Do not be afraid. And other social media DOHs.
by Stan Faryna
Play the soundcloud player to hear the podcast. Or download it here. The podcast sounds awesome with earphones or played on hi-fi speakers. Try it and tell me what you think.
Mobile users: you should be able to hear the podcast here.
This is the last podcast that I can afford to make with the awesome Adrian Klein. It’s the twelfth podcast. My $5,000 budget was spent by the seventh podcast. In fact, Adrian went far beyond the budget to produce, concept, and make the sound for all 12 podcasts. Adrian easily performed $10,000 in services. I have a great debt of friendship to that amazing young man.
The 12 podcasts were intended by me as a gift to you, the reader, and also for my son who might learn English and hear them one day. Of course, miracles can happen and someone might want to syndicate future podcasts. You’ll be the first to know if that happens.
Yes, I could continue to make podcasts by myself. But that would be grungy and raw like a basement production with all the bachelor smell. That’s just not my style. It never was.
Nonetheless, I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to have made these 12 podcasts. Thank you again, Adrian. I feel so much closer to those readers who reached out to me through their comments, likes, tweets, and wall posts.
Thank you. You touched my heart.
I know some of you now feel closer to me because you heard my voice speak my words. And you made me feel your love.
Thank you. And a million-gazillion times – thank you!
Do not be afraid
Without love, we cannot be whole-hearted. Because love breaks through the barricades that fear puts up to stop us from feeling strongly, doing what’s right, and being true.
That’s what I was thinking when I looked up and noticed the Range Rover pointed at me. I was walking along the side of the road. Stirbei Voda is under construction at the Berzei intersection.
The driver was a blonde, twenty something hottie. I presume she was a hottie. Mostly, because of the car. I imagined she had a boy friend that was 10 to 20 years older than her. Most likely, it was his car. These kind of arrangements are normal in Europe. Anyway, she was wearing sunglasses so I couldn’t get a sense of her face. Was she a complete package or not? I didn’t know.
She was talking on her mobile phone and adjusting the radio at the same time.
If I were younger, I would reach into my pocket and throw my iPhone at her windshield to alert her of what was about to happen. She’d veer off. I’d feel that I was master of my fate. Perhaps, I would again feel myself to be yet another young master of the universe.
I used to feel brash and cavalier like that. Especially in my twenties. Less so in my thirties.
Robert F. Kennedy wrote this about youth: youth is a time when courage outweighs timidity.
Youth — not a time of life but a state of mind… a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.
She looked up at the last minute, swerved, and shot down the road past me. She was still talking on her mobile phone…
Thank you, God.
I wasn’t afraid about what had almost happened. I wasn’t even afraid before she had looked up. I stopped to take a hard puff on my cigarette as I confirmed the trajectory.
I should have been afraid. On the other hand, I was surprised that the absence of fear (of what might have happened) did not realize as yet another exercise in moral action and righteous indignation.
I could have taken off her side view mirror as the Range Rover shot by me. That’s how close she came to taking me out. Normally, I do such things.
Actually, I’m surprised at myself. I’m surprised that I didn’t rip off her side view mirror.
Because that is totally not “me” to let an opportunity for teaching to slip through my fingers. Anyone who knows me well in person knows that I love to teach lessons to people who come into my space without respect for the dignity of the human person. Partly, because people, like dogs, need to be corrected within one second of their mistake.
Don’t you agree, Dino?
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
Getting home, Angelou’s words again reminded me of a long ago night in Los Angeles when I stepped in front of a loaded .45 to save the stranger pointing his handgun at me. I was a student at the University of Southern California. But that night, I was far off the campus.
That night, Ari and I were visiting a mutual friend, Adam.
Ari was a 30-something illegal immigrant from Israel, the son of Auschwitz survivors, and a reluctant exile of a missile-making kibbutz.
Ari and I loved to hear Adam play his guitar. We were both sure that Adam was going to be a big, big star. Someday. Despite his black-painted nails. Or, maybe, because of them!
Adam was one of the many renters in a big house in a bad neighborhood. Like the other houses on that broken-down street, it was almost a mansion.
The houses had been built for some of the most wealthy of families of Los Angeles in the early 1900s – long before the hey day of Beverly Hills. But the neighborhood’s demographic had changed several times since then. It was mostly a Hispanic neighborhood now – illegal and legal immigrants renting rooms where the paint was peeling for sixty years – lead paint, no doubt.
To be honest, I was more than a little nervous about being there. I knew it to be a neighborhood torn between two Hispanic gangs.
A year or so after this night, a young man from this neighborhood would be slain in a coffee shop owned and operated by a middle-aged French-Algerian couple. In the last years of my college days, the Ziane’s had become my family away from home. The night of that senseless gang slaying, I would be the one to mop up the blood with buckets and buckets of hot water and Clorox.
But that’s another story for another time.
Unfortunately, Adam didn’t have a lot of choices about where he could rent. He was struggling to pay for school as it was. He couldn’t afford campus housing offered by the University. That’s why he was living in this big house in a bad neighborhood.
One of Adam’s house mates was a family of six from El Salvador. They had a small room. About six by eight feet.
Another housemate was a middle-aged African American woman. Angela fostered three orphans (state wards) to pay for the rent and booze. She wanted to know what she could do for the bottle of Jack Daniels that Ari was carrying.
We shut the door to Adam’s room.
Adam had been transcribing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for electric guitar. He was playing a tape of his work when we heard a noisy commotion outside: yelling, screaming and glass breaking. It wasn’t any business of ours, but we went out to see what was going on.
We went outside against Ari’s protests. Being an illegal immigrant, Ari tended to avoid being near or around any kind of trouble.
Apparently, Adam had Nicaraguan neighbors.
A man had come home from work to find his best friend in bed with his wife. He was about to execute the offender in the front yard. The offender, drunk and pathetic, was on his knees crying and begging for his life. The wife, also drunk, was yelling and begging for someone to stop the madness.
Adam, Ari, and I didn’t know what to do – other than call the police.
Adam went to call the police. But it was obvious to me there wasn’t time enough for L.A.P.D. to get there.
Some of the other neighbors gathered around to see – but nobody was doing or saying anything.
The furious husband ripped off his shirt to reveal terrible scars stretching across his chest and back – scars he had received as a three-time war prisoner of the Sandinista. He told everyone watching how he had suffered enough. He was a good man, he worked hard for his family, but enough was enough.
Moved out of compassion for the betrayed husband, I walked up and put myself physically between him and the offender.
I was afraid. But what else could I do?
I could only hope that he was a good enough man not to shoot a well-intentioned young man. Unbid tears streamed from my eyes.
The offender hugged my legs and begged me to save him. The husband raised the .45 to my face.
I told the husband that I didn’t want to die. I told him I didn’t want anyone to die. Not tonight.
I was pretty sure I was going to die. But I was also sure that I would make a difference that night. My death would serve a purpose – even if only to touch the hearts of the witnesses. To remind them that we must not be prisoners of fear.
People shouted to me to get out of there.
I put my hand on a long scar that ran across his chest. I told him that this was not the way. That he was a good man. And good men do not do evil.
The police arrived an hour after the show was over. They asked questions. Nobody said anything.
Later that night and after a bottle of Jack Daniels, Ari and Adam came to the conclusion that I was a first class dumbass.
Within each of us is a heart that can wage a tireless, bold fight against fear, hatred, and misunderstanding – not to mention violence, injustice, and evil of every kind.
In our hearts, there is hope and a Dream that generously applies to all. Sometimes, we can share that hope and Dream with others and change the outcome of an unfortunate moment.
It can be shared, I believe, because this Dream, like Abraham Lincoln’s dream of the last best hope, travels the longer road to human freedom.
When we are true, the unquestionable authority and grace of love moves in our hearts. And the hearts of others.
Or am I mad?
1 September 2011
P.S. Special thanks to Robert Pattinson for his awesome vocals. Yeah, Hollywood star Robert Pattinson of the box-office smashing Twilight movies.
Faryna Podcasts recently produced by Adrian Klein:
Faryna Podcast EP12 Information
Do not be afraid by Stan Faryna. ©2011 Some Rights Reserved.
Produced by Adrian Klein. http://www.adrianklein.co.uk
Music by Adrian Klein. Some Rights Reserved by Adrian Klein
Vocals: Robert Pattinson – yeah, Twilight’s Robert Pattinson