Random Truths, Part the Third

Random Truths. A Collection of Mini-rants. Part the Third.

After over 60 years of living, I’ve come to understand a few things that are totally true, whether you believe them or not. I originally meant to collect these things and send ‘em to my kids but who knows- maybe somebody else will either learn something or get a laugh or two. Most of these were NOT written by me. Wherever I know or remember who originally said any of these things, I will credit the author.

This will be added to from time to time and will probably never be done. The list is literally random. I am the Poster Child for A.D.D. So sue me.

 

 

A person’s worth to society should never be measured by how much money they have or how much money they make. There are good and bad in every stratum of society. A checkbook is a lousy way to measure people.

The job title someone has does not necessarily reflect their value to the rest of us. If all the lawyers and all the garbage collectors suddenly disappeared, whose loss would we mourn more? I’m not picking on lawyers, it’s just that they are not as essential to everyday life as trash collectors yet they make far more money. Next time garbage collectors go on strike and trash piles up in the streets, go stand next to a lawyer and see if things smell any better.

The people who deal with society’s waste are owed a lot of respect from the rest of us. But the titles don’t reflect that. GARBAGEMAN. He’s not made of garbage. He keeps our civilization habitable.

Ever notice that you don’t often see an old trash collector? It’s because it’s a damn tough job that is physically demanding and most who do that job wind up broken or crippled before they’re old enough to retire. People sometimes complain about the relatively good wages trash collectors make. Spend a day dealing with unspeakable filth and heavy lifting and see how you feel then.

Teachers do not get the respect they should, either. Most of them view it as a calling. In addition to the specialty they have (Math, English, etc.), they spend a lot of time learning how to teach. Then they hit the classroom and have more rules and regulations and demands than you can believe, frequently imposed by people who have no idea whatever what teaching is like. We cut school budgets but expect teachers to make every child a genius. We don’t get involved in our child’s education, except to criticize the teachers if our little darlings aren’t making the grade and to vote against school funding.

People often say “Teachers only work ten months a year”. That’s right. And they only get paid for ten months. And of course there are the morons (Chris Christie comes immediately to mind) who think it’s a crime for a teacher to belong to a union. Sure, why should they be able to bargain for better working conditions or better salaries? We’re only entrusting our goddamn future to them. We expect miracles from our teachers but don’t want to pay them what they’re worth or give them any respect. And of course, each of us is an expert on how and what to teach. You know those kids down the street whose parents don’t give a shit, never taught manners to, etc.? YOU go take over a class with thirty or forty kids like that and then tell the teachers how easy they have it. No wonder that the burnout rate for teachers is insanely high.

Anybody who is trying to sell the idea of “School Choice” is, in fact, trying to sell you on the idea of school vouchers, which is a conservative scam to put public money into private hands and private and religious schools. And vouchers are widely and correctly seen as a way to break teacher’s unions. Likewise with “Charter Schools”, which have a profoundly disturbing tendency to make public money disappear.

It is my personal opinion that all private schools should be banned, excepting religious schools which would receive ZERO public funds. I have a strong suspicion that if the offspring of politicians and CEO’s had to attend the same schools as ordinary people’s children that the learning environment would improve dramatically.

Anybody who doesn’t realize by now that prejudice is wrong, stupid and wasteful needs to be culled from the human herd.

I can’t remember where I first saw this but anyone who thinks that going to church automatically makes one a good person probably believes that going into the garage makes one a car.

Every single religion, without exception, has its share of assholes. Atheists and agnostics as well.

Stupid is logarithmic. Two stupid people are 100 times more stupid than one stupid person alone. Three stupid people are 1000 times more stupid than one stupid person. Beware of stupid people in large groups. (From Wright’s Laws of Stupidity, Jim Wright’s Stonekettle Station blog. Go there and read the whole thing. He is a smart and funny man.) Here’s a link: http://www.stonekettle.com/2007/08/you-gotta-have-science.html

I don’t fish anymore because I suck at it. But fishing has much to recommend it. When you are fishing, you cannot be mowing the lawn, painting the fence or fixing the house. About all you can do is sit, trade stories with your fishing buddies and drink beer. There are far worse ways to spend time.

Someone once said that fishing was a jerk at one end of a line waiting for a jerk at the other. I swear it wasn’t me.

Someone also once said “Behold the fisherman. He goeth forth at dawn full of high hopes. He returneth at dusk smelling of strong drink and the Truth is not in him.” Wasn’t me either.

People will believe almost anything if you tell them that Winston Churchill said it first.

The early bird catches the worm. But the second mouse gets the cheese.

Never take the last beer from someone’s fridge.

There are lots of things that aren’t as good as they used to be and I’m sure, since I love to complain, that eventually I’ll get to most of ‘em. But one thing that for sure has gotten better is the automobile. When I started driving, (Gawd!) almost half a century ago, any car that got over about twelve miles per gallon was an “economy” car. Most get over 30 mpg today and the numbers keep going up.

Cars are FAR safer today than in the past. Our driving still sucks like an atomic Hoover but the cars are demonstrably safer.

When I got my first car, it was generally considered pretty good if a new car survived to 100,000 miles. Many expired long before that. Today most cars, with reasonable care, will last 200,000 or 300,000 miles or more. My daughter owns a Subaru that is so old that to get replacement parts, we need to go to a quarry. Still runs like new.

And cars are a lot more environmentally friendly than they used to be. Yeah, we burn WAY too much fossil fuel but highly leaded gasoline is a thing of the past and you rarely see even an old car with noticeable smoke coming out of the exhaust. Everybody, none louder than I, bitched about the EPA regulations that were going to permanently screw up cars. Everybody, none more than I, was wrong. Cleaner, faster, more reliable, longer lasting, safer. What’s not to like?

Brumfit’s Law- The critical mass of any home-made explosive is never less than half a bucketful. Allegedly named after Emanuel Brumfit who, while concocting his own explosives, kept adding ingredients without making any progress until he reached half a bucketful at which point he left the room without using a door.

I’d fly a lot more calmly if the first sign I saw at an airport didn’t say “Terminal”.

“Data” is plural. “Politics” is singular.

Carlin’s Law (George Carlin): If your kid needs a role model and you ain’t it, you’re both fucked.

Sattingler’s Law: It works better if you plug it in.

 

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