Five thousand hits came and went; now it’s on to bigger and better things. Hit number 5,000 came from a spam-blog and if it weren’t for the word verification enabled in my comments, I would have had a nice advertisement posted there. And no, I will not mention which wonderful, “as seen on TV,” “no household is complete without” product it is. These advertising schemes obviously generate business – from whom I can only imagine. I don’t buy from door-to-door salesmen (and women) or telemarketers either. I get enough unsolicited advertisement as it is.
Class of '81
Life today is exciting, exhilarating and exhausting. No dull moments, not much free time and not much is wasted. I’m at or near the limit while at the same time my capacity is ever increasing. Just when it looks like things will level off, the cosmic accelerator hits the floor and off we go again. It is the mirror image of the pace and direction life appeared to be taking me not so very long ago. How did this about face occur? It’s pretty simple, but not so easy.
It comes down to doing the work. However, like the Nike slogan, “Just Do It” or Nancy Reagan’s famous drug prevention program, ”Just Say No,” it was always easier said than done. That one four-letter word “just” put a sinister spin on what followed, as if to say, “This is so simple only losers can’t do it.” What if I can’t “do it?” No one ever told me what to do then. And if I can’t say “no,” am I a criminal, weak, morally deficient? Indeed, what if I just can’t say “no?”
We seem to want to make everything ultra-simple and lightning fast. Fast food, liposuction, steroids, disposable everything and instant gratification; we are spoiled rotten and complain about how tough we have it. There used to be a work ethic in this country. People expected to have to put in the effort to get the results. Now we’ve become a nation waiting for the personal injury lawsuit to retire and enjoy the fruits of our “labor.”
It’s not just the stereotypical “lowlife” or the down-and-out; it’s not the scam artists or an organized insurance racket. It’s the drunk driver that crashes and sues because there was no barrier preventing his accident, the burglar who falls off a roof and sues the homeowner or the motorist that claims injury in a sub-five mile per hour impact. How about the person who buys a home near an airport and then complains about the noise?
Sacrifice used to be part of the American Dream. Now that “dream” is supposed to be served up on a silver platter – we’re entitled to it. Right? It is a symptom; a telltale sign of generational post traumatic stress disorder. For some, it manifested as apathy; for others, obsessive-compulsive behavior including eating disorders, alcoholism and drug addiction. For some this confusion had no long-term or permanent effects. The point is that the seventies and eighties were a time of recovery and reflection – of redefining the social fabric of a nation.
I don’t blame this phenomenon on anyone; not on parents or politicians; demonstrators or institutions; leaders or followers. It was a time when a nation had to decompress; to try to understand the monumental turmoil and change that had occurred during the sixties and early seventies. The world and the nation were trying to catch up and a generation was caught in the crossfire. Many shook it off and persevered, some of us were bogged down in a quagmire of confusion of identity and many did not make it.
This perspective of the high school graduating class of 1981 is uniquely ours and I am sure each generation or piece thereof could offer its own unique experience of trial by fire, of change it endured. The industrial revolution, the Great Depression, WWII, and more recently, global terrorism and wars without borders are some of the defining events of other generations. Somehow though, it seems to me, in my very subjective opinion – something was lost in the twilight of the last century. It sure would be nice to get it back.
If my graduating class were to have one, this summer would be our 25-year reunion. I haven’t heard anything yet and I’m not hard to find. It would appear that everyone is much too busy or too lazy to put it together. The truth? I really don’t care. Those days are so very long gone and no matter the successes or lack thereof of my graduating class, no one really cared all that much about much anyway. Although my general outlook is far more positive, it doesn’t appear to work retroactively. I assume that I’m in good company.