Monday, May 23, 2011

No! Seriously?!?!?

I lived in the Netherlands for a little over a year.  I needed a job.  To get a job, I needed a work permit since I was technically an immigrant.  To get the work permit I needed a visa (We call them green cards in America, except the American system is more like friends with privileges) and to get a 1 year visa, I had to bring the foreign police written proof that I was already enrolled in a Dutch language class.  To get a longer one, I would have had to pass both written and oral language and culture exams.  When I asked about this, the officer assigned to me said “Americans are the only people in the world stupid enough to throw their culture away to make room for foreigners.  We love foreigners here, but this is our country and our language.  If you want to stay, you have to learn them, not the other way around.”  Makes perfectly good sense to me.
Am I the only one to notice that he sassy, rude, impolite culture of instant messaging has worked its way into general conversation, and that entitlement is now a way of life for the majority of Americans?  I walk with a cane, but that doesn’t mean I’m not risking my life to walk in the marked cross-walk area of a grocery store parking lot when someone in their gas guzzling SUV with a cell phone glued to their ear doesn’t think stop signs are intended for them too.
I was in Walmart a couple of weeks ago.  In the health and beauty section there was an empty box on a baby formula shelf that had some time previously held K-Y His and Hers and a free rainbow colored twist ribbed condom.  Apart from the humor of the location of this empty box (baby formula section right under a security camera) I couldn’t help wondering, doesn’t using the prophylactic pretty much cancel out the advertised effect of the His & Hers product?  Which probably explains why the axel grease was missing but the free condom was still in the box.
When did it become appropriate public attire for a 16 year old kid to wear a T-shirt with the words “Wake up Drunk” on the front and the words “Go to bed Fu**ed” on the back?  In big capitalized letters?  Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t wear that now! And I’ve got over 40 years on the kid!  I wonder if his mother knows.  I wonder if she cares?  I wonder if she bought the thing for him?!?!?
My grandson has a nicer cell phone than I do.  How did I survive middle school without a cell phone?
I’m not certain which is more of an embarrassment to me – that my high school’s graduating class of 2011 will only include just over half the students who entered high school there four years ago, or that students who went through the same county wide system I went through didn’t learn enough to properly complete a ballot in the 2000 presidential election?  The county in which I currently live will be laying off most 1st and 2nd year teachers and cutting arts programs.  That should help.
I reads an article yesterday that said last year seventy BILLION dollars were spent in this country to purchase lottery tickets.  The payout for that $70,000,000,000 was less than half what was spent.  Most of the tickets were sold to individuals who bought lottery tickets instead of food, shelter and clothing,  and by doing things like walking up to a complete stranger at a grocery store and saying “I’ll pay for your groceries with my food stamps if you’ll give me the cash so I can buy lottery tickets, smokes, booze or drugs.”  Let me spell it out to you.  Our taxes are paying for impoverished families living on welfare to gamble, drink and get stoned.  Ain’t America great?
I spoke with the owner of the company that did our attic insulation and duct repair.  I had some questions about why no two of the people from his company who either inspected, quoted, or performed the work were on the same page about what need to be done and what it would cost, and my concern that if they overlooked something I could see from the middle of the garage, how can I be assured that the places I can’t easily see were done?  The big topic of discussion, however, was his employee who offered to under-cut his boss’s price by about 75% and include the materials at no cost.  I’m not pointing fingers over how he could do the work for his price, let alone do it materials included.  Well, yeah, I am.  I have a feeling I know where the materials were coming from.  The guy, of course denied it.  I asked for someone different to come out and recheck the work.
But wait – there’s more.  At least two night a week there’s a break in our local news to “go live to Universal Studios in Orlando” to watch lotto and powerball numbers being drawn, and at least in our market, the news anchors, between bouts of being cute with each other, wish the local gamblers good luck.  And that’s after they’ve brought us the big breaking news stories of the week:  “Make sure to use cash at your local bar so you can leave a better tip”, “Here are the best local drag queen bars”, and “Did you hear the one about the idiot Christian Preacher and the end of the world?”
Seriously?  That’s the local news?
Boy, do I miss Walter Cronkite.

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