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Low Water

Trust. We all have varying levels of trust depending upon the situation. A sunny summer day at a park and a vendor is selling ice cream cones – six other people are in line ahead of you. Any level of distrust here? Likely not – you are likely 100% comfortable handing him your money and then eating what he gives you. While that is essentially blind trust, you have a really strong chance of that trust being validated. A dark night in an unfamiliar town and three guys in hoodies are following you. Your level of distrust here? Likely 100% uncomfortable. Trust is conditional.

My eldest grandson is a big Fortnite player – I’ve written of it before. He desperately wanted a “skin” (basically an outfit your character wears in the game) that is supposedly the rarest; it came out in season 1 and has not been available since. So I researched it and found that you can buy Fortnite accounts. Apparently people grow tired of the game and stop playing and offer the account for sale – buyer gets all the player achievements and skins accumulated on that account. Cost is dependent upon rarity of the skins in the account. I hunted for the one he wanted and researched the “market”, which turned out to be pretty sketchy – a lot of fraud. I researched websites selling accounts for ones with at least decent reviews and some positives in hope of not being scammed. And I bought the account.

The process is simple – you make the offer, seller accepts it, and you are sent an email with the account user name and password, as well as the account registered email account and password. You have 30-minutes to log in, review the account, change the password, and change the email on the account. Then the money changes hands and you’re done. Well, in my case I could not change the email on the account because it had been recently changed and there is a waiting period to change it again. But I figured I was OK as I had the password to both the game account and the email account. I was wrong.

My grandson played for a week and tonight found himself locked out of the account. I tried and couldn’t get it so I went to reset the password, but the email with the reset link never came to the email account. I still don’t know why, but without that, I can not reset the password. But apparently, somehow, he could…and did. He has blocked me so I can no longer contact him. I have opened a complaint with both the game website and the account sales website; we’ll see. They advertise a 100% refund guarantee but I am not sure I’ll see it. To make matters worse, I am 99% certain that he is selling the exact same account again on the same website!! It seems that is what they do – sell it then lock the innocent buyer out of it after a few days and then sell it again. And repeat.

I am upset, to put it mildly. In fact, actually I would say I am hurt. I trusted the seller and was profusely thankful and kind in my messages to him and thought he was honest. I went into this knowing full well that I had an enormous chance of being scammed, but hope springs eternal so I tried anyway. The kicker was that he was from Israel; a county whose people I have always respected. Trust is conditional and I lost. And that will now limit the trust I extend to others for quite some time.

Update on the great gaming account saga: not getting any help from anyone. The gaming software website tells me it against their rules to buy or sell accounts and I could be banned for having bought an account – marvelous. What about the guy who sold his account and stole it back? No comment…. And the website on which I bought the account is trying to help, but state they can’t promise anything other than they’ve asked the seller to contact me; good luck with that! And I need to state here, it is not about the money: it was not a large sum at all and I don’t care if I get the money back. What I want is what I paid for – the account for my grandson. I am so frustrated I barely have the words.

Moving on, moving on…..

Today is Wednesday and I have my three grandkids coming over, their cousin, my wife’s sister and husband, and my son and my daughter-in-law. The kids will be here all day and the adults for supper – family night. The ever so subtle steps towards the reopening of the Wolff family. As much as I shun the news, I do not live in a vacuum and I keep up with the current daily news. I am seeing that there are states with successive days of new record high positive case totals: Florida and Arizona to name two, Texas as well. Of course, I am not at all certain the virus ever really “settled” there. As you watched the case maps each day, you could follow the spread of the virus in the country like watching fog or the tide rolling in. The east coast, especially the northeast, quickly turned to a solid red as the locale dots piled up on the map, as did the west coast. But the south and central US stayed “dotted”, as in few cases reported. At first I attributed it to sparse population, but I wonder if the virus just never really spread itself in those areas and, open or closed, it was not time to explode there – and now it is time. Because, unless you shut down everything, you’ve really not shut down anything; you’ve only stalled it. It will have its fill unfortunately.

I am still without a hike since March; first it was the “lock-down” and then life and the yard got busy. Frankly, from the several outdoor groups I subscribe to on Facebook I know that the trails are loaded with hikers lately and people are actually having trouble finding parking, so I guess I can wait for things to calm down a bit. But I do miss the woods; thankfully my yard has been all too happy to substitute for now. As the infinite shades of green have exploded everywhere with the growth that is spring, coupled with the countless new plants and bushes taking a new foothold after the loss of all the oaks, my yard is reinventing itself. I’ve seen it countless times in the woods and it’s nice to watch it happen in my own yard. Because of the virus and shelter in place, I’ve spending a lot of time in the back of my property. Between the tree clearing I am still doing, the expanded vegetable garden, and the frog pond, the back woods have been a source of great pleasure to me. It is a far different woods in the late spring and summer, than in the cold months when all the trees and bushes have shed their leaves. In the plush verdant warmth of summer, you disappear in the woods – a quiet haven in which to escape. Nice.

The chaos in this country continues, to the point of fiction – who would have believed it. Statues that have stood to mark our history for hundreds of years are being torn down across the country. Part of Seattle has been over by a private militia and no one seems to notice. A suspect fought two police officers, stole their taser, ran, was shot, and the cop has been charged with felony murder. And the list of “offensive” things being demanded removed grows daily: Aunt Jemima, school names, books, movies (Gone with the Wind for one), the Confederate flag, and a million other things that simply boggle the mind. I always refer to the swing of the social pendulum – this is a wrecking ball. They call it the time of change and I vehemently disagree with that having lived through the race riots and Civil Rights movement of the ‘60’s. The atrocity of Mr. Floyd’s death is real; the rest is reactionary and contrived, an excuse to attack anything and everything – they’ve taken away Elmer Fudd’s cartoon gun for goodness sakes!! They’ve cancelled TV shows such as COPS and LivePD because they portray the police in a favorable manner. Those “offended” are extremely vociferous and those not offended are keeping their mouth’s shut for the most part, out of fear of reprisal. There is no one raising the voice of reason or rationale that this is all overreaction and is ridiculous; Elmer Fudd is not our problem! But it has become a seemingly punishable offense if you support the police.

You cannot erase the past; you can’t pretend it didn’t happen just because it displeases you. It happened, it was marked by “something” such as a statue, a monument, or whatever, based upon beliefs of the people at the time. If later generations find those memories offensive, don’t throw them away and pretend it never happened – tell the story correctly and help ensure it never happens again. A recent quote I read: “History is not there for you to like or dislike. It is there for you to learn from it. And if it offends you, even better, because then you are less likely to repeat it. It’s not your to erase – it belongs to all of us!” Stalin did it and we are repeating his actions. I find it unfathomable that we, as a country, are willing and agreeable to sitting back and watch statues of our founding fathers be torn down as offensive; that we would remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious Library Association award because her Little House on the Prairie books have negative views and language for Native Americans. Our forefathers fought off horrific attacks by Indians during that time, often being brutally slaughtered; of course there was an adversarial relationship with the Native Americans; you can’t pretend it didn’t happen and it doesn’t change the incredible and touching works of art that are her books. Much the same, “it was what it was” and Tow Sawyer and Huck Finn are exquisite works of fiction, marvelously time-stamping the period and painting a true picture of life during that time. Enjoying the books is not condoning their archaic beliefs or supporting slavery; much to the contrary.

Yet here we are, our world is crumbling and that has nothing to do with a virus; it is a self-centered, selfish, society with no patience for views or perspectives not their own and no capability for empathy or societal harmony: my way or the highway. I’ve seen it coming and they’ve grown and now come to a position of relative power, they are stamping their collective foot and at least so far – no one is raising a voice of opposition. That won’t last, eventually the rest of us will rise up and claim that “enough is enough” and put a stop to all this. But for now, it is our current vector. I am embarrassed for how we present ourselves to the world – from the President to the Speaker of the House, and on down the line to CEO’s rolling over and dropping TV shows, changing 100+ year old product logos, to the news media for being so very biased and refusing to acknowledge the recent huge number of police deaths at the hands of rioters or protestors, and to the mayors who have rolled onto their backs and given up their cities to the loonies – with the mayor of one large city (Chicago) asking citizens not to use force or defend themselves from rioters or protestors and instead to call for help.

The great frog pond vision is about done: the hole has been dug, the ground contouring is done, the loam has been spread, and grass seed has been planted. And the pond is almost dry. We haven’t had rain in over a week now, and even at that, the water level has been low. But now? Now it is way down. And that’s not unexpected and it’s OK. I knew there would be seasonal ebbs and flows with the water level. But I have to say that it’s disappointing to see it so low immediately upon completion! It’d have been nice to have been able to enjoy some time with a full pond. As I think I wrote earlier, one of my issues was the depth I needed to attain to hit water versus the area available to scallop out the hole. Too deep without enough of a surface diameter and the edges end up too steep to make the pond enjoyable; it becomes a hole.  And that is sort of where I am right now. There is still water in it but only in the very bottom and my walls are a little steep for the amount of water remaining. It will change for sure – there will be months the water will be so high that the edge of the pond will be indiscernible. Just not now!  

But isn’t that how life is? There is a flow to life, although the cadence is rarely predictable or notably rhythmic. There are highs and lows and we just learn to adapt. When the water level in your pond is low, work on the bank, get some excess dirt out of the bottom. Always look to seize an opportunity for your benefit. That can be hard to remember and difficult to utilize in these chaotic times. But consider your opportunities to read, to get out and walk or ride a bike, to plant a garden, to learn something new. Don’t be afraid to try something new: stretch yourself, challenge yourself, scare yourself a little. Paint, draw, write, learn to play an instrument, teach yourself to cook. Take advantage of the low water level during these dry and trying times. Stay well dear reader!

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