by Don Fredrick, The Complete Obama Timeline, ©2021
(Dec. 21, 2021) — A profanity-prone leftist, who often annoys me with emails blaming every evil conservative in the history of the nation for all the troubles now befuddling Geriatric Joe Biden and his hapless sidekick, sent me a photograph of his house in the People’s Republic of California, apparently with the intention of impressing me—and everyone else on his inexcusably large cc list. The message seemed to be, “Oh, look! I have a huge swimming pool!” “I know famous people!” and “You are nowhere near as wealthy or as important as I am!” I could not avoid noticing the huge poster of Chairman Mao on one of his walls, which set him off like Kamala Harris being reminded that she is supposed to be resolving the border crisis, or Ilhan Omar being told that marrying her brother to help him get around immigration laws is (if we lived in a sane world) a good way to get deported. “That’s not a poster! It’s worth $125,000!” he angrily responded.
Although I was quite sure what a poster is, I nevertheless checked the dictionary. A poster is “a large, printed picture used for decoration.” I reluctantly stand corrected. The printed picture in question is most certainly used for purposes of worship, rather than mere decoration.
Granted, I understand that my arrogant acquaintance’s wall hanging is a lithograph, in a limited edition signed by the late, drug-addled Andy Warhol, but it would generally be considered a poster by most Americans. I am not sure what makes an autograph on a copy of an original painting worth $125,000, but I also do not know why someone would want the mug of a Marxist mass murderer staring at him every time he enters a room. To each his own. We all have our own priorities.
I suspect many others would join me in noting that it is sad and pathetic when someone wastes time bragging about how much money he has, how many famous people he knows, and how much more important he is than everyone else. One of my favorite quotations is: “The graveyards are full of indispensable people.” That statement, or some variation of it, has been attributed to Charles de Gaulle—and quite a few other famous people. That it is often repeated demonstrates its eternal wisdom. The world would still be rotating on its axis if I had never been born, and business meetings would certainly still be held in Los Angeles even if a self-absorbed baby boomer who likes pop art from the early 1970s could not make it to the office because his Tesla’s batteries were as depleted as Joe Biden’s frontal lobe.
What matters in life is not what you have, but who you are. Your bank balance is not as important as your values, your honesty, your morals, your integrity, and how well you treat others. What difference does it make if a picture on a wall costs a fortune or was bought at a garage sale for $20? A drawing by a loving son or daughter taped to a refrigerator can be of more value to a parent than almost anything else. When a hurricane approaches, many homeowners make sure they take their family photographs with them when they flee, not images of communist killers. One of the items I treasure is a grocery list (now framed) compiled by my daughter many years ago. Seeing “chips any kind” and turkey spelled “terky” bring back memories of sweet, fond moments. I would save that piece of paper long before I would worry about the artwork I have on my walls. My house and my artwork are insured. My memories are not.
After I suggested to the Mao fanboy that items with sentimental meaning are, to many people, far more valuable than celebrity autographs, he responded by ridiculing my “pathetic little Norman Rockwell story” and calling me a “lifelong, small ball loser.” Personally, I prefer the works of John Singer Sargent over both Rockwell and Warhol, but I suspect the average American would rather have a nice Rockwell print on his living room wall than a giant Campbell’s soup can. That no doubt means little, however, to a person who spends more time trying to impress others than appreciate others. The phrase “money can’t buy happiness” was probably first said by a person without much money, but that does not make the saying invalid. There are a lot of miserable old millionaires in the world, just as there are agnostics and atheists on their deathbeds, looking for loopholes in newly purchased Bibles.
“Count your blessings” is another old and valid saying. I consider myself blessed. Partly because I was fortunate enough to have been born in the United States, I likely have more material wealth than perhaps seven billion other people in this world. Another billion might have more than me. But what does that matter? Each of us is one blade of grass among billions. Some are tall, and others are short. Some are thin, and others are thick. Some thrive in sunlight, while others prefer shade. Some are dry and thirsty, while others are moist from dew or swelled from rain. Each is a miracle on its own, but the lush green lawn of humanity consists of all of them together. As one plant withers and dies, another takes its place. None should say, “Look at me! I am the most important blade of grass ever!”
Last week my wife and I attended a Christmas party. With numerous friends the night before, we set up tables and chairs and decorated the facility with Santas, nutcrackers, elves, trees, mangers, lights, and ornaments. (Eleven months out of the year we have a lot of boxes in our garage.) My wife and other volunteers spent two days preparing food. About 80 people were present at the gathering. Children played the piano and guitars and sang carols. One person gave a special presentation about the meaning of the holiday. Others contributed sincere prayers. Food (and some cash) was shared with a homeless woman who happened to walk by the building as guests were leaving. “A good time was had by all,” as is often said.
What was important, of course, was the meaning behind the holiday gathering, the camaraderie, the conversations, the sharing of memories of those who were no longer with us, the thoughts of loved ones far away, the laughs, the ugly sweaters, the smiles, and the hugs. None of the guests spent time bragging about the value of their 401(k), boasting about their latest business deal, or comparing the square footage of their house against others. There were wealthy people and poor people in the group, and no one cared one way or the other.
If only that Californian knew what he was missing…