The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

today should be different

July21

I awoke today in rather good form.

with Haley Anne off to Sandestin for a week with one of her “other families”, Joanne and Emma Jo had indulged themselves with a in-family sleepover. this had me in the guest room with Rowdy happy at my feet.

I had a double cardio work-out. sleep, as always, had come easy and quickly for me, with dreams aplenty and vibrant. refreshed I began to focus on the day ahead my usual optimism had me thinking like Captain America.

today, you were supposed to be reading a different post, and certainly a different kind of posting. it’s called water Rescue! you will see that. but, after my morning, and what it portends, I’ve decided to stave that effort off for tomorrow.

there is perspective afoot, here.

with other events crowding my mind and teeming imagination (possibilities and opportunities abound) I entered “my SBUX” (Starbucks) off Bethany Road in Milton. there, things took a rather abrupt and uncomfortable turn with familiar, but unexpected cues.

“Homeless Guy” was in the corner nursing a coffee. he looks normal, just wary. but, he is a reminder that something is not quite right in our overly comfortable “horse country” community that seems so unfazed by economic turmoil.

I don’t know his story; why he is homeless?

we made eye contact, and I was faced with the fact that I did not like what I (thought or felt) I saw behind his gaze. I thought of a Dawn of the Dead movie. zombie movies and soft drinks are typically referred to as “dawn of the dead movies” and “cokes”, right?

I don’t know her name, and now that bothers me as well. but, “Ditzy” was manning the register. the routine is always the same. she asks the same question (one or two, today?”), yet seemingly ever taken by surprise by the answer (“always two”) 1/. she can be counted on to call me “Daniel”, and I (and, the Barista) long ago stopped trying to correct her.

but, why should she know my name when I don’t know hers?

that simple realization began to gnaw at me as well as she fumbled with the clear vente cups only to be waved-off by a teammate that had already begun to build my beverages when I breached the doorway.

no sooner had I settled into my Tundra for the quick ride to the offices when the announcer on WSB 95.5 (what is his name?) grimly advised me that another unnamed woman from Johns Creek had died of kidney cancer. and, as she slid into darkness her neighbors, and strangers (evidently everyone was a stranger) rifled through her belongings because they had been cast to the curbside by a relentless landlord bent on her eviction.

did she pass from light to dark, alone?

so… I’m sure God will, eventually, make it a bit more clear to me why I’m so sensitive to my community today. maybe I need to be more grateful for the incredible blessings that abound in my life. I’ve done some cool things in my day. most of it felt self-indulgent like what occurred in Sarajevo, being a fireman, coaching athletes – all that stuff.

but… is it possible I’m not doing enough for others?

how can I help you? what would “the Captain” do? how do we make today different, and build on that for tomorrow? is this another of my Kobayashi Maru? I’ll be channeling Captain Kirk this day, I reckon. heroes are needed. real, imagined, determined.

go listen to: Here’s to the Heroes by The Ten Tenors. just remember, we need heroes because there are victims amongst us. we just need to want to make a difference, in everyone’s lives.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

1/ I’m reasonably certain that every practiced SBUX barista between Gainesville and Peachtree City knows that my beverage of choice, practicality, and possibly, necessity, is an iced vente chai (whole milk with nine pumps of chai).

history is always in the making but understanding makes it meaningful

January26

I’ve heard, and admittedly not verified, that Barack Obama only came to the United States in time to attend college.

that need not make him unique, compared to other foreign (like) exchange students. but, he is a bit different in that he happens to have followed his career-path as a social worker into the presidency of our nation.

I do believe that Mr. Obama is a United States Citizen. so, lets put that angle to rest.

the reason I’m making a point of this is it struck me (while running in the rain yesterday)  that if Mr. Obama did not grow up in the United States he was probably not exposed to our history. he was raised in places that probably failed to drill into him the value of lessons learned at Valley Forge and what occurred because of Louisitania. I can only speak for myself to be absolutely certain, but I’m reasonably confident the bulk of our learning about this nations history occurs in middle school (it was called Junior High School while I was scratching my head in those years spread across stops in Arizona, Nebraska, and Wyoming following my Dad through his valiant career as an Air Force Officer).

there is a lot to be said, not just about nuance, and that includes, with its greater import, perspective. and, what about culture and community? those things form us as a people.

more later. but, I’ve had some things in the back of my head really bothering me about the Oval Office, and they are coming to light with greater clarity with each passing month. during his State-of-the-Union speech address last night he proposed that we “freeze spending (unrelated to defense) for the next five years”. but, we need to cut-back to pre-2008 spending levels. I don’t think he “gets it” even though, and ironically, the majority of his henchmen, flunkies, cabinet are theory-humpers, I look into the eyes of our president, and I can’t see someone truly invested looking back at me with the cast of steady gaze that inspires my confidence. I was raised by warriors and leaders. I don’t recognize Mr. Obama. I respect the office. I just can’t be sure about the agenda.

this sort of thing bothers a Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

two sides rhymes with suicide

June9

Readers of this Blog appear to track, enjoy, and possibly value, my transparency. So, it’s no surprise, here, that my earthly father surrendered his soul to God back in 1986, on the eve of my birthday.

I’ve chosen some words carefully in that preamble because I’m evaluating the difference in terms of how we define suicide.

Background Perspective: I have a client that I’ve coached for years that happens to be a fairly well known Congressman and has always feared the path of “political suicide” often realized by all too many of his fellows.

Although I have to good-naturedly roll my eyes with that, it recently raised some thoughts in my head around how we spin things to make them work within the complicated confines of our society – to include faith and community.

Here we go…

Shortly after my Dad’s body was discovered (today that still feels strange to both write and read), slumped over a Zane Grey (apropos, says I) novel in his garage, his secretary tearfully advised me that he was bound for hell. I was a younger man in both body and mind, at the time, and this decree almost floored me. Dad was a genuine hero. And, he was… Well, my Dad. And, he loved my Mom. Together, they set the bar and standard for me in terms of how to be a parent to my own Daughters, and love people in your life. He was a pillar of strength (even when he had his fourth martini after a grueling Day maintaing peace as a Military Officer during a relentless Cold War era), always there for my younger brother and me. He was some times an enigma, mind you. But always smart, witty and resolute. Read my post: do not miss your Chance to blow it for perspective. Dot It! How could such a man face the abyss?

My first thought when told Dad was going to hell was that he had carefully considered his options and rolled the dice hoping to get back to Mom quicker. Selfishly, maybe, I often have this picture in my head of Mom and Dad in their early 40’s – sun-tanned, holding hands and smiling. This is also a reminder that Mom had died the year before (here is some additional background), and Dad was simply never the same after that. So… You can; and, I think you should, read my prior Blog post that explores some of that here: My Dad: Story 22 – Married for Life.

So… With all that said, what is the difference in someone taking their own life, or giving their life back to God? There is a paradox at work, here, because a potential juxtaposition includes (or, is) considerations around soldiers taking life (possibly in the name of God), and giving (as in dedicating) your life to God. My Dad was a soldier that absolutely did take lives under a national flag that was founded with God in mind (just ask Thomas Jefferson who is likely spinning in his grave enough these days to send the planet off it’s axis). He was a model citizen by any definition. And, in the his final hour I feel he gave his life back to God, and Mom was his reward for a life well-lived.

NOTE: I’m choosing to take the Bible out of the evaluative formula and going with discernment – perhaps the greatest tool God has issued to us to help me work through this process. The Bible, I feel, in this case, and of course many others, stymies broad thinking and open-mindedness (have you ever tried to debate a Christian and seen them not get heated, and more often than not, nasty?). Once you make not referencing the Bible part of the process, creative thinking that draws upon all of mankind’s marvelous experience and theory can now come into play for informed decision-making.

I’m tempted to drop a poll into this Blog post to capture your collective opinion. However, I’m only marginally interested in that. So, I’ll invite you to comment. I can’t promise to approve it. But, I might. And, I will respond in one form or another, to be certain.

So, engage me. Help me. Walk with me. Help me realize the Authentic Life.

If suicide is a path to another place that just might be a reward, as opposed to a punishment, why wouldn’t you take it? Is this an example of Kobayashi Maru?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

another Mary's call to Action

January14

Mary Guthrie is the Mother of two of my Shockers (Claire and Grace).

She is also a reader of this Blog, and apparently found a form of stimulation in one of my recent posts: from whence our Inspiration, and, a co-worker.

Divine afflatus /1 certainly abounds. Mary’s own story is rather moving – and, pretty great – especially when you see how terrific her daughters are turning out.

This story is not mine, other than for the telling, as it yet, continues to unfold. But, I will participate, as are many of our fellow Shockers. And, so, as you read this, I’ll hope you will feel free to contact Mary, and add a bag.

In any event, here’s the how all of this started…

“Dear Shocker families,

Karen, my co-worker, has a daughter who is a first year fifth grade teacher at a school south of Atlanta. Karen often shares her daughter’s sweet and funny stories about her rookie year teaching experiences. Yesterday, she told me a disturbing story I will share with you.

Many of the children at Tessa’s (Karen’s daughter) school are living at or below the poverty level. A little girl in Tessa’s class told her she had hoped for, but didn’t get, a matched pair of shoes for Christmas. Tessa looked at the girl’s feet and sure enough, she was wearing mismatched shoes. One of them was held together with duct tape! Later in the day, Tessa took a moment to look around the room. While none of the other children were wearing mismatched duct-taped shoes, many were wearing clothes and shoes that were too small and very worn.

As Karen was telling this story, I thought of my daughters’ drawers and closets overflowing with an abundance of clothes and shoes. Last night, they gathered the clothes and shoes (including size 7 never-worn sneakers for the little girl with the mismatched shoes) they have outgrown or don’t wear to give to the children in Tessa’s class. (The girls didn’t grumble when I sent them to their rooms to purge their closets. They even cheerfully folded the clothes and put them in the bag nicely! Wow! Knowing where the clothes and shoes were going seemed to inspire them.)

If your children have outgrown any of their clothes or shoes, the children at Tessa’s school could really use them. Grace, Claire, and I would be happy to pick them up and bring them to Karen who will deliver them to Tessa.

Thank you, Mary Guthrie”

You can reach Mary via email at: Mary Guthrie mkguthrie@comcast.net.

NOTE: I’ll not add her cellular telephone number because we don’t wanting you to text her (especially as she might be driving). To make the best sense of that plea, read: texting and driving to death.

Meanwhile, here’s am update to round-out this tale:

“Hi Brian,

Have you been traveling around Alpharetta picking up donations instead of teaching the Chinese to golf?

My daughter Hanna has a volleyballl tournament in Chattanooga Saturday. I will be back Sunday. Let me know if you have donations for the little Jackson Elementary (Butts Co., GA) students. I can collect on Sunday.

Thanks, Mary”

FYI- The first bags of donations have already been delivered. Tessa (the teacher) is busy distributing to happy kids! LOTS of Shockers are getting bags together, too.”

Go shockers. Who wants the ball?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ A strong creative impulse, especially as a result of divine inspiration.

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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