I’ve compiled a list of things in life that just bug me, and I felt a need to get them off my chest. Since you can never tell when you might make a positive difference in someone’s life, I chose them as the topic of this month’s column.
We all know too well that a large portion (pun intended) of our population is overweight to the point of either outright obesity, or rapidly approaching it. Knowing this, I was stunned, and more than a little discouraged, to learn one of the nation’s large retailers is now hawking a line of clothes called Pretty Plus. These clothes are marketed directly to “plus size” girls from young teens, to as low as three years old.
The clothes are, as I understand it, two inches wider, and two inches longer. I guess the retailers could give a hoot if these kids are overweight, as long as corporate profits are in line with projections. Astonishingly, the parents must not care either since, apparently, it would be easier and less stressful for all concerned to buy the kid “fat” clothes, as opposed to wresting away the corn dog and cheese doodles from them and sending them outside to play.
The clothes might as well come with a discount card for a cardiac, or diabetes, monitor.
Along the same lines, my wife and I were at a local buffet recently and were seated next to a family of four - a mom, dad, and two kids about ten years old. Mom and Dad were on the portly side but not yet morbidly obese, and the kids were showing signs of taking after their parents. I expected, and was not disappointed, that the parents had heaping plates of the “good stuff” – it was mostly fried, or a starch. One of the kids both started and finished with desert, and the other had a plate full of yellow things, with not a green vegetable in sight.
The parents have to know they themselves are overweight, and yet they allow their kids to eat in this fashion. I wish decorum would have allowed me to speak freely to them. “Fine, you’re already fat and obviously don’t care, but how about saving your kids?”
Staying on the subject of kids, we were at the beach recently and had the distinct misfortune of sitting next to a set of parents who smoked – a lot. Their child was about four years old and, one at a time, the parents took turns playing with him in the sand and waves and everyone appeared to be having a good time.
The trouble was, that while one played with the child, the other hustled off to puff a cigarette. The furtive glances, and head nods, between the parents indicating they needed a “fix” was amusing.
I appreciate that these parents realize they’re addicts and were trying to shield the child from the smoke, but how long can this ruse last? Given the amount they were smoking, I calculate they’re spending about four hundred and fifty dollars per month. Might that money not be better spent on their child’s college fund?
I have to be careful what I suggest they do with their money because I was already publicly admonished for suggesting how Romney might better spend his multi-millions instead of sending it the Cayman Islands. So, hey, spend it anyway you want, just don’t ask me for scholarship money later because you’re broke.
In a previous column I stated that my wife and I had agreed not to talk/text and drive. We just don’t do it, because it is literally, as they say, “an accident waiting to happen.” Well, here we are, approximately two years later, and we still don’t do it, and I don’t know of a single thing that we’ve missed (except maybe an accident) or any negative consequence for not taking or making a call. Unfortunately, the general public has not followed suit.
My job allows me a significant amount of time driving a truck where I get a “quick glance” inside the vehicles passing me as they wiz by. Of course I get to see all kinds of things, but the thing I see more than any other is the use of a handheld phone. Since Maryland’s new law, people now hold their phone on their laps so the police can’t see them using the phones. This is actually worse, because they now have to look down to type. Even if I couldn’t see in the vehicle, it’s easy to tell when someone is driving distracted – they’re either crossing the lane lines or going forty miles per hour in the middle of the Interstate.
Get a grip folks!
None of your phone calls are that important. If you insist on continuing with this vice, I request you please notify me when you have your accident – strictly for statistical purposes, of course.
My last rant is about personal responsibility. You may not have heard about it, since it appears to be a dying art. The short version is this: You are responsible for the consequence of your actions, or lack of actions. Own up to them, accept them, and be proud of having the character to do so.
When some calamity happens, it is often not the fault of “someone else.” If you spill hot coffee in your lap, you are responsible.
If you allow your kids to eat a boxcar load of “Happy Fries,” don’t sue the buffet when the kids need Plus sized clothes. It’s your fault.
If, after all of the warnings and medical evidence, you still smoke like a Pittsburgh chimney or chew like a cow, and end up with cancer, don’t even think about filing a law suit - it’s likely you did it.
Finally, if you decide to talk/text and drive and severely injure, or kill someone, don’t blame the phone or the car manufacturer, it’s your fault – own up to it.
Not to worry, next month’s column will be much more cheery as it will be my take on the upcoming election. I’ll be back from my treasure hunt in the Cayman’s by then.
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.