Hey Rich! Happy Birthday, Oh wise and wonderful Super Moderator! Wanted to send this month's column out to you and the Destee crew, here on the Starship DDP.... ********************************************** AS SIMPLE AS--N. M. D. In light of some of the recent negative items in the news about us, our race, and our male/female relationships, I’ve come to a rather simple conclusion--which I will be more than happy to spell out in a few lines. But first, it’s time for one of my favorite illustrations. About a decade or so ago, there was yet another economic downturn. Panic and worry filled the newspapers, the business publications, and the unemployment lines. One courageous business owner put out the following company-wide memo: “It has been said that there is a recession throughout the land. THIS company has decided NOT to participate in it!” Now brothers--I do realize that hard times happen. Companies go belly up, relationships do end, and folk do some rather stupid things that will spill out into public view. I could go down the list of the negatives I have seen come across my doorstep. Let’s face this fact head on. Life is going to have some twists and turns! One insightful person noted, even the Declaration of Independence does not ‘guarantee’ happiness, merely YOUR right to be involved in the ‘pursuit’ of it! Brothers, we--as men--are going to have to grasp the negatives of life by the throat, throw them down to the ground, stomp on them, and use them to lift us into a more positive realm of thought and action. If a man consistently feeds on, or lets the negatives of life ‘stop’ his forward progress, he might as well become a certified, card-carrying member of the ‘PPPM’ association: ‘Po Po Pitiful Me!’ But I digress. Let me be bolder at this point. A lot of life’s negatives--to be honest--are NONE of my business. I didn’t cause them, I didn’t create them, and I sure can’t undo them. Once one hits the age of maturity, one becomes responsible for their OWN actions. Brothers, there was a great saying from the Old School days: “Play the hand that you have been dealt, and always keep an ace up your sleeve.” N.M.D: Now, someone reading this is scratching their heads and saying to themselves: “Mike, how can YOU be so COLD? Don’t you CARE about people? Why, look at all the suffering going on around the community and the world?” Sure I care about humanity. However, one biblical admonition holds that some circumstances, problems, and happenings I don’t need to ‘draw’ myself into--for the sake of my spiritual, mental, emotional, and financial health. If you are looking for a reference point, check out the Book of Proverbs. It also offers a few other points of wisdom: *Don’t co-sign for nobody. *Don’t give advice to fools. *Don’t become ‘bait’ for mockers and scorners. *Don’t hang out with criminals. *For women--avoid lustful men. *For men--avoid seductive women. The bottom line of the Book of Proverbs is N.M.D. NO MORE DRAMA! DRAMA A-GO-GO: What IS drama? Drama can best be described as a situation, circumstance, happening or event that can be manipulated, shaped, or highlighted by any of a variety of means to force you to divert mental, emotional, or financial resources away from a primary objective into something that really doesn’t have a thing to do with one’s day to day living. The perfect example? Those pesky emails that we ALL seem to get, from this or that person, trying to ‘seek’ our ‘help’ in moving ‘someone else’s money’ out of their country and into ours--for a ‘cut’ of the cash. Now, if someone REALLY had that kind of cash, WHY would they go public with that kind of news? It would make more sense (at least to me) to BUY the country they were living in and turn it around! N.M.D. Remember these letters the next time someone sends you one of those ‘delightful’ electronic communiqués. BUT WAIT--THERE’S MORE: Oh, I’ve still got a few more lines until this column is through. How about all the energy we’ve spent discussing ‘this’ slight, or ‘that’ racial slur? Sure. Waste your energy in getting upset. Write a letter to the editor. Stage a sit in or some other means of protest, if it will make you feel better. However, one of the cardinal rules of life--human beings sometimes put their foot (or feet) into their mouths. N.M.D. I can’t stop another person from acting a fool. And, I sure can’t rescue a person from his or her own ignorance, either intentional--or unintentional. The best way to fight racism--is success--NOT excuses, therapy, focus groups, or seminars. The best way to fight poor service is not with a lawsuit, but an economic blockade. Take your money and your patronage somewhere else, or, start your OWN Company! When you come across a FOOL…saturate him or her with your absence! An old African Proverb comes into play in these cases, provide to yours truly by author and commentator Tony Brown a few years ago. “It’s not what you call me…but what I answer to!” RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN PIT--AND GET YOUR OWN SHOVEL: Brothers, we live in an age where the simple and clear-cut matters of life have been buried beneath a sea of programs, excuses, and social propaganda. Yes, I am going to list a few more examples. No, I am not going into detail--for the sake of space. However, one thing that an economic downturn, recession, or depression does to a nation is forces some people to toss the excuses over the side, and have to deal with the pit in which they find themselves. Please note that I said ‘some’. Other folks LOVE to live--and camp out--in the land of denial, and do their best to massage your sympathy and live out of YOUR wallet (or purse for my female readers). One such pit is labeled “Lack of Education”. IF a child makes the decision to disobey their parents and cut up at the school house--then drops out to run the streets--it may take a few years, but the following WILL take place: Employers are not impressed by dropouts! It is not MY fault that you did not listen to your teachers and professors the first time through. Get your shovel, backfill your OWN pit, and climb out WITH diploma, GED, or degree in hand and get to work like the rest of us! N. M. D. Another pit is labeled “Abdication of Responsibility”. Brother, I didn’t tell you to cheat on your wife. Sister, I didn’t tell you to run the streets and NOT marry “your baby’s Daddy!” NOW you want to put your finger in my face and lament--24/7--about why there are ‘no good women’ or ‘no good men’ on the social landscape and expect those of us who have good marriages, stable homes, and responsible children to subsidize your wrong choices via our tax money. Get your shovel, backfill your OWN pit, and climb on out…because YOU made the choice. N. M. D. Lastly, there is a pit labeled “Unwillingness to Risk”. Oh, I could spend days on this one, but the bottom line is the following: IF one does not like the fact there are no businesses in your section of town to cater to the community, START one of your OWN, and stop bending our ear with the endless complaints. Until the time YOU are willing to roll up your sleeves and become a business OWNER, do your best as an EMPLOYEE wherever you are! Always remember: it is RARE that a lousy employee will be a successful employer! This column may ‘read’ cruel and cold to some. Others, though, might find some major league peace by closing the door on a lot of the drama that has been creeping into our households, our churches, and our places of employment. There has been a severe drought of common sense on the social landscape. All that this columnist is seeking to get across home plate is the fact that God gave us all a brain to use, twenty-four hours in a day, and enough sense to know right from wrong. If some folk want to send drama into your life, use the DELETE key of your mental faculties, and move on. Better yet…mark the package: “Return To Sender”. You’ll be amazed at how much smoother the road of life will become. MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A monthly column, written for men, from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. Emails are always welcome to [email protected]. ©2003 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (3).