Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Should I have taken the camels?

When I was younger, and graduating high school, I thought that I knew all I needed to get through life…but I was wrong.

It took less than a couple of weeks at University to understand that my education was way less than I needed to get through life. But by the time I had completed 4 years at University, I certainly then had all the knowledge I could possibly need.

Again, I was wrong.

A few weeks into the work force told me that I was severely lacking in the life skills department.

Now, some 30+ years later, I am wondering where I will ultimately learn the life skills necessary to get through life.

You see, I have learned that people never actually stop learning….never actually stop sucking up knowledge like a sponge…never actually stop learning the skills that will take them into the next phase of their life.

Of course…it is possible that people with a long term agenda WILL actually stop growing as they become more and more dedicated to that long term agenda.

This explains how someone can become President with little or no knowledge of how the world works outside of his own experience as a community organizer…relying on Dreams from his Father to guide his decisions and a very keen political mind and narcissistic tendencies.

These are the values that propel the useless into positions of power.

They are also the characteristics that will ultimately result in failure…as they leave no room for the knowledge that comes from worldly experience to infiltrate the closed mind that is the narcissist.

But take heart dear friends…opportunity is clothed in many different fashions…sometimes it is fashion from the greatest designers of the era, while at other times it may simply be the cast-offs of the working classes.

However she is disguised, opportunity can easily be missed…or she can be seen as what she is and actions taken accordingly.

Sometimes we do not see opportunity when it is staring us in the face.

Way back when, in the mid 80’s, I found myself travelling through Africa with my wife and about 20 other fellow travelers.

We travelled in an old Bedford ex-army truck, painted pink to avoid any confusion that it could actually be an army truck, a tactic that worked in some ways but not in others…but that is a story for another time.

Travelling south to north, we entered the Sahara desert…a very harsh part of the world. With the road marked by black painted drums set about a mile apart the desolation was almost complete. We could travel for hours without seeing any sign of life….sometimes travelling through rocky outcrops, sometimes on soft sand that threatened to suck the tires into a sandy grave.

And then, out of nowhere we would find perhaps a local tribesman walking in the middle of nowhere with a huge bundle of sticks sitting precariously on his head. Where he was going was impossible to tell as the sand stretched in all directions to the horizon, with the occasional dune breaking the monotony.

We reached an oasis where we needed to stay a few days…replenishing supplies at a nearby village, and generally resting up before the rest of the long trek across this dauntingly huge emptiness.

(To put this in perspective, it took almost 2 weeks of travelling time to cross the Sahara…with daytime temperatures well into the triple digits and night-time temperatures below freezing. It takes some tough people to eke out a living in that climate…and yet they do.)

While sitting in the shade one day as the mercury climbed well past 100 degrees, I saw a strange site…a caravan entered the oasis. This was almost like a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia…with the leader riding his camel…followed by his string of wives walking behind…and then a herd of camels, goats and a large number of children herding them along.

It was kind of surreal…a picture book from my childhood could not have portrayed this scene more colorfully.

Over the next several hours the women went about setting up camp…their burkhas blowing in the gentle breeze sometimes giving a hint as to the shape beneath. The women’s eyes were the only visible part and they kept them averted most of the time. It was impossible to determine their age …or indeed their ethnic background.

As I said earlier….opportunity may come dressed in odd fashion…and when the leader of this merry band came to speak with me, I confess that I did not see the opportunity in front of me.

You see, he approached me as one of great wealth would approach a potential business associate. He clearly possessed great wealth…the saddle on his camel was inlaid with silver and he rode with a bearing that cried out “nobility”.

He sat with me in the shade and with the aid of a translator told me how enamored he was with my wife…how her blonde hair and blue eyes were highly prized in his world.

He then offered me five camels for her….stating that she would hold a place of prominence in his harem because of her skin color. He told me she would be treated well and bestowed with all the trappings that a consort of his should have.

He actually laid it on quite thick.

The translator told me that 5 camels was a high price and that I should accept this very generous offer.

I turned it down.

In fact I was horrified that in the 80’s women in this part of the world could be bought and sold as chattels…my ignorance of the world was showing and I didn’t even think before I graciously turned down his most generous offer.


Many years later, my marriage ended in divorce…a not unfriendly but very expensive affair.

Maybe, I should have taken the camels?

As I look back on this experience it occurred to me that opportunity had come my way dressed in robes and sitting on a camel.

I am not saying it was a good opportunity, although undoubtedly receiving a king’s ransom then would have been much preferred to paying a king’s ransom later, but nevertheless an opportunity presented itself.

While I will maintain to my dying days that I made the right decision, the fact remains that I responded without first giving due consideration to the many alternatives. I immediately relied on my own sense of right and wrong…I refused to give any consideration to what the translator was explaining to me…I knew better.

I know many of you reading this will immediately think that I had no choice…that I could not simply sell my wife into life as a sex slave or harem leader or whatever might befall her. I know some are thinking that this is a silly story…of course there was no opportunity there. Not in terms of our own beliefs and principals anyway.

But the fact remains that in 1980 a blonde haired blue eyed woman was worth 5 camels . Is it really any different today?

How much would a beautiful young girl fetch today…10 camels? 15? More?

And how much does it take to corrupt one’s own sense of right/wrong? Is the lure of camels enough? Is it dollars? Is it sex? Is it power?

When opportunity comes knocking in any of its many disguises, we must be careful to know the difference between a good opportunity and one that will send our souls on the start of a journey into hell.

How do we know the difference?

Life experience.

The disguises that opportunity wraps itself in are way too numerous for the inexperienced to recognize.

And that, dear friends, is why it is so dangerous to have the Community Organizer ruling in the White House.

That is why an inexperienced narcissist who listens to no-one, but relies on dreams from the father he never knew as his guiding light, represents the greatest threat to this Republic than she has faced in her entire History.
When opportunity knocks, it takes discernment far beyond his experience to know what to do.

You see, opportunity is a cynical bitch…she knocks when you are least prepared…and you must rely solely on your own beliefs to determine what to do. Some opportunities are easy to ignore.


Well…Zimmerman may have some words to say about this President and his use of opportunity.

Maybe I should have taken the camels?



  1. While working for an American aerospace company in Saudia Arabia back in 1978, I also had an experience with the mores/customs of Middle Easteners. Standing in front of my company leased and provided apartment villa, I noticed a beautiful gold colored Mercedes sedan pull up in front of the building. A business suit attired older Saudi emerged from the car, walked up to me and asked if I lived in the building. After I answered affirmatively, he then explained he was the building owner, and was curious as to whether I had any problems or complaints about the residence. I replied that I had no complaints about the building; it was a nice place to live. He smiled appreciatively.
    Then, on an aside I told him I really admired his Mercedes. At this juncture, he looked at me and exclaimed "If you really like it that much, I'll give it to you!" I was somewhat flabbergasted by his offer, but quickly and politely explained that my employer would not allow me to accept his generous offer. At this point, with a sly expression on his face, he told me that to refuse a gift from an Arab was a serious insult. But seeing the consternation on my face, he quickly added that since he was westernized, he would forgive me the insult.
    Should I have accepted the Mercedes?

  2. Hey Joe...as I said...opportunity comes in all flavors...but hat doesn't mean it is always good.

    One thing I have learned along the way is that free is NEVER free...there is always a cost and I would rather know that cost before I accept anything free.

    You made the right decision...

    Accepting a free Mercedes is not a wrong thing to do, but the effect it could have on the way you see the world, the way you respond to the world, the way you see yourself and all those intangible things...could ultimately be a greater cost than the value of the Mercedes.

    I wonder how many of my readers would have instinctively understood that as you did?

    Or for that matter, how many conservatives?

    I think we all know how many liberals would have!