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Despite the wickedly cold wind, we were enjoying a little family walk along the shore of Lake Ontario. As we strolled past this fellow and his wife, he made some kind remark. We started talking with him.

Here he is with his wife and youngest child:

A Fellow Eathling from Iraq

He is a very friendly fellow. He has plenty of interesting things to say.

He left Iraq during the big war with Iran. As he was discussing it, his face told the tale. He was sick of the fighting. He went on to talk about the troubles since that time. He showed no noticeable bias – he just shook his head as he spoke and frowned at the sadness of it all.

He complemented us on our wives’ modest dress (maybe he didn’t notice it was freezing cold). He told us that ne never wears short sleeved shirts. When I expressed puzzlement, he explained that once, when he had his sleeves rolled up, his wife took him aside and told him that she noticed a woman who was looking at his forearms with lust. He promised her that he would never wear a short-sleeved shirt again. Though I was impressed by his modesty and his acceptance of the wisdom of his mate, I don’t get the forearm equals hot equation. I can honestly say I’ve never noticed it. Maybe if my forearms looked like Arnold Schwarzenneggar’s . . . I think it must be a cultural thing.

He also complemented me that I do not shave. He didn’t scorn Hans (who does), but he made it plain that a ‘real man’ does not shave any part of his face. He stressed the importance of the mustache. “If you must swear, you must swear by your mustache”, he proclaimed.

He spoke intelligently and with passion about the many places he’s been. He said that the wonderful thing that he’d learned is that we all are much more the same than we are different. I felt as if I could, despite our differences, call this man brother.

It’s so easy to demonize those we don’t know – can’t be bothered to know. I feel fortunate that I’ve seen many places and interacted with many people in those places. I wish all Americans could experience such a blessing. The needle in my brain that plays the tracks is hopeless stuck somewhere in the middle of The Age of Aquarius.

Others call me an American, but my spirit whispers that I am an Earthling. I’m just an Earthling with a US passport.

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