Ignorance and Bliss

I’ve just heard a radio talk-show host denigrating the folks who receive government assistance after having lost a job.

He said, “Well, if you can’t find a job where you are, move to someplace where there are more jobs. Plain and simple.”

This says a lot more about this man than he might realize. Things about his character, about his level of humanity. But most importantly, it shows his complete lack of information about what it means to be jobless.

Moving is EXPENSIVE. When you have no MONEY to buy food for your kids (I’m talking from experience here), you certainly don’t have enough money to move. Got to have first and last month’s rent and deposits for utilities, not to mention a truck to move everything in. Not everyone owns a U-haul.

So my message to that talk-show host? If you or a loved one haven’t been there, put a cork in it. If you aren’t of a mind to help your fellow-man, fine, but don’t denigrate those who do want to help. And pray that (unlike several governors who have loudly denounced government assistance programs and who now have their hands out to the feds after several natural disasters have taxed their state coffers to the max), you never find yourself in a place of having to rely on help from someone other than yourself. Because unless you were born rich, you might just run up against hard times somewhere along the line.

Bathroom Rant

I hope whoever designs the stalls in women’s public restrooms is locked in one and doomed to try to use it throughout eternity. The brainiac designer should re-think the goal of making as many stalls as possible, in as small a space as possible. I’ve lost count of how many restrooms I’ve used in which I’ve had to squeeze my butt around the watermelon-sized toilet paper dispenser in order to sit. Once I’ve managed to sit, the d—n thing basically rests on my lap, making it impossible to retrieve any toilet paper without doing some fairly amazing contortions.

Where are the women contractors? Perhaps one of you stand-up guys (pun intended) would consult with a woman or two before building the next obstacle course/torture chamber.  Aaaaargh!

A Generation of Paparazzi?

I continue to be amazed at the exponentially growing advances in communications technology. A product of the dark ages, I’m unable to keep abreast of the newest and latest electronic gizmos, all of which my sons inform me are obsolete before they hit the market. But even allowing for my stunted learning curve, I’m stymied as to why anyone other than an aerospace engineer or rocket scientist actually needs most of these devices. The focus of today’s rant: the camera phone.

As with most gadgets, the camera phone is an example of what can happen when a good idea goes south. Taking photos of children and grandchildren, of lovely countryside, and of cute animals – that’s all good. But the down side is that anyone anywhere may become the subject of some wannabe paparazzo’s attention.

A paramedic friend recently told me about a horrific car crash to which he was a first responder. The wreck involved four vehicles. One was a van in which people had been sleeping, most not wearing seatbelts. A couple of people had been thrown from the van as it rolled over, and body parts and bleeding people were strewn across the highway. That’s bad enough, but the worst part was that the ambulance had trouble getting to the scene because of the crowd taking pictures with their phones.

The driver of one vehicle, a middle-aged woman, was not quite dead. She was still seated behind the steering wheel, bleeding from several head wounds. She was moving a little, and several people crowded around the car, trying to catch the light just right as they shot their mini-videos of this woman’s death throes.
My friend shouted at them, “What if this was your mother needing help? Show some respect.” He said a couple of people retreated a few feet, but most of them stayed where they were, pointing and clicking away, until the police arrived and ordered them back.

Like a too-spicy lunch, my friend’s question to the crowd keeps coming up, intruding on my thoughts. How is it that we have become so inured to another human being’s suffering that uppermost in our minds is how we can capitalize on it to make ourselves look cool? Whatever happened to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? Welcome to the twenty-first century.