I have heard a lot of folks referring, lately, to modern conveniences that they "just couldn't live without." Trust me. I bet they could.
One of my students told me, for instance, that she couldn't live without her cellphone. I made do without one for an awful lot of years, speaking of which, when is the last time you saw an honest-to-goodness telephone booth? There used to be a whole bank of them in the airport and just outside the men's room in the Fox Theatre. There was a time when I couldn't bring myself to pass a telephone booth without sliding my finger into the change slot to see if someone might have left a quarter behind.
I bet not having phone booths around is playing havoc with Superman. Maybe that explains why there is so much meanness going on these days.
I heard someone else grumbling about not being able to get along without the television remote. This person was frantically searching for the remote at the time. I spend a fair amount of time with our remote in my hand as well, but I am not married to it. I still remember how to change channels and can walk across the room to do so if I have to. I am thankful, however, that television pictures don't "roll" like they used to. I am glad that none of my children knows what a vertical hold knob is on a television.
Every time, or so it seemed, that my family would get situated on the couch to watch Red Skelton or Jackie Gleason, the picture would start rolling. Since I was always the youngest person in the room, everyone would scream at me to "fix the picture." I would have to get up and go fiddle with the vertical hold knob. As soon as I got comfortable, the picture would start rolling again.
So, yes -- I am thankful for modern conveniences, but I don't think there are any I can't do without. Hearing this phrase so often, however, did set me to thinking about some things I really could do without in this rat-race we call modern society. I bet you could think of two or four yourself.
I could do without, for instance, people who respond to "thank you," with "no problem." I know it is modern vernacular, but I really wish a simple "You're welcome" would come back into vogue. I could also do without people who never bother with a "please" or "thank you" or "kiss my foot," and those people are becoming more and more prevalent these days.
I could do without so much sorriness in our community, too. I mean it. There are people around here who are just plain out sorry -- sorrier than gully dirt. Wouldn't even grow kudzu!
Every morning I pick up my paper and read that another business has been robbed or another home has been invaded or another person has been shot or stabbed. Right here in our own little recently rural community. I could do without all the sorry people we seem to have attracted as of late. I bet you could, too.
I could do without telemarketers. Every stinking night when I sit down to eat supper the phone begins to ring -- and it is never anybody I want to talk to. It is always someone wanting to sell me something that I don't want or need. They even find me on my cellphone these days. I hate to be rude to these people, but not enough not to be.
I could do without people who turn to me in lines and start telling me their life history. I guess I just look like someone who is interested or something, but wherever I go I seem to attract lunatics who, for whatever reason, seem to think I am interested in everything any member of their family ever did. I'm not talking about people I know, mind you, or even readers of my column. I am talking about people who don't know me from Adam's housecat who want to tell me every detail of their lives.
I could also, for the record, do without rap music, people with tattoos all over their necks and faces, the IRS, people who stand in the doorways of smoke-free buildings and smoke, panhandlers at four-way stops and outside grocery stores, waiters who call me by my first name and Yankees who interrupt my conversations to tell me how much better things were in Cleveland.
Cleveland is still open. Move back.
Wow. I feel better having gotten all that off my chest. Now I think I will send this off to the paper, build me a nice fire and catch an afternoon nap. I have learned, of late, that our friends south of the border who are proponents of afternoon siestas have been on to something for quite a while.
I suppose I could get along without my naps -- but I really wouldn't want to. Maybe you should try it, too. Don't bother to thank me. Really. It's no problem.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.