What Is A Person Worth

My friend Bill wondered aloud what name the witness protection program gave me this week and I had to laugh. All he had to do is ask Gini and she’ll tell him that I am Abigail Van Buren.

I couldn’t quite decide to write about this evening so I decided to take a glance at a bunch of old posts and see if anything struck my fancy.

I don’t know that I would characterize these as my best or worst posts. They’re really just a random sample of things I have written about, but I like a lot of what I see in there. Plenty of material to expand upon and some good memories.

Spent a few minutes today thinking about social media and what happens within it. Social media is about people but we have this habit of not treating them as well as we should. Instead of looking at people as people we talk about followers, fans and subscribers.

Instead of engaging with them we are collecting them like trophies. I try to give the benefit of the doubt and say that most of us aren’t doing this to be mean, nasty, uncaring or insensitive. But there is limited time in the day and once you reach a certain place you can’t interact with everyone.

All you can do is be open and try to have a conversation with the folks that visit you in the places you hang out on. And yet while I think out loud I still ask you to like my FB fan page and to subscribe to the blog.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe it doesn’t because I am honest when I tell you that I am trying to grow my platform and gain more attention.

Maybe it doesn’t because the reason I want to do this is that I am working on writing a book now and I am trying to use all of the resources I have to make it happen.

You are welcome to follow along over here. That last link is to the blog I set up for the book.

Check it out. Read some and you might find that you like it. Sometimes I can spin a decent yarn and that joint has more than a few of them in it.

Want a sample? Here try this:

There was a time not so long ago when you used to let me see you. A time when youweren’t guarded or reserved. You didn’t hide behind the walls of the fortress you built. The castle doors were wide open and the knights that served as your gatekeepers would welcome me.

They knew that my arrival would fill your heart with the same joy that I felt and so they’d send you word of my approach. I’d ride over the bridge and find you waiting for me, arms wide open and a smile that put the Cheshire cat’s grin to shame.

I’d slip off of my horse and find you in my arms. And for a moment we’d do nothing but hold each other in silence. Later we’d walk off holding hands and share the stories of our days and the things that happened while we were apart.

It was our secret world.

And then something happened. Things changed. I left the castle and when I returned the gates were closed and new guards had been placed were the old had once stood. New guards who didn’t know my name and didn’t care to learn it.

I tried to explain to them that they had made a mistake. I used logic and reason and calmly expressed my concern over their ambivalence to my position. And when logic and reason failed I promised to bring down the castle walls upon their heads. I made a blood vow to see that they received their just rewards and promised that their intransigence would be met by an iron fist.

None of it made a difference. They stood firm. And just as I was ready to launch my personal war upon Troy I learned that you were behind it all. Discovered that you had given the orders not to let me in. I was more than a little dismayed by this news.

I stood outside the walls and in the pouring rain I screamed your name. And for just a moment you appeared at the walls. You stood in silence, a pained expression upon your face and then turned and walked away. “Don’t go,” I shouted. I yelled again and tried to remind you that we could work it out. But you kept on walking.

So I got back on my horse and left. But not before I promised to come back again. Like Macarthur I swore that I would return. And I did…many times.

More than once I have set up camp at the base of the walls. And more than once I have found you standing there in silence. You don’t invite me in but you don’t tell me to go either. So I continue to search for the key that will open those gates. I continue to look for a way to tear down your walls.

I work in darkness and I work in light. In spite of adversity I work to find the way back to our secret world. Only time will tell if this is a fool’s errand or a noble quest. But at the end of the day I do what I must so that I can accept whatever the outcome of this journey may be.

This story that I am working on is what it is all about for me. It is part of a grand adventure in which I do my best to live my dreams and not dream my life.

The last handful of years have been lousy. There have been some significant bright spots but there has been a lot of crap too. I have been plowing the fields with my mouth and wandering through hell covered in gasoline.

But I am a fighter, a scrapper, a doer and most importantly a father. That means there is no quit in me. I don’t give up. I turn my face up at the sun and smile because if you keep walking you get beyond the challenges and out of reach of those crap flinging monkeys.

In the interim I am trying to remember to treat the people I meet like people and not just a number because a person is worth more than that.

This was written as part of the Just Write project. It is one of my favorite link ups and definitely worth a look.

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  1. Adrienne February 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

    You are just multi-talented Jack, there’s no other way to say that.

    I know what you mean about the social networking sites. I think that they have used the terms, friends, followers and fans so that people may know what site they are referring to. Heck, I’d love for them all to just be my friends but I can’t fathom getting to know thousands of people. It would be extremely hard for me to keep up with.

    Loved the story, you have such a way with words. I have no doubt your book will be exceptional!

    • Jack February 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Hi Adrienne,

      Heck, I am just doing my best to have fun and make good things happen. The more time I spend here the more I remember that it is people that make the difference.

      I appreciate your kind words. I think that part of the fun of in blogging and social media is having the opportunity to learn these things about each other and ourselves.

  2. Stan Faryna January 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Dear Abigail,

    This is worthy of a blog post unto itself.

    “… even if you don’t like someone there is value in using your long spoon to feed each other.”

    Just sayin’

    Best regards,


  3. Gina January 31, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for being a great place to visit. Man, you’ve got lots of stuff going on and out there. Luckily, you’re funny and engaging so we follow!

    I like the story (the novel?). Gets me thinking. Really like “live my dreams and not dream my life”.

  4. Elena Patrice January 31, 2012 at 6:26 am

    There’s no quit in me and I don’t give up either Jack … for the basically the same reasons. I think you, and a few select others, treat people well … there’s sincerity and a decency that is felt. For me I try to do the same and find myself thinking, praying, and even worrying for the people I’ve been blessed to meet on this cyber journey. I think about your struggles and appreciate them perhaps because I (sometimes painfully so) relate and it comforts me. I know you’re going to be alright … you have to be and so do I.

    Happy Tuesday!

    • Jack January 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Hi Elena,

      Well I like to think that the smart people understand that even if you don’t like someone there is value in using your long spoon to feed each other.

      I am not always good about it, but I often write as a reminder to myself as much as anything else.

      Yep, we’ll get through all this crap and hit the other side ‘cuz it is what we do.

  5. Jayme Soulati January 31, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Dang dude. You’re covering a lot of ground here. I thought my comment would be about peeps as commodities. Then I thought I better suggest the lovely imagery I garnered reading your castle love affair gone awry. Then, I wondered if I should investigate the Writing Project thingy.

    Suffice it to say, you’re a multi-taskin’ man. Like.

    • Jack January 31, 2012 at 8:23 am

      Yo Soulati,

      Ya know I have got to speak to the people, the friends and the jamokes that come strolling through here with their hats tilted at a jaunty angle.

      If you want to do some free writing “Just Write” is a nice place to do it. But I have to warn you, marketing and PR people aren’t always capable of crossing that line. 😉

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