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Pick a card..any card....but stay away from the chocolate cake!

As I reflect back over the last week, I realize it's been about choices. Some of the choices were easy ones, and some weren't so easy. They all came with a set of trade-offs – as most choices do.

As some of you know, I've been working to get everything finished so my first book, "Done Rubbed Out" can be published and available. Things were going along swimmingly, until I decided that I'd work to get the second book, "Hard Job" released at the same time. They were both finished as far as the writing went and the hurdles in front of me had to do with formatting and navigation through the various channels to make sure I had all of the little bits of 'administrivia' handled. I also decided to try a couple of new channels for distribution, which added to the to-do list. I had no idea what I'd be getting into, as I learned once I was already down the path. Suffice it to say, there were all kinds of new challenges presented and it's almost driven me over the edge. All because I made a choice. I think I made the right choice and things are looking good as far as releasing my books. Thanks to CPK, I even managed to make it through the results of those choices without drinking all the wine in the house!

That in and of itself was a choice. I have been trying to loose the thirty (count 'em) pounds I have packed on over the last six years. Both of us love to eat and enjoy a glass of good wine or a cocktail now and again. The good things to eat here in the South are often prepared with bacon, butter and cream. Portions are also generous. I've learned that to get the pounds off, I have to make more sensible choices in terms of food selection and intake and be happy with a banana or an orange instead of a handful of chocolate chip cookies. I've dropped about twenty-four of those unwelcome pounds so far, and I feel better and look better. I'm never hungry, but sometimes I long for a donut, a piece of chocolate cake or a few slices of pizza. I can have any of those, as long as I make the choice to forgo something else or work a little harder to burn off the fat and less healthy components hidden within that snack which looks yummy and tempting. It's really just a question about what's most important to me and how it impacts my quality of life.

The news has been filled with stories of choices as well. HB2 is still causing a lot of uproar, and other states have joined the party. In some cases, they're following North Carolina's lead and choosing to go down a path leading to more discrimination and egregious legislation designed to hurt others in the community. When their bibles shipped, I think the publisher left out the entire new testament. If they were just targeting the LGBT community I might even understand it, although I certainly don't support or agree with it. After all, we're a very scary bunch now that we've gained the right to marry the person we love. Heaven forbid we should be allowed to pee in the most appropriate bathroom given something so insignificant as gender identity!

But they're including other groups in their efforts: race and gender are also targeted. That totally baffles me. Why would anyone want to turn back the clock that far? They are trying to take away choices, or at least to make sure that the ones they don't approve of are hidden out of sight.

In some cases, the legislators have tacked on a few other amendments – hidden in their rhetoric and obfuscated by the soundbites. To some folks, I suppose it all looks like a perfect plate, filled with down-home values. It's as familiar and comforting as fried chicken and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy. Something that looks so good couldn't be harmful at all, right? They haven't caught on that the cooks in the back and the servers bringing it to the table are playing three-card monte...with other people's lives. That confidence trick has been around a long time, and the dealer has a whole routine to draw the payers in. Just pick a card....any card....

Many big businesses and progressive corporations have also made choices in response. Some of them are threatening to move their headquarters or are declining to do business with these states. Others have already made their decisions and are leaving. There will be an economic impact. Some Governors made the choice to sign the hateful legislation into law, and some have vetoed similar bills. Others are speaking out about legislation on the table or in the process of being introduced. Political camps and religious leaders are dividing as they too try to make their choices around the issues. Will they allow our states and significant parts of our nation to fall back into old, out-dated patterns that so many – at great costs – worked to change? Or will we eventually move forward and realize the potential we have to be accepting and open to social progress and change?

There is so much grandstanding going on that I wonder if any of the ringleaders have really considered the fall-out. And there will be fall-out, regardless of the choices made. Some of it may be economic. Some of it will impact our society and maybe even our culture. If we refuse to work to burn off the fat and think through our choices, we might be left with nothing healthy on our plates. I love donuts, chocolate cake, pizza, butter, bacon and cream. I like familiar, tasty comfort food. But I like feeling better about myself more. At the end of the day, it is really about the quality of life and what is most important. Besides, three-card monte never held to much appeal for me and I'm not putting my dollar on that table. Strip-poker sounds like more fun, especially once the thirty pounds are gone.

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Jeffery Craig Books

Jeffery Craig

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