Family and Similarities and Tatoos

Saturday…when we made the historic decision to get, for some of us, our first tattoo…I noticed the huge grin on Aaron’s face.  When I asked him if he ever thought that the ‘old man’ would get a tattoo…he said, no.


The discovery of my, long lost siblings, and the relationship that we have developed with, Brock and Marcy and their wonderful children, Jeb and Jaime, has enriched our lives.

I overheard Aaron telling his uncle Brock that he seemed like his brother.  One thing is for certain…when we talk of Uncle Brock and Aunt Marcy or their cousins, Jeb and Jaime, they light up and, immediately are in for whatever adventures are about to ensue.

What is so humorous about Saturday or as we like to refer to it ‘Tattoo Day’ is that Aaron and Jonathon have heard me say, on more than one occasion, that I would never get a tattoo.


Suddenly, when the idea of obtaining an initial B for Brock and I…was proposed… and we were ‘in like Flynn!’

I have heard it said that happiness is a state of mind…but it is much easier to engage in that wonderful state when you are with your loved ones who care about you…just because that ‘you are you.’  When there is nothing to prove and no hidden agenda the reality of who you are can be exhibited without fear.


When you take the political affiliations away and the religion or lack thereof and you remove all pantomime and mimicry of others…and decide to just be yourself and connect with others who are themselves…it is the epitome of love and friendship and family.


So often we have a fear of revealing who we are.  Thus, we craft our thoughts and speech to fit the mold of a church or faith community.  Or, we are afraid to speak up when we see someone being treated unfairly.  We have a desire to be a part of the majority and often fear being the lone voice, even if it is of reason and sanity and social justice, and we do not want to be singled out.

Have you ever tried to please someone and conform to their requirements and later discovered that no matter how hard you worked at the program…you never made the grade?

It is exhausting trying to ‘ape’ or mimic or transform into someone that you are not.


The most interesting people are the genuine articles.  People who are comfortable in their own skin and who trust their judgments of right and wrong and who accept others for ‘the content of their character’ and not for the way that they dress or the education that they possess or the car that they drive or the home that they live in.


I am listening to former FBI Director’ James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, and Leadership, and it has been an eye opener.

The former Director did things that I did not agree with when he was with the FBI.  However, as I listen to the audible account of his book, he was and is a leader who endeavored to make decisions on the facts and to follow the old adage, ‘to thine own-self be true.’

Mr. Comey succeeded in having enemies in both the Republican and Democratic Camps.  Some have said that he went to far in announcing his decision in the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails.

Other’s say that Comey made a terrible mis-judgment, and has lied about, our current President.

I see a leader who wanted to do the right thing without respect to political party.  The President uses him as his own personal piñata now that the former FBI Director is telling the truth of his meetings with him…but he praised him when he re-opened the email investigation just prior to election day.

You can’t have it both ways.

I spoke out in favor of a fired Chancellor of Southern Illinois University, twenty years ago, and had my job threatened and the jobs of my staff, the custodians.


I was afraid for over two years that I was going to loose my job for simply standing by my friend and saying that I thought that it was a mistake to terminate her when she had caused us to dream again about what SIUC could become.

Twenty years later we have lost eight-thousand students and there is now serious consideration being given to dissolving the Southern Illinois University System.

My mantra as a manager/administrator at the University was to treat others the way that I wanted to be treated and to be able to look at myself in the mirror each morning without regret as to the manner in which I managed.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Tattoo Parlor Saturday evening and I met some of the nicest people.  These were people that listened and accepted me, a 60 year old tattoo virgin, as one of their own.


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