Comment Of The Day
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Tuesday and Wednesday, August 4 and 5, 1998

Yogi. Kids.

“If the people don't want to come out the park,
nobody's going to stop them.” -- Yogi Berra

You know, I've heard it said lately that the American people are becoming preoccupied with the loud, gaudy, flashy, garish, meretricious, chintzy, glaring, tacky, and, yes, tawdry side of life these days. But I don't believe it. The parade passes us by, and we watch what presents itself. The world will stop in its tracks for a spectacularly amazing event, whether it is a heroic rescue, a stunning athletic achievement, a mind-boggling screwup, a political brouhaha, a sizzling sexual affair, a majestic artwork, a helpless child, a popular song, a tevelision show, or even a selfless giver who passes away in obscurity. Each of us selects our own preoccupations. And that tells much about us. As a society, I feel good about the pageant of our attention grabbers. If you are paying attention, you know exactly what I am talking about. People pick and choose. It's easy to know what YOU are looking for and what will grab YOU next. But it is endlessly interesting to see what WE are all looking for and impossible to predict what will grab US next. In fact, for this writer, my own interests and preoccupations are actually somewhat boring. Disappointing really. Burdensome in their tiring persistence. But watching all of YOU. Now, that is most fascinating, indeed.

There are two kind of observers: those who see the good and those who see the other stuff; those who ask, "Why?" and those who ask, "Why not?" And there is no stopping either one. Everywhere you turn, you see us both, you hear us both and you always have to decide which one will be your guide.

Some people say we are preoccupied with the tawdry and base, almost perverted.

Some people say we are an innocent, experimental society, almost childlike.

It's up to you.

As Yogi Berra said,
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


"Childhood sometimes does pay a second visit to a man; youth never."
-- Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson

Childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day."
-- John Milton

They are over-stimulated and watch way too much TV. They seem unfocused and listless. Why are the kids so mean to each other? Why must they be so interested in bad things?

Watching the world, there is one recurring theme that each of us should examine carefully: the continuous urge to tell kids what to do, what to learn, what to think, and what to become. This, is the most self-defeating of exercises. It is aimed at self-replication rather than at progress. Self-replication is a whole topic of its own, like cloning, but suffice it to say that in the eyes of the loving intelligence that must have created the universe, that probably was not what he/she had in mind. Diversity, experimentation, craziness, variety and variegation are clearly on the omniscient palette. So, remember to sit back and watch. Every time someone asks you what to do, they don't always want you to tell them. In fact, Charles Lindbergh's friends said, "Don't do it."
Alan Shepard's friends said, "It will never happen." Columbus' colleagues told him, "You will all die." I know you want to protect from danger and death, but is there any true protection from death anyway? There is protection from life, which should be avoided at all costs. Remember this quote, not with fear, but with freedom in your heart:

"What has Providence bestowed on man
that is so dear to him as his children?"

-- Cicero

See you next time?

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