Sorry to miss last week. I hope someone noticed. Daughter Megan brought her three munchkins down to our current hideout in the Sunshine State. For the forty ninth time we are searching for Eden, Nirvana or whatever and we had to have the acid test of grandkids to move the discussions along. Being Padge is one of my favorite things to do and it supersedes even the writing of Ted’s Head.
Doting takes some effort. You start the day with the trio and moi making our way to Dunkin’ Donuts. Roll down the windows on the Lesbaru, open the sunroof and pump up the volume so your eardrums feel like trampolines. First big decision of the day…a half or full dozen? What do you think? Then the true test of agility is to pick out which cannonballs of grease make the final cut. Tyrone at the register is patient but somehow the aggressiveness of this East Coast crowd on line isn’t prone to pronouncing,”Aw, isn”t that cute?” They had other ways of putting it. It’s fun to watch the people in the drive in lane who can’t even get out of their car to order a donut.
Back home, the big box is inhaled in no time flat and we have to plan the day. Pool or beach? The sandy shores get the nod and here the sheer simplicity and beauty of childhood unfolds. Forget about Legos, iPads or phone apps, The time honored pail and shovels carry the day. The budding architects and builders plan their attack and the randomness of a sand castle let’s one’s imagination roam free. Only rule is “No Rules”.
Entering the surf brings on a whole new set of challenges. For the older ones the way is clear. Demonstrate how cool and courageous you are by going further and further out to sea. Then of course a parent freaks out and the whistles or hollering can be heard clear down to Miami. How can a guy look good in front of one’s peers if Mom is putting on a show?
For the little ones the scene is nowhere near the same. They brazenly run up to the water’s edge as the tide rolls out only to retreat in fear as that onrushing breaker seems like a twelve story building ready to topple. Then the inevitable happens. Whether they muster the courage to face the onrushing surf or perhaps they got caught in between waves, they get floored. Disoriented and wobbly, they start inhaling salt water and their surroundings have taken on a combination of a sandy brown and flotsam hue. Almost a metaphor for our world today. Time to regroup.
We are not in LaLa land here but there are aspects of this whole thing that scare the crap out of me. The beach is a few miles away and the St Lucie River serves as my water fix. It is broad and somewhat serene. People are active in doing mundane things and it takes on this aura of a camp in New Hampshire that I adored when I was a young lad. At some point in time during the day you happen by the main clubhouse for this or that. There is this communal thing that is not overwhelming but just sort of there.
Why do I go into all of this? Simply put, I am wondering if I should be like my grandkids. Down here they make do and become creative with whatever is around. They seem content to just be with each other. The locals here are prone to have a simple life. There are no talks of politics or wealth. You just sort of do your thing. I keep having the guilts that I should be involved in deep conversations and trying to at least solve a small portion of the problems of the world. Can I sit back and just let the world go by? Dunno.
I got to thinking about all of us in this crazy country of ours. We have universities to learn and seek alternative thought yet we become embroiled in controversy. We want an education but on our terms. Professors themselves who should be the bastions of freedom of expression seem hell bent on pushing just one line of thinking. I asked my daughter if she and her husband were willing to drop $250,000 in today’s dollars to educate their children according tot the reigning schools of thought? Interesting question, Padge.
I got to thinking of all I, and yes we have. I do see people being gassed in Syria or 750,000 people in the Townships of Johannesburg living in not much more than a cargo container. Even our worst slums could not compare to the horror of war nor pestilence and despair of these God forsaken people. We say we are hungry or as the wags say “nutrition deficient”. Compare that lack of goodies to the people of South Sudan who have not seen food or clean water for months. Their kids are skeleton like and dying of starvation.
I am not so much trying to give all of us a case of the guilts as I am trying to sensitize myself and maybe some of you to just say thank you to whatever god you worship. We have so much and take so much for granted. We throw away or let rot 30% of the food we produce. We have the ability to walk into a store on Fifth Avenue or even a bodega in a barrio and see them stocked with whatever. We can say whatever we want and plot our own future without fear.
No matter your circumstances or ills that befall you, we got it good. Old or young we should lower our expectations and yearning for this or that. Man, we demand so much from medical treatment to social security to a lifestyle that befits our importance. We are simply Spoiled Rotten. That ’s okay as long as we know it.
Ted The Great
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake needed to maintain an organism’s life. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death. 3.5 million kids under the age of five die every year from starvation. That is just slightly less that the population of the city limits of Los Angeles.
The revenue obtained from the sale of games and toys within the United States alone was estimated to reach close to $23 billion by the close of 2014. We spend anywhere from $400 to $1,000 on iPads or similar devices. A pail and shovel at Walgreens cost about five bucks.
10 billion donuts a year are consumed by me and my fellow Americans. 20% of our meals are consumed in our cars. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that in 2011 the average American consumed nearly one ton of food. That’s 1,996 pounds of food a year.
Average home size in US is around 2200 sf. Australia is approximately 2500 sf. Hong Kong 482 sf. UK is 850 sf and France is 1100sf.