I Can’t Quit, Lord… This Ain’t Pee Wee Football.

When I was in sixth grade, I decided to go out for football. I was a little kid, but that did not deter me. I was of average coordination, could run, pass, kick, and throw respectfully well, so I joined the Pee Wee football program. I had played Boys Club basketball for a few years, and a little baseball.

At any rate, I talked my best friend into joining with me. How we did practice in our yards leading up to the first official team practice! We talked football talk. We talked of being starters and scoring touchdowns and winning games. We talked of the future glories of being high school football players. We reveled in success before we even started.

First practice. John Wilson Bach met reality. The coach’s son had already locked up starting QB, the bastard. Running back was out as I was not a bruising runner. So, I hoped instead for wide receiver. I dutifully ran every drill and every route assigned to me, and I caught every pass thrown my way. I knew I had the job. I would be a receiver.

At some point that first practice the coach, in his infinite wisdom, called us all together. He gave us a little pep talk and lined us up for some practice plays. Before I could make my way to my wide receiver spot, he grabbed my face mask and placed me on the defensive line. I was one of the smallest kids out there, probably the smallest in fact.

Defensive line.

I crouched. I waited for the snap. I had no idea what to do when the ball was snapped. Figured I’d follow everyone else’s lead. Immediately upon the snap I stood up from my stance. One second after that a thick, quick (for a 6th grader) fullback named Tim Young burst upon me and knocked me over onto my padded little ass. I wasn’t hurt physically, but all the pads and gear in the world couldn’t protect my budding man psyche from what followed that hit. Tim stood there and laughed. The other boys laughed. My best friend laughed. The coach laughed. I quit that day.

I say this for now it is almost 40 years later, and I can’t quit. A man cannot quit. I am a headhunter. A banking headhunter. Those not in the know say, “Oh, you find jobs for people.” It is so much more than that. The closest thing I can compare it to is being a car salesman who cold calls people in their homes and tries to sell them a car, not even knowing whether they are in the market. After zillions of “no’s” -both polite and agonizingly rude – a buyer is found. Possibility erupts. Only, the car can then decide not to be sold.

A headhunter can make upwards of 15 to 20 thousand dollars on one deal, or more or less, depending. People lie. Hiring freezes come out of nowhere. Counter offers are accepted last minute. Stupid Human Resource employees can get into the mix  Everything can go wrong. Headhunters can make nothing. It’s all commission. A headhunter can feast or starve, or sometimes gnaw hungrily on tidbits, wondering what measure of a man he is. Rejection is the water that falls daily like spring rains.

But I cannot quit. This isn’t Peewee football. Life isn’t fair. I am still mad at that coach, and his son. I am still mad about many unfair things in life. But I go on. I pick up the phone. I call folks up and get told, ” No,” or, “Get lost.” Every once in a great while I hear the sweet, “Yes.” The pitch that sticks on the green, bringing me back to play again.

This nation wasn’t built by headhunters, but it was built by men who didn’t quit. What would our forefathers say of today’s social safety nets that all but invite quitting? What would they say of our Dear Leader or his would-be replacement (the punchy, grandmotherly “populist” Senator Elizabeth Warren) who try and diffuse and nit-pick the hard-earned successes of men who don’t quit?

We are better than this. Let’s elect better.

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Darkness

I hardly felt anything. Our guests said, much later, they might have felt a little tingle to the air, but nothing more than that. The kids were too busy laughing over a movie on TV to notice. My wife, deep into a conversation over a medical bill fouled up by the insurance company, didn’t feel anything either.

It went dark.

Completely and utterly dark.

The first joke came from one of our dinner guests, a banker friend, who chided, “Maybe you forgot to pay the light bill.” A few chuckles all around.

I raised my hand, pointing my finger for emphasis, “I know where the candles are. I am prepared.”

By the time I made my way to the kitchen counter, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness a bit. I peeked out through the kitchen window. It seemed eerily dark outside. And still. No house lights. No street lights. A hint of moonlight.

I heard a couple of theories already floating in from the dining room.

“Lightning strike somewhere?”

“I heard of a squirrel one time climbed up on a transformer and got zapped. Made the whole town go dark for hours.”

I heard the kids complaining lightly that their movie had just gotten to the good part.

I found my stash of candles and made my way back out to the dining room.  Five lighted candles gave the room enough light and coziness for the conversation to continue. Discussions over medical bills and kids activities changed to childhood memories of power outages. One of our guests poked her husband in the ribs and said, “Glad we’re here! We wouldn’t know where to find candles in our house.” Another guest chimed in that he wouldn’t care about candles or movies as long as his beer stayed cold. That reminded my wife that the cold items on the table should probably be put back into the refrigerator.

“I’ll help,” one of our friends offered. Turning to her husband, “Can you grab a couple of candles and light our way?”

Sometime right around then the thought entered into my mind for good. It had originally jumped in right off the bat but had been chased away in my efforts at getting the candles set up. Now it was back.

Electromagnetic Pulse.

Politicians had talked of it, conspiracy theorists had pined on and on about getting ready for it, the general public had ignored it. I had made scant provisions.

I thought to myself that if this was the event, we were screwed. Why hadn’t I listened a little more to the “What if?” side of me and made better provisions?

I quietly grabbed my car keys, mumbled that I would be right back, and made my way to the door, which was open.

Sitting on the front stoop was Jack, one of our guests. In all the hubbub and conversation, I hadn’t noticed him leaving the room or going outside.

“Jack?”

He didn’t turn to me or even look up. He just muttered something under his breath. His keys lay at his feet on the sidewalk.

“Jack, you okay?”

He spoke louder this time. “It’s over, John Wilson. She won’t start. None of ‘em will.”

‘What?” I feigned ignorance, as if somehow to quell my own fears beginning to well up.

“Go ahead and try.”

I looked over to my car parked in the driveway. The garage always managed to stay too full of stuff to park both of our cars in. My wife’s car, being the more valuable one, enjoyed the privilege. I walked resolutely, already in defeat, to my car. I reached to the remote door opener on my key chain. I hesitated and then pushed the button, waiting for the customary click of the doors unlocking. Nothing. I held the opener out and pointed it carefully toward the car. I clicked purposefully.

“It won’t start, John Wilson,” I heard Jack say. “None of ‘em will.”

I unlocked the front door with the key and got into my car. The dome light didn’t come on. I found the ignition switch, inserted the key, and turned it. Nothing.

I looked around at all of the neighbors’ houses, looking for a light, somewhere. One electric light still burning to allay my fears. Nothing.

I got out of the car, and looked at Jack. He was nodding at me, his mouth a grim line of resignation on his face. I glanced around again, looking for light. Nothing.

I stood still and bowed my head and closed my eyes. I had just realized how silent it was, and it had just registered with me that of course it would be silent. There would be no cars out on the roads, no motorcycles or trucks rumbling by, no jets flying overhead. Indeed, any jets that had been up in the sky would have already fallen down to the earth. Any crew member on board, every passenger unlucky enough to have been in flight at just that moment, anyone on the ground in the way of the crash sights, thousands of crash sights, all of them would already be dead. How many jets had slammed violently into the oceans? Perhaps some were still floating as debris, the dead within, awaiting the slippery sinking into the cold depths. No one would seek them out to bring them home.

I bowed my head and listened as intently as I could.

I had been through this scenario briefly in my mind before. Anyone in surgery would die on the table. The backup generators wouldn’t kick in. Not with this type of EMP. I reached for my knowledge on the subject. Solar or manmade? I couldn’t remember the various theories about which type would shut everything down. I was glad it was summer so we wouldn’t freeze in our own homes.

I heard some voices down the street. Down the dark street out there. Some folks were wondering aloud about the outage. Someone the other direction somewhere laughed. I wondered what was funny. I heard a door shut. Jack sighed loudly.

“Did you prepare for this?” he asked.

“No, not really,” I answered. “Thought about it… some.”

“Yeah, me too,” he scoffed a little. “Some.”

‘Jack?” His wife came out. “Jack, are you out here?”

“Yeah.’

I waved a little.

“Oh hi, John Wilson. What are you guys doing? Wow! it’s so dark, even out here! Must be some outage.”

“Yeah…” I agreed.

“We’re starting a game of pinochle. Need two more hands for six-handed. You guys want in? We found some more candles.” She held the door open.

“Ummm…”

“Oh yeah, John Wilson, I forgot… the water’s out too! How can that be?”

“Really?” I answered in faux surprise. “Wow, this is some outage. I don’t know.”

I glanced at Jack. He closed his eyes and shook his head gently. “Yeah, honey, we’ll be right in. Just give us a second.”

“Okay, sure,” she hesitated. “You guys okay?”

“Oh yeah,” I lied. “Fine.”

The door closed gently, and I walked over to Jack and offered my hand in a handshake. He looked at me. He looked at my hand and back at me.

“Let’s give them a few more hours, Jack, what do you say?”

He looked down.

“They’ll find out soon enough.”

He looked back up and reached out to my waiting hand and shook it.

“Might as well,” he agreed. “Might as well.”

On the way in I remembered how this would play out. Curiosity would lead to fear and anger and then disgust and then resignation and then desperation and then death. There would be a few, out away from the cities, who would make it. Relative to the masses, a few. Many had written on the progression of what would unfold. No fresh water, no groceries restocked on the quickly emptying shelves. No gasoline. No cars made after sometime in the 1970’s – the debate over exactly what year would now be settled – to run on the gasoline no longer available. No renewed prescriptions. After a few days, no police or fire protection. That’s when the chaos would start full-throttle. When the feral masses in the cities ran out of water and food, and ran out of places to steal it from. When no one around had anything to steal. When the migrations out into the countryside started. The violence.

John Wilson had no place – no relatives, no friends – out in the country to help him. Even if he did, it was too far to walk. His house lay precisely nine miles from the heart of the city. People everywhere. Thirsty, hungry, angry people. Even a martial force would not control a million such people.

He closed the door behind him and headed into the card game. He hesitated. Reaching back, he locked the door. For no reason.

Think of this… since the dawn of human history… Biblically, that’s roughly 6,000 years? – Since that time, electricity has only been harnessed for somewhat over 100 of those years. About 1/60th of human history. Yet cripple it now, take it away, and most of our civilization would crumble within weeks. The civilized, the tame, the finer things, the finer people… all would become feral. The important details of today, appointments, political arguments, what movie to see… no one would care any longer.

Perhaps, worst of all, no computers. No johnwilsonbach.com. Come to think of it, why are you reading this? Is there not something better to do with your time?

Tempus fugit.

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Border Cure

This whole southern border thing is out of control… that’s my expert analysis. Story after story of women and children – some children unaccompanied – pouring over the border by the thousands. There is no place to house them, so they end up getting transported (for free I imagine) to various cities around the U.S. It’s causing quite a stir.

Typical liberal response is that this country has always been the place where the tired and poor, the huddled masses, can aggregate, and in the freedoms we offer find new spark, become citizens, and melt into the big ol’ pot with the rest of us. It’s a wonderful ideal.

Some of our newest would-be citizens aren’t women or children at all, but are hardened thugs, sporting their tattoos freely, immediately getting into criminal mischief. Imagine that… illegals flaunting our laws! Reminds me of mass shooters who are actually willing to break our gun laws!

Now, I am no prognosticator of socio-eco-geopolical-enviro-pseudo-Latino trends, but I imagine that if the flood keeps coming, unabated, we are going to have to raise the minimum wage way higher than it is now so that we can lift these folks out of poverty.

Please understand, I do have compassion for these people – at least the women and children and upstanding men among them. Had I been born into destitute conditions down south, I too would be heading for the border. I wouldn’t send my five year old child unattended, but I imagine I would probably do what I needed to find a better life for my kith and kin.

For these people, I do not have the answer. John Wilson Bach is only so smart. If we let every poor person in, no questions asked, the U.S will just turn into another Third World country. At the same time we do have a moral obligation to help the needy. How do we help them?

As I said. I don’t know. Please email me with your suggestions. What I do know is that current policy isn’t working. What I do know is that this is happening as a direct result of poor policy from Washington.

If a politician says we cannot control our border, I do not believe him. I would instead propose an experiment. An experiment that I believe would be short-lived. Let’s have every illegal – man, woman, and child – board buses and be taken directly to Washington, D.C. Let’s unload said buses at the foot of Capitol Hill. I think before long, maybe in just a few hours, the border would somehow be secured. Almost as if by magic.

It’s kind of like judges who let criminals out on parole because they don’t have to live near them. I think a judge who lets a criminal out early should have to live next door to that criminal. Now, I know that’s not realistic, but you get my point. If thousands upon thousands of destitute women and children, and thugs, crowded the thoroughfares of our government’s home turf, lawmakers could quickly come to consensus to stop the madness.

I bet old Harry Reid – who said, “we are all the better for having hardworking new immigrants as contributing members of our communities… shopping as customers in our stores, paying taxes, and giving to local churches and charities,”   – why, he might even find a spot in his heart to take some of them into his house for a few nights. Even some RINO’s who serve no purpose other than getting reelected could put a few folks up for a night or two.

Were this experiment to take place, I picture a wall, thick and strong and 50 stories tall and tightly wrapped in concertina wire, suddenly arising in the desert from the Pacific Coast of California to the Gulf Coast of Texas. It would be a marvel how quickly that wall would appear. I can picture it. Of course, I can also picture law-abiding citizens living in peace and harmony and a Constitutionally-minded conservative occupying the White House. I can also picture… Alas, one can dream.

Nancy Pelosi, she of impeccable integrity, recently said, ““I wish I could take all those children home with me.”

I think that should be arranged.

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Life As A Progressive

Originally posted on johnwilsonbach:

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Day One: Something terrible happened. I awoke from a long slumber to discover that every conservative and libertarian had left the planet. Somehow I had been overlooked. I had been forgotten. This was a most horrible thing. Progressives were in control; they had gotten their way and transformed the world into what they had been pining for all along.

First thing I noticed was no sweet aroma from fried bacon wafting from the kitchen. It was wrong to have our fellow creatures, the pigs, give up their lives for our selfish appetites. I walked into the kitchen and the only thing available for me to eat was a small earthenware bowl half full of some sort of herbs. There was a label on the bowl that said, “Picked fresh this morning by a white person of European descent, preferably northern European descent. They’re the bad guys.”

I looked closer… “Also…

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Ghost In The Old Schoolhouse

johnwilsonbach:

Hey, read this!!

Originally posted on johnwilsonbach:

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My Dear Grandson,

I hope this letter finds you well. Just for kicks this morning, I tried to call your mother. I had to call collect ‘cause the nurses don’t let me keep none of my own money. Some of the other patients sneak around with change and such. Some even keep some of the soft money stuffed in pockets and other places, but I decided to do what I’m told.

Anyway, I heard your mother’s sweet voice. I listened hard. The operator asked her if she would accept my call, but she said no. Someday you’ll understand. I did listen hard, though, to try and hear you coo or babble or something. But I didn’t hear nothing but your mama’s sweet voice, telling me no.

So, I’ll settle for yet another letter. I got to thinking about you just being a baby, but how, before long, you’ll be going…

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Not The Favorite…

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Looking For Luck

A novel about a young man seeking to make an old man answer.

By John Bach

It was an early fall day, about the middle of the afternoon. The sun was still a ways up in the sky, and there was a lot of daylight left. The sky was a brilliant blue, the likes of which typical fall days produce in the Midwest. The corn, strict rows of golden sentries telling in their browning and dying of the coming harvest, stood tall in the surrounding fields. It was a little town by the name of Loomis, in south central Nebraska.

In the local café, many men sat idly together in small groups, he-gossips, pitching their stories of broken machinery and lazy hired men, and the coming bounty of the crop. Their ball caps, worn and dirty with blackened smudges from being grabbed countless times by grease and work-smudged hands. Strong, weathered hands, some now holding cups of half drained coffee. The men talked freely. By early evening, the café would be empty again, waiting for the same collection of fellows the following morning. If a stray visitor to town happened into the café for a bite in the evening, he might wonder to himself how the place stayed in business. Little would he know of the throngs pulsing through, mornings and evenings, spending the lucre from the land. Corn prices were good. Bean prices too. Money was to be made.

Across the wide and uncluttered road and a couple of blocks down sat the nursing home. It was not loud this time of day, or any time of day, even though the old women and few remaining old men were hungry and unsettled. The remains of Loomis of old, tailings of time. Some of the old women wondered where their old men were, forgetting that their men and their own days of visiting in the café across the road had long expired. The few old men, rare widowers, their strength gone and their hands grown crooked and calluses softened, these men sat silently in stuffed upholstered chairs. This, the last stop on their route across the earth. Indeed, one could be born on the East end of town in the Paul F. Harr Memorial Hospital, spend one’s early years in the Loomis schoolhouse, move on over at maturity to the café, and then finish the course at the Thela Fieldstone Memorial Rest Home, all without leaving town, if one were so inclined.

These remaining elders had been born well before either Paul Harr or Thela Fieldstone worked into their respective bequeathments. Many of them were now alone in mind as well as body, having forgotten their families, as their families had forgotten them. Few disjointed memories of bright afternoons in the café or town shops remained.

 

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Do Stop In Again…

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I have adult ADHD, if there is such a thing. John Wilson Bach is a nom de plume, in case you didn’t know, but it is my nom de plume. I have enjoyed blogging, and I have had more reaction, quicker, than I thought I would. When the comments roll in, the ones that never see the light of day, the kooky ones, it makes me realize just how many freaks there must be out there. The good ship, Humanity, is listing.

At any rate – where was I? – oh yeah… with adult ADHD, it is difficult to finish tasks, and incredibly easy to start them. Within the past ten minutes, I have: looked for a cord for the wi-fi, drank coffee on the deck while inspecting my growing snap peas, rummaged through a desk for a notecard, checked my blog, prayed, talked with my wife, checked my phone for texts, and now I sit here trying to remember why I wanted the notecard. I need medication, increased concentration, or both.

The point? I am going to focus on a novel I started long ago. I have started five of them, and this one is the one I love. So I want to finish it. Hard to do that while trying to blog and drive traffic to the blog. Blogging without driving traffic is akin to writing a speech and then standing in an empty auditorium to present it. Not much fun. Driving traffic takes time, though, and even though it can be rewarding, I think time and effort will be better spent on the novel. We’ll see.

I’ll comment from time to time. Sometimes the urge to respond to the childishness of progressivism is too hard to resist. Please email me at johnwilsonbach@gmail.com. Ciao for now.

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