As You know my heart, You know I'm still not okay with this, and for that I beg forgiveness.
You allowed me to call her mine for a while. For that, even now, I can thank You.
I know that You do not lay on us burdens You know we cannot bear. In faith of this, I will bear this burden, and await such new purpose as You may see fit to guide me to.
Whereas with the Mrs. our default TV background noise -- especially today -- would be The Weather Channel, I've taken to having The Cowboy Channel on, at least during rodeo telecasts.
Every so often a commercial will come on mentioning the Fort Worth Stockyards, which we had the opportunity to visit back in 2002 when I accompanied her to Texas for a meteorology conference there in Cowtown.
More than once today I've heard the mention and thought that "we" ought to take another opportunity to visit there sometime.
I can still go, I suppose, but even if I went with someone else for company, my memories of that previous visit would just be so much excess baggage as far as another companion would be concerned. However understanding the new companion might be, it would get in the way of them creating their own memories.
I mentioned in a previous post that I find myself existing in two worlds. That feeling won't ever go away completely; she was part of my life for half my life.
I still have a lot of tomorrows ahead, but they're not the ones I thought I had a few weeks ago.
Well, not really. I'm wearing Wranglers, and the need to chase my waist size down the scale has forced me to buy belts so hastily I can't put my choice of buckle on them.
Come to think of it, I don't have a lone-star belt buckle anyway. Various critters, or one of those Western-style designs. Maybe I should start shopping for buckles again, when I get around to buying a belt I can put one on.
Probably not a lone star though. Unless I ever actually move to Texas. I don't foresee that. Maybe a buckle with Steamboat, the legendary Wyoming saddle bronc.
Anyway. A downside of this blog format is it doesn't offer much customization, regardless of what theme I use. Some of you might have forgotten what I look like.
I don't look like you'd recognize anymore, anyway. I'm clocking under 200 pounds now for the first time since college. Used to be I'd tell myself I needed to have Mrs. McG take a new picture of me, but that's out now. I'll think of something.
Meanwhile, here's what I looked like almost a year ago. the Mrs. took this snapshot, which I used as my headshot on the old blog, in a turnout along Highway 20/789 in the Wind River Canyon of Wyoming.
I'm toying with growing out the beard again for the winter.
I'm also toying with upgrading the blog platform for 2022.
Some time in the last couple of weeks, my mailbox was damaged to the point that the letter carrier can no longer open the door to deposit mail.
According to FedEx, its replacement arrives today, so I've just been out there trying to remove the damaged box from the post and make room for the new one. And after a good half-hour of working at it, I've extracted precisely one screw of the four.
These things are as long as rebar, seems like, and after being out there for just a few years they are resisting what leverage I can exert with a standard screwdriver. When I return to the job I'll take a pair of Vise-Grips, but the heads of the screws are inside the box, limiting the amount of turn I can get before needing to reset the blade.
I wish I lived closer to a post office; I could just rent a box there and be done with this carp.
Tell me again why a government corporation is needed to deliver advertising circulars I never look at?
I live in two worlds.
Far and away most of the time I'm in this one -- where she's already gone, and I have to reorganize my life to adapt to her absence. In this world I still have a huge list of things I need to do, processes I have to wait out, until I have a life that fits reasonably well within it.
But sometimes I see something, or I have a stray thought, and suddenly -- just for an instant -- I'm in that other world, where it hasn't happened yet, I haven't lost her yet, she's still here.
Being in that other world, the world that ended that day, doesn't hurt -- but the abrupt, inevitable shift back into this world that follows, and I once again have that emptiness where she used to be, it's like losing her all over again.
Today, finally, I can cry. I guess that's progress. It means I've gotten enough done that now I can stop doing and -- alone with my memories -- I can just feel for a few minutes.
And today's her memorial service. I'll never be able to say all of the above in front of that room full of people, so I've written it here.
The process of adapting goes on.
Under pressure, I tend to focus on what I can do something about.
Loss is something that, once it's happened, is a fact of life. Nothing to do about that. Mrs. McG is gone.
Intense feeling is another fact of life, under these circumstances, and all I can do is manage how it affects me in the moment. In fact, focusing on what I can do something about, is one of my strategies for dealing with grief. It lets me keep some emotional distance so I can remain functional until remaining functional is no longer a critical need.
In recent days I've tried to let some of the feeling run its course, but I only get tears for a few seconds. Clearly I'm not ready yet. I'm too busy coping with the thousands of little changes that have happened in my life because of this big one. Right now I still need to breathe more than I need to cry.
She had plenty of opportunities to learn this about me. I'm sure she understands -- especially since she would never have let all this fall on me so suddenly, if she had her druthers.