One Man’s Ceiling

This morning I listened to “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” Paul Simon’s 1973 release, with my morning cup of tea. It was recorded down in Muscle Shoals and has a lot of good music on it, but what really struck me was “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor.”

We’re in uncharted territory right now, and likely will be for a period of time that is yet to be determined. I’m pleased but not surprised to see individuals reaching out to each other in comfort and assistance. This pandemic is one of the best examples of the fact that boundaries and categories, while sometimes of some limited use, are usually impediments to seeing clearly and acting with purpose. COVID-19 is no respecter of state lines, country borders, race, gender, economic status, political affiliation, or any of the other artificial ways we define and separate ourselves. The virus has quickly traversed the globe and no ocean, border, wall, or international policy has even slowed it down.

There are many things that science is not equipped to deal with: honor, love, justice, faith, and art come immediately to mind. There are, however, some things that science is uniquely qualified to address, and this is one of them. We need to not only listen to the medical professionals on this, but we need to support them however we can. This is not a war, no matter how much the politicians would like for it to be. It’s a medical emergency. 

In this time especially we are all members of the same group; it’s true always but easy to ignore most of the time. Right now, though, we need to hear loud and clear the chorus of the song.

“One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

Remember, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

We’re all in this together, folks. Let’s remember to act like it.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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