This is the intro from a shelved manuscript.
Kids do a lot of swearin’. Especially when the area just behind their ears is still sopping wet. I don’t mean just the cussin’ type of swearing, I mean the inadvertent lies they tell themselves or anybody within earshot. The brand of ridiculous declarations that make older folks shake their heads in despair or disgust.
I was no different. I swore to lots of things – lied about every one of em’, as near as I can recollect. One of the things I swore to had to do with food – meat to be exact.
Being reared in a blue collar world had its advantages, namely a whole lot of freedom not long after the age of learning how to ride a bike, even if I didn’t own one.
Another advantage, though stretched hair thin, we had food. It wasn’t always what we’d have picked for ourselves, but it was filler. We had our fair share of rock sorted beans and saved grease-based-gravy was the norm.
But when it came to lunch it was nearly always the same; bologna. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t always hate bologna. In fact, like my dad, when it was fried, and as long as there was mustard, I was more than content. But like all things in this life, after a steady diet of something, it begins to wear on you… and bologna wore on me like a bearing with no grease.
It wore on me so much that I decided that when I got older, I’d do whatever it took to not ever eat bologna again. I even swore to it. I swore that when I was finally the boss-uh-me, not only would I not eat bologna, but I’d eat steak every day… although I hadn’t had a lot of experience with the rich folk’s meat.
Swearing off bologna wasn’t the worst lie I’ve ever told. In fact, bologna goes down with ease compared to all the pride and crow I’ve had to gulp hard to swallow in this life.
Sometimes I take a wise reminder or cue from my dog Larry. It doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, fish, bologna, or steak, he appreciates all of it.
It’s ironic. When I have Larry “sit” or “shake” and hand him a piece of steak that’s been in the fridge, a piece of the stuff I swore I’d eat every day and can’t bring myself to eat more than about once a month, I shake my head with a tad more wisdom.
Not many of us were too interested in things we couldn’t touch, see, smell, or taste. The things they talked about at church. Stuff like pride and humility were only verses to be memorized, twisted, then used out of context to justify our actions, attitudes. and desires… and to hide behind.
Lying or loathing a certain type of lunch meat seems innocent enough, but it’s the subtleties behind all of our perspectives that can’t always be seen at a glance. In fact, if someone doesn’t spout their opinions, we wouldn’t be able to spot their selfish desires, ungratefulness, jealousy, and pride.
The funny thing about pride is that it’s like Savoir Faire – it’s everywhere. Pride isn’t prejudice. It doesn’t care if a person has wealth, or is stone cold busted. It’s made to fit all shapes and sizes of souls.
The world and God’s Word are at odds when it comes to selfishness, or the popular term now used to describe it; narcissism.