A Life of Ordinary Decency

A note of explanation, just because this is a different kind of post for me. I started writing as I normally do, a reaction to something I had just read on Facebook, and then it just seemed like it would be more readable if I didn’t use the standard paragraph format. So, here it is…

A Life of Ordinary Decency

I’m tired of all the wackos.
You know who they are… or perhaps you don’t,
at least the ones I’m talking about.
Many of the wackos are held up as role models for those
Who have fallen for the modernist notion that ordinary isn’t enough—
that it’s important to always be reaching for the newer, bigger, better,
or different.
Who keep us wanting more.
Some preach “hope and change”
while others preach prosperity and power.
Those who make us think we need to be stronger, thinner, younger.
For whom ordinary isn’t quite good enough.

What’s wrong with wanting to live a life of ordinary decency?
To love your wife and like your job and provide for your family?
A good cup of coffee, and a friend or a book to match.
To sit on the porch and play the guitar with Andy, just for yourself,
and maybe go over to Thelma Lou’s and watch a little TV.
There’s no 15 minutes of fame, no one’s really a star;
after all, it’s only howling at the moon.

I like that old-time religion, it really is good enough for me.
Old-time music — the kind you don’t need to plug in — works for me, too.
Not a life of quiet desperation, but one with peaceful contemplation,
interrupted by contagious laughter. Or maybe the other way around.

I’m tired of the wackos who populate the airwaves and cyberspace,
whose primary purpose is to stir up discontent and panic
to feed their own need for validation or perhaps to prove to themselves
that they exist and/or that they matter.
I’d like to tell all of them to just relax, take a deep breath, and
to enjoy the fact that they’re breathing. Because life’s too short
to waste on being something other than what you are.
And yes, I’d tell them to learn to play the banjo, or maybe
the trombone — whatever seems the strangest thing to do
because being ordinary doesn’t mean not being strange.
It just means being yourself.

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2 Responses to A Life of Ordinary Decency

  1. me says:

    I used to play, until I moved to North Dakota. I’ve actually thought of picking it up again (inspired by one of the Salvation Army Santas this Christmas), but it’s not the kind of instrument you just pick up to relax in the evening.

    But if someone wants to put together a Chicago tribute band, let me know.

  2. Fred says:

    —uh, you’re not thinking up taking up the trombone too, are you?

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