How the heck to pick a topic for an article with a zillion “breaking news” stories running through the mind each vying for attention. Sure the column is given space enough for a two or three—shucks, maybe even a five or six part’er seeing as how it meanders long ways, sideways and wide ways, anyways. Picture a tune on the old guitar, chord of G major, chase a medley of melodies up and down the fret board whilst modulating on up to Bb, to A into C and discovering somewhere along the line you’ve ‘jumped the track’, finished in Z minor seventh wondering where the orchestra went.

No, I’m not the most accomplished musician ya know, nor by the same token would my ‘journalistic’ skill ever encourage me to seek employment up at the New York Times. Of course, there’s the Washington Post and though my credits and qualifications remain questionable at best, a lack of attention to ‘detail’ would no doubt make for an impressive resume.

Matter of fact the old ‘kibitzer’ must pretend he’s writing exclusively to himself, else he’d never have the ‘intestines’ to go public. The formula is simple: First he frames the question and then answers himself on this wise; welst old son, (drum roll) it goes something like this: we then embarks upon long studious examinations, sober meditations, thoughtful deliberations and in-depth explanations of the whys and the wherefores of the interrogatory pondered. Hey, critical perceptions don’t come easy. Matter of fact, one might say my prose takes time to ‘pose.’ A cranial debility really, whereas ‘cut and dried’ concepts would mean far less wasted time. “Cut and dried” reference predetermined solutions that have been ‘hashed out’ beforehand requiring little thought or deliberation. (Why waste precious time deliberating when a mixed bag of short crisp expletives will suffice?)

I’ve always envied the ‘crispness’ of others when it comes to arguing religion and politics; whereas the complexity of the problem and intricacies of the debate demand the respect of time and study, traditionally, those who object to ‘my way of thinking’ dispense with such circuitous routes and go right to the down and dirty; why all the silly discourse when one can cut short the chase by expelling short explosive expletives that reference horse manure or bull droppings? After all, who can withstand the universal law of physics? Can’t argue with the knowledge of nature.

Yet, the base problem isn’t one of political/religious alignments or social assignments; truth is, human onerousness (intransigence) is a choice, a malady that incubates in all the forms and fashions that make up a society: Eccentricities and characteristics are formed from the same universal stew and drawn from the same pot. The ideas and passions may be as extensive as widely scattered stars in the sky on a moonless night, but alike attitudes subject to a like nature will be found on both ends of the universal spectrum as well as all points between.

Bias: don’t leave home without it.

Bias is a magic elixir capable of producing extrasensory perception. No question, no argument, no speculation, finis farewell, horse manure end of story!

Regretfully, the “Almighty” never felt obligated to bless me with such universal knowledge. Instead of that ‘still small voice’ he gave only the gift of reasoning, and that without the oratory skill and presence to energize the power of whichever my perceptions produce. This thesis suggests that acceptance of whatever it is one has to offer, may well depend upon physical stature i.e., that a commanding presence may be allotted more stature than a Ph.D. in the hands of a diminutive Nobel Professor up at the nations most prestigious university.

I have become convinced that size has a lot to do with perceptions of a person’s worth and credibility. Years of observations (and personal experience) have taught me that short people tend to, well, ‘get the ‘short end of it’. Literally. Once had a tall fellow standing second in line at a concession stand order a cheeseburger right over the top of my head. (Oh pardon sir, am I in your way?) The combination of a diminutive stature, the lack of an authoritative vocal structure (I don’t ‘cuss’—well, not unless the occasion absolutely demands it!) and being a kid from ‘Possum Hollow hasn’t helped either. Too, there is the old scriptural wisdom that ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his own country’. Not that I aspire to the credentials of Moses, mind you.

If input into an ongoing deliberation can be terminated by expletives not deleted or by the long exhausting rhetorical spiel of a filibuster, there are other ways to keep one on the periphery of the circle; Simply exclude him from the conversation.

Most people at some time or other may relate to the classic line “I get no respect” by the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield: In a group conversation you can’t get a word in edgewise. Or may have met my friend ‘gabby’ the self-indulged co-worker who takes an entire lunch hour to complete a meandering story in which you lose interest ere the first five minutes into it, half the time spent on trying to place it in the proper context of times and dates that don’t matter no way no how. By time it’s over, your part of the conversation amounts to less than a dozen words, the chance for a short nap past and you begin a long afternoon with a muffled expletive referencing animal droppings rolling off a silent tongue.

If battles can be won by ‘horse manure’ expletives and bombastic spiel, then I’ve no chance at all. Or maybe I’ve been practicing the wrong religion: Doesn’t the scripture promise that if we ‘First seek the Kingdom of God, all these things shall be added unto us?’ Pardon me, but just not getting the ‘add on’ wisdom and knowledge others seems to be getting from their supernatural connections. Least, not enough to shut down debate by invoking the intellectual properties of fertilizer. Maybe that’s my problem, these Turkey-birds beating me to the tree of knowledge, done gone and picked it clean. Onliest left dangling a shriveled apple—and it’s wormy.

Perhaps the search should have been earlier and more extensive; maybe I should have left off all the ‘riotous living’, joined the church and become a Democrat. However it is my fellow ‘conferees’ have access to a universal knowledge that lies beyond my ability to conjure; knowledge that lies not within the conventional scope, rather somewhere in that wispy transcendental region above that fleshly plane which lie beyond the grasp of reaching hands and searching minds. I can only envy. Yet, no question, some are born special, some supernaturally ‘gifted’ and some pre-ordained to exceptionalism. No, that’s not me by any stretch of the imagination, “as the heavens are above the earth, so are their ways above my ways.”

Not every contested ‘conversation’ ends with explosive references to animal waste: Different folk opt for different fashions. If expletives ain’t your gig, try the filibuster.

If no one has ever written a book titled ‘the art of the filibuster’ here’s a golden opportunity for an enterprising entrepreneur to turn a coin or two. “How to talk 24 hours straight without saying much” might be a good sub-title.

Sez here “a filibuster is a political procedure where one or more members of a Parliament or Congress debate a proposed piece of legislation so as to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal.” If you happen to be a reserved, unassuming or deliberative, short sort—or ever married—chances are that you understand ‘filibuster.’ Forget whatever “legislation” you’ve proposed; if it’s opposed, it ain’t a passing.

While we might imagine the filibuster as a congressional maneuver, taking place within the hallowed halls of the country’s legislative chambers, in fact the process is widely distributed. I speak from experience, not as one who filibusters as might be imagined by these long bloviating columns, rather as one who in his adult social life often finds it difficult to be heard.

After three score years of seeking little input into the social conversation I endeavored to jettison my shy disposition and ‘join the convention’. At least I attempted. Oh, some of my fellow rocket scientists were mostly interested in sports, girls and rock and roll and that’s stimulating enough one supposes, though not necessarily in an intellectual way. Me, I inclined more toward the philosophies of human motivation, of science religion and politics. In retrospect, if we were to be heard, better we should have stuck with sports, girls and music.

It’s not that all the religiously and politically inclined (whatever their “faith”) are contrary to the cause; one may have noticed that this column trends conservative, yet despite being cut short by the expletives and filibusters of detracting covenants, some of my loveliest acquaintances have been ‘yellow dog’ democrats. These special souls all have been courteous and mannerly, their friendships both coveted and appreciated. On the other hand some of the more politically and ideologically inclined of one’s own brethren can be the most intransigent, exasperating people with which to deal, for it is here one’s own are more apt to call him a heretic. Consider the Republican Party in its present state.

Meanwhile, when the debate grows hot and momentous ponderings edge closer to the flash point, remember always, the diminutive little fellow sitting quietly in the shadows of the periphery. He just may know the answer—then again, maybe not.