Wednesday, July 15, 2020

All that natural beauty made my eyes itch

   Nobody will ever ask me to create a school curriculum. But if they did, I would suggest just two essential classes to help students navigate life.
     Not home economics or shop. You can figure out how to hammer or bake on your own. While I’ve had reason to use algebra since learning it in 7th grade, I’ve never again used a band saw.
     No, my two classes would be Dealing with Deceit and Managing Toxicity. The first is so obvious I’m surprised it isn’t already taught. Lies infect much of our world. Not just in the miserable nadir of Trump, but before. Religion demands we accept the most ludicrous untruths without a flicker of doubt. History encourages wild overvaluation of ourselves and our accomplishments. Commerce puts us on a treadmill, doing jobs we don’t like so we can buy crap we don’t need but are tricked into wanting.
     Yet we assume people are honest. Back in April, when Trump said the nation would open up by Easter, I was talking to a neighbor who said, in essence, “Well, he must know something, have some secret plan, or he wouldn’t say that.” I almost screamed. Knowing all we know, educated people cling to a touching, baseless faith in the president’s honesty. Our default is still to automatically believe any random stranger is telling the truth.
     We have to fix that. “Is this person lying?” should be our go-to reaction to just about anything. I’d have the class chanting it, declining it like grammar: “Am I lying? Are you lying? Is he lying? Are we lying?”
     And toxicity. Social media is a snake pit of mean, stupid people, inflamed by certainty, shielded by anonymity, gleefully inflicting damage. Maybe if we learned that in 2nd grade, kids — and adults — wouldn’t suffer so much.

To continue reading, click here. 


  1. "It is easy to find fault, if one has that disposition. I once knew a man who, unable to find anything else wrong with his coal, complained that there were too many prehistoric fossils in it."

    --Mark Twain

  2. As Mike Royko once said, "Believe everything a politician says...about his opponents."


  3. Those are wonderful post cards. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. i realize you're being a bit tongue in cheek about the home ec and shop comment, but each could be considered valuable if for no other reason that the courses expose kids to something they might be interested in, or pursuing as a career. some kids, of what ever sex, might decide they want to carpenters or plumbers or mechanics. some others might be decide to be cooks, or choose to pay more attention to how our food is grown. again, i realize you were just having a bit fun in an over all good column, and i may be coming off as a bit of a scold, but the constant harping on the need for people to go to college when most decidedly don't want to, just triggers the latent crank in me. (yes, i know that wasn't mentioned in the column, but, you know, a crank).

  5. I'm confoozed, Mr. S...
    Was "A HOLE" a review of the Grand Canyon?
    Or merely a description of the reviewer?


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.