It's 2009 and for a lousy year, 2008 certainly flew by in a hurry. Frankly, I'm glad it's gone. I begin a new year with the hope of every new year -- that it will be somehow better.
How would I make it better? Oh, in so many ways. I don't make resolutions but I tend to contemplate. I like to think about "Darlene's Perfect World." I'm too much of a realist to think it will happen but what the heck, I can dream about it, can't I?
In no particular order:
I'd like peace in the world. That will never happen with terrorist groups determined to not only destroy everyone who doesn't share their beliefs but their commitment to the destruction of the one Democracy in the Middle East. And what a p.r. apparatus the Palestinians have! They declare themselves victims when they are the ones firing rockets into Israel, their cowards hide behind women and children, send women and children out as suicide bombers and then have the audacity to claim that they are the aggrieved ones. Read the history of the beginning of Israel when they were offered land and refused. There was no such name as "Palestinian" in history. Why won't they stop attacking Israel? A simple question. Israel is only moving in self-defense. And I've no doubt that the terrorists will return to attack us. Too many people have, I think, forgotten about 9/11. That wasn't the first attack on America and it will not be the last.
I'd like the media to be evenly balanced in their reporting. At the moment, I'm embarrassed to call myself a journalist.Whatever happened to digging out a story? Balanced reporting? In Boston I have to read both City newspapers and then try to figure out the truth.
I'd like people to say what my mother taught me were the "magic words," Please and Thank You.
I'd love to have a young cashier in the supermarket or pharmacy, or anyone else responsbile for making change, count it back to me instead of shoving it at me in a lump. The truth is that most of the population under a certain age can't comprehend simple math. If their computerized cash register breaks down, they're lost. They can't begin to figure out what the change should be when you hand them a bill. Or, worse, a bill and coins. What are our schools teaching?! Why are kids allowed to bring a calculator to class? They should be doing the work themselves. How else will they truly learn?
I'd like to see more people reading books. Real books.
I want every dog and cat to have a safe, warm, loving home. I'd like every horse to be owned by someone who loves him and cares for him properly. The same for pet birds and all other companion animals.
I want a return to manners, to common courtesy. If you're an insomniac you probably know that the Game Show Network airs the original What's My Line at 3 a.m. EST and the original To Tell The Truth follows it. I'm not just intrigued by seeing old stars when they were young but I love seeing the men and women on the panels dressed up. I love hearing the panelists on What's My Line ask if they may call a contestant by his or her first name. It's not just respect, it's common courtesy and it's the thread that helps tie people together in mutual consideration. How hard is it to be courteous? Apparently, these days, it's very difficult. Rudeness abounds. People cut into line everywhere and that's darned dangerous when they're behind the wheel and maneuvering about 2000 pounds of metal. And then there are the tailgaters who are even worse at night with bright lights. An auto-dimming rear vision mirror only helps the middle view, it can do nothing to help the side mirrors. The lights are blinding. Do those people even think about that? I doubt it.
Children interrupt conversations and run wild through restaurants and supermarkets. They're not cute. They're out of hand. Not everyone wants to listen to a kid screaming. Perhaps another diner has a headache, or has gone out for some peace and quiet, or as a special treat. Here's a concept: those diners have rights, too. A child who doesn't learn to behave properly in public while young isn't going to be much improved as an adult. Thankfully, I'm not seeing the tiny shopping baskets in supermarkets. Heaven knows I pointed out the dangers. When my mother was alive she liked to push a shopping basket for exercise while we shopped. She would use the basket for balance. I lost count of how many out of control kids would bang into her with a tiny shopping cart, their mothers either not paying attention or smiling proudly. It was dangerous. Elderly people can be easily injured, thrown off balance.
Please don't try to engage me in verbal warfare because you disagree with me. You're entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to mine. And that, too, is a simple courtesy.
I hope for this year that somehow, by some stroke of magic, by some miracle, people will begin to show some courtesy, simple manners. While we hope and pray for peace in the world, maybe we can start small with some courtesy at home.
Happy New Year.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation