A Strange Request at a Piano Bar

Short Story

I walked into the piano bar near the carnival where I worked. There had been a lot of controversy about juveniles being allowed in but when I entered still wearing my mask from my show, no one really cared about checking my age.

I had traveled with the carnival since I ran away from home and an abusive father two years ago. I may have been considered a juvenile in age but no in life experiences. I still felt a bit awkward when I approached the bartender. He looked at me with a gruff and asked: “Whadda ya have?”

I told him I wanted a sassafras spritz with a twirl of apple. He looked at me side-eyed and let out a deep sigh. He returned with my drink and one sip sent me straight up in my seat.

The bartender laughed.

“That’s the best version of this drink I have ever had. What did you do different?” I asked.

He leaned toward me and said: “It’s all in the oxidation of the apple son.”

I drank more and more.

The next morning I was face down in my trailer behind the carnival. I tried to get up but discovered I had sprained my ankle.

“What happened?” I asked my roommate.

“Too much of that apple twirl dude. You ended up singing on top of the piano. We had to come get you when you fell off the piano and sprained your ankle.”

I shook my head and said to myself: “Well, how do you like them apples?”

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New Football League Has Successful Kickoff (without a kickoff)

The new Alliance of American Football (AAF) made its debut over the weekend and was surprisingly successful. The league, which features a few different rule changes including no kickoffs, had higher television ratings than other sports they were competing with. Early reviews have been favorable as they drew 2.9 million fans for the Saturday televised game for CBS. It’s still early to decide what that means but it is always good to get off to a good start.

Here are the results of the games that were played:

Orlando Apollos 40, Atlanta Legends 6

The Apollos were led by their coach Steve Spurrier and a defense that stifled the Legends. They held Atlanta to just 162 yards after the opening drive of the game, forced four turnovers and never let Legends’ quarterback Matt Simms to get in sync.

San Antonio Commanders 15, San Diego Fleet 6

The Commanders opened their season in front of 27,857 fans at the Alamodome as quarterback Logan Woodside completed 18 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two interceptions. The Commanders’ defense had six sacks and snagged three inceptions while limiting the Fleet to 295 yards of total offense.

Birmingham Iron 26, Memphis Express 0

The Iron and Express started out as a defensive struggle for about three quarters before they took control with the running of former NFL running back Trent Richardson scoring twice and the Iron defense shutting down Express quarterback Christian Hackenberg. It was announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers have become an affiliate of the Iron. This means that former NFL players who most recently played for the Steelers will be allocated to the Iron.

Arizona Hotshots 38, Salt Lake Stallions 22

With most of the other AAF games being defensive games, the Hotshots and Stallions put up the points. The Hotshots pulled away in the third quarter to take a 35-16 lead. Hotshots quarterback John Wolford and receiver Rashad Ross connected for 103 yards along with two touchdowns in the games. Wolford’s touchdown pass to Jhurell Presley made it a 19-point game as the Hotshots pulled away.

Week 1 Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Orlando (1-0)
    • Birmingham (1-0)
    • Atlanta (0-1)
    • Memphis (0-1)
  • Western Division

    • Arizona (1-0)
    • San Antonio (1-0)
    • Salt Lake (0-1)
    • San Diego (0-1)

Week 2 Schedule:

  • Salt Lake at Birmingham
  • Arizona at Memphis
  • Orlando at San Antonio
  • Atlanta at San Diego

Will The AAF Succeed?

aaf_leagueThis weekend a new professional football league will kick off their inaugural season.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) opens business with teams in Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Phoenix.  The AAF is hoping to fill the football void now that the National Football League (NFL) season is over.  This new league isn’t the first to try playing during the NFL’s offseason.  Several other leagues have tried and failed.

The United States Football League (USFL) was probably the most successful spring football league which was not associated with the NFL.  The played three seasons from 1983-1985.  The league made an immediate impact as they signed some of the top college talent when they signed three consecutive Heisman Trophy winners Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier. Other notable players/coaches included:   George Allen, Jim Kelly, Marv Levey, Steve Young and Reggie White.  The only radical rule difference was that the USFL adopted the two-point conversion.  The NFL did not start the two-point conversion until 1994.

Most people say that the reason that the league failed was when Donald Trump became owner of the New Jersey Generals and pushed for the league to move to a fall schedule to compete with the NFL.  The USFL also filed antitrust lawsuit against the NFL and won the suit but was only awarded $3.76 in damages.  The league was not able to recover and folded before it could move to the fall in 1986.  Many football experts feel that if the USFL had not deviated from their spring schedule that they would have lasted longer.

Perhaps the most successful off-season league was when the NFL backed the World League of American Football/NFL-Europe.  The league kicked off as the World League of American Football (WLAF) in 1991 with ten (10) teams in North America, Canada and Europe.  This league served mostly as a developmental league for the NFL.  After the 1992 season, the league suspended play for two seasons.  The league had better success with their Europe franchises than those in North America so when the league returned for the 1995 season, the league focused more on the European teams.  In 1998 they changed the league name to NFL-Europe.  Unfortunately, the league was terminated after the 2007 season at the league was losing about $30 million a season.

The first edition of the XFL played in the spring/summer of 2001.  The league was the idea of WWE guru Vince McMahon.  The league only lasted one season.  The league was known more about entertainment rather than the quality of play on the field.   The XFL secured a television contract with NBC after that network lost their NFL games.  The XFL had some interesting rules such as the opening scramble instead of a coin toss to determine possession.  Players lined up at their 30-yard line and raced to recover the ball at midfield.  The XFL also eliminated the kick for point after touchdowns with the option of a one, two or three-point conversions depending on distance from the goal line.  If a punt travel at least 25 yards, the kicking team could recover to gain possession.  There was also no fair catches allowed.    After losing $35 million dollars, the league folded after one season.  The new XFL is scheduled to come back in 2020.

A couple of other leagues failed to kickoff.  One was called the Professional Spring Football League (PSFL).   The league was scheduled to begin in 1992 with ten teams.  Each team had already been in training camp and trimming down their rosters in preparation for the season.  The league folded just 10 days before the season opener.  The league’s championship game was to be called the “Red, White and Blue Bowl” and was scheduled to be played at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC on July 5, 1992.

Another rather interesting attempt was called the All American Football League (AAFL) which was scheduled to start in the spring of 2007.  The league was hoping to appeal to college football fans with teams located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.  The teams would play in college football stadiums during the spring and players had to have a four-year university degree to be eligible to play.  Teams also did not have nicknames but instead adopted their home state logo for their helmets.  On March 13, 2008 the league announced that the 2008 season would not take place and hoped to begin in 2009; however, they never got off the ground.  It was reported that the league lost some of their major investors which led to the demise of the proposed league.

It is hard to say whether or not the AFF will succeed where these other leagues failed.  Many of the cities have been burned repeatedly by failed teams and leagues of the past.  It will be a difficult sell.  It is very difficult for leagues to survive the finances needed to sustain them.  With the AAF working with the NFL, this could be a significant advantage.  Places franchises in cities without an NFL franchise is also a good idea.  Only two of the AAF’s eight teams (Atlanta and Arizona) play in current NFL markets.

Personally, I don’t feel like this league will fare differently than any of the other leagues before them.  Although football is a popular sport here in America, I think most fans need a break from their sport to recover and get ready for the next season.  Mentally most fans need a break from it.  If the NFL truly wants a developmental league, they need to partner with a league which plays during the same time like minor leagues operate in the baseball.  I have always felt that an “NFL2” league could operate in non-NFL cities as a developmental league for the NFL.  The championship game could be called the “SuperCup” and played the week before the Super Bowl and eliminate the Pro Bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is Serious

Understanding-DepressionSuicide is a serious issue.

When my wife and I lived in Tampa we would occasionally drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to St. Petersburg.  It was a beautiful but scary drive.  Unfortunately it was (and is) a popular location for people to jump in an attempt to end their lives.  Just recently I have read where there is also a bridge near Nashville in the Natchez Trace which has become the same thing for people looking to jump.

A person really has to be in a dark place to resort to this measure.

Too many times people who are depressed or hurting are blown off or the situation is taken lightly.  Sometimes it takes just a wrong word or critical comment to push someone over the edge mentally.  We live in a world that is so quick to hate and be divisive but slow to encourage.

I have been extremely depressed before.  I know what it feels like to be in a seemingly hopeless situation.  First, you are frustrated with the situation and you think there is no way out.  You find yourself stuck in the same routine of hurt.  Second, you are too embarrassed to tell anyone or if you do you don’t feel like they are taking it seriously.  Honestly some people are uncomfortable with this confession or they simply don’t know how to help.

I know I was there.  Probably not to the point of ending things but I think we’ve all been at a low point at some time in our lives where just one more nudge or push would send us over.  For me, I was involved in the church.  That didn’t help.  In fact, when someone knew I was depressed they would say “Keep looking up brother” or “Trust in the Lord” or some other worn-out religious cliché.   Thanks, that does NOT help me.  I have to tell you honestly that sometimes church is the worst place to be for someone who is extremely depressed.  I mean, you’re at the point you need some REAL help and you can’t find it in the church routine.  It’s a bad place to feel worse when you leave church than when you arrived.  I’m not dogging church but I know that sometimes what we think is the cure can sometimes be part of the problem.  I stood in the parking lot after a men’s breakfast one Saturday morning wanting to talk to my pastor about what was going on but he kept looking at his watch because he had someone else to go.  I retreated from my desire to tell him and never tried that again.

Telling someone to “smile” isn’t the best response either.  A depressed person can give you a smile on their face but it does nothing to heal what’s going on inside.  Pat answers and religious clichés are not what a person needs.

If you are depressed and even remotely considering ending it all let me ask you to stop for a moment and don’t allow the darkness inside cloud your thinking.  Consider these things:

  • Start making changes in your life.  Sometimes even the slightest change can lead to a change in your thinking.  Depression can make you think that there is no way out or that things are hopeless.  That is a lie.  Yes, there can be some serious problems that can’t be solved overnight but taking just one step to change it will lead to more steps.
  • Talk to someone you can trust.  It’s embarrassing and difficult to swallow your pride and admit this to someone but this is so crucial in getting out of the dark place inside of you.  Don’t talk to just anyone.  Talk to someone you trust or see a professional.  You will be totally amazed what a relief it is to talk to someone.
  • Delay the jump.  If you get to the place of taking the drastic measure to jump or something else, delay it.  Step back.  Allow your thinking to reset.  Sometimes you will talk yourself out of it or shake out of that state of mind.
  • Think of people in your life if you go through with it.  The people you leave behind will be racked with guilt and mostly asking that “what if” question.  They will wonder why you didn’t ask for help or say something to them.  This act you are considering will cause incredible pain to people who really love you.  Sometimes, unfortunately, someone will do the same thing because you did it.  Think about it.

The important thing to remember is not to make a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  The darkness will make you think that the problem is forever but it isn’t.  Stick around and see what happens next.

The darkness is serious.  The rest of us need to be aware and do what we can to pull people out of it if we can.  If someone confides in us, we need to take it seriously.  Don’t blow people off or make light of it.  Don’t check your watch or joke about it.  If someone thinks enough of you to confess then it’s worth your time to listen.

Although I never got to the point of jumping or anything drastic, I have dealt with the darkness and the wound in my soul.   There were several things to push me to do something about it.  One was the pastor who blew me off when I was set to confide in him but he had more important things to do.  Another was a cutting criticism of something good I was trying to do but a hurtful comment cut me to the heart.  If I could get religious with you for a moment, I will tell you that the Bible verse in 1 Samuel 30:6 when everything was going against David and he had no one. The verse tells us:  “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

At this point in my own life, I determined that I was going to take matters into my own hands and encourage myself.  I was responsible for my happiness and getting out of the dark place in my soul.  I made some drastic changes in my life.   There was a quote in a movie where Robin Hood’s father told his son, “It’s time for you to be who you are.”   It was time for me to be me.  One was leaving the church I had been a part of all of my life to that point.  I am sorry if this doesn’t set well with people I know who are still in the church and I know it is difficult for people to understand but this was huge in making the right change in my life.  Now I can see how much of a burden that life had been and the expectations I had to meet for everyone while I was failing miserably.  Since then, other things changed as well as other people have changed my life.  Just making that first change led me out of that state of mind.  Like I said, sometimes just making that first change can lead you out.  It worked for me.

Life is worth making the effort.

You are NOT alone.  Confidential help is available for free.   Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

 

The Bible Says [insert your interpretation here]

bibleI cringe when I hear someone say “the Bible says….”. It’s not that I don’t believe in the Bible or that the Bible doesn’t have truths about God but I have seen how people will use the Bible to support their arguments.

Since my father passed away in November I have been studying various beliefs about what happens after we die. I’m not obsessed with this study nor do I think I’m going to find the absolute answer but it has been interesting to learn the various interpretations of what the Bible says.  If you’ve never done this before let me tell you that there are a lot of beliefs out there.

I typed “what happens when Christians die” in the search of YouTube and the first one was a guy who was absolutely certain that when we die that we stay in the grave until the Second Coming of Christ. This is what some folks commonly refer to as “soul sleep”. I had a few Bible passages that I was curious how he would explain. One passage was when Christ was on the cross and told the thief that “today you will be with me in paradise”. That seemed to be pretty clear to me and totally disproved the theology of soul sleep. This guy explained this verse that the comma was in the wrong place with the word “today”. He never really explained his proof about the incorrect punctuation.  Then there are those who are militant in their beliefs against the soul sleep theory and even call it heresy.  I wouldn’t exactly call it that and besides, we have no control of what happens to us when we die.

Therein lies the problem with people using the Bible to win an argument. I don’t think you can ever use the Bible in an argument.  I have seen this happen so many times that anyone can slant the Bible in the direction to support their position. I have known people who were strictly opposed to certain things and used their Bible to back them up until they were personally affected by that situation then they suddenly saw the Bible in a different view about the issue.  Just last week I heard about someone who said the Bible prohibited wearing different materials of clothing.  Seriously?  Now, let me tell you that I came from an extreme Pentecostal upbringing and I never heard of that.  I am sure if it were in there that we would have followed it along with the other “advice to members”.

All of my life the church would talk about “rightly dividing the Word” but I always saw how people would divide it in support of their view – or what they would call – their conviction.  I have always been suspicious of people who propose that they have the truth about what the Bible says.

Once upon a time I went to church with a couple who strongly opposed divorce and remarriage yet they changed their judgment on this when their precious son divorced and remarried. They explained it that the first marriage was a “mistake” since they were young and got divorced so quickly. Yes, it was okay then. Funny how our judgments can change when the issue lands on us.

I’ve never been one to debate anyone about the Bible because it is never a winnable situation. I have never seen someone back down and defer to what the Bible says. Instead people are more likely to use the Bible back against you with their handpicked verses.

When I grew up in the church, we were taught that the King James Version of the Bible was the truth Word of God.  A  lot of people still believe this today.  Some are adamant that the King James Version of the Bible is the only true version of the Bible.  What’s funny is that people think that this is how Jesus talked.  Jesus did not speak in the King James English.  He spoke most in Aramaic.  When I used to watch people speak in tongues and when they would give the interpretation if it wasn’t in the King James language then it wasn’t viewed as being from God.  This is ridiculous.  I’m sorry but we get hung up on the silliest things.  It is no wonder that people have a poor view of Christians.  We have embarrassed God and made Him out to be something that He is not.

This is part of the problem with quoting the Bible to support your position.  You can’t always simply pick a single verse or passage.  There are several things you need to consider:

  1. Context – You can’t always just take one verse.  You have to read verses before and after the verse and even other passages to get the context of what was being said.
  2. Culture – You need to consider how people lived during that time period and what their manners and customs were in order to fully understand some passages.
  3. Language – The Bible was translated from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and some passages need a word study since things aren’t always translated word-for-word.
  4. History – The Bible must also line up with historical records.  The Books of the Bible aren’t arranged chronologically so it can be a little confusing to establish the correct timetables.

The King James Version was originally translated by 47 scholars from the Church of England.  The New Testament was translated from Greek and the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic.  This is no easy task since you can’t always translate every word from one language to another and many times it comes down to man’s interpretation of it.  So there’s a big issue right there.

I had a preacher one time tell me that I was sinning because I wasn’t obeying the verse in Genesis 1:28 that said to be “fruitful and multiply” because I hadn’t had children yet.  I quickly pointed out that this was IN THE BEGINNING and it was for Adam and Eve to populate the Earth.  Good grief.  This man had lots of children of his own and wasn’t doing a good job taking care of the kids he had.

Do I believe the Bible?  Yes.  I do think there are some truths in it but I am careful in searching it for myself.  I also try not to force feed it to someone else.   When you go to the Bible, it involves in digging it out in order to understand it.  That’s what preachers are supposed to do.  I am sure there are some out there who are doing their best with this.  I am not going to be critical of them but I always caution people to never, ever simply just rely upon the preacher to interpret scripture for you.  Some are sincere in their translation to you but be very careful not to follow people.  Also, don’t just type an issue in the search box and believe everything someone says.  Remember:  Just because someone can post a video on YouTube doesn’t mean it is true.

Back in the early 1990s, the church denomination I was a member of had a great debate about the wearing of wedding rings.  For years it was prohibited by the church to wear any jewelry.  This great wedding ring debate caused enormous divisions within the church, in fact, several groups left to create their own organizations because of it.  When I approached my pastor that I was going to wear my wedding ring, he denied that the church had even passed that members could wear wedding rings.  He went on to lecture me about this and that he was disappointed in me with the background I had in the church.  Yes, you are reading this right.  Just simply the issue of wearing a wedding ring.  For years the church used the scripture in 1 Peter 3:3 that says “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry….”  Funny but I never saw a rule against braiding hair but they certainly made a rule against wearing jewelry.  The church did actually change to allow wedding rings much to the dismay of that pastor and many of the strict thinkers.

So what changed?  Did God change?  Nope, it was man’s interpretation of what God had said.

So how can you study the Bible for yourself?  Here are some things I would suggest:

  1. Choose a topic or passage.   I would NOT recommend to start reading the Bible like a book from page 1. You will lose interest when you get to Leviticus.  Trust me.
  2. Find relevant verses on the topic or passage to get the context.  Use a good concordance.
  3. Get the background.  Who is writing this passage? Who are they writing to? Why are they writing it?
  4. Read multiple translations.  Don’t just use the King James Version.  The Amplified Bible is a good one as well as the New International Version.
  5. Read Bible commentaries. 
  6. Pray about what you are reading.  It only makes sense to get help from the book’s author.

If you are a believer, stop hitting people over the head with your King James Bible (or any Bible) and stop arguing with Bible verses. It’s not going to work and you aren’t going to convert anyone that way.

 

 

 

 

 

Could Nashville Host The Super Bowl?

nashville_sbIn April, Nashville will host the National Football League (NFL) draft where all 32 teams will pick players from college. The talk this week has been about whether or not Nashville could host the Super Bowl.

My answer is:  maybe.

Nashville could host the Super Bowl if:

They build a new stadium. Yes, Nashville is in the South but it isn’t far enough South where you would want to play the Super Bowl outside in Nissan Stadium. It is bitterly cold here this week and not exactly the ideal place to play the game. Nashville would need to build a dome or retractable roof stadium. I think that would benefit the city in many ways since it would also give Nashville a larger concert venue. The only hitch is how to pay for it. The city is already grappling with building a stadium for the Major League Soccer team set to begin in 2020. Building a stadium is a huge deal if Nashville hopes to host a Super Bowl.

Have a better transit system. Nashville is a mess when you need to attend events downtown and when you venture out to do so, you’d better pack some patience and some money because it’s not going to be easy or cheap.  The city does not have any form of easy transit system.  The downtown area is very compact and not as spread out as it is in other host cities.  To add to the traffic headache, the streets are cluttered with other vehicular irritants such as pedal taverns, electric scooters, party wagons and ignorant pedestrians.  Without a serious transit system in and out of downtown, there is no easy way to manage the crowds for a Super Bowl game in the Music City.

Remember that I mentioned it wouldn’t be cheap?  Let me just say that the hotels and parking vendors can jack up the prices to the ridiculous level.  They are good at price gouging for special events.

If there is one thing that is in Nashville’s favor, it is that the city knows how to entertain and throw a party.   The NFL would definitely give the Country Music Capital of the world another reason to party. There is never a lack of entertainment here and the Super Bowl would another chance for the city to be in the world’s spotlight.

There are also some other rather interesting things that the NFL requires from cities who desire to host the Super Bowl.  For Minneapolis to host last year’s Super Bowl, here are some of the requirements they had to meet:

  • Stadium must have a minimum of 70,000 fixed seats, luxury boxes and enough hotel rooms throughout the city.
  • Two top quality bowling lanes
  • Two top quality 18-hole golf courses in near proximity to the host venue
  • Team hotels must subscribe to the NFL Network for at least one year leading up to the Super Bowl
  • League is given priority over all other ice and snow project removal.
  • Removal of field after Super Bowl be at no cost to the NFL.
  • Full tax exemption from city, state and local taxes on tickets sold to the game and events leading up to it.
  • If cellphone strength at the team hotels isn’t strong enough, the host committee “will be responsible [for erecting] a sufficient number of portable cellular towers.”
  • The league has the option to install ATMs at the stadium that accept NFL preferred credit and debit cards, and the option to cover up ATMs that don’t accept those preferred cards.
  • The host city will pay all travel and expenses for a “familiarization trip” for the league  to inspect the region ahead of the Super Bowl.
  • Local media is also asked to provide “significant advertising and promotional time” — for free, of course — in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

If Nashville truly wants a legitimate shot at hosting a Super Bowl, they have a long time to do as the next Super Bowl game would be available in 2025.  The future hosts will be:  Miami, Florida (2020), Tampa, Florida (2021), Los Angeles, California (2022), Glendale, Arizona (2023) and New Orleans, Louisiana (2024).

I would not count on Nashville being considered as a host for the Super Bowl until they build a new stadium and improve transit downtown.  There are too many other cities that are better equipped to handle the big game and everything that goes with it.

 

The Government Shutdown Is Over But…

government-reopens-generic-mgnThe longest Government shutdown in American history ended on Friday and my office welcomed me back to work.  It’s back to normal….well almost.  I still have not been paid back and the next payday is still 10 days away so, yes, I’m still needing to pay my bills.

Even with being back to work, the dark cloud of another shutdown looms in three weeks as this temporary reprieve is almost certain to result in yet another government shutdown.

I was encouraged that more and more companies were starting to help out furloughed government workers with food and assistance with our bills.  It really got off to a slow start.  It was really nice that the Nashville Zoo offered free admission to us in spite of the haters.

I was disappointed in the Robins Financial Credit Union for not providing better assistance to me after 35 years of being a member.  Since Robins Air Force Base wasn’t affected by the shutdown, I was one of the few customers who were affected by it.  They did approve a loan but nothing to fit the situation and not as understanding as they would have been had the base been impacted by the shutdown.

It was encouraging that one of my past co-workers, mentor and friend offered me a loan to hold me over.  That meant a lot to me that he offered.

Some financial institutions finally started offering some assistance such as PayPal which offered a one-time 0% APR cash advance up to a maximum of $500.  Our local electric and gas companies also offered assistance thanks to our mayor.  These were all nice gestures to help us in this very unique situation.

We are told to call our elected representatives which I did and I got their interns.  How do you actually get to talk to your elected representative?  How are you certain that your voice is being heard?

Then there were the haters who failed to see the difference between a government furlough and layoff.  Until you’ve been through it, you truly can’t understand it and I have grown tired of explaining it.  In this situation, you are left in limbo where you can’t really go out and get another job or function very well while politicians are withholding your paycheck.   Contrary to what some of the millionaires suggested, I was not able to barter with my landlord for the rent, I couldn’t put my groceries on a tab and taking out a “small” loan still means interest that I will have to pay back which will cost more than my back pay.  No, this certainly was no vacation.

I also didn’t like being called into work when I was originally deemed non-essential.  I think they should do something where people who have to work during these shutdowns are paid extra.  It doesn’t seem right that we all get paid back the same but I’m still glad we’re getting paid back.  There is never any guarantee that will happen.

Three weeks and all this could happen again.  There is clearly not enough time to save up enough money to survive another 30+ day shutdown.  It isn’t fair that political debates can cause our paychecks to be withheld.  Something should be done to keep any politician from using this hostage tactic in order to get a project passed.  This isn’t the way we should function. It is really a helpless situation where you have to watch CNN or some other news source to find out when you are going back to work.

So you get paid for staying home?  It’s not what you think.  I spent several days staying home in a self-imposed house arrest so as not to spend any money and stressed about how the next bill was going to get paid.  When I missed my second paycheck, the stress level was elevated and I was trying to find someone that would hire me for part-time or contract work.  No, I assure you it wasn’t “fun”.

I don’t want sympathy because I know most people don’t really care and already have a low opinion of government employees as well as those we support.  I also don’t want to be called a patriot or thanked for my sacrifice.  This wasn’t done willingly for anyone.  The shutdown took away my paychecks which I needed to support my family.

I think I can speak for my other 799,999 fellow government colleagues and say that we are happy to be back to work for you and able to support our families….for three more weeks.