I had a rare roofing job last week, trying to supplement my meager Social Security, now suddenly decreased by $150 from a month via Medicare, which I had been led to believe was “free.” But that’s a sermon for another day.

So I’m shingling a garage at a small house purchased for my friend’s daughter and family, and the three of us were gossiping – a practice the Bible seems to encourage – about a young fellow the daughter once dated, at the same time the mother and I were an item of sorts.

As we reminisced, likely causing the now-married mother to deeply regret the catch she let get away, I recalled how back in that distant day, I had characterized the 21-year-old smooth-talker wooing the daughter, as “a used car salesman.” 

That’s certainly no knock against the honest professionals who earnestly attempt to hook up a buyer-in-need with the perfect vehicle at a reasonable, beneficial-to-all, price. No, I was referring to those other car salesmen.

Even though mom and I had met the smarmy lothario at our habitual watering hole, we didn’t approve of his kid’s lifestyle, deeming him untrustworthy to date the sweet, impressionable daughter.

So last summer I run into this guy, now in his 30s, whose life is in shambles. He told me of his mental illness and a brain disorder that will continue to worsen. He’s attempted several careers, but now survives on deserved disability. I told the girls I now regret judging him and his cockiness, which was likely an insecurity blanket. 

Daughter said the kid’s father died when he was young and his mother was basically a homeless drug addict raising him.

I repeated my mantra that some people just never have a chance in life. Smug, “fortunate sons” with every break in life, will quote anecdotal evidence of someone rising from tragic circumstances to greatness. Yeah, well somewhere there’s a well-mannered monkey that can read and write, but for the most part, they hop around throwing feces.

When you’ve known as many serial killers as I have, you’re aware nearly every one of them were childhood victims of horrible abuse. 

Basically there are “haves” and “have-nots,” and formative year treatment and ingrained beliefs draw up the lifetime map. Even in spiritual matters, the inherited gifts seem to prevail, and dare I say it, possibly determine eternal destinies? We’re commanded to “Honor thy father and mother,” but what if Ma and Pa were abusive atheists?

My Bible and Pentecostal church we attended at least three times a week as kids taught me there’s only one God and if one doesn’t believe in and accept Jesus as savior, one is lost for eternity. Well, it’s been easy for me to believe, but if I was born in Iran, I suppose it would be just as easy to believe Christians are infidels.

So what did we learn here today? Probably very little, except that if you’ve been given everything, be kind to those who have not. Heck, my dad was so poor, in his will I owed him 10 bucks! 

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