Friday, May 04, 2012

Nostalgia for the Bad Old Good Times: The Daily Assault

Life down on the farm in the 1930's and 40's was no picnic.  I have been there, done that. But it had some advantages we have lost. It was mostly quiet and peaceful. You welcomed the mail man who might bring a personal letter or the semi-annual Sears Roebuck Catalog. It was nice to see a neighbor or go to church for some social contact, etc.

Today we are constantly assaulted by:
  • Unwanted postal mail.  If you give to one charity, soon you are receiving requests from forty others of the same or similar sort. This process increases exponentially in this and the following ways.
  • Unwanted email. Respond to one cause, and soon forty others want you to join them, send letters, petition Congress, give to the little boy in Thosmonia dying for the nineteenth time of some horrible disease,  ad infinitum.
  • Unwanted phone calls. The causes that don't send you postal or email call you, usually at dinner time (likely to be home, right?).
  • Unwanted callers at your door. Frequently, these are of a religious sort, wanting to give you literature, talk about your relation to God, Jesus, Thor, or Aphrodite, or convert you to their faith. 
Add to that:
  • the constant fight to keep rid of useless mail, old newspapers, cardboard boxes delivered by UPS or FedEx, and other accumulating stuff that threatens to stuff your living space.
  • the struggle to keep up with the recycling of paper, plastic (everything labeled from 1 to 7), cardboard, and other approved items listed in the annual message from the city.
  • the effort to get the garbage and recycle stuff out on the right day, keeping informed of holidays, when it is a day later.
  • getting the cans and bottles back to the store to get back your nickel per item.
  • finding a place to recycle old electronic items, cords, plugs, dead computers, hard drives, TV's, VCR's, etc.
  • remembering what they said on TV about how to get rid of old prescription medicines without poisoning future generations.
  • remembering what the just-published study said about the foods and medicines that are sure to kill you unless you avoid them.
  • trying to keep up with the requests on Facebook, e. g., becoming friends with or and sending a penguin to someone I don't know.
  • maintaining sanity while enjoying computers: trojans, worms, viruses, privacy settings, broken internet connections, failed hard drives, updating drivers.
  • nuclear issues, proliferation, bombs, terrorists and rogue nations using them, global warming, and on and on and on ............
Ah, for the good old days down on the farm when your main concern was keeping the outdoor toilet and the stable shoveled out, cutting enough cord wood for the stove and fireplace, freezing while you got a fire built on cold winter days, getting to the doctor seven miles away when you got suddenly sick and had no car, hoping the Sears catalog in the outhouse will last til the next one comes, wondering if the chicken in the yard will be big enough to feed the preacher and his family, hoping the drought will not ruin the cotton and corn crops,  worrying that someone will rob your sweet potato hill or smoke house, praying that the next tornado will not blow your house away, that the cow will not go dry, and that your kids will not die of measles, mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough, or get polio. Etc., etc.

"Hey, Sweetie, wanna take the bottles back to the grocery store!"

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