April 11, 2020


By John R. Greenwood 

Photo by the author.
Location: at the corner or Rt#9 and Waller Rd.

Click Here:  Author's Voice Recording of "Average"

My head feels like a telephone pole filled with sharp pointed objects. The pain is not from illness or fear. The hurt I feel comes from trying to understand the minds of people around me. How can we all be so far apart in how we look at the world? How can so many justify the moral vacuum that has sucked common courtesy from our society? I consider myself an average man with average abilities and an average view of life. I don’t expect more out of it than I put in. I am comfortable with you having yours as long as you are comfortable with others having theirs. Where did the train go off the rails? Listening to people taking judgmental potshots at each other has worn my optimism to the nubs. Then, just as I give up on “please” and “thank you,” I read a story about the unselfish heroism of Mr. or Mrs. Average putting their lives at risk for a total stranger. I can’t understand why we don’t drop the tug-of-war rope, tie it to the problem and start pulling it in the same direction. Wouldn’t life work better that way? It seems so simple to me. Its time to add the word compromise back into Webster’s book with all the other nice words. 

We’ve gone askew trying to convince each other our view is the only one that counts. We look in that magic mirror and see perfection. No one thinks they might be the problem. We need to make average more acceptable. Stop trying to make me—you. I’ll stop trying to make you—me. The frustrating part is listening to the fray and not getting pulled in to it. Restraint is hard. Acceptance is hard. Finding contentment in the middle of a shit-storm is like metal detecting a concrete driveway. The average among us want calm. We want our disagreements to be limited to Colgate or Crest, mayonnaise or mustard, Ford or Chevy. It’s not fear of confrontation; it’s a desire to get along with the neighbors. Why does every push need a pull? Sometimes we need to set down the remote and watch whatever shows up next. Maybe we’ll learn something we never knew—something we never understood before today. 

I’m not promoting rolling over like a lab puppy who just wants his belly rubbed. I understand the need to bark at a stranger from time to time. Barking doesn’t have to include a bite. Even dogs have Calico friends. 

Don’t interpret this as a soapy cry for soft and fuzzy. We have children and grandchildren who need us to set an example. Watch kids play. They don’t care one cheese-puff who’s political sign in the front yard. All kids want is two full teams so they can have a fair game. We shouldn’t fear diversity; we should embrace it and treat it as a gift. We don’t have to look over our shoulders too far to see how we got here.

What do I want to see tomorrow? 

Something average.