If Only

Thinking back on what transpired
Ages passed and now retired
So much more was once desired
If only.

Should’ve risked a smidgen more
Could’ve missed an open door
Would’ve kissed the face of lore
If only.

Kept silent ‘stead of speaking
Spoke too soon ‘stead of keeping
The words within, now left repeating
If only.

Fears of all the deeds undone
Tears from all the seeds unsown
Years of life’s song seems unsung
If only.

But that isn’t what transpired
In past’s mud pit we are mired

Worried ’bout the door ’twas missed
Yet through another walked with bliss

All the times the words weren’t spoken
Kept not fate from being broken

Whether pressed forward or sat still
Not one action tweaked the will
Of the One who’s pleased to kill the words
If only.


Three men stood upon the shore
Pondering their being
Gazing at the vast beyond
Groping after meaning.

The young one cracked the silence
Inner thoughts came spewing forth
For deep inside he could not hide
His passionate plea for worth

“This sea that roars before me
I’m afraid I fail to love
Its all-consuming quality
Is a trait I’m jealous of

The crashing waves envelop round
Those who dare confront
Blue brilliant power buffets awe
Few daring absorb its brunt

If only I could, like the sea
Be great and not left wanting
Perhaps one day I’ll swallow it
And desiccate its haunting.”

The middle-aged one shook his head
He thought the notions foolish
Of the greenhorn, naïve before him
Who found lack of wealth so ghoulish.

“One can have it all my son,
With endless time to use it
Yet the awful deal you’ll always have
Is the fear that you may lose it.

This sea produces many treasures
Pearls and gold and life
Though nothing made within its waves
Can save you from your strife

If I only I could, like the sea
Never once be swallowed
Live forever unmolested
Immortal, Safe, and Hallowed.”

The old man shifted slowly
Peering out to endless depths
He’d choose his old words wisely
Precious now were his deep breaths

“I’ve had it all upon a time
Just like this water here
Many men I’ve ruled like ocean’s fury
From a castle, most secure.

The commodity most invaluable
That eludes me like a whale
Is for all the world to know me
Leave my mark, no fear of fail

For greater than the treasure
Much greater than assurance
Is knowing I’m forever known
In spite of history’s currents.

If only I could, like the sea,
Be remembered by all who live
My life would be worth something
It could end with naught to give.”

Suddenly they realized
A fourth man stood about
As he spoke the ocean stilled
His voice now held the clout

“I’ll give you everything,
I’ll adorn you with the best
I’ll secure your wealth, and your heart
With a plate upon your breast

Above all I will meet you,
Welcome you into my home,
We’ll forge our deep desires,
The endeavor to be Known.

But of course there is a cost,
The gift, it is not free
For to know the great Unknowable
Is to become a nobody.

For with me you must lose everything,
Leaving this world with nil

For with me I’ll promise nothing
I’m not safe, nor is your will

With me there is a chance perhaps,
You’ll fade and be obscure
And not one soul will know you
To be remembered is unsure.

If only you could, like the sea
Do that for which you’re made
At once your eyes would shift from self
All vain quests would soon fade.

For every dream you most admire
I’ll deliver if you trust
The secret to your hearts’ desires
Is to be Anonymous.”

Rent-a-Props: Fake Men Fighting Real Crime

1509History has proved some tried-and-true methods of protecting one’s stuff. You can put something in safe so no one can steal it. You can encrypt your digital information so that no one can read it. And apparently, now businesses can protect customers’ stuff by way of a life-size cardboard cutout security guard. Oh really.

Paper rent-a-cops (or as I like to call them, rent-a-props) are showing up in storage facilities, jewelry stores and many other businesses that can’t afford break-ins (much less the hiring of a real cop) so they shell out $14 for a fake cop who trembles at the site of a recycling bin. Truly, nothing says security like a lifeless but very serious and large photo of a man who may or may not also have a paper gun.

Are these things really deterring crime? What do bad guys think when they see them? I suppose that if you’re scoping out a joint from, like, a mile away, the cutout could fool you. But surely even stupid bad guys would notice the security man hasn’t moved for 15 minutes and has either died standing up or is piece of cardboard. Either way, this is an encouraging opportunity to break in.

But some bad guys don’t scope out a joint first. They just go in without even considering there could be a security guard waiting for them. And then with two arms full of jewelry they run into—uh-oh—the stiff, biodegradable board man—and probably knock him over.

It’s just comical these things are growing in popularity. What business owner sees their neighbor doing it and actually covets their newfound crime prevention tactic?  “Whoa! Ed’s got one of those prop-up security guy thingys! Nobody’s gonna mess with his stuff anymore. I just have to get my own big, paper policeman. In fact, I’ll do Ed one better and upgrade to the officer with a menacing scowl!”

The bottom line is that unless our perpetrator has an inordinate fear of paper cuts, I’m pretty sure he is going breach this line of defense with little more than a chuckle. But what do I know? I am as law-abiding as they come and have little clue what I would find troubling if I was primed to do some bad guy stuff. Even so, I’d like my chances against an adversary I could crumple up in four seconds and stuff into a dumpster.