Today I have a special word. From my brother, Tim. I love him to bits and when he sent his to a few of us siblings last week, I asked him if he’d like to guest blog for me. Guess what? He said “yes”. Here is what he had to say and I hope it strikes a chord or provokes some careful thought in you.
Signs, Lines, and Borders
(by Timothy Bagger)
I was on Facebook the other day checking the new posts. It is a great way for me to keep up with what is going on in my family’s lives at a glance. I received a request from an old childhood friend to play a game, “Words with Friends.” Sounded like fun. OK. I clicked the accept button and off we went.
It is much like Scrabble. All you need to play is the ability to spell. Easy enough. I never was too good at it, but what the heck. I wasn’t sure what the abbreviated letters meant, like DW or DL or TW. Maybe they were letters you were supposed to start your word with? Anyway, after the first game it was 68 to 783; I lost. I told my wife about my thrashing, and of course, like a good supportive wife, she laughed. She looked at the board and explained what the abbreviated letters meant. DW means “Double Word,” and so on. Can you say, “Hello McFly!”
Ok, I was ready for the next game. I didn’t get beat as badly; 224 to 628. Ok not good. Room for growth, as they say. My supportive wife asked how I did in round two. “Better,” I said. I was amazed at some of the words he came up with. On the side of the board they give the definition of each word played. My wife came over as I was trying to figure out how to come up with my next word, and looked over my shoulder at the letters I had to work with. She said, “Why don’t you play ‘SEPARATE’ for 68 points?” I looked up in amazement at how fast she came up with that word with my letters. “How did you do that?”
“It’s easy if you have this on your phone: Scrabble Helps.”
“Let me see that. Hey, that’s cheating!” I said.
“Not really. How do think your buddy is coming up with words you have never heard of, let alone know the meaning?” She said, “It is just like using a calculator for math only for words. Put the dictionary down and get with the program. Take that quantum leap into the 21st century and you may win a game or two.”
“OK, OK maybe it’s not cheating,” I said.
The games started getting closer. Then the whisper from behind me (my wife) said, “I can show you a way to win all of your games.”
“Look at this app you can download.”
They didn’t even sugar coat it. “How to Cheat at ‘Words with Friends’ and Win Every Time.”
The voice said, “It is just a game. Nobody will know. And you can win!”
"So", I said, "it would be my computer against his computer, right? We would both be lying."
The fact that it is ‘just a game’ is the vehicle that calls into question our integrity. We have just crossed an invisible line that calls our character into question. Character has been defined as what a person does when no one else is looking.
What we can all see in the world today on a larger scale are signs, lines, and borders being crossed and violated everywhere. How did we as a society get to where we are?
As I thought about it for a moment an old song from my high school days by the “Five Man Electrical Band” came to mind. “SIGNS.”You remember.“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, can’t you read the signs?” Kind of funny now. A silly song that I didn’t think much of at the time, but the idea that was set forth was that no one had the right to keep out anyone from anywhere. Especially “long haired freaky people.” One of the lines in the song says, “If God were here he’d tell you to your face ‘Man, you’re some kinda sinner!’”
I wondered what ever happen to the guys in that band? You guessed it. They all have short hair now and live in houses with fences and locks on their doors.
Back to those invisible lines I talked about. Sometimes I wish they had the kind of warning bumps we have on our highways that sound on your tires when you are going off the road. Sometimes we can all make mountains out of molehills as they say, and maybe this is the case here, but as I see the moral and ethical standards falling all around me it seems to me like most departures from those standard start gradually. I hope, when those alarms sound on what we call the little things, I will heed the warning and do what I know is right. A thrifty friend once told me, “If you watch the nickels and dimes, the dollars will take care of themselves.” Well if we watch the small tests that come our way, then the big tests will take care of themselves.
Something to think about.
Yhtomit: 64 points.
What will you do when you come to the signs, lines, and borders in your life?
Thank you, Tim!
Let us know what you think. Oh – and don’t forget to scramble your name at the end of your comment. Fun.
Image: Free Digital Photos