Ten Years in and Hell and then All Hell Broke our Hearts



Toward the end of 2007 we ran into a boomerang with the onset of a “Great Recession.”

From which we continued to recover when Donald J. Trump became president. It became fashionable to throw out the words, “Make America Great Again.” Words I distinctly remember from the late 1930’s in Germany. But we were America at its strongest now. Nothing like that could ever happen here. No way.

It seemed like a businessman in the White House was just the right thing. I also have not so fond memories of Herbert Hoover with “Prosperity is just around the corner.” What was just around the corner was the greatest Depression this country ever had.

We are now in the 21st century with the stock market reaching the clouds, but wait, let’s fill in the blank spaces.

We were retroing back to FDR and his “Happy Days Are Here Again,” or were they?

Socializing and popular fads

It seems we just can’t escape the British influence when it comes to togs, music and almost anything else having to do with British Royalty, Prince Harry (sort of the renegade Prince of the 21st century, married an American Actress setting of canons of explosive tabloid frenzies. It soon became obvious that this young couple didn’t show any interest in stodgy old English customs. Harry and his lovely Meghan Markle accepted their role as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But it was only a formality. You knew immediately he was different when he said, “Just call me Harry.” They lived a life more like American rich kids, not seeming to find the kind of work set out for them to their liking. Young American teens, especially took to Meghan’s casual style of dress (some parents were already wondering whatever on earth would they take off or put on next).

Harry and Meghan conducted themselves like American High School brats with more money than they might know what to do with. Not just teenagers but adults with more common sense (we would hope), became somewhat hysterical with joy that the couple would choose to move to North America. The excitement isn’t over and you can bet we’re in for a resurgence of British styles and fashions for some time to come.

The Bigger We Are, The Harder Will Fall

And fall we have. At the turn of the century, we were so busy worrying about clothes, music and do-dads that most of us failed to notice that the Stock Market started to wobble between 2000 and 2002. During that time, one of the prime market sections, the S&P 500 suffered a 49% wipeout and three years later dipped another 56%. Overall that diminished American wealth some 20-trillion dollars, which ain’t five and dime money.

Get a Bucket, Bail the Boat – We’re Sinking

Break the law, got to Jail. “Hey dad, come bail me out of this stinking joint.”

In the early 21st century, when the automobile makers, banks, housing industry and mortgage companies crashed, they asked for another relative. “Call my Uncle Sam and tell him to come down here and bail us out.” Uncle Sam, i.e., the American taxpayers. It may not have happened in your community, but it did happen, and you paid part of the bill to bail them out. That’s just the way it is done and most poor suckers have no idea what happened to them, only that the government took another healthy slice of their hard-earned wages. Before it was all over, Uncle Sap (us) bore the brunt of close to $100 trillion dollars. Talk about grandchildren paying, how about triple grandchildren, after while stuff like that becomes real money.

Why are we so Afraid

Whether we like or admit it, we have grown into a country afraid of our own shadows. Fearful of the dark like the rat is scared of daylight. Afraid of Russia, Afraid of Chinas afraid of nature, afraid of the monsters we drive every day on super concrete highways. Afraid to let our children walk to school. Beware the guy behind the bushes. Just plain old unadulterated fear itself. Are those things what we are really afraid of, or are we simply afraid of ourselves? That’s become a working model for most of us in the 21st century. Maybe FDR was right when he made his famous speech of being afraid of fear in his first inaugural address in 1933.

Abraham Lincoln made us aware in a long-forgotten speech of 1838 when he sagely advised, that no foreign country across any ocean would destroy us. He said, in part, that the greatest danger “must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be the author and finisher. As a free people, “We must live through all time, or die by suicide.” Fear of one thing or another is the cause of most suicides. So will we stop fearing everything and face the future undaunted by such childishness and emerge again as the greatest nation on earth. We do not stand alone today. Our changing lifestyles has failed to recognize just how many competitors we have today, always willing to steal away our dignity and strength, lest we first give it up without standing up.

Why are Our Parents Copying our Styles

Back to a less somber lifestyle. Have you noticed how much you try to look more like your teenager than yourself? Remember when you told the kids to “act your age.” Isn’t it getting time to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why am I trying to look like a teenager?” Never noticed, huh? When a teenager applies acne medication to his or her face, you notice how well it is working. “Well,” you say, “I’ll bet it will help me get rid of that zit next to my nose.” Or, “Bet that stuff they advertise for bags under the eyes and that flab under the chin would make me look years younger. It has become fashionable to look younger and younger even when you’re approaching seventy and eighty and god know how much older. It puts us in the dream world when we ogle at a lovely lady or handsome young athlete. Oh, how we dream, and now we will climb mounts of creams, etc., etc., to go back to those days when we were one of those young people even though it ends up being nothing more than kemtone and putty. We are not only afraid but we all too often fall into some kind of dreamland. No doubt those applications will help some, but you are still who you are so get used to it. It sounds like a bitter pill, but we’ve tried every pill in the drugstore, so why not an unwanted bitter one telling the truth about us. As I heard one dowager say, “But it is so trendy.”

Teenagers have such Bad Habits

Whoa there. A recent article in Best Life delineated 20 teenage bad habits that many adults have picked up or never let go of.

1. Munching on food all day and at dinner, you will say, “I simply don’t eat so much these days.

2. Biting your nails. We all do it so some degree, especially when we are nervous, but we alibi our way out when confronted. “Oh, I snagged them somewhere.”

3. Not flossing. Remember how you practically screamed at your kids for not flossing? Now, they’re doing just fine because you were on them about it. You don’t floss anymore. Too busy looking for uppers and lowers that don’t give you blisters.

4. Procrastinating. Remember when you were all over the kids to do their homework? Now many of your put off until next week that contract you need to sign or that appointment you should have kept. Excuse: “I simply had to much to do “or “I don’t like to be pressured.” Yeah.

5. Washing Dry-Clean Only clothes. “Son, I’ve told you a million times not to put that cashmere sweater in the dirty wash. It must be washed by hand,” so you say, “Oh, I’m sure this will wash,” as you stuff something into the washer that “feels washable,” but isn’t. Another one of your teenaged habits you still up to at 40.

6. Packing a lunch. You told your kid, “I don’t care if you rather eat fast food at lunch. My lunches are more nutritious.” Mother knows best? Maybe, but why do you feel embarrassed to take a nutritious lunch in a paper bag to the office every day? Oh, you’d instead grab a burger at the diner. So, instead of carrying a nutritious lunch in a bag, you’d rather carry it around the waist you try to hide with a double-breasted suit of caftan. Yeah.

7. “My goodness, will those girls ever stop gossiping on the phone all day?” What” How do you square that when you spend most of your afternoon about the girl who got pregnant and isn’t married. Probably doesn’t even know who the father is?” That little dinging you call a cell phone stays busy and very little of it is business as you leisure about in an air-conditioned home gabbing with Maisie down the street. Some change in styles or is it?

8. “You’ve got to learn how to save money or you will never grow up to amount to much.” So you dictate, but are you aware that the average American cannot come up with $400 cash in an emergency? There have been several recent studies on that. So don’t be surprised when your admonishes to your “spendthrift” teenagers fall on deaf ears.

9. TV binging. “Don’t you kids do anything but watch TV. It must get so boring.” So you can’t wait to get home from work to binge on Netflix and Prime. You think the kids are addicted to the Tube. While you sit, munch and binge, you are wasting a lot of time. Also, you may wonder, “Why am I getting so much flab?” It doesn’t take a Mensa to figure that one out.

10. Dirty dishes in the sink. “Oh, those lazy kids. I’ve told them a thousand times to clean up their dirty dishes. Was it the kids who brought cockroaches into the sink? Or was it the dinner dishes that, “I’ll wash them in the morning. I’m tired tonight.” You are not alone. You have a lot of company that aren’t anywhere near being the teenager you criticize.

The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. These things are part of our changing lifestyles, but we simply don’t catch on until we are so far down the road, and into some other gimmicky lifestyle.

Whatever Happened to the Grand Ole Opry?

Oh, it didn’t go away. As a matter of music ratings, it has once again become the rage, brought into the limelight by The American Music Awards. Grammy’s are as popular with 21st Century folks as the Oscars were in the 40’s and 50’s. Believe it or not, but it is so true. People who can’t remember a movie star’s name or what pictures they starred in can tell you all the details from the song-writer to the producer and performer in country music. It is very big in our current lifestyles because so many of us like to reminisce about the good old days down on the farm listening to WSM. Trust me folks, I grew up in a hollow and the days were not that “good ole.’ Outside wells, outhouses, wood stoves, oil lamps, Sears Roebuck Catalogs. No. But country music is back and it sounds almost like rock most of the time. Lifestyles are so retro these days.

What the Hell Happened

You’ve been waiting for it and now you’re gonna get it. The politicians have taken to hating each other for no good reason. Compromise is something you do with your kids when they tell you what their rights are. That is a never-ending negotiation and it seems that for the most part, the kids win because we are afraid of accusations (however untrue) from them that might stigmatize us for life. I had an elderly attorney tell me recently, “Rusty, I won’t even be in a room with my granddaughter unless another adult is present. Sad. School teachers are fearful of putting an arm around the shoulder of a distraught kindergartner. You think I’m joking? Fear. We are fearful of what someone might say and once it is said, right or wrong, there are those who will say, “Well, if there’s smoke there must be some kind of fire.” Changing lifestyles.

There are re-new laws that go into effect on January 1st of every year. Telling us what to do, when to do it and how to do it and they delineate the punishments in fines and incarcerations if we don’t comply. Pot is legal, but our prisons and jails are filled to the gills with addicts while the dealers and cartels go along their merry way sucking in more young and old into the dens and drugs inequity. They have expensive lawyers and they fight the system, doing whatever it takes to sustain their business, more or less telling the authorities to mind their own business. Every day you read about an elected official being charged with taking a bribe.

Our modern lifestyle hawks equality, but minorities and the poor know they are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to any equality. Modern lifestyles. Some things are as modern at high buttoned shoes and carriages. We put on a show and everyone loves a show, so we ignore the inequities.

What Goes Around Comes Around

While we bicker over minuscule changes, we fail to see what is actually happening in the world, including the United States of America. Mother nature has a way of leveling the field when she feels she’s been mistreated too much. When she strikes back, and she always does, it is with the vengeance and anger of a riled King Cobra. Dust storms, cyclones, tornados, earthquakes and erupting volcanos. If it didn’t happen to us, so what? However, the time comes when we say, “Why us?” The scientists know why.

Case in point. In 1917-18 the Spanish flu (a product of nature) took us down a stroke and with it, some 25 to 50 million people died.

Sometime late last year and little virus crept out of somewhere (blame who you want but nobody guided it; it laid out its own road map and what a map it was). Remember back in January and February of this year? “Oh, it is just a few and will go away like magic.” Like magic, it traveled like Ali Baba on a cushion. Some say the jet stream carried it. Seems logical since it first appeared from East to West. After a short period, a few grew into a hundred and then a thousand and hundreds of thousands and we were simply caught with our masks and guards down. Remember the old butter slogan ‘” Don’t fool with mother nature?” We did, and our new lifestyle takes place not only in the hospitals, funeral homes and cemeteries but in every nook and cranny of our world. There is no escaping. Everybody is looking for a treatment or vaccine. Gotta save lives. And the powers that be continue on their way without even thinking that the real culprit is nature. That kind but wicked when it has to be, nature who has finally said enough. Face masks are in style of all colors, sizes and designs as are limited assembly and six-foot spaces between us. Maybe this is a lifestyle that will change us for the better. In that venue, I’m from Missouri. Show me. Wishing everybody the freedom that has been whisked away from us and hoping we really do change our way of living this time.

Just sayin’ rustystrait@gmail.com

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