Please Don’t Disturb the Peace

Happy Friday, All!

It’s that time again!  It’s TGIF time! So if you have a reason to be grateful, join me!  Thank you very kindly!  Radical even!

We seem to have a world where people have lost their concern for each other, be it a helpless young child or an aging senior citizen, or a “mentally challenged” individual.  To me, and it’s happened to me personally, people don’t care if you are a senior citizen or handling a challenging mental/physical condition!  Once, as I was getting off the bus from Puerto Viejo to San Jose over a year ago when I still had to use my cane, a “Tico” woman who was behind me decided to push me in my back as I reached the last step!!  I was like, “She didn’t just PUSH me, did she?”  I did a quick turnabout with the small hand rope from my cane gathered in my hand, and glared at her!  When she realized that I wasn’t as disabled as she thought, she scurried off in a different direction!  Who pushes a senior gentleman in an attempt to either show power and/or disrespect?!?  Maybe even hurt me!  Someone who wants to disturb MY peace!!

I enjoy writing these pieces in an attempt to elucidate bad patterns of behavior that some people still engage in.  I realize that it puts me “out in the out with the open all open” so I prepare myself for backlashes and pushback both in cyberspace and in person!!  I stand out a bit wherever I go.  I am not going to change how I dress or speak, and I am definitely NOT going to let anyone intimidate me for NO REASON!  And please, please don’t attempt to change my hard-driving outlook on life because that’s how I got “here” in the first place!!  I work hard every day to preserve my peace … and … if you dare to disturb it, be prepared for some pushback from ME!

When I take a glimpse of the world (that’s why I like to know international news), my heart breaks for so many innocent people (ie. Ukraine) who are being abused, misled, tortured, and not given any options except death.  I noticed children, women, and seniors who have been displaced and who haven’t a clue what to do amidst all the bombing and destruction.  The Russian ruler is apparently a “die-hard” LITERALLY who is living out some intense nightmare as he destroys parts of the Planet!  I mean, what kind of animal does that?!?  The same kind that could care less about anyone else!!  Do you know folks like that?!?  They are so unhappy that they actually get joy or entertainment from disturbing the peace and comfort of innocent others because they are at war with themselves and don’t even notice it!  So, if that’s you and you want to disturb my peace, I WILL let you know!!

In remembering my Dad, he always insisted that I “protect myself”.  He reminded me even as a child that there are some people who are not going to like you, give you a break, or respect you.  So be on guard, he said, and be aware of your surroundings at ALL times!!  It’s a tough job but self-preservation is important enough for me that I stay on “the job”.  When I get “home” (wherever that is!), I can relax … pretty much!  I try not to invite “hostile forces” (peace disturbers) into my home.  I also try to keep them out of my personal space as I meander through this world!!  My Dad used to warn me, “Use your common sense when dealing with other people!”  I have a habit of too often giving people the benefit of the doubt!  I have gotten burned and taken advantage of enough to know that “Big Ike” was right.  He never went to a boarding school or an Ivy League university, but he pushed me and loved me every step of the way!  I am his youngest and last direct offspring and he and my Mom wanted only the best for me.  When I got accepted to St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, he AND my Mom drove from White Plains, NY to Concord, NH to see their youngest son play varsity football which was part of the “Parent’s Weekend” festivities.  I wasn’t that good at American football and didn’t start games since I played split end or wide receiver.  But once when I looked in the bleachers and saw that my parents had driven through a few states to come to see their youngest son at this boarding school in New Hampshire play football, my heart did a dance!  “Damn!” I thought!  “They must really love me!”  When I graduated from Princeton, they had driven down from White Plains to Princeton to help me pack up and get ready for the next stage in my life.  I moved back home, started substitute teaching at all levels of White Plains Public Schools, and discovered that I wasn’t too bad at this “teaching” task.  I remember wanting to be a news announcer or radio disc jockey and I had applied for jobs at ABC, NBC, and even a radio station in New York City called “WBLS”!  I got turned down everywhere and began to realize that “it’s not what you know and where you went to school”, but it was more important WHO you know sometimes.  After almost two years of successful substitute teaching, I was offered a full-time job teaching social studies at White Plains High School!  I taught advanced levels as well as the “lower level” students as I tweaked my teaching techniques.  I learned that teaching is really a gift, an art even.  I also learned that I was “gifted and talented” as they had told me when I first got the scholarship to study at St. Paul’s School.

These accomplishments are VERY important for me even if someone doesn’t “like” or respect the boarding school to Ivy League university pipeline.  It was clearly better than the “public school to jail pipeline” that is prevalent in lower-income and minority communities.  I had found my “peace” in academics even though I wasn’t that smart.  I was organized and determined … and peaceful.  I wanted to make my parents proud as well as to be proud of MYSELF!!  Whoever heard of such a thing!!

Back about a year ago when I was preparing for my grandson’s trip with me from Florida to Costa Rica, I had started to work out with a passion.  I had experienced a few incidents when some “person” felt that they could intimidate or even abuse me because I needed my cane to walk!  “Hmmmm …” I thought!  “I’d better get back in shape so I can protect myself and my PEACE more effectively … just in case.”  I still continue my quiet, private, workout sessions as I seek to fortify what’s left of this maturing body!!  If this is what it takes to protect my peace, I will probably be engaged in it until I expire!!

In closing, try to protect your peace … move away, if necessary!  But don’t let NOBODY disturb your peace!!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!

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