Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I had just returned from a trip to Lake Powell with friends, I got home and packed to go to a real estate conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  On the afternoon of the tenth I registered at the hotel and sat on the patio all afternoon having drinks with friends.  I ruined my cellphone that evening.  I would regret that on the 11th.  I went to bed early, I was eager for the conference the next day.  On the morning of September 11th, I got out of bed got dressed and went down to the conference hall.  I passed a coffee stand but I did not stop I did not want to be late.  I wanted to be sure to get a good seat.  I am a front row kind of guy.  As I entered the conference hall lobby I saw several other attendees standing around.  I could tell they were attendees because they all had satchels or briefcases and plastic name badges hanging from lanyards around their necks.  I found it interesting that no one was going into the hall they were all standing around a table that had a small 19" television on it. Looking through gaps in the crowd I did not realize what I was watching.  I remember the scene vividly, one of the twin towers was billowing smoke from near the center.  All my thoughts stopped, I could not seem to come to grips with what was being shown on the television.  There were more than twenty of us standing by the television and no one was saying a word.  I don't even remember if the sound was on, I don't remember hearing any of the reports.  The camera angle changed and I watched the plane hit the second tower and I heard gasps of anguish from those standing around me. That is a memory that will never fade.  I remember initially thinking it was an accident then quickly realized we had been attacked and we were going to war.  I was quickly almost instantaneously overcome with a sense of fear that would not leave me for weeks.  America had been attacked on her own soil.  My home had been attacked.  A rush of thoughts, how can I help fight off these invaders, where are my children, patience more is coming, am I in danger, are my children in danger.  I immediately started making plans to return home to Salt Lake from Scottsdale but all planes were grounded.  I teamed up with a friend and we grabbed a taxi to the airport and rented a small truck.  We drove home.  Silently.

We made it home after 7pm.  we drove straight through.  I remember walking in to see my wife and girls when I got home and I remember so much of my anxiety leaking away as I felt their hugs and saw their smiles.  I was so grateful for my family.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Soda Cops

I was listening to a talk show host ranting about how we do not need a nanny state government telling us how many ounces of soda we should drink.  He started talking about how ridiculous it would be if we went to a restaurant to order a steak and the new laws required us to eat broccoli.  He was arguing with a caller that insisted that the government needed to do something to help.  I started to agree with the caller then the host stated that people know that cigarettes are bad and you can't stop them from smoking.  It does not matter how much you tax the cigarettes or how much you limit their ability to smoke, a smoker will always smoke.  Yeah yeah yeah, I said.  Well, I consider myself a limited government freedom loving American.  But I am sure a benevolent loving overlord could do something to impact a person's health and well being.  That was until I was confronted by a person I know well, who also knows better, that was walking around without having bathed for days and smoking.  I felt an almost overwhelming sense of anger and righteous justice rise up in my throat.  I had to suppress my urge to shout while I explained that his behavior was unacceptable.  An hour later while still trying to get the stench out of my office it occurred to me that I was trying to be the nanny.  I was insisting that he do things my way and he was the metaphorical and literal 64 ounce soda drinker.  I could tax him and limit him but he was still going to do what he wanted to do.

Well the caller argued, "what about the impact the obese and the smokers have on taxpayers?"  The host responded, "It is called personal responsibility!"  "Well, how is that working?" responded the caller.  The host's reply was perfect, "Freedom walks hand in hand with responsibility."  If you want to be free you must be responsible for your actions and their consequences.  Stink on my friend, stink on.