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Despite my advancing years there are still many things that I cannot and probably will never understand. Perhaps this is not unusual for those of us who came of age during the “Father Knows Best Fifties,” or however one wishes to define those times. We did things back then that were perfectly understandable but that are frowned on or, in some cases, easily accepted in today’s society. Let me give you a few examples:

  • We drank from hoses and we all shared the same hose. Today’s parents appear to feel that this is an intolerable sin and that sickness and even death could result;
  • If we were ever to use the word, “fuck” in any kind of conversation, it might not get your mouth washed out with soap, but you can bet that your butt would be sore for weeks to come; today, the lyrics played on pop radio stations are completely off the wall and the word, “fuck” is among the milder of the expletives;
  • Smoking cigarettes was something of a mark of distinction during the fifties; justifiably – and this from a former smoker – it is today seen as a form of slow suicide;
  • “Cracking open a cold one” meant to have a beer or soda/tonic/pop or whatever in the 1950s: Recently on daytime television I heard it referred to as mortuary necrophilia. That’s not only sick; it’s disgusting;
  • It wasn’t until Fred and Wilma Flintstone slept in the same bed that that ban was busted. Lucy and Desi, as well as Rob and Laura Petrie had been denied that marital pleasure by the censors. Today, they don’t seem to sleep in the same bed so much as…well, you know…and they don’t even have to be married!
  • When the final school bell rang in the fifties, we either ran or rode the bus home; changed into our ‘play’ clothes; yelled “Goin’ out” and were gone until we knew enough to come home for supper…we didn’t call it dinner in our house. Today’s children seem so programmed that if they’re not texting and talking on their phones on the way home, they’re lost; Once they get home, they either go immediately to their computer; go off to some practice; or spend the afternoon in their rooms on the phone or texting.
  • In my day, “blow me” was just a figure of speech. Today it would appear that many young people don’t even consider it as being a sexual act.

Yes, our social and moral standards have changed a great deal during the last half century plus. Some of these are advances. Some I fear have already had dangerous consequences. Recently, I read a story about an office manager who was so disliked that his staff rebelled against him and quit en masse. When upper management investigated, it was learned that the manager felt that his people knew their jobs and had no reason to communicate with him. He felt that all communication should be by e-mail because it was much more efficient. One of my great concerns is that we are raising generations who don’t understand what real communication is all about. E-mail, instant messaging, and texting are great in their place, but face to face conversations are critical. Every high school and college graduate should be required to take courses in face-to-face communication. There are so many scenarios that could be brought forth in such courses the value added to the individual would be priceless. I don’t understand the emphasis on technology at the expense of humanism. I had the good fortune to work with seven college presidents during my career. All were different personalities. My philosophy, which I explained to each of them was this: “When I have good news to share with you, I’ll call you or send a memo – it was only with the last one that e-mail was a popular form of communication – but if I have bad news to share, I will come to your office as quickly as possible and deliver it face to face.”  The reasoning behind this was quite simple; I don’t need to be around to see you smile at the good news; I do need to be around to gauge your reaction to bad news in order that I begin to judge what the next steps should be. You don’t see the expression on someone’s face when you don’t look them in the eye. Can it be troubling or have nasty consequences? Of course it can, but if you are prepared in your job, you’re already with possible suggestions.

I don’t understand why everyone has to be a specialist in today’s workplace or why if you approach a sales person who is one aisle away from their ‘area,’ they are so quick to let you know, “I don’t work in this department.”

I can understand why we didn’t wear helmets when we rode our bikes – well, almost understand – but with today’s bicycles capable of speeds of 40 -50 miles per hour, why the hell aren’t helmets a requirement. And why do I see kids out riding with their parents where the kids are wearing helmets as well as knee and elbow pads while mom or dad are riding without a helmet. I just don’t understand.

I don’t understand drivers who think that laws don’t apply to them; who believe that turn signals are optional; who are unable to read speed limit signs on side roads; who view stop signs as a challenge to see if they can beat through traffic in an intersection; who feel persecuted in a work zone that’s marked as 45 m.p.h. when they were only doing 80. These are things I don’t understand.

I have never understood nor will I to my dying day why we can’t get one more person out of a hundred to give blood on a regular basis. Just one more out of a hundred would fill the needs of the hospitals that depend on that blood for saving lives. One of the achievements of which I’m quite proud is the five gallons that I gave. Unfortunately, the medicines that I have to take to this day preclude me from every giving more. It’s such a simple thing to do and yes, that first pinch hurts a bit, but that’s all over in a second or so.

Of course, I don’t understand quantum physics, nor do I have any desire to do so. Although I was married for nearly 51 years, I have never understood the opposite sex, and any man who says he does is either a liar or a fool. I don’t understand how bumblebees can fly or hummingbirds hover. I don’t understand why so many wonderful people die young and some of the rottenest bastards in the world seem to go on forever.

I don’t understand the people who work in my local Walmart. They are some of the nicest, friendliest people in the world. You may not find them in their department, but they’ll damn sure walk you to the person who has the answers and, at least in my experience, will make it a point to locate you in a checkout line and ask if you found the who’samajigits. Juli and I have decided that if we ever win the lottery, we’re going to buy a pile of birthday cards; stick five $100 bills in each one, and hand them to people who have been nice to us in restaurants, supermarkets, garages, and a few other shops. As we leave, we’ll just give them the card and say, “Happy Birthday.” That way, they won’t have to declare it as income nor will they have to share it with others as a tip. Sneaky, but what the hell.

Finally, I haven’t stopped writing about them, but for damned sure, I’ll never understand the politicians in Washington, D.C. Running the nation seems to be a toy for the rich in order that they can make themselves richer without having to work for it.

There’s a lot more I don’t understand, but I’m tired of writing, and you’re probably tired of reading. Take a chance and drop me a line about things you don’t understand. Trust me; if I get enough, they’ll create another addition to the blog.

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I really can’t stay long today. I have to go meet Jenna Jameson, although I can’t imagine what the former “queen of porn” would ever want with an old man like me. Perhaps she just wants to watch me cry. I actually had to look on Wikipedia to learn who she was. They list her as an “entrepreneur,” which I suppose is one way of looking at it, but then, who am I to question Wikipedia. Wow, do they have a biographical sketch of her!

Before meeting Jenna…hey, she’s the one who sent me the e-mail saying that she wants to meet, but before meeting Jenna, I have to collect my $650,000 from Cattolica Italiana. It may be possible to do that without going directly to them; they just want me to forward my checking account number to them so that they can deposit the funds. I could certain use that money, it being Christmas time and all that. I was going to collect my $25,000 from Blockbuster until that other group came along, and I’m not really a greedy person. Let someone else have the 25 grand I say; I won’t need it now that I’m going to have over half a mil in my bank account. Well, I’ll have it as soon as I tell that bank in West Virginia that I most certainly didn’t authorize Mr. Jeffrey Meyer to access my account. Heck, I don’t even know a Jeffrey Meyer and…come to think of it, I don’t believe I even have a bank in West Virginia. Hmm, it may be time to contact one of the many lawyers who keeping e-mailing me about their free services. It would be nice to get free service from a lawyer…they’re usually such money-grubbing bastards!

Thank the gods of software for inventing SPAM filters. According to the e-mail that is picked up by my filters I have more names that the New York City telephone directory. Not only that but some of this is absolutely ridiculous. Give me one good reason why I would like to know about Jerry Sandusky “having a good day.” What, he was allowed to roam free through a Catholic boy’s elementary school? What is this? And these social networks are driving me nuts…I get more invitations to become a friend on Linkedin and Facebook that I get to help all of these Tongan, Somalian, Congolese, and Romanian foreign minister spend their hard-earned millions.

Gerry Tatton was my first ‘marketing’ faculty member when I was in college. Gerry, God rest his soul, taught the introductory – and I mean really introductory – course in marketing to a class of about 250 freshmen. By the by, Gerry’s other job was head track coach. Our introductory courses in those days were, shall we say, not very good. The one thing I do remember is that Gerry talked about the difference between the ‘shotgun’ approach and the ‘rifle’ approach in marketing. Today, it would appear that every marketer is using a shotgun approach to reach multiple markets. What the hell, ya never can tell when a sucker’s going to come out of the woodwork! However, if you’re going to write to me, at least get the name and the gender correct. I really am not interested in the morning after pill for that great night I had last evening. And I don’t care about some medicine that will help ease me through menopause by eliminating hot flashes and night sweats. If you’ve got something that helps me get a complete night’s sleep without having to pee every couple of hours I might be interested, but other than that, leave me the hell alone.

Don’t you love those e-mails that tell you your order has been shipped? They ask you to open the attached bill of lading or whatever to ensure that they have everything correct. Fall for that one and whammo, your hard drive is gone or they’ve infected your computer with a virus that captures every keystroke. Should you do your banking online, you won’t have to worry about your bank balance for long because it will be zero in no time.

Well, I’d like to stay and chat with you longer, but I’m off for my appointment with Jenna. All I have to do is give her a quick call at her 900 number to set up the time and place. See you at the Ignoramus Bar & Grille!

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