Friday, January 27, 2023

Dinner With the Family


Image by wixin lubhon from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Glossary 

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device

"Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time." -Gerald R. Ford


Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

I'm so old that when I was a kid eating dinner supper with the whole fan damily was literally a rule, and I don't recall being aware of any family that didn't follow the rule. 

{Fan damily?} 

A lame old joke that still pleases me, Dana. I enjoy spoonerisms as much as I do bad puns and alliteration.

{Lame and old would seem to...}  

This rule was not the result of the fact that, as Stanford University now informs us, "Numerous studies show that eating together not only is an important aspect of family life..." that "when a family sits down together, it helps them handle the stresses of daily life and the hassles of day-to-day existence."

Paging Norman Rockwell. 

{Who?}

The reason my family ate together every day — which we called supper because "Democrats eat supper at 5:00, Republicans eat dinner at 9:00" according to my parents — was for both traditional and practical reasons and just the way things were. 

{Wait-wait-wait. Dinner vs. supper? I don't get it.}

You're overthinking it, it was just one of the ways Ed and Reda Mehlmauer expressed their firm belief that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the working man gets it in the neck. 

{Don't you mean working person?} 

Nope. They were both too busy trying to keep their seven kids fed, clothed, and sheltered to worry about sexism, and not even aware of their white privilege. Alas, both died relatively young. He was 56, she was 64, and they both died prior to the Great Awokening.


It was traditional, I can remember hanging out in front of a local corner store, the proprietors of which lived upstairs, waiting for their family to finish supper and reopen the store. 

By the way, like most stores at the time, it wasn't open all night and was closed on Sundays. I'm not personally aware of anyone starving to death because of these primitive customs but I am aware of individuals who were the victims of intense nicotine fits. 

It was practical, for multiple reasons. Most mums were stay-at-home mums and making supper was part of the job description. Larger families and less prosperity on average made eating out relatively rare in working-class circles. "Fast food" was around but not ubiquitous like it is today. 

Obviously, pizza and Chinese food were two all-American exceptions. You may have visited Colonial Williamsburg, eaten pizza made in brick ovens, and taken a ride in an authentic, horse-drawn pizza delivery wagon.

Unfortunately, being a working-class family of nine, real pizza was rare. But Chef Boyardee's pizza in a box came along in 1955. Some maintained it tasted more like the box than it did actual pizza but the price was right.  

Chinese food dates to when the California Gold Rush got cooking. A beautifully restored Chinese laundry and a Chinese restaurant next door that were in continuous operation since 1848 — that are now owned by the San Francisco Historical Society — are currently closed due to pending multi-party litigation. 

But I drift. 


Thinking back, I seem to remember that my sibs and I stayed fairly busy pursuing a wide variety of interests and activities in spite of the fact that supper was at five — be there or go hungry.

Free-range child rearing was also a tradition, but any adult-organized/supervised after-school stuff was run by people who also had to get home for supper. Evening activities, everything from street fairs, dances, boy or girl scout meetings, etc. to loafing on a comfortable stoop had to wait till supper was over.

{What the hell is a stoop?}


But that was then. We stayed busy but the pace of life was slower and we didn't have nearly as many options and choices. Nowadays, mum's stuck at work, and who wants to hang out and gossip and flirt on the stoop on warm summer evenings now that air conditioners aren't only for rich people and we have social media?

{What the hell is a stoop?}

I'll bet that after I'm deleted the Stickies will reminisce about how Poppa liked to eat his dinner in his man cave while streaming a carefully chosen movie or TV show on his large computer monitor because he used his phone (which was often turned off) mostly for phone calls, and that he regarded the concept of a smart TV as a contradiction in terms.  

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day


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Feel free to love, hate, or troll me on my Facebook page. I post my latest columns on Saturdays, other things other days. Cranky don't tweet, but in light of recent events, I'm considering it... Go Elon, go!

 



 

 








   




Friday, January 20, 2023

Quiet Quitting

As opposed to noisy quitting?

Image by Alexa from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Glossary 

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man." -Benjamin Franklin


Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

I get it, I do. I quietly quit more than one of the jobs I had prior to retirement, but "quiet quitting" sounds appalling to people with good work ethics. 

{Just how many jobs did you have?}

In my defense, Dana, I had a good work ethic. I never quietly quit before coming to the conclusion that trying to be a conscientious employee at a given job was pointless. Even when I was in my hippie with a job stage (long story) I tried to be as good an employee as was practicable. 

Comic Interlude:

Me: "Hey, _______, I hear ya got a new job."
Unnamed acquaintance: "Yup, minimum wage and all you can steal." 

While I didn't/don't approve of that attitude it's still a great line. 


I never quietly quit just because of the nature of the work itself. As has been said, that's why they call it work. If it's that awful, you need to actually quit and find another job. Note to Stickies: I highly recommend securing the next job before quitting the current one.  

I did quietly quit once or twice while looking for another job once I realized there was just no way to make the situation work. Also, I occasionally took on a job out of sheer necessity, when times were tough, knowing that I'd be outta there ASAP so you could argue that I quietly quit the day I was hired. 

But I never ghosted anyone. I gave as much notice as I could. I apologized.

{What about the time you worked as a busboy for nine days for that psycho that ran the dining room of a Holiday Inn like a female version of Joseph Stalin?}

I ghosted her out of fear for my life. I hope she's long gone or doesn't read this. Shudder...

Sometimes the boss is so incompetent that it's not even possible to manipulate him/her/them into doing their job. You may need to quit quietly while looking for another job and struggling to keep your current boss from screwing even that up.


Some advice for Millies, I'm a Boomer, a population cohort often under attack by succeeding generations. I'm told that many unemployed/underemployed Millies are counting on inheriting some of the wealth my generation has stashed away. Sadly, this isn't something I need to concern myself with. 

Careful, If you plan on killing someone you need to be that much more careful if you stand to inherit anything. The more dough involved, the closer the Homicide Division is likely to look. A given Millennial should be patient and let nature take its course... perhaps with a judiciously applied nudge. 

I'm willing to wager that the parents of most Boomers didn't tell their offspring to find and follow their passion, mine didn't. I think that an often somewhat less-than-ideal childhood, the Great Depression, and a worldwide hot war followed by a worldwide cold one tended to dissolve the stars in their eyes.

I don't think they imagined a future that included an ever-expanding welfare state financed by an ever-expanding national debt, or the decline of a moral consensus that included a work ethic based on paying your own way to maintain your pride and dignity — and three hots and a cot.

I learned the hard way that most people are unlikely to be able to pursue their passion at work. But if you work hard you can build the best life possible under your circumstances, and with a little luck, you'll have a few bucks left over to pursue your passion on your own time.     


The current "quiet quitting" kerfuffle is a new wrinkle for which the wrinkling Boomers are partially responsible. Notions like follow your passion, you can have it all, etceterall, began with the Boomers. We meant well, but it turns out that most people won't make the big bucks, or even adequate bucks, by following their passion.

Trying to compete at work with those who seem to thrive on "hustle culture" sucks as much nowadays as much as it did back in the day but the answer isn't quiet quitting, embracing mediocrity, and hoping for the best. 

Most people can't/won't have it all and chasing that notion is too much like work. But you can figure out what you really want (which will change as you live your life), what you really need to do to survive, and chase your dream — while taking care of business and making the world a better place just by doing your j.o.b., and doing it well,

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day


Scroll down to share this column or access my golden(?) oldies. You too can be a patron of the arts! Click here.    

Feel free to love, hate, or troll me on my Facebook page. I post my latest columns on Saturdays, other things other days. Cranky don't tweet, but in light of recent events, I'm considering it... Go Elon, go!


Friday, January 13, 2023

Baltimore (Or Less)

 The more things change...

Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Glossary 

Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"When it comes to Baltimore I want to say that it's actually a lot worse than what you see in 'The Wire.'" -Gervonta Davis


Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

I've never been to Baltimore, Maryland and I don't even know anyone from Baltimore, Maryland. But like all fans of The Wire, which I've recently rewatched, and anyone paying even minimal attention to the state of the republic, I'm aware that its current reputation isn't the best.

Baltimore's fellow Citizens of the Republic looking for a geographic cure for the problems of the area where they find themselves currently residing aren't dreaming of moving to Charm City. 

{Wait-wait-wait. The Wire? Ain't that a TV show that came out, like, 20-30 years ago?} 

Ahem. The second-best TV show ever made premiered on 7/2/02 on HBO, back when HBO was busy cranking out several of the best TV shows ever made. Nowadays, well... not so much.

{I think you're just stuck in past, old man, but I'll bite, what was the best TV show ever made?}

Deadwood, of course, another HBO show.

{Huh? Never heard of it. What about the Sopranos?}

Fourth best, and yet another HBO show from the same era.

{Seems like you watch way too much TV.}

I'm retired. In my defense, I spend a lot of time reading and writing, but the former doesn't pay at all and the latter has paid very little but I'm hoping to be discovered after my death.

{Fingers crossed. Wait a sec, what exactly is the subject of this column supposed to be?}

It's about the fact that Baltimore — which I'm cleverly using as a placeholder for any number of cities that are riddled with crime and corruption and are failing their children miserably — is a hot mess even though their systemic problems were revealed, in detail, on a TV show that ran 20 years ago. 

{Far be it from me but when I was in school I was taught that the subject of a given essay should be made abundantly clear right from the start.}

Harumph! You're the one who doesn't know what Prestige TV is and sidetracked me with a bunch of inane questions.

{Go harumph yourself, I'm just a charming literary device, you're the writer.}


Anyways... Baltimore is still a city in freefall, one of many devastated by America's dramatic and rapid switch from making stuff to selling stuff made elsewhere. 

The final season of The Wire centers around the damage that can result when high-tech gleefully "disrupts" a given industry, in this case, daily newspapers. The economic tsunami spawned by Silicon Valley continues apace.

{Well yeah, but there's a nationwide employee shortage so...}

True dat, there aren't currently enough people, or enough people willing to work, to fill all the open positions. But politicians spending money we don't have to buy votes, fund folks who don't want to work, and pay for the social justice/green agenda have roused the inflation dragon we were told was long gone. For half a hot second the employee shortages drove up the stagnant wages of the little people that keep the country running but then the inflation dragon ate all the wage gains and is still feasting.

{Don't be such a Debbie Downer, the impending recession will put an end to the transitory inflation.}     

And now the Wokies — a strange alliance of certain highly skilled (at least theoretically) well-paid people and moderate to low-skilled poorly paid individuals — want to disrupt everything that made America the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen in the name of "equity."

That's how you wind up with cities wherein criminals are victims, members of an ever-growing list of "marginalized minorities" are victims, everyone is a victim of white, heterosexual, cis-normal, toxic men and the kids are being taught by "activist" school teachers that aren't teaching critical _______ theory, they're practicing it.    
  

Ronald Reagan is famous for (among a few other things) asking us if we were better off at the end of Jimmy carter's first (and last) term than before. 

Now that a relatively small, hardcore group of Wokies have captured control of most of the media, Hollywood, Big Tech, the Democratic Party, the universities, the UN, several globe-straddling corporations, and have even infested the US military — are you better off?

Or do you feel like you're living in Baltimore?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

{Hold up, what's the third-best TV show ever made?}

Justified, an FX show that came out in 2010.


Scroll down to share this column or access my golden(?) oldies. You too can be a patron of the arts! Click here.    

Feel free to love, hate, or troll me on my Facebook page. I post my latest columns on Saturdays; other things other days. Cranky don't tweet, but in light of recent events, I'm considering it... Go Elon, go!