Like every American, I have my problems, and I dwell on them. This year has been especially hard - I got divorced in a year where the State of CT revised child support laws swinging the pendulm hard the other way - against the non-custodial parent (usually the father). Typical CT - can never find a balance - hot or cold - always has to screw someone. Also I have a ton of projects I am working on, and because I spread myself thin progress is slow. And so I dwell.

As I was leaving my house Thanksgiving morning,  I decided to clean my driveway of some of the soda cans I tossed on to my driveway. I ran over one and I did not want to run over too many more.  I was a little upset as the "bums" in my neighborhood are becoming lazier - just a few years ago they'd go through my trash, now they won't pick them off my driveway. So I figured I'll toss them onto the sidewalk - nothing stays there more than a day. I was in a hurry, but as I went to toss the nuisense cans onto the sidewalk, I smelled something foul and looked up to see a man with a trash bag in hand. I put the cans into his bag and brought out a few more - and he seemed happy that someone would take the time to give him used soda cans, and actually take the time to hand them to him rather than direct him to a trash can. He left after I said that I had no more - I don't have nearly the soda cans around the house like I did when I was married (with children), but it made me think

1. I do have a lot. With every thing in my life comes responsibility - the house needs repair (constantly), but I could always live under a bridge and not worry about electric bills, water bills, gas bills, etc nor worry about repairs - the state would be by every 10 years. But under a bridge what other blessing would I loose - my Internet hook up, a place to take a nice warm bath, have my daughter stay over night, cook a meal (OK actually have pagan worship services by sacrificing 1 lb of hamburg on my Kenmore gas powered alter) etc...

2. How did he get there? Was it by tragedy? Sudden misfortune? Was he retarded and never had a chance? Was he a druggy at one time and through it all away never to have a second (or third or forth) chance?  I have made a few mistakes in my life, but fortuantely with family and friends I have been granted many chances.

3. I have many demands and pressures in my life, while he seems to have few. But then again, people ask favors because they repect me and what I can do, while few think him to have any worth. The "bum" digging through the trash, in my opinion, is more respectable than the insurance agent or lawyer getting a bonus when they talk me into settling a claim for far less than the true damages suffered or will continue to suffer. That bum is not stealing from your home like a theif, raiding the coffers like the politicians or welfare kings and queens.  That person is merely taking advantage of the fact that I do not feel that it's worth my while to collect cans and bring them in myself.

So it's another day after the holiday - time to go to work to earn money to pay the bills.... Granted many days I do not like my job (I am working on the report from hell and this one just irks me to no end), but it does put a leaky roof over my head.  But with every day I can make a difference in my life. I can come home, look at my slum and just toss the junk mail on the floor in a pile or I can take a few minutes and pick up what fell or what the cat knocked over and bring back the shine to my house. I can count my blessings and make them grow in number or I can count my miseries and watch that number grow as well.

So from now on I will toss my soda cans out the front door on the drive way inches from the side walk rather than out the back door by the garage. Rather than call them lazy bums as the pile grows by my garage, I will put my cans by the sidewalk and be thankful that these people have enough respect for my property as to not walk down my drveway and take what they want.