I’m writing this from the front seat of Big Red parked in the lot of a well known fast food restaurant where I just downed a breakfast biscuit. I had to get out of the house this morning because A) Kelo called and needed me to come down and record a promo, B) I was hoping that a change of scenery might get the creative juices flowing and unclog my blog bog-down, and C) Linda is in full Spring cleaning mode and me sitting there on the couch dividing most of my attention between the TV and the laptop is an understandable source of irritation to her. So, it was either get out or get busy.
I haven’t been worth a hoot for over a week anyway. The mother of all colds decided to pay a call bringing her full arsenal of ailments beginning with a scratchy throat followed by incessant sneezing which got my snot pump flowing like the Falls of the Big Sioux. Then came the congestion and the constant coughing; hours of hacking away in a vane attempt to loosen great gobs of mucus mired deep within my chest cavity. (Sorry to be so vivid) My reward for bravely doing battle against this green monster? Stomach and rib muscles that had become so sore the next cough or, God forbid, a sneeze, would drop me to my knees, assume the fetal position and writhe in pain. Anyway, after lots of swigs from the Robitussin bottle as well as ample amounts of Vicks Vapo Rub, I’m finally feeling better. But I’m still having trouble coming up with a topic to write about. Oh, there are lots of possibilities; gas prices for example. It now costs me over 50 dollars to fill Big Red’s tank. FIFTY DOLLARS! Well, Doug, there’s that Libya civil war deal that’s apparently causing some of it. NO it’s not. We only import a fraction of Libyan oil. Besides the current world oil production is MORE than current demand. It’s the &^%$# oil SPECULATORS that are causing all of this. If social media sites like Facebook can be credited with stirring up successful revolts in the Middle East..I wonder why it hasn’t been used to bring about a world wide rebellion against the ridiculously high cost of fuel. There IS NO CURRENT SHORTAGE OF OIL..yet we’re getting screwed like an old incandescent light bulb at the pump because a few folks are worried that there might be . Now there..you see? When I start writing in capital letters to stress a point, it’s a sure sign that I’ve gone too far. I’m yelling at the wind and I’m not very good at it.
I do recall, however, that when this happened before three years ago, Americans didn’t just sit on their hands..we fought back by CUTTING back which caused the oil barons to get nervous and prices came down. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around, though. Instead, I’m hearing complacent utterings like, “Well, it IS frustrating but I guess there isn’t much we can do about it.” “ Yeah, the airlines are ripping us off..but we’ve got to get to Vegas.” “I don’t like the idea of those full body scans either but you never know, grandma might be packin’ heat in her girdle.”
I also could write about Charley Sheen parading his mental illness in front of the anxiously accommodating TV cameras every night. But, for me, this whole tragic display is like watching a bullfight and knowing it’s just a matter of time before the matador drives a machete through the bull’s brain and he’s dragged out of the arena by his heels.
Or, I could write about state budget cuts. Linda and I went to Hartford Elementary School last Monday. Our granddaughter, Ella, was student of the week in her Kindergarten class meaning she could invite anybody she wanted for a tour of her classroom and to share lunch in the cafeteria. It was such fun to see Ella’s eyes light up when she came in from recess and how excited she was to show us all her projects. Her teacher is Mrs. Wallace who, for kids that age, is more than a teacher. She’s a mom, a doctor, a psychologist, a disciplinarian and a best friend. As I watched her handle all the cares and concerns of those little ones in her charge..answering all their sometimes tedious questions with patience, understanding and compassion, I thought to myself..you couldn’t pay me enough to do her job. But it has been my experience that most K-12 public school teachers aren’t all that different from Mrs. Wallace who put the education of our kids above all else..including a big fat paycheck. Now, South Dakota has gotten itself in a budget predicament forcing major cuts to balance the scales..no exceptions..public schools too must bite the bullet. I have a hunch that even though they’re not likely to see significant salary bumps anytime soon, teachers like Mrs. Wallace will not abandon their posts or lessen their degree of commitment to children’s education. They’ll carry on without complaint. I just wish the extra dollar a gallon I’m being forced to pay for gas could go to them instead of lining the pockets of greedy gas bag oil speculators who send their kids to private schools.