That’s life, I guess. . .

David - Bloomington, Illinois
Entered on July 30, 2008

That’s life, I guess. . .

One evening a friend that I had not seen for a time went out for a beer and a game of pool. I returned from buying the first round and he had set up the pool table and he warned me about a couple of fellows that were sitting at table in a dark corner. I thought nothing of it. “Why would they want to do anything to me? I haven’t caused them any harm and they don’t know me.” I thought to myself. I paid them no attention and the evening went on. After not very long, one of them, for some unknown reason, punched me in the mouth knocking me down. If not for my friend I may have been quite injured. The police were called, but the two fellows ran away. When I talked to the police officer asked him why a person would want to do such a thing. I didn’t even remember what they looked like because I didn’t give them any attention. His response was, “Some people are just jerks.” though he used a more colorful descriptive term. Until then I believed that everyone had a bit of good in them no matter what. Reality literally punched me in the face to change my view.

I am a very spiritual person (not necessarily religious) and that was quite a turning point in my life. I would allow the homeless to spend the night in my humble apartment, give what I could—sometimes more—to those who asked, and generally try to help anyone who appeared to need it. I thought that it was worth the sacrifice, even if I lost a couple c.d.s or a shirt or a few pairs of socks. I thought that they likely needed it more than I did, and I was doing well enough with my life. After getting to know some of these people, I discovered that they are what a person might call “professional homeless”: people who are quite able to function in society, but chose the easy way through the manipulation of the generous and kind to support drug and/or alcohol addictions. I know that not all homeless are like that; some are genuinely down on their luck, or mentally or physically incapable to function in society and are out of the radar of the government to receive aid, as they likely deserve.

I also once had a friend that was a self professed manipulator of people, and he was proud of it. He was a very intelligent man and a talented artist. I would have wonderful conversations with him many times about various subjects and we would have competitive chess games. However, eventually I would always feel taken advantage of by one means or another and after weeks or months I would end our friendship because of that. He would calmly reason that he had told me what kind of person he was when we met and I should not be surprised. This kind of thing happened again and again (he is a very skilled manipulator) always ending the same way and him returning appearing to have learned the error of his ways. I did eventually end the friendship, but in retrospect I realize that I was quite foolish to have taken so long. This was a person, like so many other people in the world, who are aware of the positive side of spirituality, but prefer to gain from the dark side.

All of these revelations that came to me after that fateful evening were definitely life changing. I came to believe that, unfortunately there are people who are plain bad. As I mentioned, I am a spiritual person which made this difficult to handle at first. I believe in free will for humankind, so that made it made it even more difficult to handle. Why would a person want to cause harm to another person or thing? A person might think that this would cause one’s spirituality to waver and even fail. What my careful contemplations and searches for the truth have done is increase my faith. I still believe that people have the ability to change their lives, but I also believe that some just don’t want to, and sadly they never will.