Saturday, October 17, 2009

When I Was a Young Man

In many ways I miss the good young days.

I know, I know it should be the good OLD days but let's face it - back then I was younger than I am now.

The bogeyman hiding in the closet turned out to be a harmless overcoat when the light was switched on and every thunderstorm eventually passed into the distance.

Life may not have been simpler but it was certainly less complicated and a bit more fun. There was less to worry about or at least that's the way it seemed.

We could also get away with harmless pranks or tiny insignificant thefts that really hurt no one.
While I am neither admitting to have ever stolen anything nor condoning theft businesses always figured a certain amount of petty theft into their pricing.

And 'getting away with murder' did not mean killing someone and not being caught. Back then it could simply be the charging of more money for a shrimp dinner because shrimp was costly while defending the fact that you served a smaller portion of shrimp on that plate because, well shrimp cost more!

While technology and our 'better mousetrap' mentality has kept the distance between "Necessity" and "the Mother of invention" constant there is nevertheless always a tiny period of time between the two when savvy individuals push the envelope. And the bigger the push the harder the eventual payback.

Remember taking a trip to a distant city before cell phones? You arrive at your destination and not wishing to waste money on the "I arrived safe" call home you place a collect call to yourself. Your loved one refuses the charges satisfied in the knowledge that you got where you were going and the phone company got screwed out of another 25¢.

Nowadays that call is made via an unlimited cell phone service that only costs you 10 times as much as your monthly bill used to set you back. The phone company connects you satisfied in the knowledge that they have screwed you back BIG TIME.

Remember cramming your entire wardrobe into one suitcase because the airlines only allowed one per passenger? And then you toted the rest of your apartment in your carry on bag?

Now the airlines don't care what you take with their version of the "Cash & Carry" pricing your bags are counted along with extra weight and charged accordingly. The end result is you may as well take nothing and buy an entire new wardrobe when you arrive at your destination.

And don't even think about the old 'hidden city' scam. The airlines are onto that one and you could wind up being stranded in a not so hidden city!

(For those of you in the dark - The 'Hidden City Scam' worked like this: You needed to get from NY to Minneapolis but the ticket cost $800. Then you noticed that a flight from NYC to Rochester Minnesota cost only $500 but had a stop in Minneapolis! You bought the Rochester ticket and took only carry on bags so you got off where you wanted and saved $300. But now if you do that you will not be able to board a return flight in Minneapolis if you were not on the plane when it departed Rochester and you will have to buy a new one-way ticket home. Shame on you and the airlines for this double edged scam.)

Truth in advertising was always an oxymoron that really only fooled morons (and those on Oxycontin) but now the advertising world is not alone in their trickery.

If you are politically or socially motivated and wish to find a group of like-minded individuals with whom to hang you had better do your research. There now seems to be more wolves in sheep's clothing than there are sheep.

Such "wolf" groups as Americans for Prosperity have wonderful sounding names but group President Tim Phillips is not for most Americans. The group is hell bent on keeping the wealthy wealthy while fooling the rest of America into taking up their cause. This is not the only group with an oxymoronic name and you would do well to make sure that the one you wish to join is actually what you believe it to be.

Again I miss the days when you knew where you stood. When the annoying yet impeccably dressed duo of young men and women rang my doorbell in an attempt to save my soul by enlisting my service into their witness protection program (It had something to do with their God) I had no problem smiling and politely slamming the door. But the game changed when someone named their group "Pro Life." This group implicitly stated that non members condoned death. This early fraud has caused a great deal of death and destruction and should be watched.

We have come a long way since the good young days of my youth and unfortunately the road back is no longer open to us. Pandora, not Elvis has left the building and the box is forever open.

When I was young we screwed Ma Bell out of a quarter now and then. Nowadays a small group of devious parasites is hiding in a K Street closet screwing everyone out of their futures. Will someone please turn on that light and expose today's true bogeyman?

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