Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sorry, but I don’t believe that.

My wife tells me I am the kind of person who doesn’t go out of their way to make people feel comfortable. I thought I was simply stating what I believe to be logic, but she knows me better than almost anyone else, including moi. At the recent Texas Avenue Christmas parade, the lady in front of me saw our new city manager and commented to a friend that he she heard he wasn’t well liked. I butted in with my 2 cents and stated I liked him because he was a strong leader and Baytown needs a leader with backbone.

She turned and asked who exactly I was and I told her I was Baytown Bert. She said "Oh" and then went on to say she only said what she did because she had read about the city manager on the online forum Baytown Talk and some folks weren’t happy about the police thing and the way the new city manager handled it. My alarmed and shy bride was once again subjected to my aggressive public behavior and this justified her observation.

However, it all ended peacefully and after chatting with her husband, who turned out to be an old friend from my ARCO Chemical days, we turned our attention to the parade. I would like to say his name is Bob Hoskins, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass his beautiful and kind wife.

A couple days ago, my sister Connie, who is an engineer on the Motiva refinery expansion in Port Arthur challenged me to list a few things I don’t believe in, on or about. I responded in my typical fashion of pounding the keyboard until my inspiration dries up, so without further ado, here it is.


I don't believe the Virgin Mary will ever appear on the side of a building. Or in a sandwich, or anywhere and if someone tells me she has, I’ll forever put a question mark on them.

I don't believe in Capitalism without a conscience. I love to sell stuff and give folks a good deal to boot, but I also give a lot of stuff away, especially if I think the person needs a boost. Whenever I find I have more than I can use of anything, I start figuring out ways to give some of it away.

I don't believe in following the crowd, unless it is my decision. I guess I am simply a rebel and I have an innate distrust of almost everything initially. I have found that I am very good company when I go alone.

I don't believe in neglecting pets. I love dogs and I’ll pet cats, if they behave. I talk to dogs and they understand me. They can sense that I am a dog lover. Dogs are pack animals and don’t understand being left alone for long periods of time.

I don't believe in obsessing over sports. Call me unpatriotic and Un-American, but I have better things to do than memorize sports numbers, stats and player history. The whole industry is over-blown and out of control in my opinion.

I don't believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. If I want something, I do the required educational research BEFORE I jump into it and get what I want the first time. I don’t window shop period, so I avoid unnecessary temptation.

I don't believe in being mean to women because they are women. I tend to see all women as ladies until they act otherwise. I do believe in being equally mean to men, women and children when they violate my personal space. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove their true nature.

I don't believe there is any food that beats bacon for intrinsic flavor. Bacon is the food of the gods and just about enhances anything it touches. I’m wondering when they will make Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla with chocolate-dipped bacon bits.

I don't believe marijuana is the devil drug it’s made out to be. I sincerely think the crackdown on pot has done nothing but facilitate the importation of easier to conceal drugs like cocaine and heroin and the theft of pharmaceuticals, increased violence and inflated street prices. Plus it has filled our prisons and court dockets to the point where violent criminals are released.

I don't believe Hollywood entertainment can beat God's handiwork for personal gratification. The television is a blight that needs to be self-regulated into small doses, if not turned off altogether. Aside from the poor selection of quality programs, the constant bombardment of advertisement for items we don’t need, but have come to desire makes the television a poor substitute for almost anything found in the great outdoors.

I don't believe that I could find a better mate than my wife. My lady compliments my life in every way. When I am harsh, she is gentle. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how good she is for me.

I don't believe in living each day at work, wishing I was somewhere else. Long ago I accepted the simple fact that "work" was not play and I was going to spend a large part of my life at work, so I learned to enjoy myself at work and when it is quitting time, I simply shift gears.

I don't believe we Americans really understand how to live a quality life. Here in America, it is all about money, the accumulation of money and all the stuff a person can buy. The accumulation of vast amounts of worldly possessions supposedly equals happiness and quality of living. We are fed a steady diet of commercials to keep us wanting more until we truly believe the H2 Hummer or the winning of the lottery equals Nirvana. I don’t believe it.

I don't believe looking at dead people in caskets is the best way to remember them. When I do go to a funeral, I do not look at the person in the casket. I don’t want to remember them that way and I’ve asked to be cremated, so folks won’t see the shell I used to live in.

I don't believe the present times compare to the turbulent 60's. I was a teenager beginning in mid-1965 and this country was at war, on the verge of civil collapse, the shooting of political leaders and peace activists, the Communist Red scare and the open embracement of the drug culture. Nope, the 60’s were something I do not believe I want to repeat.

I don't believe a young man can be lonelier than a G.I. stationed far from home at Christmas time. I spent four Christmas’ away from home as an Airman and I can say from experience, it is a sad, sad time.

I don't believe a person can do more to prepare for their future than read books. Books! Give me a book and I will travel back in time, or into the future. I will survive long years as a POW, or be marooned on a desert island. I will tour the world with a rock band, or explore a hidden jungle. And in doing so, I will excite the part of my brain that will help me live a richer life.

I don't believe there is a higher calling than a combat medic. My longtime friend Don Trumps, the son of a Pentecostal Preacher and a man of faith himself, went to Vietnam as a C.O. (Conscientious Objector) combat medic and served his country without carrying a weapon. His stories of personal sacrifice, danger and saving lives in the jungles of Nam under the harshest of circumstances make my trials and tribulations seem silly and self-pitying in comparison.

I don't believe in compromising my income through gambling. For every honest person with a dollar, there appears to be three people scheming to take it away. Is there any rational person who thinks Las Vegas is ran by anyone other than organized crime? I work for every cent I make and have no visions of getting something the easy way.

And last, I don't believe in running over animals on the road if I can safely avoid them. I get no satisfaction by killing a living animal while driving my car. One time I saw four dead raccoons in the road. A mom and 3 babies – all were dead. It saddened me.


Anonymous said...

Bert, I do believe you would become a millionaire if you invented the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla with chocolate-dipped bacon bits. John Graham

Anonymous said...

I especially love the one about books... In school getting a history degree, should grad in May, and planning to teach - I couldn't agree more!! Lady Luck

Anonymous said...

Thank you for including your love for animals and the questioning why anyone finds pleasure in killing helpless animals.
Dixie Girl

Anonymous said...

You folks need to read his write up...this guy is really good...but he needs a new picture...the present one is really scary.

However, it proves a point that you can't "judge a book by it's cover".

Tricky Ricky

Anonymous said...

I read his article too and thought it was great. I agree about the picture... its a bit scary.

LifeIsA Journey

Anonymous said...

Great article, Bert....I swear we were cut from the same cloth :)
Dagny Taggart

Anonymous said...

Very good. Booksie

Anonymous said...

Well I'll run with all of it but the sports part...I don't keep up with all sports though....just NFL, NCAA FB and BB, MLB, NBA, NHL, Nascar, IROC, drag racing, IRL, CART, F1, PGA, and an occaisional gurly beach volleyball's just good clean reality TV in my opinion....

Crawdad Kid

Anonymous said...

Hi Baytown Bert, hope all is well. I just wanted to tell you that your
article about things you don't believe in is absolutely amazing. Keep up the good work. Jessica B.

It can only happen while shopping!

As the big man is my witness, every word of this is unquestionable and void of hyperbolic incredibility. With that taken into consid...