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Say What?

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Say What?


Three years isn’t much of a milestone unless you are 10 or 90, when it becomes significant because of the changes that occur in what is a comparatively short period of time. Watch a few of those Nova programs where they are working with old skulls and a lifetime today is nothing in the overall scheme of things.

The three year period came up when I was glancing through my personal archives and found my first contribution to the River Journal effort was in November 2006. Which for some reason or another brought to mind that sad song “What’s it All About, Alfie?” I can hear the melody just about as clearly as watching the movie. I am talking about the Burt Bacharach music and Hal David’s original words from the 1966 movie with Michael Caine. The theme would have attracted the producers of today’s Dr. Phil TV show.

The movie aside, the question raised by the female character sort of rings true these days. The sexual revolution has succeeded in creating some irreversible situations in far greater number than when the subject was softly spoken between close friends and not on screens both small and large.

To those long in the tooth, as the saying goes, what passes for life these days is a head shaker. Some of the things that seem to occur on a daily basis don’t make sense and appear beyond stupid. There was a time when common sense was well regarded. It would seem those bringing up the rear are inclined to believe everything they are told including the free lunch offers and the idea that those post graduate courses had all the answers.

And then there is the matter of being politically correct. Who came up with the idea we needed to be more sensitive? There were fewer up-tight folks in the old days than there are now. Did we need to become more easily offended? Is being offended a hallmark of your virtue?

So, Alfie, what is it all about?

Darned if I know, but I do know that what is working isn’t working very well. If it were there would be more happiness in the world. Getting satisfaction in a job well done is blowing in the wind like those leaves in my yard.

The headline in the paper that indicates the military can’t find good recruits probably makes some bleeding heart mothers happy; better to have a lard-ass son on the couch than being able to associate with a few good men. He will eventually learn to tell time. Of course, when you have some elitists in Congress bound and determined to cram more government down our throats, maybe true freedom is beyond comprehension.

And then there is this whole Muslim thing. For years I was blissfully unaware/unconcerned about the religious belief of others. Ignorant perhaps, but content in feeling that anyone had the right to believe what they would and that I would not be influenced or affected by what someone else chose to believe.

Well that’s not the way it is anymore. I can live with an Israeli state. I can’t live with the idea that those who can’t or won’t accept Israel have a hostile regard for those who do. Feeling strongly about something/ anything is acceptable. Far better to have some convictions than to have none at all. But to have a total disregard for the lives of others in the name of your own beliefs makes you wonder where are we going?

And as the annual holiday season comes and goes it seems lamentable there are some people bent out of shape about the flaunting of Christianity. At a time when there are so many things you can get worked up about, including the future of your job, the foreclosure rate, the unemployment rate and the cram-it-down-your throat antics of some in Congress for heaven’s sake, what difference does it make to call things holiday events rather than Christmas? The year-end season is what you make of it no matter what the economists have concluded about Black Friday or retailer expectations or for that matter what you call it.

In a world over run by fanatics of all stripes it seems way past time to disregard the mores peddlers on television, ignore the stupid DVDs that litter the landscape and don’t bother with the guitar-driven lyrics of some refugee from reality. Try not to be propelled by the beat of a spirit that isn’t kindred. Take a good look at yourself.

The term is introspection. How do you see yourself and how do you think others see you? Are you pleased with either, both or neither? Hopefully you care. Think about Alfie and what he was asking. What is it all about? Some days it is hard to tell, but if you don’t know, try to figure it out. Get real as one granddaughter says. Good luck is what I say.

PS: If you are curious about the original lyrics you can find them on the web. Beware singers who liked the melody but preferred their own words.

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Paul Rechnitzer Paul Rechnitzer Transplanted 30 years ago, Paul is a retiree from the oil business who knows no other place he would rather live and breathe local history.

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