Saturday, March 24, 2012

16599--So We're Shutting All This Down in Dec. 2012?

Technically, as long as we're moving forward, we're always getting closer to the end of things.  I'm not sure if some members of our society are trying to slow things down or speed us toward the end.  Either way, sometimes they make me wonder about the value of society as a whole.  At the very least, I certainly find it easier to agree that we're overpopulated.

I was talking with an acquaintance about a work situation.  He was complaining that one of his co-workers seemed to have changed sides in a tense labor situation to join management's position.  As a result, he equated the betrayer to Benedict Arnold.  This told me that his feelings were pretty strong on the whole matter, but also made me realize that I hadn't heard the name in so long as to wonder if people at large still identified him with the same level of ire that he once held.  Sure, no one's naming their kids "Benedict" that I'm aware of any more than I'm running across any little "Judas" or "Adolf" rugrats, but are they teaching these details in school?

My wondering made him wonder, so we snagged a passing twenty-something we both knew and asked him, "Who's Benedict Arnold?" 
A head and shoulders profile engraving of Benedict Arnold. He is facing left, wearing a uniform with two stars on the shoulder epaulet. His hair is tied back.
Ruined the name "Benedict" for everyone

This drew a puzzled look and an "ummmm..." so we quickly threw him a rope with "How about Nathan Hale?"

"ummmm...Wait," he said.  His eyes were starting to light up.  There was something going on under that hair!  "War guys!" he said happily.

"Which war?" my partner in puzzlement asked.

"Civil war?" our young contestant asked.

Not Nathan Hale. It's Patrick Henry, but he said ballsy stuff, too.

We dropped our heads with a heavy sigh.  The young man seemed very disheartened. 

My partner tossed out, "Hey, who's Maynard?"
A man with a microphone stands on a major stage set.
Did not perform for Civil War USO

 The future senator's face lit up.  His head nodded at some tune only he could hear and he announced, "Lead singer of Tool!"

"You can go now," I told him.  "Thanks for playing."

 In an unrelated situation, straddling the fence between tragedy and comedy, I was watching Bill Maher's film "Religulous" on one of the cable channels.  So that I didn't have to contend with any of the household noise distractions by turning up the volume, I had the closed-captioning on during the film.  The son I have who's old enough to make this sad and funny was watching also and saw the word "literacy" pop-up in one of the interview segments.

"What's...'ly-ter-a-see'?" he asked, trying to sound out the word to the best of his phonetic ability.

My laughter was entirely reflexive and the spasms it brought equally uncontrollable.  When I was able, I corrected his pronunciation and told him it meant irony.

Don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same.

Both the young men mentioned have been through years of American education.  Neither of them is stupid.  I know that the second one has been lauded by his teachers as being possessed of impressive potential among his peers.  That usually strikes me as sad and funny, too.  It makes me wonder where their bar is set.

As I was saying, these people aren't stupid.  Whatever their level of intellect, I feel the sadder part of their situations is that despite their potential, they lack the drive and desire to fulfill it.  Content in blissful ignorance?  They seem to be.

Well, at least we got past the earbuds for brief interaction.  It seems that we've got a lot of people getting lost in a quagmire of media overload.  I'm not sure if that's better or worse than the ones being conditioned by video games to become future drone operators and snipers and such.  Either way, these are the inheritors of the future whether it's a long one or a short one.

I'd like to see a long one.  I suppose that means I'd better keep up on eating right, exercising, studying and keeping up on health and longevity developments.  Assuming most of us are still here next year and the Mayan secret plot to bring us all down has failed, maybe we can take another shot at lighting some fires under the slackers.

Time will tell.  Then, as they say, in a hundred years, no one will care anyway.


  1. Thank you sharing this, I found it very interesting and enjoyed the way that it was written.

    1. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for appreciating. I'll try to keep on pitching.