Spending some time on my couch this weekend, recovering from my little procedure (not really recovering as much as milking it a little), I got to spend some "quality time" in front of the TV. What I saw was almost mind blowing. Sure, you hear the stories in the peripheral while going about your business, seeing them on the net, listening to friends tell them as almost a joke.
But when you really watch, and research a little, or listen to the whole story, it becomes unfunny, and very serious. "These are the signs of the times" is something a friend said to me as he came over to play cards. I desparately tried to explain to him what I saw on the TV, and he just sat there, with almost a dismissive attitude. As if to say, "yeah dude, big deal. This is old news, and there will be another story like it in two hours".
I've never been more depressed in my life. I heard these stories before. But they were nothing more than a joke. Nothing more than, aw, kids will be kids. These are the signs of the times.
Actually, these are the signs of the beginning of the end of times. No, I'm not talking bibilically, or spiritually. I'm talking literally. This is getting retarded. These are some of tidbits I heard. And it's not like I (we) haven't heard them before. They are all over the net, the airways, the papers. But when you are sitting (laying) around for hours with nothing else to do, the enormity sinks in.
Missouri asked the federal government for $260 million dollars because next week, their unemployment compensation fund is bankrupt. BANKRUPT! This means that anyone who loses their job this week will not be able to collect any compensation from a fund that they have paid into for their entire working career. Because there is none left.
All the while, the Federal Government is asking for a trillion dollars to jump start the economy. Let's get this straight... Americans are going broke. They are losing their jobs and houses at an unprecedented rate. Some are already calling this a depression. And the federal government wants to take a trillion to jump start the economy. Ok, fine. But where is the money going? I did a little research, and the 600 page bill is almost impossible to decipher but I saw 20 billion to go towards the upgrading of government buildings, and another 10 billion for governament cars, and yet another 50 million to a cultural arts foundation. how is any of that going to spur the economy?
The proliferation of Cash for Gold infommercials. Now, I have seen these for at least a year now, but always at obscure times. This time around, there was one DURING the Superbowl! I mentioned it to a friend that these companies were smart because gold is trading so high right now (I think over 900), and that they would probably pay less than $100 an ounce. Probably even less. But I didn't think about it as being anything more than that. His contention was it didn't matter what gold was trading at. It was more of the fact that people have no money. They need cash. And will do anything to get it. Obviously there needs to be a market, and I looked at it as a medium for people to actually get rid of their crap jewelry. But it's scary to think that people are selling everything they have just to make enough to cover the mortgage payment at least one more month.
The last one I saw was more disturbing than ever before. It's not new, and it certainly isn't surprising. But after a long conversation and debate, I came to a conclusion that is more scary than anything else. Apparently, "sexting" is very popular among teenagers. Now, realistically this shouldn't be too surprising. Kids will be kids, and if (and any other guy my age) had the ability to surf porn on the internet when we were kids, we probably would never leave the house. The playboys and penthouses only went so far. You could only look at the same pages so many times before you actually got bored.
The girls back then still had a modicum of self respect as well. They did or didn't do things based on the ability to keep their repsect. Their innocence. That obviously doesn't exist today. The term "slut" holds no social recourse anymore. Because apparantly, everyone is doing it. And it seems almost that if you don't partake in such activites, you are looked at in even more of a bad light. The term "Self Respect" has certainly been redifined.
Have we lost out core values? They obviously have changed, but as the father of 3 daughters, one quickly approaching puberty, I am concered about where her peers recognize the line. That is, the line where kids and parents define acceptable behavior. That line has always been about 100 yards apart for both parties. But I fear, more than ever, that it is rapidly shrinking. This isn't all the kids fault. Sure, they have a million outlets that we didn't have growing up. But it seems to me, after some conversations, that parents are almost accepting that this shit will happen. Of course it will happen, but how do you tolerate it? Aren't your kids worth protecting?
Listen I am very liberal about this kind of stuff. But there are things to consider. How does behaviour like that effect a CHILD when they are older? Is becoming a pornstar, or stripper, or something of the sort more acceptable now? Is it like an experiment the way people in the 80's used to experiment with drugs?
The question I asked myself was if taking care of your own is enough anymore? "Take care of your kids, and everything else will sort itself out". I don't know that that is good enough anymore. This isn't a save the world type of thing, but intervention has to go further than your own. The people they hang out with, the environment they live and play in. I guess I'm glad I am a coach because I get to see so many of the kids and have more of a pulse on my kids friends and who they associate with than most.
But what scares me most is thinking everything is ok. Not seeing anything unusual. I trust my kids, and I can read them like a book. But they're still young. Is it possible that I have no clue what they are talking about and how much they know about such things? It seems half of the 5th grade class at her school already have cell phones. Am I wrong in thinking that this is totally retarded? Sure, some need them to communicate with their parents to schedule pick ups and drop offs and things. Maybe some have divorced parents, and use it as they were meant to be used. But they shouldn't be getting them becase their parents want to feel cool. Which is what I have seen more of. "My kid, my kid, my kid". Isn't it time for the parents to be grown ups?
I'm ranting here and am gettig off track a little. So I will stop. But I am seriously concerned about where we are headed. How do we stop it? Where do we start? Is it stoppable? Is it a whole lot less serious than what is portrayed? Maybe, hopefully, probably.
It just seems more and more that people are concerned less and less about others. I think we need to start there.
So to recap... I had a vasectomy. Paid more attetion to the news and other current event stories while recovering. Became depressed. I think the world is coming to an end. End Rant.