Friday is upon us and I look forward to three nights and two days of not having to deal with other people's problems and having to figure ways of helping them. Two whole days where I get to enjoy the illusion of freedom and living the good life.
Configure Rant Mode and begin in 3... 2... 1:
I mention the word 'fear'. I read an interesting thread on the Cruisers Forum in which the F-word was thoroughly dissected where fear concerns sailors. One menacing angle of fear is how prevalent fear is constantly in our daily lives and how the government and the litigation industry keeps agitating us, keeping fear on the forefront of our minds and lives.
One example most of us remember is the old Tuck and Duck disaster drills we all grew up with in the 60's and 70's. Now, I thought it all made sense when I was a kid, especially since World War Two was not a too distant memory to my teachers, most of whom had experienced real terror in a combat sense. I have no problem with teaching young people to tuck and cover, since it is quite useful if the tornado shows up one afternoon, or the local dynamite plant decides to have an industrial accident. But my issue is how the gubmint has used fear to increase local controls over our lives. Constant, like the sixty hertz hum of your gubmint approved florescent lights.
Next, it was fear of drugs and the rash of almost draconian laws seeking to limit the citizenry from seeking the benefits of amateur pharmacology. Only the gubmint authorized purveyors of pharmaceuticals can be authorized to experiment on you and yours with coca extracts and erectile function improvers.
By the way, I hate illegal drugs as much as the next person. Seriously. But it seems that the gubmint be locking up competing pushers, rather than the real players in the illicit drug trade. (Read 'Bankers and Developers' who launder the drug money) More fear, right? Nasty Narco-Dealers looking to whack taxpayers wherever the twain meet. Fear of drug crazed youth taking up vagrancy as a way of life.
Kids riding bicycles in helmets? Hah! Another fear. Nothing against prudence, here. I just don't remember anyone getting hurt on their noggins from riding their Schwinn's. I would suggest this is the private sector litigation specialists getting involved in selling more fear. For your own good. I feel better, don't you?
Did you know that 40,000 Americans die on the roads each year? Bet you don't fear driving to the Wal-Mart, do ya? If Muslim Terrorists got the drop on us and killed half that many Americans, there would be a giant cry to use nuclear weapons until the danger went away.
But the gubmint ain't innersted in heppin' us maroons stop drivin' do they? Other than forming a new revenue stream from No-Seatbelt Tickets. For your own good!
A Benevolent and caring Gubmint we has. Umm-hmm!
There is the personal fear that Americans now have about embarking on any kind of adventure, and how we have all become so risk-averse that we all stay indoors and play computer simulations rather actually do anything. The Lawyers and the Safety Council (A fine Gubmint agency) have Americans so afraid of their own shadows with fear of Global Warming, Rising Seas, Ozone Depletion and water pollution. And bad luck, even. (Snaggle Puss said that last bit)
Nowadays, we go to the airport and fear causes us to stand in a line where we meet up with a few nice citizens working for an entire gubmint security apparatus that sprang up overnight after the dastardly sneak attacks of 9/11. TSA has no authority to arrest, just pat you down. And remove your shampoo and cork screws and any other no-no's we try to smuggle to Lost Wages, Nevada.
I presume proctologists and amateur procto-assistants will soon be on the gubmint dime, working with TSA to keep us all safe from Rectally Obscured IED's which will soon threaten our airline industry. The benefit that will be sold to us is all the prostate cancer that will be discovered and treated as a result of the Gubmint keeping you safe.
Fear+Gubmint= Mild Discomfort and increased healthiness as a result of Congressionally approved search methods. We all benefit! All this while the tax payer will get to smell the glove of gubmint care. Don't ask. Don't tell!
I fear we have lost our national gumption. We are all literally numb from 24/7 coverage of news that someone else feels you should know about. Most Americans feel that you cannot go walk across a desert unless there are Gubmint Trails and signs (and disabled accessable restrooms) pointing out the way to the other side. So some entrepreneurial person will form a company which will submit a bid to put in trails, markers, fences and portapotties, all to keep desert trekkers feeling safe and comfortable. The benefit is that there will be jobs. The negative is that the population of American trekkers will be unable know how to navigate or make a bathroom break without being told where. All at great expense.
Twenty Five years ago, people began to purchase water in bottles. Water was indeed polluted back in the forties and fifties, but America came a long way in cleaning up our water sources and aquifers. That didn't stop the re-retailers to sell us tap water packaged up in plastic bottles. At prices that make Oil Refiners envious. Don't believe me? Read closely the labels on your bottled water. One popular Florida water is "filtered city water, source Lake City Municipal".
People fear the nasties that must exist in our plumbing, better to buy from a vendor who is subject to litigation.
Don't get me started on mold in the home. Mold is something that has been with us since the Sumerians made mud brick homes in the suburbs of Baghdad.
Fear goes on and on in our scary little lives.
Back to my inspiration; Sailing. One question I get is, "Aren't you scared out in the ocean?" "It must be dangerous." "Where do you get sleep? Do you pull into a safe place?"
I'm sure that people traveling to California in 1849 got the same grilling. "Was it dangerous?" "What about the Indians?" "Did you have clean restrooms to stop and use along the Oregon trail?"
We Americans have much to be thankful of, concerning our pioneering past. We must try to be more sceptical about any new fears that our government and well intentioned people introduce to us. Otherwise, we will all be indoors watching rated "G" (for gubmint approved) films, playing World of Peacecraft on our Peta/Gubmint censored computers.
By the way, I do get sorta scared at times on the ocean. But it is the hard bits that surround the oceans that really give me the nerves. A person could get hurt on a coast. The middle of an ocean may be loud and obnoxious in a storm, but storms are here and gone in a matter of days. The rocks on the shore remain.
Rant off. Back to regular programming.
Have a care free weekend; You deserve it.