The time of our lives?

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

Show of hands, who among us is having the time of their lives?

You, sir? Maybe. You, ma&8217;am? Not really. You, young man? Wish you were somewhere else altogether, huh?

We can all sympathize.

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For some reason, I recently recalled a day in seventh grade history class in which a classmate talked about the &8220;good old days.&8221;

Nevermind that the kid was 13-years-old. I&8217;m sure, though, his reference was to 5-cent sodas, professional baseball&8217;s heyday and cars that were made out of something other that molded plastic. You know, all that good stuff that we see in commercials on TV Land.

My teacher reminded the boy that those good old days also meant segregated restaurants and hotels, a bubbling nuclear missile conflict and a lack of technologies that make our lives more comfortable.

But really, are we? Aside from some handheld gadgets and those fancy plastic automobiles I spoke of earlier, how much better do we have it?

There is no more legal separation, but there certainly is strategic division, as I like to call it. There are the haves on one side of the city and the have-nots on the other.

Certain institutions with an open-door policy make it graphically clear that when they say, &8220;everyone is invited,&8221; it excludes a certain section of the population.

We spend money we don&8217;t have, take what&8217;s not ours and turn away people in need because we think involvement will complicate our lives too much.

Not to mention, there&8217;s a global warming problem, natural disasters that wipe out entire parts of countries and epidemics that kill people before any doctor knows what&8217;s going on.

Oh yeah, these are the times we all hoped for.

There&8217;s a quote I like to think about: &8220;We get so caught up in giving our kids the things we didn&8217;t have, we forget to give them the things we didn&8217;t.&8221;

Children today have their computers, their X-Boxes, their cell phones at 13, their clothes and jewelry.

They don&8217;t have a clue about your life at that age and how much you had to do without.

Teachers are passive in the classroom because they know there won&8217;t be any reinforcement once those kids get off the school bus.

This is the mortar for building our new world. Sad. Frightening, really.

We might as well give up and colonize Mars. Yeah, that&8217;s it. We&8217;ve destroyed this planet long enough. Let&8217;s abandon Earth, and take the lessons we&8217;ve learned and use them in a fresh environment.

Oops, my fault. There&8217;s no one left to tell us about the good old days.

George L. Jones is managing editor of the Times-Journal. He can be reached at 410-1744 or