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Jonathan D DeViney
Jonathan D DeViney
Jonathan D. DeViney is currently en route to completing his economics education at The Pennsylvania State University. A five year enlisted veteran of the US Navy, he was both born in and is a resident of Metairie (unincorporated central New Orleans), Louisiana and is managing editor of ModState.com
 

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Posted in Society / Philosophy / Ethics

A Creed For All Seasons

Aug. 9, 2017 6:45 pm
Keywords: None
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Copyright 2017, Trademark(s) est., ModState LLC (New Orleans, LA) & OverWatch LLC (Poughkeepsie, NY)Used only with express written permission

The ModState Mascot, a Russian Blue kitty (18 months old) named "Blu", is now reportedly undergoing the scrutiny of a massive internal investigation as to whether or not she colluded with the Russians to procure severance payments to her scattered littermates across the globe. The truth SHALL emerge!

It’s not often in this foul year of our Lord, two-thousand seventeen, that any verbose armchair scribe lacks for subject matter worthy of dissecting. Yet with my ongoing pursuit of an economics degree from Penn State and attempting to not lapse or permit a collapse in governing ModState, I’ve struggled mightily with the balance of mutually-agreeable means. This has been to further numerous ends that, if I’m right, will not only establish some semblance of consistent income for my person but also those loyalists who’ve been in (and out) of the trenches since last year.

For it was just only last year, on 30 April, 2016, that “The Modern State,” ModState, appeared with what cannot be described as less than superb timing. Not only was this prior election cycle steroids for political media but the 30th of April happens to be the day Louisiana was sold to America by the French. This happens to be both, yes, a coincidence but also something worth commemorating by ModState and its fellow New Orleans entrepreneurial enterprises.

There exists a time and place where, even from my temporary home in Southern California, a crew huddled together over the concept that would emerge as ModState. A year in, the crowd’s leaner. Life happened, and not everyone was completely prepared for some of the more bizarre turns that would happen along the way. We emerge from this first year of existence profitable by a three-digit margin that, while nothing to write home about, is far and away better than the massive losses endured by many startups. Additionally, we’ve more than gotten our fair share of mileage out of the allegedly legendary fraternity that is the United States Military. For starters, each of the three founding members of the ModState staff are veterans: yours truly, US Navy (2011-2016), joined by Al Eldeen of the US Army and graphic design wunderkind Samuel “DSamuel” Wheeler of the US Air Force (2011-2016). Augmenting the enterprise itself in a big way is “Blue Chip” editorial and multimedia addition, Nate Wellein, joining the enterprise as a stakeholding partner to boot.

Rounding out our current crew is new board member, our Chief Technology Officer, Peter Clevenger, and the aforementioned new editorial signee Nate Wellein. Both men served in the US Army. Throw in the extensive, watershed sociopolitical stylings of former staff writer Dain Wilson (whom I went to Navy boot camp with and who’s still in the service), former contributor Brandon M. Shockley (who I served in the infantry with but who recently decided to reenlist, Navy) and last but not least, OP-ED author and legendary master of haberdashery, my father, Mike DeViney. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a short-time resident of Jacksonville, Florida in early childhood and long-time resident and men’s clothing dealer in New Orleans, Louisiana, my father is another name in the swollen ranks of former Army personnel in our midst, not to mention the fact he’s my hero.

All of these things are good things, things that attest to the overall strength of character, embarrassment of riches in terms of talent and to the overwhelming amount of determination and dexterity this crew is capable of. The nickname given me around the time I died for a quarter of an hour and came back (no, fo’ real!), “Jonny Comeback,” is rather fortuitous due to the very nature of circumstances around its adoption. Death has a way of generating introspection, but it is fitting. The amazing people in the proverbial trenches with me on this are beyond belief. Their abilities and their confidence, collectively and individually, remove what tiny shred of the intimidation factor remained after my half-decade of indentured servitude (also called “military service”). You don’t have to make a comeback when you’re leading wire-to-wire, ala Secretariat.

But what happens when you literally can’t come back? I don’t mean a lack of willpower, or even firepower. I don’t mean the moody shirker getting all “emo” when the ball didn’t bounce his way, figuratively or literally. I’m referring, rather, to the kid who’s tone deaf and desperately seeks to be the frontman for a “rock & roll” act that has been subjected to the same, endless volleys of universal entitlement as every other American. He hears the words “you can be anything, do anything you want!” ringing terribly hollow the last time around. Then the bullet hits the bone and wreaks havoc in splintering the marrow of belief, of drive. Bitterness awaits.

I felt this, after seven years, when Frank Campione and I called it a day for GamePartisan (2002-2009). It ended up breaking even which, while certainly better than ending in debt, is not exactly what we went through that level of heartache and struggle for. In the end, a firm out of Madeira (Portugal) bought the .com and it collapsed in less than a year due to a litany of mismanagement and, frankly, pure idiocy. Let it be known that I would strongly exhort anyone fancying themselves an entrepreneur to do their research and ensure that their product is, um, legal and stuff before deciding to conduct business in a foreign country. I know this to be random, but the sad (and sadly laughable) truth is nothing could deter these hustlers from turning GamePartisan into an online casino to be operated via several datacenters in America with highly-localized marketing backed by tens of thousands of dollars in pre-paid ad slots. In fact, they were so avant-garde and sassy that they cleverly waited until after committing said funds to see if their enterprise was, well, legal or illegal. Turns out that the warning(s) I uttered repeatedly to everyone involved on their side of things in Portugal fell on Portuguese or, uh, “deaf” ears and the enterprise promptly fell apart not long after the half-year mark. The 1980’s and video game heroes like Bubsy would’ve loved these clowns, though, because boy were they ever sassy…those ‘tudes were off the charts!

I felt it again as I neared closer to the chance to have my Navy contract bought out, summer 2012, for a chance to play either left or center mid in my box-to-box style in MLS (likely DC United). I could bend, chip, drive and garner assists using the outside of my left foot, preferred to the extent where I would watch tape of England icon David Beckham in a mirror so that his right-footed “goldenballs” would be reflected for my own, left-footed curly-curvy style. Harry Redknapp, of English Premier League club Tottenham (at the time) acknowledged that, while “quite raw in areas” (his words), I had the pace (combination of speed and quickness, actually), instincts and command of the game (I always lead in assists, serving as maestro and coordinating the offense, akin to Beckham, yes, and Italy’s “Maestro” Andrea Pirlo). To boot I had a tireless work ethic, racing back and diving in front of shots and taking physical punishment (I’m 5’10” and have been betwixt 155 and 168 lbs. my entire adult life). Ironically, it was my ability to bend the ball (and thus being assigned to free kicks and corners) that lead to the end of it all. Well, not “all”, but the immense pressure I placed on my plant foot, my right Achilles tendon (to be precise), finally took its toll. A slight tear in the ligament on the great toe of my left foot was tough but I played through it. A rupture and partial tear of my right Achilles, however, was the end of my days (collectively, at all levels) playing “The Beautiful Game”. Some around me thought it was the end of that day. Lying on the turf, feeling the swelling begin to mass, I knew the dream, my dream of ascending to the Men’s national team and being trusted by Jurgen Klinsmann to aid the Yanks in seeking national glory? I knew.

But? First-world problems, my friends. My family isn’t falling prey to the machetes of barbarians or the cruelty of female circumcision by vile, heathen dogs for some false, heretical reason. We don’t make a life-and-death decision when mulling over the grocery store or café. Life and death is different than winning and losing.

I look back and, sure, defeat’s always tough. Winning’s a lot more fun and a lot more marketable, but, ah, I repeat myself. But what do you say, again, when you can’t come back? When it’s all over, truly over, and, say, your closest sibling (in age, chronological vicinity and thus growing up closer) loses her second baby in sixteen months? What do you say when you handled the first event so poorly, that when the eldest, the older brother, when he called at Christmas 2015 you froze? You froze, afraid to say anything to your sister that might depress her more, and so you said nothing at all.

We’ve since made amends, and I spoke to her the day that her unborn son, an unwritten Creed of a man, died. That I had no more words than expressions of sorrow and love for her and the family…that helplessness doesn’t bode well with me or much of anything about me or slithering around inside of me. Economics is about solutions, be it through calculation and/or computation or working with models. The infantry is about a very precise sort of solution, and as a corpsman (Navy medic) with USMC infantry, the array of possible trauma I would see and treat was the long and short of my job (minus having an M4 to cause an enemy to need his own medical treatment). Playing soccer is “The Beautiful Game,” not unlike bass guitar in the “Four on the Floor,” killer disco/funk style: easy to learn, difficult to master.

But death, death borne by the mother of two of the unborn, two in less than one and one-half years? A mother who loves being a mother and has long put the needs of her children on par with her own survival has no concept of anything other than to endure when that unborn child’s life threatens her own.

For all the talk of dying for one’s country, of dying for a cause, dying for what one believes in, I had a rather stark, pragmatic realization. This epiphany (if you will) allows me to filter such living prose, these shades of glittering idealism we hear from the disengaged ravings of motivational speakers. These financially-successful street prophets who’ve never been on the street, but oh, my goodness, they sure are savvy! These heartless, walking aphorisms would no doubt have a perfect sequence of wise sayings to share with me about enduring struggle, about carrying my own weight, et al.

The reality is, you’ve no idea how many of these fools are out there. We’ve met and, well, Officer, I’ve been around jive-turkeys before and, well, I’m pretty sure I’m sick of jive-turkeys, Officer. They’ve no concept of the struggles endured by those enslaved by the stark realities systematically enforced by the fractional reserve system of our time. Those of us in the Proletariat, in the Middle and Working Classes, need be a one-hit wonder as opposed to being a no-hit bumbler. Then you’re sneered at for being “new money.” On the wrong day, then they’ll be sneered at for missing teeth and pissing off the wrong loyal little brother.

Full circle, front and center, enters the stage: my epiphany, at long last. This pristine little secret (not everything is dirty, you deviants!) dispenses with the notion that to die for something is the pinnacle of dedication. While to die a martyr is indeed glorious (dependent on what’s “worth” dying for) and certainly a time-honored concept, once dead the struggle for [insert cause here] ends.

Take this for what it’s worth, stemming from my thirty-three years of experience on this maladjusted, malevolent rock (some call it “Earth”): the far more severe task is to live for a cause, to pay heed and nurture it consistently. Far more difficult is to keep it alive and to help it flourish, proselytizing enemies and maintaining working relationships with allies…all of that? That is exhausting and far more daunting a task than staring death down. I wasn’t even aware that that’s what was going on when I did break on through to the other side. I croaked for a whole quarter-hour, only to return and begin the real battle (to include seven surgeries, YAY!).

The Creed, a Creed surely for all time’s sake, is one that bears remembering: his name and our memory of his gallant efforts at survival are what endures as his physical suffering was brought to an early close by our Creator. His mother, as is always the case with mothers, will bear the true cost of living in honor of this Creed but without this Creed, simultaneously. That cruel juxtaposition, that hurtful, overwhelming bludgeoning of the spirit during life because of adherence to a belief? This is a far more desperate struggle than the (usual) permanence of death.

 
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