There are many facets to the word turbulence. From unsteady movement of air or water to a country’s political conflict. It can nurture unstable emotions. Small-natured disposition of character flourishes when given an essential, intrinsic need to project their immature, jealous, petty spite onto others, acting as if they were the only biomass not born into an ant colony. Such turbulence holds one hostage by their own deceit and cause reputations to teeter. What does one grasp for security to weather the storm when forced to “walk the plank?” 

      Many felt awareness of rough waters upon embarking the ship. On schedule, the bang of the gavel proclaimed that “Perils of the Sea” had set sail. Five commanders sat at the quarterdeck bow waiting to hear arguments presented by two opposing magistrates. Peculiarities to maritime activities was confirmed upon suddenly smelling something fishy.  Aristotle defined rhetoric as the “ability to discover the available means of persuasion.” Rhetoric may have been mastered, but within trifling folly and the core of a good lie there contains a small kernel of truth making it sound viable to those willing to believe. Seems the captain was open to being polarized by the first mate and magnetized with accepting negative charges against a certified Able seaman. Testimony given with eloquence of truth  disclosed the art of public speaking and confidence gained by scholars under his tutelage. Letters of support were sent. A mother noted seeing positive changes in her son. A petition with 160 signatures confirmed that progressive scholars and social reformers are not afraid to articulate that an alternative discourse of power is needed. An audience of shipmates sat port side quarterdeck supporting that fact.  Starboard sat the captain and first mate with only their magistrate for support. Even though the first mate had asked scholars to write rebuttals, not one was present.  Calmly and professionally the Able seaman answered questions, even though goaded with redundancy and mean spirited irrelevancies. Ethical breaches seemed to have been missed and holes appeared large enough for a Great White to swim through the flim flam.  No matter how or why disclosure of personal information is made, the harm to the individual is the same. And, how ironic that neither side actually disagreed that it was a case lacking plausibility. In reverent silence and making no eye contact, the commanders appeared to have lost their sea legs as they returned to their seats to reveal their verdict. When an Able seaman with  a couple of “chinks in his armor” is immediately thrown overboard, it stings one’s mind. He carries experiences which were never mentioned. Like working with Jodie Foster when she directed and starred in “Little Man Tate”  on two film sites on his college campus where he majored in theater arts and management. He was also cast in a recruitment film by the U.S. Army, and acted in, and directed plays in community theater. He led scholars to take 3rd place in the state for commercial filming. He brought many tools plus charismatic warmth to the educational field. Is the best not what we want for our young scholars? 

    Every shipmate  has “chinks in their armor. Some more than others.The first mate lacks qualities which distinguishes leadership. His temper causes unnecessary turbulence. He should be tossed overboard or demoted to rank of a powder monkey.  The climax to the night ended with him wailing like a banshee for the ship's master of arms to “get over here! This lady just threw water on me on purpose!” Was his intent to have her walked off the plank, run up the yardam, or be keelhauled. She was hurrying to make a run to the “head” when he came barreling down the gangway. A gentleman would have let her pass first, but because he didn’t, she was forced to stop suddenly. Catching her foot in a chair, she lost balance which propelled her body forward along with a half full open bottle of water. The first mate was not happy about getting baptized. Before she toppled backward across two chairs, she said, “oops! Excuse me.” Again, a gentleman would have shown concern as she laid dorsally sprawled. But, he was too focused on shrieking paranoia. At that point a mutiny seemed about to take place and apparently he thought so too because he turned and hightailed it down the gangway. “Mmm . . . not a very honorable way to conduct yourself matey.”

   Kipling said, “If you can keep your wits about you while others are losing theirs and blaming you, the world will be yours.”  

   . . . .And that’s my opinion.

(Sharen Jergenson of Heber Springs writes her “And that’s my opinion column... “ for The Sun-Times monthly)