Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Life hurts… Get a helmet!

I think I first heard this phrase watching a Dennis Leary comedy special… he was on one of the rants that are the reason I like his brand of comedy… Coffee flavored coffee, beer flavored beer… If you’re a fan of his you know what I mean.

Anyway, since that program, I’ve thought about, and applied that phrase often.

I think about it when I hear the environmentalists rant on about global warming…. The earth lives in cycles, for a million years or so, about every 100,000 years there’s an “Ice age”, it’s always proceeded by a period of global warming, then cooling for 10,000 or so years, then warming again.

Keep in mind, “mankind” wasn’t around to influence this for anything but the past 50,000 years or so… and, only began ‘polluting’ the environment in any globally significant (and even what is actually significant is debatable) manner, in the past 100 years.

What makes these folks so completely sure we are the ‘root cause’ of all of this? What has convinced them, beyond any level of reasonable doubt that ‘we’ are that powerful; have that sort of global impact? So skewed their sense of self-importance that they think if we all suddenly started walking to work the earth will not slip into the next, regularly scheduled’ ice age?

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

Then… there are those folks who seem to think the legislature’s reason for being is to prevent them from suffering a “negative emotional impact” as the result of the actions of others? That non-smokers be shielded from smokers, non-drinkers from drinkers, members of one belief, from members of another… that if my idea offends you, you shouldn’t have to suffer the emotional ‘hurt’ of hearing/reading it.

It seems there’s a belief that children should be shielded (via legislation) from the types of television programs “they” deem unacceptable, or immoral… or simply those that doen’t agree with the particular point of view they hold (at the moment).

Where did this belief that the government is responsible for the choices their children are allowed to make come from… What’s the source of this feeling that somehow, there’s some bill of rights entitlement of subjecting the rest of the universe to their particular rules and guidelines? Whatever happened to ‘parenting’, being the responsibility of the parent?

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

Of course we can’t leave out the anti-god folks. Those folks who want to take the ‘separation of church and state’ to a level of granularity unheard of until recently. Towns/Cities banning Christmas trees because they ‘might’ offend someone… then the Christians want to ban Jewish symbols of Hanukah… The Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists then want to ban both.. The next thing you know you’ve got all the fun stripped away, the symbols that have become important to generations… gone.. and we settle in on a generic “Season’s Greetings” type card and still don’t know what to actually say to another human being for fear we’ll somehow offend their delicate sensibilities…

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

We’re now worried about the conditions, under which someone is executed for a crime. They’ve been convicted, sentenced and through (in most cases) 20 years of appeals, so we’re as absolutely certain as is possible they’re actually guilty, and now, at the final moment we’re worried about how much pain they might suffer as the sentence is carried out? Please… what about the pain and suffering they inflicted on their victims? Where’s the outcry, the public support, the funding for therapy, emotional, physical or other… for the victim, or their family?

Oh, and let’s not forget the group(s) that want to govern how chickens are treated, the folks who we need to be more sensitive to plants, and how it feels to a corn plant to be harvested…

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

Sometimes I think we’re just too blessed in this country. That we’ve become so far removed from ‘life’, that we’ve forgotten how things really work. We’ve shielded ourselves from the fact that the majority of the people on this planet have much more to worry about, like food, water, clothing and shelter, to even give consideration to these types of issues.

It’s no wonder they think we Americans are a little ‘nutty’… They’re trying to find a chicken to eat, and we’re worried about how the chicken we’re about to eat was treated before it was killed and shipped to our table.

They’re trying to find a cave for the night, and we’re worried about the forestry conditions and how environmentally responsible the harvesting was, for the lumber in our homes.

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

Don’t get me wrong… I’m very glad I live in a country where we have the luxury of even contemplating these questions!

In fact, I applaud their energy, dedication to purpose and perseverance!

It’s just that I think all, or much of it anyway, is misplaced. I find myself pondering where we’d be if those same energies were brought to bear on poverty, hunger, illiteracy, child abuse, crime or any other problem with real, tangible human victims.

Well, hell…. Maybe I should just shut up and take my own advice!!

Get a grip… Life hurts, get a helmet!

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7 comments:

Mathias said...

I really liked this post, but the phrase began to grate on my nerves after a while.

Which brings me to safety helmets. Why the fuck does a kid on a bike that is 12 inches off the ground need a helmet? Why does an adult on a bike need a foam helmet? Seriously lets stop being pussies.

We should link up. I like what's in your head. :)

Bill said...

Mathias - I was a little concerned when I saw the pic... Then I saw the note in your profile... that movie was one of his best. He happens to be one of my favorite actors as well.

I'm constantly amazed at the extent folks go to try and shield, themselves, and their children, from 'Life'... Unfortunately, nothing they do can fully insulate any of us from it!

Lorna said...

We do get weary, don't we?

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Bill,

I agree with this post 110%. You have said everything that I have felt for many, many years.

I am SO tired of being "protected against myself" - - it's ridiculous. I'm old enough to take care of myself, thanks very much! :-)

People DO need to get a grip!

Bill said...

Lorna - I wonder sometimes how we 'made it'... no helmets, no knee pads... rules and regulations and parents who believed in consequences for bad behavior... Imagine! I'm not so much weary as I am worried, worried we're raising a generation that will not know how things 'really work'.

Liz - Thanks... We're supposed to take care of ourselves, aren't we? Well ourselves and our family... or at least that what I was told growing up. Life is an experience, and intended to be experienced... we can't know joy without sadness... it the e'ticket rollercoaster that makes it all worth it... in my opinion.

Comfort Addict said...

Bill,

As you know, I like and admire you a lot and enjoy your blog. However, I have to disagree with a lot of your argument (in a friendly, respectful way).

I don't deny that geological phenomena like ice ages happen regardless of human activity. Nevertheless, humans could be doing something that we'd better stop (keep in mind that I work for a car company). I think that there is enough evidence, pro and con, to necessitate a serious debate, as free from politics and abundant with respect as possible.

The non-smoking issue hits me, and my wife, where we live. Mrs. CA has asthma. Cigarette smoke and pollution make her ill. We have a great deal of trouble finding places to eat and vacation because of this. If we, and a small minority of others, were the only ones affected, I guess that you could argue that the rights of the majority outweigh ours. However, the second-hand smoke evidence that I’ve seen convinces me that smoking is a real problem for everyone.

I do believe in personal liberty as long as that liberty doesn’t harm others. You can practice whatever religion, hold whatever belief and adopt whatever lifestyle suits you as long as you don’t hurt me at the same time. I have no problem with the symbols of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or any other religions. However, we do have to be careful not to have government is endorsing a particular religion (Christianity over Islam, etc.). Put up all the symbols, I say, including the ones we don’t like (from Wiccans, Pagans and atheists) to make things fair.

Government has a role to play in safeguarding us. I thank government for regulating meat (even though I don’t eat it), air pollution, water pollution and other harmful things. If government did not do this, it would be difficult for even well organized groups to combat the power of corporations through such techniques as boycotts.

Finally, I believe that government should represent all of us. In a country of nearly 300 million people, too big for town meetings and referenda, we need a representative government to make the laws that make it possible to live together. Of course, government can overdo it sometimes and sometimes should have different priorities, I agree. However, it can be the vehicle to make life hurt a little less, the helmet of Dennis Leary’s bit.

Bill said...

CA - Thanks... and one thing I firmly believe in is open and honest debate.. in fact, it's one of my favorite activities! So know your comment is well received.

I don't disagree that smoking is harmful, and like the 'no rules' end of the pendulum, I think that today’s ‘all rules’ scenario, is swinging a bit too far the other way. I had a client once, and the entire office smoked, when I’d visit in the afternoon, there was literally a smoke layer within two feet of the floor. Even though I smoked too, I knew that place wasn’t right!

I’ve actually enjoyed the smoke-free flights… I remember a flight to Vegas once where the smoke was so bad it gave me a headache.. and I was a smoker!

I think the not smoking in a closed office/building makes perfect sense. The banning of people’s right to smoke in their own yard or any other outdoor space (something proposed in California) however, is a bit much, in my opinion.

I’m with you on the religious symbols… let’s put them all up, for what ever celebration happens to be going on, not ban them.

Speaking of smoke-free places to eat… I’ve often wondered why, in so many restaurants, the non-smokers have to walk through the smoking section; to get to, the non-smoking section… sort of defeats the purpose….

As for the Ice Age thing, I feel we can debate all we want, park all the cars, and switch entirely too solar energy, in the end though, the Ice Age is coming and there’s not likely to be anything we humans will be able to do about it. It’s a planetary inevitability, or so I’ve read.

The internet is our new ‘town meeting’, our blogs our ‘minute at the podium’…. Don’t you think? At some point, in the not too distant future, I can see a venue where topics are posted, voted upon, and pass or fail without the need for a centralized legislative body. It’s nearly possible now, but we’re probably not ready for it, and too many folks are still without access to the technology.

“Of course, government can overdo it sometimes and sometimes should have different priorities, I agree. However, it can be the vehicle to make life hurt a little less, the helmet of Dennis Leary’s bit.”

That’s what government should do, and in the case of food, I think they do a pretty fair job. So much else however seems endlessly mired in ‘politics’ and not in the genuine concern for the ‘people’.

I want to thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts here. My skin is not so thin as to be unable to withstand a well crafted ‘other side of the story’!!