Pharos-Tribune

Columns

May 27, 2014

VILLAGE IDIOT: Too easy of a life makes it easy to whine

We all complain about air travel — the size of the seats, the delays, the jet lag, the turbulence, the crying babies, the other passengers, paying through the nose for luggage — I could go on and on (and often do). But for all our complaining, we can get from New York to L.A., door-to-door, in 10 or 12 hours. Half a day.

It took Lewis and Clark two years to go from St. Louis to the Pacific. And that was after two years of preparation. Their clothes rotted on their bodies. It took wagon trains months to go from Nebraska to Oregon and many people died along the way. Yet we complain about the peanuts they give us on a long flight, like if we go without food for four hours, we may start eating the sleeping passengers next to us.

Yes, air travel has become a soul-sucking, body-numbing experience, but compared to the long history of human experience, or even compared to 50 years ago, we have it sooooo good.

I saw a 100-year-old aerial picture of a nearby town recently and I was surprised by how little had changed; most of the buildings and roads were still familiar, and the downtown was completely recognizable. Then I noticed that in the backyard of almost every house stood a tiny white building — an outhouse. That may sound charming and rustic to some of you, but not if you live in a place with a real winter. As a kid in Nebraska, I used to hear stories about people who went out to use the necessary during the middle of a blizzard and were never seen again. Of course, if they were from my family, I don’t think anyone looked for them very hard or very long.

We all complain about things that, not so very long ago, would have been seen as near miracles. Ever tapped your foot while waiting in line at the grocery store? “Oh, why is she writing a check in the express lane?” “All day long, and as soon as I get in line they have to change the register tape?” How indignant we get, forgetting that not so very long ago, if you didn’t plant it, weed it, water it and harvest it, you didn’t eat it. Where would you have gotten a banana 200 years ago? A pineapple? A macadamia nut? Who had a refrigerator to put their groceries in 100 years ago, or a freezer?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • COATS: What to do next with Putin, Ukraine The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 28, 2014

  • LYONS: The most powerful men in the world? Search the phrase “the most powerful man in the world” and what comes up are photos of grotesquely over-developed weightlifters; also Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Awfully ironic under present circumstances. It’s a cant term TV news anchors use to

    July 28, 2014

  • CEPEDA: What are students to eat now Remember last year’s hysteria over school lunches? Administrators, cafeteria workers, students and parents across the country freaked out when — gasp! — school lunches were made healthier.News reports throughout the 2012-13 school year — when lunch s

    July 27, 2014

  • HOWEY: Rising up to meet Putin’s thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 27, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.