Originally posted August 11th, 2013
By Michael Konik
This is no joke. This is an outrage.
One of our real American heroes, Sgt. Robert W. Richards, a Marine sniper, pleaded guilty to “dereliction of duty” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.” He was demoted to corporal. Lower pay. Fewer stripes.
At least he was permitted to keep his retirement health benefits.
His “crime”? He was filmed in full combat gear urinating on the corpses of three Afghani Taliban insurgents, declaring “have a nice day, buddy,” while tinkling. A 39-second video of the incident circulated on the Internet, where, predictably, peace and love types called for Sgt. Richards to be kicked out of the armed services. Now they’re livid that one of our courageous heroes “only” got demoted.
What have we become, America? Must we always be offering the world apologies for our behavior? Richards is no criminal. He’s a brave warrior who keeps . . . → Read More: Demoting a Hero
Originally posted December 9th, 2012
By Michael Konik
I helped an old man load his groceries into the trunk of his car, which was parked curbside near the entrance to a 99-Cent store. He walked with a cane and seemed to have trouble handling his bags. A watermelon had fallen to the sidewalk, somehow escaping unblemished. But things didn’t look as though they would end well.
Do they ever? According to the old man, they do not. He thanked me profusely for assisting, and then he seemed to want to explain why he needed help, and then he sensed that this was already understood by both of us. He shook his bald head, covered by a baseball cap. Then he said, “Don’t ever get old. Stay the way you are now. Getting old. It’s no good.”
At a birthday party for an elegant lady turning 100, the centarian’s daughter . . . → Read More: Bad Endings
Originally posted August 5th, 2012
By Michael Konik
I was young like you once. Don’t laugh. It seems impossible, I know. An old codger like me of 77! You probably can’t picture when I was only 47 and healthy, with all my own teeth and a libido that didn’t yet require boner pills.
Sure, that was three decades ago, and I look a lot different, what with the thinning hair, sloping shoulders, and cute little pot belly. But my memory is still sharp, even with all the weed I smoked. I remember perfectly what we were like 30 years ago, back in ’12, and I’m glad your professor asked you to do this project. I’m glad you’re talking to the older generation. Folks like me know what America was like back then, back in the time of Obama. The USA was different.
She was also a wife and a mother and a sister. She was 41. She follows to the grave a brother, who died in a car accident when he was 18.
What does one say to her parents? How flimsy and impotent words seem in the face of these outrages, when the natural order of life has been confused and perverted. For anyone who hasn’t suffered the incomprehensible losses this family has endured, it seems preposterous to offer comfort and encouragement. What qualifications or insight could we have? Only they, we imagine, fully understand the intense grief that accompanies the death of a young son. And now the pain of losing an adult daughter. It’s really almost too much for words, too much for any parent to bear.
Originally posted March 25th, 2012
By Michael Konik
Outrageous. Horrifying. Disgusting.
These were some of the adjectives hurled in the press when news broke that the former world champions of football, the New Orleans Saints, for years had instituted a bounty system that rewarded their players for knocking opponents out the game. Players contributed to an in-house pool and collected $1,000-$1,500 when they scored a knockout. Hitting someone so hard that they required a stretcher or motorized cart to be removed from the field earned a special commendation.
The National Football League, presenters of America’s favorite gladiatorial spectacle, handed down sentences to the malefactors. The General Manager and an assistant coach were suspended without pay for about half the upcoming season. The head coach, Sean Payton, was banned for the entire year. And in a maneuver eerily reminiscent of the Soviet Gulag, the former defensive coordinator and alleged mastermind of the bounty program, Greg . . . → Read More: Violence Voyeurism
Originally posted December 4th, 2011
By Michael Konik
Last week I experienced my first ride inside the back of an ambulance rushing to a hospital emergency room. The sirens wailed while paramedics monitored my vital signs and called out important-sounding numbers. I looked up from the gurney I was attached to, noting the oxygen valve on the ceiling, the lights, the latched compartments containing the tools of triage, and since I get motion sickness when traveling backwards I concentrated on breathing steadily and not vomiting. I heard the beeping of an EKG monitor and the crackling of a two-way radio and felt the pressure of a plastic mask over my mouth and on the bridge of my nose.
This is what many people see before they die, I realized: the inside of a speeding ambulance filled with mustachioed firemen-paramedics.
Generosity makes everyone involved feel good. Both the recipient and the giver derive pleasure from the act of sharing, albeit in different ways. (It’s better to give than to receive?) Generosity is one of the easiest ways to instantly manifest joy, to create what’s commonly understood as “good energy.”
We all like getting surprises; we all like being thought of by others. What’s less universally appreciated is the benefits that accrue to the giver: a…
In the spirit of light-hearted playfulness of April Fools Day, the Los Angeles Times tried to pull one over on their (dwindling) readership. But the cleverest among us realized their ruse, and instead of feeling perplexed and outraged we enjoyed a hearty chuckle. All in good fun!
Folks who begin sentences about themselves with the word “honestly” are subtly implying that there are times, perhaps many times – this particular time when they’re talking to you being an exception, of course – when they’re not honest. That’s why they’re prefacing their personal revelation with a qualifier, a…
Network television viewers might be acquainted with Rob Gleeson as a charming second-banana in various national commercials. Aficionados of the Los Angeles improv-comedy scene know him as a charming leading-man in various stand-up and storytelling shows. Raised in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, minutes from the Konik childhood homestead, Gleeson’s energy and visage are Midwestern unthreatening, which serves [...]