Last summer, I changed the first number in my age from a five to a six. Yes, I hit the big 6-0. Fortunately, I am still immature, so the number hasn't bothered me. I still spend much of my time acting childlike. The magic of bubbles still fascinates me. I still love to have pillow fights with my grandkids. I sign my name as To5m to most e-mails, with a note that the five is silent for those who don't know me. My kids often shake their heads at my antics, but they have inherited a touch of my silliness. Acting childlike is important, but when adults act childish or stupid, we have a problem.
It has been said that with age comes wisdom, but that is not always the case. Some people are shortchanged, and they get only the age part. My history and 60 years have helped me gain a touch of wisdom and maybe even a bit of profundity. I have decided that being around for the past six decades gives me license to point out stupidity, craziness, and injustice. So, I take a minute to point out some current problems that fall in those categories and make me ask, "Are you kidding me, or what?"
1. Not long ago, a local city council member refused to attend a joint meeting of the school board and city council held at one of our schools. His reason for not attending the meeting was that the school was a gun-free zone, so he couldn't carry his pistol. With that thinking, maybe it was better that he didn't attend. "Are you kidding me, or what?"
2. People argue that we don't need healthcare reform. Two years ago, I had a heart catheterization that cost more than $22,000. In defense of the current system, the procedure took almost an hour. Fortunately, I had paid about $10,000 for health insurance, so I had to pay only an additional $2,000 out of pocket. I again must ask, "Are you kidding me, or what?"
3. We spend billions on incarceration but refuse to spend money on preschool education, which gives kids a better chance to stay out of prison. This reactive mentality causes the educational and economic gap between the haves and the have-nots to grow wider. Let's not forget that education is a fraction of the cost of incarceration. And the question again is, "Are you kidding me, or what?"
4. Colleges crank out online degrees at an unprecedented rate. Degrees are granted to some students who never directly interact with other students, educators, or professionals in their chosen areas of "study." The value of degrees is going down, whereas student debt is skyrocketing. At least, the colleges' bottom lines are growing exponentially. "Are you kidding me, or what?"
5. During a recent trip to the grocery store, I walked past an olive bar. I did a double-take and then decided that I must count the number of different olives. There were 31 olive options. Granted, I am not a fan of olives, but I am sure that if I were, I would think that 31 options is overkill. Children go to bed hungry nightly in our country, but thank God, we have 31 olive options. "Are you kidding me, or what?"
The five observations above are random, and they are just a small sampling. I am glad my 60+ Club Card allows me to point out these things randomly, and I hope you get the point. There is much stupidity, craziness, and injustice out there, and some should be addressed. The rest can just hang out there being stupid. Still, it all makes me ask, "Are you kidding me, or what?" And as a warning to those around my world, you had better watch out for when I get my 70+ card.
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