Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Eric Marlon Bishop, better known as Jamie Foxx recently released his chart topping instant hit single “Blame It” The concept for the song is very simple and one that many people from any background can relate to a drunken night, engaging in activities you normally wouldn’t do, and then blaming it on the alcohol you drank the night before. A song Foxx was at first unsure of but after an evening at a strip club he knew it was going to be a hit. “Blame It”, has been played at every club across the United States and has every potential of being the summer anthem.
Prohibition made its debut in the United States in 1920. It actually stuck around longer than one may have thought. This was a law that bounced from country to country for a while which simply outlawed the use, sale, manufacture, transportation, and drinking of alcoholic beverages illegal for everyone in the United States. Despite this law lasting for thirteen years alcohol was still made and sold; only it went by assumed names and like most illegal drugs it was easy to get a hold of. Once prohibition was finally ended alcohol and its consumption has not been the same since
Present day alcohol is only illegal to persons under the age of twenty-one. Most states have laws on open containers, drinking and driving, and public intoxication. This rules change a little depending on certain cities. For instance a person can walk around the French Quarters with an open container but as soon as they walk across the street it then becomes illegal. Or in New Orleans a person can go to a drive through daiquiri shop and get a daiquiri. As long as the straw is not place into the container it is considered closed. Once the straw is inserted however the daiquiri is considered open and a person can instantly be charged with drinking and driving. Yes in 2009 prohibition is over with no signs of coming back. Presently in addition to talks of raising the tax on alcohol some people congressmen are even contemplating lowering the national drinking age to that of eighteen.
It’s fair to say drinking has its pros and cons. In the United States most people have had their first drink during their teenage years. Drinking is the only socially acceptable drug so therefore it’s everywhere. Most parties in high school serve some kind of alcoholic beverage. In addition to parties serving alcohol most peoples’ parents keep alcohol somewhere in their house. To add insult to injury parents these days are becoming more liberal in their parenting and while they say they don’t encourage their teenager to drink they will allow it at their house in the claims of keeping an eye on their child and monitoring their drinking behavior. After all most circles of friends have a parent who is known as the cool parent who lets their own child and some close friends of that child get away with murder.
While drinking may not be forced on people it’s certainly an expected recreational activity to engage in. Many drinking games start during the high school years whether at parties or simply while hanging out. The method of the games may change but the substance being consumed remains the same. The point of drinking at that age is not for relaxation purposes but more so for purposes of acting out of control. The concept of having a drink to relax is one that more adults have, not to say adults don’t engage in drinking games as well.
Everyone who drinks has had a time in their life where they got drunk. The first couple of times it’s excusable. I mean how do you know you have had too much to drink when drinking is new to you. Alcohol doesn’t show any effects until on average about seven minutes after consumption. The bad effects of it range from slowed motor coordination, slurred speech, some people tend to get angry or violent, there’s the possibility of passing out, drunk driving, and for the unluckiest of them all there is alcohol poisoning which in turn leads to death. Alcohol also has social consequences; while some people like to drink other people love to drink, daily. This can cause people to lose friends as well. When drinking there’s a thin line that shouldn’t be crossed the line between having a good time and becoming a rude drunk. While alcohol is fun, it does have its bad side which can’t be ignored.
The song is so simple, one many people can relate to, drinking. In the song Foxx makes a reference to a woman who wasn’t attractive until after a couple of drinks and she wanted to take things to a physical level and had it not been for the alcohol she wouldn’t have; one of the reasons why sexually transmitted diseases and unexpected pregnancies is so high. Once people begin to drink their better judgment begins to subside for what many people believe are their true inner desires. Sometimes it’s the case and sometimes it’s just a person who has lost their better judgment. Blame it on the alcohol in deed, that’s easy to do. Take the results of the consequences however, is much harder.


Jimmy Ray is an English pop-rock musician whose birth name is James Edwards. In 1997 Ray released his first single from his self-titled debut album which did very well in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The chorus of which continued to “are you?” and would insert different names until Ray defined himself as Jimmy Ray. Even though Jimmy Ray would not release another album he is very well known for the smash hit single he did have.
Identity is defined as the condition of being oneself or itself and not another. It is also defined as the condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is. A person’s identity is how we define them, for instance we know exactly who and what a doctor is. They have a set role, so much to the point that doctors have a perceived persona, people assume a doctor will be intelligent, able to help, writes with bad penmanship, and has wealth or at least is rich. Identities help others to know who we are but they also help us in knowing who we are. Over time though identities can be lost, confused, forgotten, and changed.
With the current state of where I am in present day I realize my identity has been lost. For years now I have been a student, an uncle, an employee, a son, the friend who always had money, the smart one, a model, a leader, but now most of those titles don’t apply to me anymore. With the recent recession and unemployment rates I have lost a lot of my identity that I never thought I would lose. I graduated two years ago from college and I figured I would be in graduate school right now pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology; which in turn would mean I would still be a full-time student. Due to me having a constant job since the age of seventeen and never going too long without working I am accustomed to being an employee. Being a son and uncle are two titles I can’t lose, but those transform over the years. When I started college I was younger and less mature than I am now. My father and I had the relationship of a teenager and parent and even though I was a good teenager overall I like other teenagers had days and weeks of attitude toward my parents. I have been an uncle now for the past eleven years and as I grow older and more comfortable with the role and title I have had to adapt it toward an aging nephew since I have to be a positive example for him. With so many changes and very little time to reflect on everything and all the new meanings and being in a lower spot in my life I have realized that I have lost my identity.
I have never been the type of person to be easily confused except for when I am tired. These days I am confused about my present day identity and who I really am. I was once a leader in many of the school and community organizations I joined. Now, however, I am not a member of any organization. I wonder, does this mean I am still a leader? After all a leader must have people who follow him. Or with me trying to be an uncle to one nephew who needs an uncle and one nephew who thinks we are equal. I have to now wade through all of the confusion. Part of the confusion I believe is the fact that for years I have held multiple titles at once and they have been continuous. For so many years I have been moving consistently around the clock. If I wasn’t in class, I was in a meeting, or I was at work, or I was leading an organizational meeting or activity. With all of that going on I never need to figure out who I really was because I was constantly being told who I was. I decided lately since I have a little bit more free time it is best to try to figure some things out so I can figure out my identity. The trouble I have found is that I don’t know what my own identity really is. The more and more I try to figure it out the more and more confused I get. Something so simple in theory can be so complicated in actuality.
The more I try to solve my confusion the more I have started to wonder is the real reason I am confused about my identity because I have forgotten who I am. For nearly ten years I have had so many titles that I have had to balance and juggle. Now I am starting to wonder have I just forgotten who I was. The startling part about that concept is that years ago I was a child with a child’s mentality. There was no real identity back then it was just a child engaging in childish behavior and hoping for the best outcome. As an adult did I forget who I am? Back when I was younger what was I really about? There were the basic ideas and thoughts my parents put into my head; I have to wonder was that me? So many children rebel against their parents and who they are for various reasons. I never really did that. Now I wonder am I really the good son who was meant to grow up into a good man or was I meant to have more of a bad boy persona. In turn for so many years I was the guy who always had a date. For so many years I always thought I would end up being having a serious long-term relationship which would grow into marriage. Yet I remember at one time I was a loner who didn’t care about being in a relationship. For the past two months I have realized I don’t want to be in a relationship, at least for right now. I wonder was I really a loner, or am I really a loner now? Am I supposed to be the friend who is always dating and involved or am I meant to be the single friend? I have forgotten which one I truly am. When I was younger I only imagined having a professional job, really having a successful career. I didn’t imagine being a workaholic. Over time though balancing school and work I became a workaholic. Lately, I haven’t had the choice on whether to be a workaholic or not. Being at home all the time is making me think did I really like working? Perhaps I am a lazy person. The more days that pass the more I have had time to think and ponder questions about what I have lost, how confused I am in present day, and what I have forgotten.
The answers slowly started to come to me in a fit of self-discovery. Over the past year President Obama has aligned himself with one word, change. Over the past two years I have had so many small changes back to back and then a move and more changes back to back in my life that confusion has happened. What I didn’t realize though is that I am still who I was last year and the year before that. I am still a son to my parents, I am just older and more mature. Instead of talking about prom, report cards, and being able to drive the car to school the conversations have changed to what’s really going on in your life, how is the job market and career building going, are you dating? I am realizing that just because I hold a title like uncle doesn’t mean that I have to be one way all the time. My nephews are in two different age categories, one is in middle school and the other is in college. Those relationships will be different and now that I am older, an actual adult, and out of college the way in which I can be an overall uncle is changing and growing as well. I am no longer the uncle who just graduated from high school or the uncle going to college parties and being on the college homecoming court. With college out of the way I am the young adult uncle who can be there to guide and mentor. When I was young overall I was a good son I was a good child; flashing forward a couple of years to now I am looked at as being a gentleman. I didn’t lose the identity of being a good child, it has changed and evolved over the years as I have grown and matured. While a leader must have followers to lead being a true leader doesn’t disappear because at present moment I am not leading someone. My personality is that of a leader that of being in charge and trying to help guide people in the appropriate direction. My identity is still there it’s just changing.
Identity is a funny concept. Some people lose their identity trying to please others; some people forget who they really are because they are trying to ignore part of who they are in order to focus on a different part of who they are, and some people just get confused on who they are based on current situations. Lately I have been very confused, but I realize that change happens on all levels. When change is done intentionally it can be controlled and the actions and consequences from that change are easily seen. Change that happens unintentionally is often more subtle and not easily seen. With the changes I have been going through I didn’t realize that I am still the same person. My identity isn’t forgotten or lost; it’s simply changing and growing into more and better. I no longer have to ask am I Theron Exum. I know for the most part who Theron is. While I haven’t figured everything out yet it’s okay because there is no law about completely knowing oneself upon completion of college. I know three-fourths of myself and I am getting more and more intimate with the rest of me. In time I will have it all figured out but as for right now I am satisfied with the amount of knowledge I do have about my identity.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A SONG FOR MAMA ( Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum)

Around Thanksgiving of 1997 Soul Food premiered in movie theaters across the country. This was a very popular film about family and a grandmother who passed away. I am probably one of the only people left who have never seen the movie. The movie had an all star cast though and a great soundtrack to go with it. Boyz II Men were just one of the various groups on the soundtrack. Their song “A Song for Mama” became an instant hit on the soundtrack and they later released the song the following year close to Mother’s Day. It has no become a song I think about every Mother’s Day for the simple fact of timing. The movie Soul Food debuted around Thanksgiving, in less than a month’s time my own mother passed away from lung cancer.
As much as I would love to do a blog about my mother’s entire life I can’t. I was only around for the last twelve years of it so I missed a considerable amount of it. Ironically, some random song helps though. While I don’t know most of my mother’s life I do know my life with her so overall that has to be good enough for me to live with. Listening to Boyz II Men I do remember the small things about what see taught me. It’s amazing that over the years there are so many lessons we learn while we are young that we tend to forget who has taught it to us. Prime example looking both ways before crossing the street; this is something so simple and small, it’s even an automatic given, before crossing the street look both ways. So far it’s one lesson I have yet to fail; I haven’t been hit by a car yet.
Even though my mother passed when I was twelve she was the first girl in my life. Of course I had two or three girlfriends before the age of twelve, but in school, church and society we learn small lessons about how to treat our mothers that our own mothers don’t have to teach us. Every year Valentine’s Day roles around and every year I have three guy friends who are my age and I know even if they don’t have a girlfriend at the time they are still going to buy a Valentine’s Day card for their own mothers and mail the card off. I remember being younger and trying to make a card for my mother. Of course when you are a child you make some of the worst card in arts and crafts but mothers have a special built in skill of making it seem like the horrible ugly homemade card is a valuable piece of art that is priceless. I don’t have any of those cards but I remember being young and seeing her face and my mother would always give me a big hug and a kiss on the check afterwards. Now that’s a mother’s love, act like a card is priceless, but in its own way it is because the card is more of a symbol that she must be doing her job correctly.
Perhaps the very first protector I remember growing up was my mother. I remember being in the car with her one day and telling her how I was being picked on at church and how she told me I have to stand up for myself. I even remember the day I did stand up for myself and how proud I felt because the other children backed off. Little did I know my mother already stood up for me and had a little conversation with the parents of the three children who were being mean to me. Even though she didn’t want me to know, my mother was going to take care of the situation but she wanted me to learn how to take care of my own situations, after all you can’t go running to your mother every time something goes wrong in life.
Fearless would be one of the many adjectives I would use to describe my mother. For as far back as I can remember nothing scared her. Of course when you have a son you want to grow into a man you can’t run around being scared all the time, all that does is teach him to be scared. Well I know like to believe that nothing scares me. I am of course a God- fearing man, but the line stops there. I had an incident with a garden snake about a year ago and I was the only one who didn’t jump, scream, or run off. I think pretty much I have gone through the normal fears, being held up at gun point, snakes, possums, a car crash that should have been deadly, but right now I don’t have any fears, or at least any known fears and I know that’s because of her.
Unfortunately the song does take a negative turn though; one I hear so many people say whenever they find out my own mother is dead. So many people often times say they don’t know what they would do if their own mothers would die. Well I know what they would do, get a little depressed for a while but ultimately you have to pick up and move on. When I was twelve I think I was the last person in the world who knew my mother was going to die. I was hoping and praying beyond all hope that she would get better the next month. I still remember the family friend who told me though that it didn’t look like we were going to get the miracle we wanted. Unfortunately she was right and about two months later my mother died. After that I remember being a little numb and depressed for a while, but I remember snapping out of it. The key to moving on is remembering that a mother doesn’t die so that their child can join them two months later.
Present day I think about my life and how it is today. I also think about how different it may be with my mother in my world. Overall, not that I would have chosen to kill her off but I am pretty pleased with how my life is now. I have been very blessed and had wonderful opportunities come my way. If my mother remained alive my life would be different today. I know I don’t want to find out how different it would be though. Perhaps it would still be a great life or perhaps it would be worst. All I know is my mother did her job; despite her situation she remained a mother to me until the day she died. Even though her life was very short lived, especially in my eyes, Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum was the perfect mother to me proving it’s not quantity of time spent with someone but the quality of time. The quality of time she spent with me is enough to last me my lifetime.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Truth or dare is a game I was prohibited from playing while my mother was alive. She only told me it was a nasty game played by freaks and perverts. After playing the game once, my freshmen year of high school, I found out that she was right. Truth or dare is a game in which a person selects either truth or dare. If a person selects truth then he or she has to answer a question honestly or face certain consequences if it is found out that the individual is lying. If the person selects a dare then he or she usually has to perform a task that is normally embarrassing or sexual. This game is normally played by those in school ranging from elementary to college even. Some play the game to just manipulate other people into a situation they can control while others play the game to find out the truth. Unfortunately in real life the truth is often times a lot more elusive.
There are many kinds of lies in the world while there is only one truth. The truth is something that never changes while lies can range from being a small fib, to a simple white lie, to just leaving out details from the truth. The truth about lies though is that they are all the same. Most people like to fool themselves into believing that lies have a hierarchy scale and that a simple white lie is better than a fool out right big lie. Sadly this is not the case. Other people deceive themselves and like to believe that if they just leave out the unpleasant part of the truth they are more moral than someone who tells a lie, now the person is lying not only to themselves but other people too.
From a young age I have understood that lying is wrong. I have never and will never act like telling a lie is a morally right thing to do. Yet, in 2009 I understand lying completely. First, a lie is the perfect sin. Christians often fool themselves into believing a liar is more moral than a murder. While the law of man says that is the case the law of God sees both as being wrong and neither being greater or lesser than the other. Lies are not illegal for the most part, of course there are a few exceptions like being under oath in court, or on a resume or while talking to the police. For the most part though people are not arrested for lying. The biggest reason why lying is the most tempting sin is because if done right no one ever has to know that a person has lied.
While I think lying is wrong I understand them because people don’t know limits. I remember being younger and a teacher would tell a fellow student or myself instead of lying just tell someone “it’s none of their business”. While this is certainly the truth people don’t operate like that. By telling someone that whatever they are asking about is none of their business this is practically giving them permission to continue to pry only this time they pry behind your back or even worse they decide to make up their own story to soothe their minds. People lie to prevent other people from prying and making up stories. Although a lie is a lie I understand that. I know I’m guilty of that myself.
People also lie because they can’t handle the consequences of their actions. These are the worst kinds of lies simply because if a person can’t handle the fallout of their actions then those actions shouldn’t have been done in the first place. This usually ranges from people who cheat on their loves to people who lie to their professors about what really happened to their homework. While some make plans to lie in advance some lie on the spot because their actions have consequences that were much unexpected and possibly too scary to face.
Finally there are those who lie to protect others. This is something I do engage in often and feel no guilt for it. Sometimes people will come to me and ask me a question about someone else knowing I know what’s going on. Once again a simple “none of your business” doesn’t work. I would rather tell a protective and believable lie to end curiosity and protect the innocent person. After all I do believe if it’s not your secret to tell then you should not tell that secret.
Lies are told everyday by both good and bad people. Good people use lies to protect loved ones while bad people use lies to protect themselves. There is a thin line between a lie and the truth, the trouble is balancing the two. In extreme cases outside forces are even brought in to determine if a person is lying like a lie detector or someone who is great at watching body language. Yes a lie is in fact the perfect sin and no one knows this better than the person who can look another person dead in the eyes and come up with a believable lie on the spot.

LITTLE SINS OF HORROR (The Seven Deadly Sins)

Originally there were seven cardinal sins, sins that were deemed to be the most objectionable vices a person could have. This was according to the early Christian teachings used to educate and instruct the followers concerning an immoral man’s tendency to sin. These original seven deadly sins were pride, lying, murder, evil thoughts and intentions, being quick in doing wrong, lying on others, and manipulating others to do wrong to each other. The modern day list is considerably different with the exception of pride. The modern day list includes pride, wrath, avarice, gluttony, lust envy, and sloth. The modern day difference in the list is not the only difference that has come about with these sins.
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Sin
Traditional Saying
Modern Advertisement
Pride goes before a fall
You deserve it; have it your way; you are unique; we do it all for you
Don't let the sun go down on your anger
Get revenge, kick some butt
Don't be greedy
Get rich quick; stock up now; collect them all
Stop eating while you are still hungry
All you can eat; indulge yourself
Chastity is a virtue
Get lucky
Envy is a green-eyed monster
You'll be the envy of your friends; don't be left out
The early bird gets the worm
Pretend you're working
Recently I took a quiz. Unfortunately the results of the quiz did and didn’t surprise me. The quiz was on the seven deadly sins. I expected pride to be the sin that I would get, and it was; only the quiz showed where I fall with the other six sins. I expected wrath to be low and in fact it was very low, I just didn’t expect avarice to be almost as high as pride. In all full honesty I figured all my other sins would be low, but I also suffer from pride so go figure.
Wrath or rage is defined as an uncontrolled feeling of hatred and anger. These feelings can appear as denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system, and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others. The actions that usually surface from this sin are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and even genocide. Interestingly enough, wrath is the only sin not associated with selfish desires. The way to get over wrath though is with patience. Patience to know justice will prevail, patience to know revenge isn’t the right path, and patience in the heat of the moment, being able to take a step back instead of escalating the situation. Wrath seems to be a sin that is devouring the world in present times. It truly does take more strength though to show patience than wrath, but hopefully patience will prevail.
Sloth perhaps is the most tempting of all of the deadly sins because it is so seductive. Originally it was viewed as the failure to use one’s gifts accordingly. Then slowly it transformed into indifference, and then finally what we know of it today, simple laziness. Sloth is so tempting because it grows in one’s mind slowly. A person can go from working hard to going on a vacation that slowly but surely never ends. A man may simply start jump hunting and then take time off to play video games, and slowly the video games take over his life. A woman may go from cleaning constantly to watching more and more television to help the time go by. Neither of these seems too bad, at least in moderation. No law is broken by sloth and no one is hurt or killed by sloth. It’s no wonder this sin is so seductive. Another sin I have managed to beat through sheer hard work and remaining on the go. The true way to overcome sloth though is through diligence. Diligence to continue to work, no matter how tempting it is to take time off, diligence to keep cleaning despite the television being on in the background, and diligence to want and work toward a better tomorrow.
Gluttony, defined as the over-indulgence or over consumption of food or beverage to the point of waste. This sin is viewed as the most disgusting in the American society, but only if it shows; meaning that a skinny person and an obese person at a buffet are looked at differently. The skinny person is more likely to get a look that implies they need to go back for a couple of more plates while the obese person is more likely to receive looks that imply they should go workout instead of eat; yet both individuals are engaging in the same activity. Gluttony has also long been viewed as a lack of self control. Those who suffer from a substance abuse problem would traditionally fall into this category. Gluttony is the most selfish of all sins because it was once viewed as withholding food from others who are in need of it while one person eats to the point of waste for no reason. The way to avoid gluttony is by practicing temperance. Temperance traditionally was referenced with alcoholic beverages but still holds true, temperance to know when to stop drinking or abstain from drinking altogether, temperance not to make anther plate or go back for an extra helping, and temperance in knowing how hungry you are in the first place instead of getting too much food and forcing yourself to eat it. One may say temperance and self-control go hand in hand.
Envy is the most passive of all the sins. Envy is more of an insatiable desire Avarice and envy are often confused but they differ in two main ways; greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy applies more generally and also those who commit the sin of envy resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it. While this sin hurts no one but the person who holds the envy it is still a deadly sin. Envy is also viewed as the gateway deadly sin; while it initially is a passive sin it can sometimes lead to other deadly sins. The way to move past being envious is by sharing joy and kindness. By sharing in these traits the envious person is often able to become less envious and wanting in their desire for what they don’t have. Although a passive sin it still rots a person to the core. Kindness and joy promote a sharing mentality amongst people and everyone wins out in the end.
Lust is by far the sexiest of all the seven deadly sins. Lust is thought of in terms of excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Even though lust is passive it usually has to components, the person throwing out the temptation by wearing revealing clothes or performing sexual innuendos the other part is the one looking who lets the imagination, desires, and temptations take control of their thoughts. Lusts is said to be able to lead to so many sexually immoral things ranging from sexual addiction, fornication, adultery, the always shocking and perverted bestiality, and even something as violent as rape and sodomy. To turn away from lust a person must simply practice self control and chastity. Chastity is simply remaining a virgin until marriage, practicing celibacy, and upholding a virtuous character. Three traits that need to be practiced more but unfortunately in the world we leave in today people are encouraged to have numerous sexual partners as long as they practice safe sex, virginity is mocked and frowned upon, and character goes out the window when a good orgasm is on the line. While a person can never become a true virgin again it is never too late to become a born again virgin and wait until marriage to share that special gift that is non refundable and non returnable. Chastity is truly a part of having a virtuous character.
Avarice, the deadly sin a person can never have too much off. Very much similar to lust and gluttony avarice is the sin of excess, but in this case usually the excess of money to lead to riches, the excess of material things so a person can feel as though they are showing off wealth, and even in this case an excess of food to hoard it over others. This sin is viewed as having no limit and is dangerous because a greedy person is seen as a person who has no limit to what they will do to get more which includes lying, stealing, betrayal, and whatever else has to happen. A prime example of this would be the state of the economy in 2008 and 2009. Greed has lead people into bankruptcy and even made some people commit suicide. Although avarice is more of a blanket term for greed, greed in itself will do whatever it has to to gain more because with greed you can never have enough until you have all. To starve off greed all a person has to do is practice charity. The best charity is that which comes in the form of anonymity because the giver doesn’t benefit except for with feeling the sense of doing something moral
Now, pride, the deadliest of all the sins. Pride is said to be the unbeatable sin. Pride is said to be a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing and conduct. Pride is the sin I suffer from the most. After years of hard work and always being at the top, hearing the great things said about me, my head has grown unfortunately and now I have a lot of work to do to get it back to normal size. Pride is said to be the unbeatable sin because there is almost no real way to get rid of pride. It was rumored originally that the other six sins could be beaten with a selfless act, but to pride there is no selfless act. Anything a person does in a prideful state is done for the further glory of oneself. If a person purposely loses a game they claim they did it for a purpose while implying they could have won but chose not to for a more noble reason. Humility is the opposite of pride but unfortunately for a prideful person there is no true way to get to that point without having some kind of loss.
The seven deadly sins, said to be made and distributed by Satan himself. No one is immune from all of them, but the trick is in knowing which one is your biggest weakness and working on it day and night. While sin is tempting and hard to fight if you truly work hard then you can avoid most of the temptations in the world. For those who stumble and fall along the way there is redemption for those who so true remorse and want to be a better person in the future.

Friday, May 8, 2009

OH MY DOG. . . OF THUNDER ( Thor Houston Exum)

Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is a son of Odin, god of the Norse gods, and Jord, one of the most powerful gods. He married to Lady Sif, a fertility goddess and leader of the women warriors. His mistress was said to be the giantess Jarnsaxa, and their sons were Magni and Modi and his daughter is Thrud. Thor is helped by Hermod, his servant and the messenger of the gods. Thor was usually portrayed as a large, powerful man with eyes of lightning. He was very popular as the protector of both gods and humans against the forces of evil. He even surpassed his father Odin in popularity. The Norse believed that during a thunderstorm, Thor rode through the heavens on his chariot pulled by the goats. Lightning flashed whenever he threw his hammer Mjollnir. At the day of Ragnarok, Thor will kill this serpent but will die from its poison. His sons will inherit his hammer after his death.
Thor Houston Exum is slightly different from the Norse god of thunder though. Thor was born on February 4th, 2007 to Angel and Sox, both pure bred German Miniature Schnauzers. Originally given Tony, Thor was the fourth out of five in his litter of puppies. He was born very small and quite. The first time I met the former Tony was at a meeting for work. At the time I was unsure if I could handle having a dog because I keep a very busy schedule. Once I laid my eyes on Tony I knew I had to have him. He was initially very small and timid. At that time he didn’t have a bark so that made him very cute. Thor is the rarest kind of Schnauzer because his fur coat is completely black rather than the very common salt and pepper or silver color. I ended up taking Thor home a little earlier than I thought because his mother, Angel, was weaning her puppies off her because they were growing teeth. Even though it’s not encouraged to take a pup away from his family before eight weeks I got him at seven weeks old. The night that I took him home I wasn’t sure about anything not having any supplies at the time, the one thing I did know was that I had to change his name immediately from Tony. A few names stuck out and I was torn on what his new name should be but I knew the name had to start with a T; it’s a tradition in my family for first names to begin with T. After about five minutes and numerous T names my puppy lifted his head and looked at me all three times that I said Thor. From then on Tony has been Thor. His middle and last name were much easier to decide, I as well as my father and one of my brothers has the middle name Houston. And with the surname of Exum Tony officially became Thor Houston Exum.
Initially I was worried about having to house break Thor but one of the things he learned while being with his family was waiting to go outside to relieve himself. Although it was still rough because of the small size of his bladder Thor quickly picked up the rest and had very few accidents. One thing that was rough for Thor though was being alone. Our very first week together I had to shower with the curtain open so that he could see me and wouldn’t cry, I slept on the couch, once again so he could see me and wouldn’t cry, and he followed me around my apartment night and day or else he would cry. I didn’t realize how much he cried until I would come home from work and hear him crying. The crying continued into barking which became less cute and very loud for my neighbors. Which as a pet owner I must warn people, if you don’t like animals don’t move into an area that allows animals.
I was a coworker with the woman who sold me Thor and in a way I was bamboozled. I was told that he would be the perfect puppy for me because he had such a laid back and relaxed personality, very quiet and well mannered. When I first met him at my meeting for work he was very small and quiet and that was when I knew he was right for me. I found out the truth about his personality after I fell in love with him. Perhaps it is my fault but Thor lives up to his name. He has a very commanding personality. This is a dog that is not intimidated by any dog, big or small. His bark further shows it, while he will bark at people his bark reaches a new volume if he sees a dog and cannot get to that dog. He gets very jealous whenever he sees me on my phone, once he even got between the phone and me and knocked it out of my hand. But he does live up to be a protector and watcher like the Norse god Thor. Thor will stand guard all day and night at any patio window and watch for people passing by. Once he sees them he barks until they are gone. If someone is at the door, before they can knock he barks. This is a dog who decides when he plays fetch. Sometimes I will throw his bone and he will look at me and walk off. Other times he will grab his bone, open up my hand, and drop the bone in it then look at me in anticipation of throwing the bone. His personality is far from laid back and relaxed.
While he can be a handful Thor is a delight to have. He is the perfect example of why people, especially the elderly should adapt a dog. There have been plenty of mornings and nights I have been too tired to get up for me, but knowing I have a responsibility to take him outside I summon the discipline I need to get up and get out. Thor constantly looks out for me and is very eager to see me at any time of the day. He may be a picky dog, but my life is much richer with him in it. He may not be perfect but anyone who spends five minutes with Thor understands why it’s no wonder we are a team, Theron and Thor.

A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER (Being a Gentleman)

Sir Galahad, a character from Arthurian literature, was the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot and Lady Elaine of Corbenic. When he was born he was placed under the care his paternal great aunt and grew up at the nunnery. Once he became an adult, his father knighted him and took him to Camelot. At the Royal Court, Galahad sat in the “Siege Perilous”. This was a seat reserved by God for the purest of knights. King Arthur also sat in this seat many years earlier. Like King Arthur, Sir Galahad drew a sword from a stone, only Galahad’s message proclaimed him to be the “World’s Best Knight”. After setting out for and beholding the Holy Grail, Sir Galahad requested to die and his request was granted. In his death, Sir Galahad became known as the “Perfect Knight”. He was said to be perfect in courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry. Sir Galahad is known the world over for his gallantry and purity.
Sir Galahad is perhaps the first and best example of what a gentleman should be. Despite the way he came into the world Sir Galahad became so much more and to so many people. Sir Galahad recognized that being a gentleman is more than a full time job; it’s a way of life. It seems that in modern day being a gentleman has fallen by the wayside. In today’s time chivalry means nothing, the good guy finishes last, and the “thug” is the in thing for a male to be. It goes deeper than that though, men aren’t taught to be gentlemen these days.
So many people do not understand that to be a gentleman means more than just being born a man. Being a gentleman is a lifestyle that for the true gentleman, never changes. At one time in history, back when the man, or the husband, or the husband and father were head of the household they taught their sons that it’s not only ok to have morals and values, but it’s expected of a man to possess and demonstrate them. Often times, morals and values come from religion. Sadly, in the world we live in today, religion is not socially acceptable to talk about, prayer has been removed from schools, and religion has turned into simply attending a building one or two days a week. If morals and values are normally derived from a person’s religion, then it’s time to get back to the basics and be proud of one’s religious heritage. Once you are proud of that then you will automatically begin to live with good morals and values.
Next, is being a leader. A gentleman cannot stand on the side lines while others dictate and just hope everything turns out alright. While a leader must be a follower first, you wouldn’t have the more qualified person following a beginner. A gentleman is supposed to be a leader in his church, community, work, and home. President Obama is currently doing a good job of demonstrate an important characteristic of being a leader, being a good role model. While it’s no secret that President Obama smoked he cut down and quit to show Americans that smoking is a bad addiction to have and that a person shouldn’t smoke. In order to be a role model you have to live a life that people admire and would want to live themselves. Most of the better leaders in life are usually role models. A man must be a good role model and leader to fit the role of gentleman.
While pop culture has elevated the status of a pimp from villain to hero, a gentleman must treat women in a better manner than being a womanizer, disrespectful, or equal. A true gentleman doesn’t date and sleep with more than one woman at a time. To take that a step further gentlemen refrain from engaging in casual sex in the first place. A gentleman treats a woman, all women, no matter the status as a lady. That means no abuse of any kind, no profanity or vulgarity of any kind in front of them, opening doors for them, going down stairs in front of them and up the stairs behind them. Treating a woman like a lady is no small task, especially if the woman is more of a harlot. By treating a woman like a lady regardless of if she is or not this shows other men that they can do it too. It also goes a step further; by treating women better they start to act better. Presently, women are treated any kind of way and because of that they act any kind of way. Treating a woman like a lady is one thing a man must also treat men like gentlemen and be polite and courteous. Men also act the way they feel they have been treated. It never hurts to say a polite “excuse me” for accidently bumping into someone rather than give the individual a dirty look and in a rude way tell one to move. Yet once again, because of the times we live in today being polite and courteous is perceived as being weak and timid. It’s a shame that a person must be rude to be taken seriously and must degrade a woman to get her attention. Yet, a true gentleman must stay on track and steadfast to being a gentleman.
Lastly, a gentleman must always watch his temper and language. Attitude is everywhere these days. People seem to think if they show a little bit of attitude that they will get their way. This is demonstrated when a customer tries to return something that is past the return deadline, when a customer’s food comes out a little late or not properly cooked, and even just in traffic and someone cuts the other driver off. A gentleman knows attitude doesn’t get him anyway. Words do a lot more but only if used properly. Even while being upset a gentleman must refrain from profanity. When I was younger I was told the only acceptable time it is ok to curse is to demonstrate extreme emotion. I have since changed my mind on that. I refrain completely from certain words because they aren’t needed in life and because they aren’t the Lord’s will. I think though, that if a word is used sparingly and for an extreme reason, and only around other men then it is tolerable. Overall though temper and language must constantly be monitored. Whatever a gentleman does someone will always see or hear and remember.
Honestly, it takes so much to be a gentleman. After all if it were easy every man would be a gentleman. What is going to happen though is both men and women are going to not only have to see a need for gentleman but they are going to have to accept them and take the “thug” off of the pedestal. A gentleman must have character, knowledge and wisdom, morals and values, emotional control, and so much more. I recognize that I can’t control or change anyone else except for myself. Although sometimes it is hard I know I will remain a gentleman in all that I do. I will do my best to show young men how to be a gentleman and why go down that path instead of an easier path. Being a gentleman is not for all, it’s not easy, but it’s a decision I will stick to and encourage others to do the same.