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FDR Memorial in Washington DC

George HW Bush – Grocery Store Scanner

Just Rub Some Dirt on It

“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Exodus 4:12 KJV

There’s an old expression that is sometimes used in football or other sports. The expression is: “Just rub some dirt on it.” It is often used when a player is on the ground and seems to be injured. The person issuing the command is basically saying to the person, “It’s not serious, just get up, stop whining and play some ball.”

In an age when whining seems to be in vogue, the “Just rub some dirt on it,” expression seems to be used more and more by people who seemed to have lost patience with all the excuses someone presents. There is probably little doubt that many do take advantage of all the opportunities they can to whine so all can know their suffering.

There are times, though, when the “dirt” expression bypasses compassion and heads straight to a wiping your hands of any involvement stage. Sometimes hearing the words, “Just rub some dirt on it,” just doesn’t motivate you. It can even deeply hurt us.

I remember a time when my son was young. I had just recently purchased a house. I was very excited and I looked forward to the days he would come to visit. There were many other younger children in the neighborhood. Other than school, I knew he probably had few other chances to develop some good friendships.

He quickly made some friends with the boy and girl across the street and the little boy next door. Like most friendships, he had his up and down moments. Still, it gave him a chance to hang out with some kids his own age, instead of just having his old Dad to hang around with.

One Christmas I decided to buy him a new bike. He was both surprised and excited about his bike. He couldn’t wait to show it off. I remember watching him from the window and just being so happy that he had other kids to ride bikes with and to play with. I really did want him to have a good childhood.

One day, while I was cleaning the house, the little boy next door and my son decided to be a little adventurous on their bikes. I had no idea of their Evil Knievel plans. They decided they were going to build a ramp and do some wild jumps with their bikes. It surprised me a little, when I found out, because my son was a little timid, at the time, about taking chances on new things.

As I was cleaning the house, the doorbell rang. I went to answer the door and the Mom of the little boy next door was standing at the door. Her son was on one side and my son was on the other side. I looked down at my son and his knee was bent like he was hopping.

The Mom told me that the two little boys had built a ramp and they were attempting to land their jumps. My son apparently didn’t know that he needed to let the back tire land first. He did his jump and landed on his front tire. Of course, he flipped over on top of his bike. His knee was bleeding and badly scraped.

The Mom told me how proud she was of my son. She said, “As hard as he hit, it had to hurt. He didn’t even cry.” I thanked her for her help. I then helped my son hop into the house and I shut the door. No sooner than I shut the door, he burst into tears. It hurt him so bad.

I hugged him and took him to the bathroom. I cleaned his wound and gathered some bandages. I fixed him up pretty good, considering I’m not a doctor. As we talked about it a little, his tears stopped falling. He appreciated the attention and it wasn’t long before we were joking around about it.

Sometimes, even what looks like the littlest wounds to us, are a big deal to someone else. To the little boy with the scraped knee, its open heart surgery. To the parent, it’s a tug on the heartstrings. You want to do everything you can do to help them get through it.

The little boy didn’t need to hear, “Just put some dirt on it.” He needed to hear, “It’s going to be okay,” and “I’m here for you to help you get through it.” The tears fade, the wounds heal, and the confidence grows. That’s when you know your job as a parent or a friend was a success.

We take many of today’s modern conveniences for granted. Most people probably don’t remember the pre-computer days or even the days as the computer was developing. On the early computers, we used to have to use coding to get anything done.

I remember, on my old Commodore 64, I had the game Zelda. I believe today it is now a very popular game with extremely good graphics. When I had it, there were no graphics. You typed something like, “Walk straight for four steps then turn right.” You had to keep track of where everything was in your mind. You couldn’t see anything.

In that day and age things seemed to change so fast. New computer stuff was coming out all the time. Little did we know at the time, but eventually typewriters would almost become extinct. Companies, some of which are no longer around, kept coming up with amazing new ideas and programs.

Not everyone was a big fan of technology. Today, there still are those who are not fans of technology, but it is nothing like when it first started out. Many were afraid that computers were going to take over the world. Who knows, maybe their fears were correct.

Nowhere was this more on display than at the local supermarket. Everyone hated those scanning bar codes. Everyone feared shelves without pricing, and the surprise you might encounter when you reached the register and found out how much something cost. What was even scarier was the fear that prices would change as you walked from the shelf to the register. After all, how could anyone keep up with all the prices of the items they had in their cart.

The politicians even got involved. Politicians, on both sides of the issues, lined up as the increased technology stampeded into our lives. Some were promoters of a more advanced society. Others feared the destruction of the American culture.

It was another beautiful day in Bible land. The weather was perfect. The flowers were blooming. The trees were filled with fruit and there were no bugs or insects to be found in any of it. The breeze was refreshing. Oh yeah, it was a beautiful day.

A walk around the neighborhood always was a pleasant experience. If you were there to witness it, you probably would have noticed the young loving couple taking their daily walk. They loved each other so much. They loved their neighborhood.

If you have the chance to go to a farmer’s market and purchase some fresh produce, you will probably notice it just tastes different from the produce in the grocery store. To me, there is nothing better than a home-grown tomato. You can’t, no matter how hard you try, find one of those in a grocery store. Fresh is definitely better.

Imagine, if you will, for a moment, being able to just go out in your backyard and just pick fresh produce. Boy, what a dinner that would be.

Well, that is exactly the type of place this young couple had. When they weren’t walking around, hand in hand, exploring their neighborhood, they were out picking produce for their dinner. Life was good. Life was so good.

Who knows why, but one day the young lady decided to go exploring by herself. Maybe the young man slept in. Maybe he was just doing something else. Maybe the young girl just wanted to be alone for a little while. Whatever the reason, she was walking out by herself.

She was caught off guard by some rustling in the bushes. She thought she was alone. She turned and said, “Who’s there?” She was startled when out of the bushes a strange looking person popped out.

The strange person was very polite, and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry I startled you. I was just admiring this beautiful place you have here.” The young lady stood up straight, because she was very proud of her place, and said, “Oh, yes, it is so beautiful.”

He then started asking her questions about the different things he noticed. “What type of bird is that? How do you get your plants to grow so high? How do you keep the weeds out of the garden?” were just a few of the questions he asked.

The young lady didn’t have all the answers to his questions, but she was really enjoying the conversation. Then the strange person asked her, “What is your favorite fruit that you have here?” She had to think for a moment. “Maybe it’s the peaches, or the cherries, or the grapes. Well, it’s so hard to decide,” she answered.

Then the strange person asked a question that had her searching for an answer. He asked, “What about that tree over there? What do you think of its fruit?”

The American economy wasn’t doing too well. Those already in office where promoting, “Better days are coming.” Those wanting to replace those in office were crying, “Those politicians are so out of touch with the average American. They don’t see the pain and struggles you have, just to make ends meet.” When troubled economies exist, it’s difficult when you are the ruling party, to convince someone, especially those whose paychecks just aren’t covering their bills, that better days are coming. They want better days now.

It was in that spirit that this President decided he wanted to extend his reach by mingling with the “average citizens.” He wanted them to know that he understood their pain. What better way to do that than to use the backdrop of grocery store as a prop. Americans were struggling to even put enough food on their tables. Maybe he could show he cared by being like the average American in a grocery store.

Well, with all the security surrounding a President, it is very hard to use an actual grocery store as a prop. Besides, it would disrupt too many lives, and that, in itself, might backfire on their plans. Maybe they could come up with something else.

The National Grocery Association was having a convention in Florida. Surely there would be some props on display they could use to show the average American family that he was one of them. So off to Florida they went.

Before the President delivered his speech at the Association’s convention, he decided to tour a grocery store scanning display that was being exhibited. The company executives must have been extremely excited to show off their newest technology to the President.

One of the bragging executives wanted to show the President how amazing their scanner really was. Their scanner could read the bar code even if it was torn into five pieces. The amazed President bent down to take a second look. Super market scanners, at the time, couldn’t do that.

The cameras were flashing everywhere. The President was thrilled by all the attention. “It looks like this trip was an excellent idea,” he must have thought. “Boy, I bet this is really going to bump up my poll numbers,” he might have continued.

Imagine the President’s horror when he picked up the New York Times the next day. The Andy Rosenthal headline blared, “Bush Encounters the Supermarket, Amazed.” The article didn’t address the fact that this was a new, improved version of the scanner in the supermarkets. It portrayed President George HW Bush as being so out of touch with the average American that he didn’t even know what a grocery store scanner was.

It was the start of a long downward slide to his campaign. His being “out of touch with the average American,” was one of the main reasons Bill Clinton would defeat him in his reelection bid.

The strange fellow was a real snake. His conversation wasn’t an interest he was taking in the young lady. He wasn’t there admiring the beauty of her neighborhood. He wasn’t there as an unselfish, kind gentleman who was just trying to start a conversation.

The strange fellow was actually the devil himself. He was there to tempt Eve with his charm and his words. He didn’t want her to have a better fruit or a better world. No, he wanted to take Eve out of her Paradise and have her come reside in his greedy, evil world. He didn’t want her to be happy; he wanted her to seek happiness.

The devil’s words didn’t promote what Eve had, instead it exclaimed what she didn’t have. Eve didn’t realize it, but she already had happiness inside her. When the devil said, “No, what about that one …,” it really didn’t make a difference whether it was an apple, a new car, a better life, a higher paying job, more respect, etc..

When the devil catches our attention with the words “what about,” he has set the trap that we all too often fall for. It’s appealing to realize that we can have something more, something better, or something that we think we deserve. We think about the “what about,” and our minds run wild.

Maybe the answer to the devil’s “what about” should be to turn the question right back to him. “Yeah, what about the wonderful house I already have, what about the job I already have that helps me pay the bills, what about all the family and friends I have around me….” But maybe the biggest “what about” should be: “What about the God I already have? I don’t need you or your false hopes of something better to take His place!

Sometimes hearts hurt so much. They hurt more than the little boy’s scraped knee. It’s easy to be the one who says, “Just rub some dirt on it.” It’s easy to try to pretend we understand like a President visiting a grocery store hoping that everyone will think he is just like them. It’s easy to fall for temptation’s “what about” statements.

It’s much harder to wrap your arms around those who are going through trials and sorrows, bandage their hearts with love, and tell them you will always be there right beside them, to help them in their time of need. That’s exactly what God has always done for us, though.

Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, Thank You for always being there for me when I scrape my heart. Thank you for holding me tight and for letting me know You are always there for me. Thanks for never saying, “Just rub some dirt on it.” Amen.

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