Columns LaFayette Sun


It doesn’t pay to be cheap
It’s an odd way to advertise
Network news these days

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I could see an American Flag out my window here at Arbor Springs. I’m now in a room facing a courtyard, and all I can see are animals seeking the shade and five rusty chairs that will never be used in the dead heat of summer. It reminds me of the article I wrote about what’s happening from where I sit.
Of course mounted on the wall of any self-respecting rehab for those old and bored is a 40-inch TV that would’ve seemed like an engineering miracle in 1929. I turn my attention to this thing we used to call a boob tube, the moniker implying that watching it made you a dunce. But the phrase also works in the other meaning of the word since even commercials are X-rated these days. An ad for a pharmaceutical drug can involve a three-act play between lovers in a bathtub inexplicably in a grassy meadow. Back in my day, lots of advertisements left things to the imagination, and I can promise you it didn’t make me any less interested in the opposite sex.
From where I sit in Arbor Springs, I can hear cars on the Interstate that sound like race cars at the Talladega 500. In my youth, gutted mufflers were not legal for use on common highways. This brings to mind my friend Joe Guntherberg who used to speed away from our Yardbird meetings like he was flying the coop. His old mustang looks like it escaped from Smokey and the Bandit. He also has a very old pickup truck that hangs around like an old dog that won’t die, and it’s not much quieter than the hot rod. All of these are nuisances to the man who just wants to happily doze off in the middle of the day.
As I was dozing off listening to the cars racing on I-85, I started thinking about why everyone is driving so fast. It’s not logical to me to risk a ticket and maybe even your life by exceeding the speed limit. Let’s say you’re going somewhere like Montgomery that’s a little over an hour away. If you travel at 80mph you’re only going to get there 10 minutes faster than 70mph. If it’s that important to be there 10 minutes earlier, than leave 10 minutes earlier. It’s just not that complicated. If I see you driving that fast past my window to the world, then I reserve the right to make a Citizen’s Arrest like Barney Fife.
Another thing I think about while watching the courtyard animals seek shade and water is why Americans are obsessed with personal swimming pools. For one thing, you have to test the water and make sure the chemical balance is right. I remember seeing 15 year-olds at the community pool in charge of water quality, and I just don’t think any of us are qualified to conduct these scientific tests. Chlorine seems like a pretty dangerous and expensive thing to have on hand, and I’m certain it turned my granddaughter’s hair green when she was on the swim team. Also, pools seem to attract every leaf and frog in the yard. Basically you have to be a zoologist and a chemist just to keep the thing functioning. No thanks.
Back on the boob tube in my room, I see some commercials selling the idea of tin roofs instead of shingles. Are you kidding me? In the 1930’s tin roofs were everywhere. The poorer you were the more likely you were to have a tin roof. When it rained, it sounded like the military was dropping tiny rocks overhead. But now we’ve come back full circle and doing tin roofs again. What’s next? Is it going to be fashionable to have outhouses? I will admit that tin roofs are quite durable and less complicated than nailing in thousands of shingles that get torn off every time the wind blows.
After keeping up with the news and current events for decades, I never thought commercials and courtyards would hold my interest. But now I avoid the news channels like the plague. In fact, if God was going to send a plague in our modern world, I think he would just send down more newscasters and politicians. Forty years in the desert sounds more appealing.

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