Friday, March 23, 2018

Things you won't read here

     There are certain subjects that I will never write on if my life depends upon it.
     Okay. That’s a slight exaggeration to make my point.
     Readers suggest all sorts of ideas to me, and I comply when I think that I am able to make a difference to a wider audience. It is very much appreciated, too.
     In other instances, I hold firm. Certain topics are off the table for one reason or other, which I will explain below.
     You might expect a column about advice on packing a suitcase. Wrong. I almost did once, and then I thought better of you. Either you are a traveler, and it might prove helpful; or, you simply have no interest.
     Besides, as for packing a suitcase, I never get it right like my failure to check my umbrella before I left for New Zealand – I put it away broken from the previous trip – and I packed a flimsy rain poncho. To top it off, at the last minute I took out my second fleece, and that was a huge mistake, too. I shelled out for new stuff on the trip much to my own annoyance.
     See. I’m no expert.
     Like the rest of you, I am an ordinary person who is always on a learning curve. I change suitcase types and sizes like a revolving door.  I roll my clothes or pack in cubes depending upon my mood. I bring way more electronics than I need. I run out of mouthwash.
    I can’t help you with jet lag either. I plan my sleep time on long flights – thank goodness for movies, too - and usually come out feeling decent enough to get by for a few more hours. A little walking in the fresh air helps, and also, not letting my mind take control over me.
    Then there is the subject of politics.
     Boy, could I have a field day with both topics and let my opinions out. Often I so want to express myself, and know that there is no place for it in my column unless I become edgy and controversial changing the whole direction of my writing from social commentary to contemporary analysis.
     You would either nod in agreement believing that you’ve got a cohort in me; or, you would fold the paper dismissing my ideas as too far left or right.
     If you read between the lines, you probably have me figured out.
     It’s not that I am a wimp and refuse to stand for my beliefs. There are too many folks that are afraid to express their views fearing attacks from others. They stay on the sideline. That’s not such a good idea at all.
     The newest world religion is no religion, and adding that to the major ones, toleration and acceptance is needed from our society.
      Politics and religion have become brutal topics everywhere you turn. People are mocked for turning to prayer in times of crisis, instead of helping find solutions. Perhaps, a little of both is in order.
     I might be more successful if I wrote a column on how to wrestle an alligator. I won’t do that just because…
     Nor would I write a column on advice to the lovelorn. Your guess is as good as mine on matters of romance. It’s all about our emotions and the timing, which is tricky, fickle and sometimes flawed.
     When I was a kid and radio was how I would spend time alone in my bedroom, I loved listening to the late night people in their soothing golden voices giving out free advice to lonely hearts. I wondered how sad souls could get themselves into such a fix that they were describing to thousands in the audience. Gently, the talk show host would settle them down and throw in a bit of help. Basically, I enjoyed the drama of it, and it helped my own creativity.
    Today’s reality shows on television are eye-openers, and I have no words.
     Then there is advice on finances. I wouldn’t last long at the newspaper either if I were to suggest to you what stocks to buy this week, and when to convert to bonds.
     I will say in general that you would be better off if you live within your means and save for the future.
     Anyhow, who listens to advice from a wise woman when you are twenty or thirty and waving around your paycheck? I cut it close when I was young, too.
     Another topic I could never write on is betting on a horse at the racetrack. My problem is that the horse’s name catches my interest, and that is way too simple a method. Studying the odds is way beyond my realm of expertise.  I don’t care to learn more, either.
     I remember how my father and the other merchants would congregate on the sidewalk at least once a day talking about the racing forms and baseball scores. Some of the men faithfully went to Off-Track betting or to the track. Dad devoured the numbers and made mental choices. It didn’t cost him a penny he would tell me.
     Lastly, I won’t write a column on health tips, how to hunt and fish, bird watching and gardening. The Livingston County News has those specialists writing regularly. They know what they are talking about and I read each one to learn from their knowledge.