Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's Amazing The Things We Take For Granted

A tub similar to what I bathed in as a child
when visiting my grandmother in Virginia
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you Critical Thinker readers out there! If you recall in my last post (Sunday, November 24, 2013), I began it by sharing with you how I was at that time waiting for the plumber to come and repair or replace my hot water heater that had suddenly sprung a leak. Well indeed the plumber did come and $750 later, the hot water heater was replaced and I had hot water once again. 

This week was Thanksgiving and I thought back to last weekend and about how everyone in the house was thrown off a bit by not being able to just turn on the faucet and receive hot water. We had to boil water in several pots in order to bathe, wash dishes, etc. etc. We had become so accustomed to just being able to turn the faucet to the right or to the left and the water would just flow either hot or cold depending on our need. What seemed to us to be disastrous was in reality a mere inconvenience for a couple of nights. I shared with my family how there are countries who do not have running water at all let alone hot water. I also shared with them how when I was a child and would visit my grandmother's house in South Boston, Virginia (Halifax County), that she did not have running water in her house and we had to boil water and take a bath in a metal tub like the one pictured above and to the left. We boiled cold water from the pump/well that was located outside of the house and that the bathroom was an out house located several yards down the hill away from the house.  

As I looked upon our hot water heater dilemma, I then thought about how many other things we just take for granted until they do not work as expected or are gone. There is that old cliche that "You don't miss your water until your well runs dry,"(no pun intended) and in some respects that is very true in terms of us taking things for granted. As you are reading this, think of some of the things we take for granted such as our car starting when we turn the key; our computers booting up when we press the power button; our heating systems kicking in when the thermostat reaches a certain low temperature; the lights illuminating just by the flicking of a switch; the refrigerator keeping our food and beverages cold; our online connections buffering at the speed of light or faster; and the list goes on and on. Some may say we even take God for granted. I was speaking with someone this morning and when I asked her about her Thanksgiving, she responded that it was quiet, but she also shared with me that when she was talking to her brother he said to her that he had nothing to be thankful for......nothing. My response to her was, he is breathing isn't he? He awakened on Thanksgiving morning, didn't he?  She agreed and went on to share that after her conversation with him that she did not go to his house on Thanksgiving. She said she did not want to be around that negativity particularly on Thanksgiving. Speaking of breathing, we even take that for granted. We take for granted that we are going to wake up each morning when we lay down to sleep at night. My point of this post is to bring to our consciousness just how much we have to be thankful for and if you don't believe me, let the proverbial "well run dry" and see just how much you miss what you were taking for granted. Something to critically think about and I invite you to join the conversation by placing your commentary in the comment section of the blog and follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and on Tumblr at

Sunday, November 24, 2013

If I Ever Get My Hands On A Significant Amount Of Money, You Won't Have To Worry About Me Blowing It!

As I write this post, I am sitting here waiting for my plumber to come and fix a leaking hot water heater on a day when it feels like eight degrees outside. I have my daughter's student loan payments up the wazoo and a host of other inconveniences that a significant amount of money would alleviate. As I go through this financial Hell from day to day I continuously read and hear about actors, actresses, athletes, and lottery winners who literally blow their money or their lives and thereby negating their chance to use their money. The latest potential victim of this is Pedro Quezada, the Passaic, New Jersey man who won a $338 million Powerball jackpot, among the largest lottery winnings, earlier this year. Reports have him as nearly broke already. He won in March and  it is now November....Think about that, $338 in less than eight months?  Then of course there are the A-Rod's and Lindsey Lohan's of the world who have been able to parlay their gifts/talents into wealth and still cannot seem to "get it together." 

I titled this post "If I Ever Get My Hands On a Significant Amount of Money, You Won't Have to Worry About Me Blowing It," because while I agree with Superior Court Chancery Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh when she says "That's what money does to people: It changes positive relationships into bad ones. It doesn't always enhance a relationship, or bring out people's better qualities," I also believe that I would have the wherewithal to do what I needed to do to live in a comfortable (not extravagant) manner. In an article appearing in USA TODAY titled Twelve Things Not to Do If You Win The Lottery, I could not agree more with tip number 5. It reads verbatim below: 

Let your debts remain in place. If you get the "I'm rich and don't have to pay anymore" bug, you might be dooming yourself. Whether you take the lump-sum or the annuity option, if you have a single penny of debt in the immediate future and distant future, then something is seriously wrong. For that matter, you should not have a single debt ever again. If you manage to go broke down the road and still have a mortgage, car payments, student loans, credit card debt and personal bills, all of your friends and family members should get to spank or ridicule you every day for the rest of your life.

For most people, it is the lack of money that is the root of all social evil and misery because there is not enough to pay our bills in their entirety as there always seems to be more month than money. When you hit a lottery or you are blessed enough to work in a field where the numbers are few but the visibility and demand is high such as athletics, entertainment, etc. there ought not be a need for the financial messes that the average Joe and Jane continuously hear and read about. For example, Dr. Boyce Watkins published an article in BOSS SPORTS on November 2, 2013  titled ALLEN IVERSON RETIRES WITH LESS MONEY THAN A FIVE YEAR OLD.  Does that make sense to you? The sad part is, he is not the first nor will he be the last as a fool and his money do part. I just don't get it, because all I want to do is be able to pay my bills, be debt free, and buy what I want to buy when I want to buy it without incurring debt; it's not brain surgery. I don't understand why the folks who can do what I just described blow this gift. For you the average reader out there reading this post, can you imagine? I end with the title of this post; If I ever get my hands on a significant amount of money, you won't have to worry about me doing anything stupid to lose it. I will be grateful to God and cherish the opportunity to be able to pay my bills, be debt free, and buy what I want to buy when I want to buy it without incurring debt. My children's college tuition would be paid, my house and car would be paid for. I would tithe to my church and then I would live without debtors calling, bills coming in the mail or online, etc. etc. How about you?  I welcome your commentary in the comment section of The Critical Thinker and you are invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and on Tumblr at 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Whoa Look At How They (We) Live

The Citgo run by the Hussain brothers and where they were murdered

Violent crimes such as this week's beheading (João Rodrigo Silva Santos, a former Brazilian professional soccer player, was kidnapped and brutally decapitated this week in Brazil) garner significant international media attention, but violence can take on a different nature in other parts of the world, says Bruno Monteiro, 26, who is also a local soccer fan.
"People outside Brazil see news like this and think, 'Whoa look at how they live in Brazil, it's so violent, what a bizarre place to live.' But I have the same thought when I see news about people shooting children in elementary schools."
Above is an excerpt from a story I was reading in the November 2, 2013 edition of USATODAY about a second decapitation that had recently taken place in Brazil. What struck me was Mr. Monteiro's last line concerning how people may view Brazil after reading of such atrocities. I agree with Mr. Monteiro in terms of violence being violence regardless of where it occurs or its different nature. 

I write this post because on Halloween, Abdul Waqas Hussain and his brother Abdul Nasir Hussain were gunned down in an attempted robbery of their gas station. I had come to know both of the Hussain brothers as I would stop there once or twice a week to buy my gas. We would talk while I waited for gas, in fact one of the brothers was deaf and would write down on his pad the amount and grade of gas I wanted while the other would run my debit card. Needless to say I was saddened and angered by their senseless deaths. Two brothers trying to make an honest living killed by three thugs who had obviously made bad decisions earlier in their lives prohibiting them from being able to earn money legally; three who were reduced to stealing from someone else rather than honestly earning their own. 

As we look around the world, it seems Brazil is not the only bizarre place to live. Violence is violence regardless of where it occurs. No one ever ought to judge any particular place or utter the words "We didn't think that could happen here," as nowhere is immune or exempt. My prayers are with the Hussain family on the loss of the brothers. This post is dedicated in memory of Abdul Waqas Hussain and Abdul Nasir Hussain. They will both be missed in the community.  Something to critically think about. I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog and you are welcome to follow the critical thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.