1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Book of Ecclesiastes – Chapter 3
2017 was the year of the deep shadow. It feels as if the entire world is on the edge of dusk; as if God’s great hand were partially obscuring the sunlight that warms us. Maybe that’s my way of saying that it feels like we’re living in the Twilight Zone.
In some ways, it does. If you had told me six months ago that I would be living in Omaha, Nebraska, I’d tell you that you needed a good, strong psychotropic drug. Yet, here I am, sitting in my apartment near 90th and Dodge while the gas heater fights off the draft coming in from my sliding glass balcony door wrought by a -20 wind-chill. Welcome to Nebraska winter.
It’s more than just my situation at hand. Everything around me feels as if it has a bluish hue to it. Strange that a blind guy would be using a visual reference, but then, we live in strange times. Maybe psychologists would call it projection. Perhaps I’m seeing the world through a tinted lens of sadness. I wonder…
Take one of my closest friends, Alicia. She just lost her husband to cancer after a two-and-a-half year battle. He went home to be with his lord and savior the Sunday before Thanksgiving. At one point, they thought they were winning the struggle, but their hopes were short-lived. I remember the rhythmic beeping of the life support apparatus in the background when she told me of his failing health the night before he died. I remember the high, keening noise she made when I spoke to her three hours after he passed. It is a haunting sound that I will never forget.
Rest in peace, Mark. I hope it’s Texas warm where you are, brother.
Then, there’s Marty. She continues to battle her M.S. She hasn’t had a flair-up in quite some time, but the reality of her health always lurks like a grizzly just outside the light of the campfire. Worse than that, Monty’s health is failing. It is only a matter of time before she is forced to send him over the rainbow bridge. She knows it. In his own doggy way, I think he knows it. She will be devastated when that fateful moment arrives and all I will be able to do is hold the telephone and tell her how sorry I am. Just words.
Talking about Marty makes me realize that I went through, not one, but two breakups in 2017. Most women think that guys have it easier when you break up with a woman. This is categorically false. You sit in a room across from each other, or on the telephone, and you say the words that transform your relationship from an active bond of energy into a sad, hollow place inside of yourself. If you pay attention, you can feel the air around you die as the relationship dies. It’s like feeling the coming of a snowstorm in late autumn. Things around you still live, but the air turns colder and you suddenly find yourself carrying the knowledge that something is dying. And somewhere in the night, you wake up and realize that yet again, it is a part of your own soul.
One of the two breakups to which I refer was an Irish girl who is a tactile artist. We ended it in her living room. She said, “Can you please leave?” So, I did. I left Colorado.
The reasons for taking this new job seemed right and proper at the time. More money. More responsibilities. Live on-air breaks. Granted, it wasn’t AM talk radio, or even FM radio, but it was as close to a dream come true as I ever could have hoped. Yet, if I boil down my motivations, I see in retrospect that I was propelled by greed and vanity. I had a fine life in Denver with a job that, while a source of irritation at times, was comfortable and afforded me a decent living. Why did I take an unnecessary risk and shuck the status quo like an old raincoat?
This isn’t to say that I hate, or even dislike my job. Quite the contrary. My job is, by far, the best part of living here in Omaha. My boss is the best boss for whom I’ve ever worked. She is honest, fair, personable and perspicacious. She is firm when she needs to be, but she belies the stereotype of the harsh, frosty female authority figure. My two other coworkers are both professional, but casual and friendly. I have very large footprints to fill in the wake of my predecessor and I think many of the volunteers doubt my abilities, but everyone has been encouraging and compassionate toward the new guy.
I’ll tell you a story about my boss that will illustrate my point. About a month ago, a sour old dowager (who has been reading for us for decades) came into the control room and used a tone with me that I will describe as, tart. I felt the hot anger rippling through me as she waggled her acidic tongue, but I suppressed it behind the veil of professionalism. My boss overheard a portion of her tirade and, later that afternoon, she called the cranky old spinster and said, “I don’t like the way you talked to Ryan. I won’t have it.”
This is significant because, in our industry, the first rule of order is that you never, ever piss off the volunteers. I don’t begrudge this reality. There are sound reasons for this. Next to the listeners themselves, volunteer readers are the life blood of a radio reading service for the blind. Without them, we simply couldn’t function. We can’t have them becoming angry because they might leave, and while they’re at it, they might trash talk us to other people, thereby poisoning the well of benevolence from the public. Too much of this would send a non-profit organization into its death throws. Yet, my boss had my back, thereby guaranteeing my loyalty to her.
No, the job is fine. The city feels wrong. You know that episode of Columbo where his wife gives him a brand new raincoat and he tries to wear it so as not to hurt her feelings, but he can’t get his murder-solving mojo to full strength until he chucks the new one and goes back to the old, rumpled one? Five minutes after he dawns the ragged old coat, he busts Jack Cassidy. That’s how Omaha seems to me. Something here feels wrong.
Denver was like my comfortable old winter coat; the one that’s missing the front zipper. It’s black and yellow. I call it my bumblebee coat. It’s not in the best shape, but it fits my ample torso nicely and it’s warm and comfy. It is part of me, just as Denver was part of my identity. I’m Ryan. I’m from Denver.
This may be a period of adjustment. As I grow older, it might be that change is more difficult for me to accommodate. Am I seeing my situation through a melancholy fog; a fog that might clear with the passage of time? It’s too early to tell. Yet, something deep inside of me doesn’t think so.
Denver was very easy for me to live and thrive in as a blind person. The buses all had automated stop announcements, so there was no question as to where my stop was located. They ran nearly 24/7 and covered the vast majority of the Denver metropolitan area. I know this isn’t cool for a conservative to say, but the light rail was a marvel to behold when you were on it. If I needed a gallon of milk, a checkup for Mags, a deposit at the bank or a patty melt with a slice of pie, it was all within walking distance. If I couldn’t walk there, I could take a bus or train to my destination. If the bus or train wouldn’t go, Lyft or Uber was available in spades.
Here in Omaha, I feel disconnected and isolated, like Woodrow Call in his tent set apart from his wranglers after Gus died. I do enjoy a measure of solitude, but I don’t like feeling like a compulsory hermit. There are no sidewalks near my apartment, so I am forced to walk in the street. The afore-mentioned bank, grocery store or vet are most convenient by Uber, which costs money. I have a friend who is willing to drive me around, but I hate imposing on his time. He works at night and sleeps during the day and I feel guilty intruding upon his rest so he can run errands for me.
My apartment is spacious, but it’s old. It smells old. The floor boards creek. The neighbors smell like pot. I wanted to get away from that when I left Colorado! The laundry machines in the basement are touch panel, which is rough for a fellow who relies on push-button appliances. My thermostat is inaccessible. The kitchen is big, but there is little counter space and not many cupboards. Right above my sink where cupboards should be, there is just a blank wall. Where are the cupboards!? Maybe they’re in the deep shadow. The few close friends I have nearby live in Lincoln, or in Iowa.
The other day, I took the bus home and the temperature was 1 degree. I got on the bus. The driver said, “How ya doin’?” “Cold, “ I mumbled through my scarf. “Well, it ain’t any better on here,” he said unapologetically.
The heater was, indeed, in disrepair. This marks the fourth time that an Omaha bus has either broken down or has been in some measure of disrepair since I took up residence here almost three months ago. When I complain to customer service, they seem apathetic. The drivers seem to reflect the same apathy, which is a result of low ridership and general community disinterest. Public transit is a service furnished by the city government through the financial generosity of the citizenry. As Thomas Jefferson observed, the people get the government they deserve.
I did my fair share of complaining about RTD, but they never would allow a bus to serve as a means of conveyance if the heater were broken in single-digit weather. They would view it as a health hazard, which it is.
Speaking of the government, one of the things I was excited about in moving back to Omaha was better rehab services. I helped fight for a separate commission for the blind in the late ‘90’s and celebrated with my Federation cohorts when we finally got it in 2000. It was doing very well when I left the state 10 years ago. I came back with the full expectation of receiving a major improvement in services. Colorado Vocational Rehab is substandard, to put it mildly.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas. The Nebraska Commission for the Blind lost a major source of federal funding due to the reallocation of dollars for hurricane relief after Harvey, Irma and Maria all made their wrath known. This loss of funding, coupled with a federal law known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, means that the Commission must now place more emphasis on clients who are either going to college, or who are seeking employment. Since I am already employed and only needed supplemental equipment and services helping me acclimate to the area, I am very low on the priority list.
I don’t blame anyone for this. I don’t even blame Mother Nature. This comes under the ‘shit happens’ heading. But the timing is lousy. I have a deep and abiding affection for the Commission. They, along with my parents, helped formed the solid bedrock of my positive philosophy about blindness. Yes, the NFB deserves a lot of credit, but it was the Nebraska agency that helped me connect with the NFB. It makes me sad that they are now struggling and that clients will now feel the result.
Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Outlook Nebraska is seeking federal funding to provide tech and rehab training for blind people. I invite all two of you who read this to stop and ponder that prospect. A toilet paper factory that is one step removed from a sheltered workshop for the blind being paid by the government to train other blind people how to use their iPhones. This from the same facility that refuses to fire a blind married couple who blatantly flaunt the rules and go to the bathroom together, all in the name of, “enriching their lives.”
There was a time when I would’ve dismissed such a prospect as mere folderol. But then, I never thought that human beings with male genitalia would be permitted in the restrooms of the opposite gender, and that those who questioned such wisdom would be excoriated as transphobic bigots. This is the age of the deep shadow.
My closest in-person companion at this point is Mags. I am terribly worried about her. She’s been losing weight for the past 10 months or so. My vet in Denver (who knew both Mags and I by our first names) told me that she is in the early stages of renal disease. There is no cure for this. She could have surgery, but it really wouldn’t solve the problem. The move from Denver to Omaha was a tremendous strain on her. We were both miserable for the two weeks we spent in the hotel before my apartment was ready. I wonder if she recovered. She doesn’t eat as much as she should and sometimes, she aggressively bites me. This is a far cry from the sweet, affectionate kitty who first came to live with me Memorial Day weekend of 2016. All she wanted to do was cuddle and nuzzle me. She’s still that way most of the time, but she is growing thinner.
I took Mags to a new vet this weekend and she said that all we can hope to do is, “Support her kidneys as best we can.” Hard to do when she turns her nose up at any diet food I offer her. She’s stubborn. After all, she’s a cat.
I fear that, like Marty, I will be forced to make a fateful decision about her in the next year or so. The mere contemplation of this causes me to fight tears. Mags is a part of my heart that I never knew existed. She is mine. I take care of her and, in her own way, she takes care of me. When I drift off to sleep or wake up, I always feel her warm, furry body somewhere near my feet or shoulder. Despite the assertions of Walt Disney, animals are not human. Yet, in our interactions with them, we become more human. I am sure that Alicia contemplates this truth as she prepares to give up her own cat due to financial hardship in the wake of Mark’s death.
I spoke of my identity earlier. This brings me to the sad but necessary decision that I made a few weeks ago on Pearl Harbor Day when I chose to leave the Republican Party after 24 years of membership. You can read about my thought processes in a previous entry. I take no solace from this decision. I was proud to be among the ranks of the GOP. I am heartbroken at the steps they have taken (or not taken) collectively that have lead us to where we are now. I believe that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are both good men who are doing a thankless job and are saddled with a president whom they did not want, but that doesn’t mean they can’t show stronger leadership.
Other friends have suffered losses. A former coworker just lost his father over the Christmas season. My former mentor at AINC is pulling back from his volunteer duties because his wife’s health is deteriorating. He could be an exasperating old curmudgeon at times, but he was and is sharp as a razor and he taught me a lot while I worked there. My friends in Minneapolis have spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital this past year as their daughter is suffering from chronic health problems. Special thanks to Steve, without whom I could not maintain this blog. Another buddy of mine was going to move to Australia to be with his lady, until he discovered that her mental fruit basket contains only bananas. Dana isn’t as vivacious as she once was. I asked her, “Are you folding in on yourself?” She responded, “Like Goddamn Taco Bell.”
… She didn’t actually say that. But she would have four years ago.
A shock hit the Nebraska NFB affiliate in April when our spiritual leader lost her son to suicide. He had always been a troubled kid who grew into a troubled man and our hearts collectively broke for her. She is a rare individual of integrity, honor and kindness for whom virtually no one has a negative word to say. She did not deserve the shattering blow that she received. As a non-parent, I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child, particularly by their own hand.
Rest in peace, John Walker. I hope you are reunited with your father and that you now have the answers that eluded you in life. Your mother, whom you left behind, will be a long time seeking those same answers. I pray for peace, strength and resolution for her as she soldiers onward.
6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.
7 Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?
8 As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so
no one has power over the time of their death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
Book of Ecclesiastes – Chapter 8
I still miss Art. Nobody can listen quite like he can. I miss Katy and Marty. I miss my oasis of happiness at the Littleton Cafe. Happy New Year Becky, Oscar, Sam, Bonnie, Katrina, Dorothy, Ryan, Ariana and all the rest of you.
I even miss that wild crew over at the CCB. I realize that the Colorado Center For the Blind has its problems, but as I study Outlook Nebraska, I realize how important it is for blind people to take total control of their own destiny. The CCB can be a seething cauldron of chaos at times, but I feel toward it like some of those guys feel who become addicted to war and find that they miss Afghanistan when they get home. It could very well kill you, but while you were there, you never felt more alive.
So here’s to you Brent, Dan, Chip, Jenn, Dishon, Steve, Vicki, Martin, Carina, Maureen and all the rest of you. I hope the Christmas party was as good without my adult eggnog this year. Live the life you want. For tomorrow, you could be murdered by a nutjob with a pipe on the 16th Street Mall.
Sidebar: Lorinda, no offense, but I don’t miss you. You’re as ornery as that old acid-tongued dowager here in Omaha.
The news of my friends isn’t all bad. Martin and Carina have just become engaged. Congratulations, guys. Soon, you won’t have to fight and feel guilty about it. My pal Joe is in a relationship with a new lady and he seems to finally be content in Phoenix. I just had dinner with my friend Amy and she is mostly happy with her life in Baltimore. Katy was a beneficiary of my decision to leave as she took over my old job in Boulder. The results are mixed. She is glad to have a paycheck and she has learned how to use Windows to interface with their Linux systems, but she hates the four-hour round trip daily commute that I adjusted to in time. My buddy Wes relocated from Lincoln to Des Moines. Is he happy? I can never be sure. Is my friend Beth happy in Minnesota? I can never be sure.
I should give a mention to the only two friends I can claim here in Omaha, Amy and Kevin. They have gone out of their way to make me feel truly welcome since I arrived three months ago. Thank you for everything, guys. I should also mention that my dad came and picked me up last weekend so I could spend Christmas with the family. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to jump in the car with him instead of a bus driver, then debark two hours later at their front door.
Things are also mixed (as usual) on the socio-political front. Republicans control all three chambers of Government in D.C., but they have accomplished sadly little. They just passed a needed tax reform bill, but they have thus far lost the battle to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump did seat a justice on the Supreme Court in the Scalia mold in the person of Neal Gorsuch, but for every battle he wins, he sabotages himself. If you doubt this, just look at Anthony Scaramucci, Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon. Trump’s iron-jawed announcement that the U.S. will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is offset by his abysmal handling of the crisis in Charlottesville. I don’t even want to talk about his diarrhea of the fingers on Twitter. Did anyone ever decrypt “covfefe?”
I believe that Donald Trump may be winning the short-term battle, but given his volatile nature, he will cause Republicans to lose the long-term war. Those of you who enthusiastically support Trump can and will argue with me. I’ve learned that debate with those who subscribe to a cult of personality is an exercise in futility. The only further point I will make is simply that, if Trump had shown more sagacity in his firing of Comey, he would not now have a Mueller probe to worry about. I don’t think self-awareness is his strong suit. Aside from that, I’ve given up on my bad habit of political forecasting. Let’s just see how the 2018 midterms turn out.
Then, we have pop culture.
In 2015, they killed Han Solo. Now, they’ve killed Luke Skywalker. The character of Princess Leia still lives, but we won’t be seeing her in the third installment, unless J. J. Abrams can commune with the ghost of Carrie Fisher. This means that the great triumvirate of my childhood is dead. Maybe Lando will make a return in the next movie, but I won’t hold my breath. When William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and Optimus Prime go, I may just hurl myself in front of a truck full of Omaha steaks.
The third season of Fargo was pretty weak in contrast to the first two. Katy and I got into a cop show called Bosch, but the books bored me and the show, while interesting, doesn’t give me a TV nerd chub. I do like The Man in the High Castle and would recommend it to those who like alternative history fiction. I also think Stranger Things has improved with the second season. I still refuse to watch The Walking Dead as I think it outlived its creative value around season…two.? Still won’t watch Game of Thrones. Fantasy’s not my bag.
I didn’t really read any book series this year that grabbed me as the novels of C. J. Box did in 2016. Much to Katy’s delight, I finally broke down and read the Harry Potter series. I applaud Ms. Rowling’s journey from welfare mother to best-selling author. The books are good, not great in my opinion, but reading them was time well spent.
As noted in a previous entry, I do highly recommend The Force, by Don Winslow. His drug epics, Power of the Dog and The Cartel are also good, though not as good as The Force. I have also introduced myself to the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger, as well as the Quinn Colson series by Ace Atkins. Both solid series worth the read, but again, they didn’t seize my attention and shake it as did Joe Pickett and company.
I consider my brief meeting with Mr. Box in March to be a definite high-light and you can also read about it elsewhere within these hallowed pages.
We had the usual parade of celebrity deaths over the past year. The ones I found notable included Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, Malcolm Young and Sue Grafton. Remember Higgins from Magnum, P.I.? He died. Remember Phil Leotardo from The Sopranos and Billy Batts from Goodfellas? He died. Special shout-out to the memory of Adam West, who went up to that great batcave in the sky last June. He was the only actor with sense enough to realize that Batman is a character who is best not taken seriously. Another piece of my childhood goes, “Pow!” Sometimes I think that being an adult is merely standing a deathwatch while the parallel mythology and reality of your childhood implodes before your eyes.
HOLY CRACKERS!!! I didn’t know that Della Street died! Rest in peace, Barbara Hale. I don’t know how I missed this one or I would’ve given her a proper Facebook send-off. The Perry Mason TV show and novels were more a part of my college years than my childhood. As a character, Della had very little to do but sit around and validate Raymond Burr. Still, she deserves a special mention here.
I find it more than a little pathetic that America is now outraged about sexual harassment and assault, yet many of the same people who are shaking their fists at the objectification and mistreatment of women loudly and proudly mourned the passing of Hugh Hefner. I think that goes under the heading of, paradox. It’s like the people who squawk about America’s violation of human rights while they simultaneously wept at the death of Fidel Castro.
A lot of people will never come out of the deep shadow. Victims of Hurricane Harvey. Victims of Hurricane Maria. Victims of Hurricane Irma. Victims of the California fires; even though I often wonder if California deserves any sympathy. Victims of evil in Sutherland Springs, TX, New York City, Fort Lauderdale, Portland and many other locations. I couldn’t fully enjoy my first day of work because it was overshadowed by the horrible blood bath in Las Vegas the night before.
Many careers died over the past year. Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Mark Halperin, Roy Moore, John Conyers and others. As you can see by this blog, I am wholeheartedly supportive of the changing culture with respect to sexual harassment. Yet, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. The left always overplays its hand. Soon, the lines between a dirty joke in the workplace and unwanted groping will be blurred to the point where many men will be afraid to go near women. This won’t breed enlightenment or tolerance, but rather, latent hostility. I’m also waiting for some unscrupulous woman to falsely accuse a man of something and for the media to be complicit in his takedown.
Other careers have taken a hit. Mike Riley, though he’s merely been demoted to assistant coach. On the bright side, may the Frost be with you. Go Big Red! The former coach of the Giants; I don’t have the inclination to Google his name. Never screw with the Manning brothers. Vance Joseph should probably lose his career after this season of Broncos football. I haven’t seen a pattern of systematic abuse this bad since Joe dated Hope. Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler are both done in Denver after tonight. The jury is still out on Paxton Linch.
Hey, is Kirk Cousins related to Christopher Cousins, the guy who played Ted Beneke in Breaking Bad? I sure hope the former knows how to take a fall better than the latter.
Judging by the ratings, the entire NFL is in a death spiral. The kneeling controversy is merely the latest (if not the most prominent) public relations crisis. I nearly spat out my coffee in the control room the other day as I listened to one of our volunteers read an article in Sports Illustrated awarding Colin Kaepernick the Muhammad Ali profile in courage. This from the guy who is a mediocre player and who, paradoxically, is doing far more harm to the careers of many of his fellow African-American athletes by causing financial havoc. Does Kaepernick, a guy who wore socks with pigs on them to symbolize police brutality, really think that players taking a knee during the national anthem will change anyone’s views on racism and poverty in America? People who are middle aged like my dad will simply turn off the TV. The younger generation, represented by my college age nephew, are already losing interest in the NFL in favor of the UFC. How does Colin think this is going to end?
Did you know that Colin, who is outraged by oppression, is a big fan of Fidel Castro? Like Trump, I don’t think he is long on self-awareness.
Speaking of careers, I have no idea how anyone at United Airlines is able to keep their job. Same goes for Uber, who is hemorrhaging money due to lawsuits over sexual misconduct and bad business practices. I celebrated recently when I learned that Uber has finally come to my hometown of Kearney. If they last long enough, I’ll pay my parents a surprise visit next summer. I can’t believe Chipotle is still around. I haven’t tried their new queso yet, though I hear it’s about as appealing as toe cheese. I will say that one of the best things about being back in Nebraska is the proximity of Runza restaurants.
This entry is about as long as the list of charges against Harvey Weinstein. Let me wrap it up with an ironic story.
I was busting my hump writing this early in the week because I thought I was going to have some guests for the New Year’s weekend and I wanted to complete it early so I wouldn’t be distracted. Then, everyone canceled due to the brutal weather, and because all of our financial situations are about as dire as Roy Moore’s chances for a successful recount. Well… All except Wes, but he’s sick. Again.
As of now, Marty and I just listened to the Broncos wrap up their season with a squeaker of a loss to the Chiefs. I have a vision of Vance Joseph tossing in his sleep, mumbling, “5-11… 5-11… 5-11…” Marty and I will ring in the New Year telephonically, listening to the police scanner, thanking God we’re not the cops or Uber drivers. I can’t remember the last time I spent a New Year’s Eve alone. Some have been more raucous than others, but I’ve always had companionship. It’s a very fitting end to the year of the deep shadow.
God, please take your hand away from the sun. Please let the light back in. I know it is still out there. I am not lost in the eternity of night. But where is it? Where is the warmth of the sun?
-16 for a low on New Year’s Eve. -2 for the high on New Year’s Day. The wind just rattled my balcony door. Mags is meowing mournfully from somewhere in the apartment. Hours before this is published, five cops shot in Douglas County, CO. One killed. A family gets to forge the waters of 2018 without a husband and father.
Winter’s not coming… It’s here, with no end in sight.
Happy New Year. May 2018 deliver me from the deep shadow.
8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am
I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Book of Ecclesiastes – Chapter 4