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"17 Camels: Can a Sufi Tale Heal Our Broken World?"

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"I've often wondered," telepaths Woof, "about your Social Security System.   Let's face it: it started in 1935 when people were lucky to live to age 65!   Now, you can get early retirement at 62, and most people are living into their 70s and beyond."


"Well" the point is" a lot of people retire" and they don't know what to do with themselves.   They get bored, they get restless; they even die.   People can die when there's no purpose to their lives.   People think life is about happiness, but it's not.   That's okay for your average dog" but, for most people--who are a little more evolved--it's not."

"I'm listening. ""

Lying on his stomach, Woof folds his paws in front of him.   "Well" suppose people changed their way of thinking about retirement" and about working?   Suppose, at age 62 or 66, people got 40-60% of what they get now for Social Security" but they're allowed to continue working where they are now with a 2-3-day work week?   They get paid at the old hourly rate--but they've now got extra days to recover from the daily grind.   And, they've got extra money coming in from Social Security benefits--but the pay-out from the System is going to be a fraction of what it is going to be now!"

Now I sit with my hands folded in front of me.   "Aren't employers going to balk?   Aren't they going to complain about carrying "dead wood," and not being able to hire younger workers for much less pay?"

Woof shrugs in that unique way of his.   "People always complain--until they see how their interests are served.   What I'm saying is, we've got to be thinking how to move into a Transitional Age!   Nobody has really thought that through.   It's time to pause and think it through.   With Social Security, for example, employers get to keep some of their best employees--and they've got lots of jobs opening up--lots of hours to fill.   The older employees can train younger ones--they've got the experience, and they don't have to worry about training someone who's after their job--because they still have their job, just less of it!   Think of all the college kids who are mortgaging their futures right now with student loans because they can't find jobs to get them through school!   Those kids can take those part-time jobs and get hands-on training from the ultra-skilled.   It's a re-balancing, and a win-win-win.   We need to re-configure our whole system so that experienced people become teachers and role models for the younger generations!   We're in a Transitional Age" and this is a major way of thinking about it.   We need to become a nation of teachers and learners!"

I whistle.   It's not a Humphrey Bogart whistle like after Lauren Bacall has kissed him for the first time in "To Have and Have Not."   But, it's a pretty good whistle.

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"By the way, Chief," Woof says.   "I haven't had my walk yet today!"   For appearance' sake, Woof brings me his leash.


After our walk, Woof and I are still excited, wondering how we can apply the lessons of "17 Camels."

"How "bout Immigration?" I ask, tossing a frisbee, which Woof catches in his usual, show-off backward-somersault way.

"Okay. " I've thought that out, too," he says, tossing the frisbee back at me.   (I did mention that he's an exceptional dog, didn't I?)

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"Well" it's thorny" but, here's one way:   We're not going to tamper with the 2nd Amendment--we're going to enforce it!   The amendment is all about "a well-regulated militia," and we're going to encourage the formation of well-regulated militias!   (Of course, we're not going to allow assault weapons because nobody was thinking about assault weapons in 1789--in the age of the Musket when everybody knew who the town "crazy" was and kept an eye on him!)   Anyway, we let these militias train and patrol along our southern borders!   Yeah" I know" I know" it's risky."

"I don't think the Mexicans are going to like that!"

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Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)

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Well done, Signore!... by Gary Corseri on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:32:57 AM
but as for laboring at dull, often dangerous low-p... by molly cruz on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 4:07:48 PM
Love this lateral-thinking,  win-win-win scen... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 6:38:46 PM
Your quote to begin your piece, could be said to b... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:40:49 PM
Thank you for your comment, Merryl Ann!--GC An... by Gary Corseri on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:22:09 PM
Ned, thanks for your comment, too.  Fact is, ... by Gary Corseri on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:34:11 PM
Thanks, Gary.   I, for one, appreciate whe... by Ned Lud on Friday, Feb 1, 2013 at 6:50:31 AM
The most illustrious of sufi scholars, Al-Ghazali... by George Flower on Saturday, Feb 2, 2013 at 7:23:59 AM