I don’t really know what is to be accomplished by my writing down these thoughts, other than to demonstrate that I have them. I think it reasonable to assert that I have been around long enough to have some perspective. I call it wisdom. Things have changed dramatically since I was a boy. I look at the way things are, and I remember, sometimes fuzzily, the way things were, and I wonder. I wonder: are things better? Are things worse? Why did things happen the way they did? Why are people the way they are – now?
People’s attitudes toward time have changed. They want more and more of it, i.e. a shorter work week, more vacation time, more holidays, yet I look at how they spend the time they have and I wonder.
a. Why do people live so far from where they work? If time is so valuable, wouldn’t they demand a shorter commute, so as to spend less time behind the windshield?
b. Why do people want bigger houses and yards? If time is so valuable wouldn’t they want less to maintain and take care of?
c. Why are there so many two-income households now? If time is so precious, why is having a larger house, multiple cars, multiple TVs, stereos, boats, snowmobiles, dishwashers, swimming pools, home computers, large wardrobes, etc. such a priority? People must work longer hours, or multiple jobs in order to have all of these things that they don’t have the time to enjoy.
Another area that is vastly different is the way people relate to one another. Relationships like marriages, friendships, even businesses, don’t last the way that they used to.
a. Half of all first marriages in the United Stated end in divorce. The rate of failure is even higher in subsequent marriages. What is the point? Are we that careless about our choices, or do we just not care about the long-term consequences? Are a few years of contentment worth the anguish and hurt of a failed relationship? Are we back to a question of time? If time is so important, where does the year and more of undoing a relationship fit into this precious commodity?
b. Children are treated entirely different. They are now to be “entertained.” Parents spend vast amounts of time and money on music lessons, karate, dance, soccer, baseball, football, hockey, etc. To what end? What does it really teach the children?
c. Day care – when did parents lose the desire to raise their children themselves? And why do they think a person making ten fucking dollars an hour is an adequate substitute?
d. Friendships – being the transient society that we have become, what happens to friendships as America moves around? As people climb the corporate ladder and seek higher pay elsewhere, are they very often persuaded to stay in the community because of all of their friends, including their children’s friendships?
This trait probably belongs at the top of the Endangered Species List. It has become rare to the point of extinction. People don’t recognize its importance. Some examples:
a. The union laborer whether factory, construction, teacher, government, whatever will bemoan the loss of jobs, especially jobs lost to overseas competitors, but why is the parking lot at Wal-Mart always full? I recently heard that Wal-Mart is China’s largest trading partner. I don’t know if this is accurate, and I’m not going to take the time to document it. Suffice it to say that a vast amount of Wal-Mart’s merchandise is made in China because it is cheaper.
Now, if American jobs are that precious, why are these same people who bemoan lost jobs, buying from a company that stocks its shelves with foreign-made goods? It would appear that loyalty can be bought. Yes?
b. People complain about “sprawl,” — all of the strip commercial shopping centers and malls. Yet, will they make the extra effort to patronize the downtown business, or small mom-and-pop business that they remembered as a kid; where their parents shopped, where the rest of the neighborhood shopped? Or will they go to the mall, because prices are cheaper and parking is free? Is loyalty disappearing because it’s only desirable when things are easy? Are people oblivious to the small business-person struggling or going under? This small business person no doubt lives, shops, and banks in the community, and yet people seem not to care that patronizing the larger stores means the money leaves the community – forever. Where is the loyalty in that?
c. Speaking of community, I’m wondering what the national average is for people residing in one community for a certain length of time? Is that house further out in the suburbs a better substitute for the neighborhood that people are the fabric of?
d. Or what is the average number of years an American works at one company? My first job lasted eleven years. Those guys taught me everything and I will never forget them.
When exactly did reporting the weather become so sensational? When I was not that much younger the weather got reported – period. If something truly sensational happened it got reported as such. Now it seems that the weather just isn’t sensational enough unless it is augmented with bogus data.
Take wind chill for example: many years ago I read a report that the wind chill charts used by the weathercasters were not at all an accurate reflection of what they attempt to portray. Wind chill was studied by the US Army around the time of WW2, in order to determine its effects on the troops in field conditions. Apparently a lot of assumptions were made that just weren’t accurate.
Did weathercasters quit using this bogus meaningless data? Quite simply no. If they can take a twenty degree day and turn it into a zero degree day, that’s much more sensational. Except for a few areas of the country where ideal weather is the norm, weather is most often reported as something people need to endure. We, meaning all people, are free to choose where we live, including the kind of climate. Are people really tricked into thinking that the weather is always worse than it is? Or are our weathercasters just sadistic little unhappy people, not satisfied with facts, but intent upon making things seem as bad as they can be?
Oh, and now we have “heat index” – more bogus science. If it is an eighty five degree day with high humidity, it is suddenly a ninety nine degree day – oh, forsooth. How will we endure? I wonder if we will soon be told how much hotter it seems if one stands in the direct sunlight? Or why not say how cold it will feel if you go outside in the winter bare-naked?
MOVIE STARS, MUSIC STARS, AND ATHELETES
The new role models for the youth of the world. Yayz to Britney Spears, Levi Johnston, Paris Hilton, Michael Vick, Rosie O’Donnel, and all of their ilk. Thank God my kids are grown. I feel for my grandkids, but they’ll only peripherally be my problem.
I resent these people’s role in politics. I don’t care if it’s Sean Penn or Bruce Willis, why do people accord them any sense of importance? They’re opinions mean no more than the next guy’s.
INSPECTORS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
I’ll deal with these in my upcoming book.
I am an excellent driver. I drive very fast cars, and sometimes I drive them fast – when it’s safe. I drive with both hands on the wheel, when I’m not shifting gears, and I sit erect and focused on the road. My cell phone sits on the seat next to me – OFF.
Now, how in the hell did teenage girls ever get the idea that it is at all sensible to drive well over the speed limit, with one hand on the wheel, and their cell phone in their ear, or even worse “texting,” while they tailgate the shit out of me?
Sound systems: what makes you think I am even remotely interested in listening to rap? Do you think that I really enjoy my office windows rattling?
And why do black guys sit so as to barely see over their dash board with their face squarely in front of the radio?
I don’t get these things – and more.
Generally, here is an area where we’ve made excellent strides. Aside from a few bizarre “style” trends, clothes are more comfortable, more durable, easier to care for, and there is a vast selection from which to choose.
I firmly believe that to a certain extent clothes make the man. If you care about being taken seriously in MY office, you better care about how you look. No getting around it, if you want to rebel, you do it at your own peril.
If you walk in with your baseball hat on backwards you are dead on arrival. Don’t even get me started on guys who eat with their hats on.
This used to be mostly intolerable. I have nothing against drinking. I drink a lot. I do however have a big issue with public drunkenness. It’s offensive, and can be downright dangerous.
EDUCATION AND SELF ESTEEM
When you deserve a “C”, you should get a “C”. Enough said about that.
Going to have to go in the book.
Maybe this is where I’ll show my age the most. It used to be wrong to put your penis inside a dog or a sheep. Girls, your vagina wasn’t meant to be filled with fruit and whipped cream. This one I suppose isn’t so bad so long as it isn’t your dad or brother you invite over for dessert.
The use of urine or excrement anywhere in a sexual context was, and always will be – wrong.
You’re born with sexual components. Think of your body as a nice house, a little remodeling is okay, but you’re not a street rod. No swapping out equipment.
In the name of diversity, if you are the type to prefer casual, uncommitted sex, please move to Canada; they have national health care. I personally do not want to suffer the financial consequences of your choices.
I have a happy life. It’s not perfect – but it is happy. I am free of most strife. Would I go back to the world of my youth? In some cases yes, but only if I didn’t have to relive some of the things I’ve had to overcome.