One of these things that is happening in the world right now and in my environment is that I have been tagged by several people doing the Notes on Facebook titled “25 Random Things About Me.”
1. I was born in Crowley, Louisiana and not Abbeville although Abbeville has always been my hometown and ancestral place.
2. I won the 1985 Sophomore Class Award awarded to a male student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. There was another award of the same name given to a female student. She was an attractive musician whom I did not know.
3. I was baptized, made my First Communion and was married at Saint Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, Louisiana.
4. I have never learned to surf or scuba dive. I am able to fish, sail, canoe, pilot a motorboat and snorkel. I do not excel at those things, but I can do them.
In the world there is always a struggle for the future. That is more true now than at many other times.We livein an age when many ties to the past are being sacrificed in the name of bringing about a better future. While there are also struggles more clearly directed to the present and the past the struggle over the future is a very important one and the people who excel in that struggle often (but not always) gain great influence in the struggles over the past and the present as well. Whether it be American MBA earners in the eighties or China’s batches of engineers and international accountants many young people have rejoiced to be part of a wave of young people making a new future. But I am writing in this note about the struggle for the future. But we have been known to disagree as humans about the whole nature of the future. What do people say about the future? ” The future is good and it is getting better”. Or is it bad and getting worse? Or is it completely unpredictable?
5. I have been published in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television where I reviewed a book called “FDR’ Moviemaker: Pare Lorenz Memoirs and Scripts”.
6. I earned a Master of Arts Degree in History from LSU in 1993.
Nonetheless, despite an interest in history and some training in that field I remember the early honors, sacraments and water sports. I still find that I am at least wanting to find a future. The future still summons me more than the past.
7. I belonged to Mensa legitimately for high scores on IQ and other standardized tests.
8. Michelle Denise Broussard Summers and I lived together as husband and wife for more than seven years after just less than a year of being promised and then engaged.
9. I got new US Senator (or Rep. & Senate Candidate) John Breaux to endorse me in college when I applied for a position with the CIA. I wanted to be an operative. I did not make it.
I know that for me there are not a lot of likely scenarios for a future that appeals to me a great deal. I have made choices I cannot really renounce or deny but which involved passing on some things I would have needed to have done by now to have any real chance at what I would describe as an effective pursuit of happiness. I am instead able to say that I have found a great number of compensations that have made me glad and content in various ways. I have also had a number of things happen which have served to provide other forms of satisfaction than happiness. Lastly, I have to live with many miserable and disappointing outcomes that are somewhat predictable given the choices I made and the situations I have been in during my life.
10. My Dad taught me to fish and hunt but my great-uncle Clay R. Summers II bought me my first firearm. I t was a “four-ten” shotgun. It was both single shot and crack barrel and I thought it was very beautiful. I was turning nine years old.
11. I have fired 20 gauges, 16 gauges, 12 gauges and other shotguns. I have shot 22,38 and 45 caliber pistols as well as nine millimeter pistols.
12. I was treated for clinical depression ( but not a very severe case) when Michelle and I were splitting up I was about to ditch Tulane Law School for the second time.
I do struggle every day for the future. I do care about the future and want it to be better. I still think I have some ideas about how the future could be made better than it is likely to be as I see things going.
One way that I have struggled for the future is through caring for my younger brothers and sisters, teaching younger people than myself and caring for my nieces and nephews. However, all of this conceivably optimistic work and play has taken place against the background and in the context of what has often been and often still is a living nightmare. I would describe a great deal of my life as a living nightmare. However, I know countless other people whose lives I would describe in the same way. Therefore, I have felt the need to persevere in my struggle as best I could in order to honor their suffering and hopes as well as my own.
13. I have known people personally and socially who endured one or more of the following sufferings:
they were raped or molested as children, stabbed, shot, arrested, imprisoned, beaten frequently, raped and prostituted, robbed, burnt alive to death, drowned, nearly drowned, expelled, tortured, and blackmailed.
14. I had two broken arms at different times as a child. I was bitten by a snake, stung by bees, wasps, a poisonous centipede, spiders, dogs and angry men I was holding in restraint to stop them beating women. I was at various times prior to adulthood hit with rocks, shovels and ropes and was on several small vessels that sunk.
15. I have brought prayer cards, fruit and soap to prisoners in various States in this country and in other countries. I used to drive my cousin to jail often when he was on work release and pick him up afterwards.
16. I am a mediocre horseman at best but never a non horseman since I was a very small child.
I value family but think many families are truly horrific in many important ways. I value religion but see religion often twisted into something horrible. I value work but see much work making things much worse in every way.The list of such things goes on almost ad infinitum. As a small not very religious child I several times considered killing myself not out of depression or despair but as the most accessible way to avoid assisting all the forces and people I saw making a really bad human world constantly much worse. The things I have seen as an adult that were unknown to me then have largely been very bad as well. To remarkable degree life is hell. I am not the only one to make that observation. However, I have learned to desire life and despise suicide on other and different grounds than I had then.
17. I had a scene shooting an automatic weapon in addition to my work as an extra in The Blob with Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith but the filmed sequence did not make it into the final film. A picture of me in a white decontamination suit was published in the Abbeville Meridional with the caption “Beau is Bad”.
18. I had just gotten back from my honeymoon when I worked on The Blob and was going to school full-time for the last half of that series of 15 hour shooting days. The money meant a lot to me.
19. I played “Stage Manager” in a production of “Our Town” at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
What then can a pessimist do when the effort to shape a better future is in question? What can a pessimist do when he is also broke, long out of the flow of gainful work and commerce, divorced childless, unhappy and often ill to help make the world better? This sort of question is not easily answered well. I am trying to do things. I do see the world as largely a disaster and my own life as likely to get increasingly worse and yet I do try to work towards a better future. But still life is really hell.
20. Besides working for the Abbeville Meridional and the Daily Advertiser as a staff writer I also wrote for the Vermilion which was USL’s student newspaper. We ran the Matt Groening(sp) cartoon strips “School in Hell” and “Life in Hell”.
Not everything in life is hell. I was treated cruelly by many when I was a child in ways I could never deserve but I have tried to be kind to children. I have fed many hungry children a few hot meals and helped some get off the street where they were homeless. Most of all the best and happiest part of me was the time I spent reading to and caring for my younger brothers and sisters as well as nieces and nephews. Those good energies did not come from nowhere. My Mother taught me to read when I was very young and to swim and Dad taught me to ride and shoot. There were puppies for Christmas and treats in season. I think that compared to many children I was advantaged. But there were plenty of bad times as well some were extraordinarily bad. I maybe learned to be able to love in difficult times.
21.I used to bring my little sisters to Nancy Knobloch School on the Summer Institute of Linguistics base at Nazuli once a week. We were all living in Malaybalay in the same Bukidnon Province of the Philippines on the Island of Mindanao.
22. I also published some pieces in the Straight Street magazine in Malaybalay in those days.
In my life I have been to a lot of places and engaged in a great number of activities and relationships. So often there have been obstacles and distractions which I was not entirely able to deal with effectively. Like most people (except even more so) I was made up in such a way that I longed for good things from the human past which were not readily available in my own life and environs. We all face difficulties we cannot resolve. I have had to come to the conclusions that the world I live in is largely made up of a mass of horrors which I find no less horrible because they are both widespread and enduring. But I also have seen happiness, goodness and the heavenly on this same Earth. A good bit of life is made up of enjoying a mass of pleasure and struggling for good outcomes that might actually happen.
23. I reached my forty quarters of minimum FICA payments to be fully vested in Social Security quite a few years ago. I have never earned a really large salary.
24. I taught at St. Thomas More High School, Travel Talk Academy in Baton Rouge, he Vermilion Parish School Board’s system, The Shandong Institute of Business and Technology in Yantai, Shandong , China and in numerous short-term venues and outlets.
Right now, two of the forward-looking things which I am doing involve Facebook. One of them is starting a group called “The Crater Cap Concept Colony Group” and another is starting a Facebook group called “Seedbed of a New Geopolitics”. However, it is impossible for me to know if much of anything good will come from these two efforts.
25. I am not very optimistic about my own future but I do try every day for myself as well as for things bigger than myself.
I wonder what I might add to a longer list if I live long enough to see some things differently….