FROM THE VALLEY: You can't please all of the people

Tom Valley

You know you're getting old when you start using “back in my day” as a starting point to elucidate the perceived ills of a generation you think is doing everything wrong. It guarantees you're about to deliver a lecture that no one really wants to hear. And, as everyone knows, condescending sermons are as welcome as termites on a wooden boat.

So with that said, and before I proceed, let me share a sentiment, with which I agree, from the TV show “Seinfeld” — lest feelings are hurt: “not that there's anything wrong with that.” Amen.

I had to get some paperwork done for a COVID-19 booster shot this week. I went through the usual litany of questions. One of them stood out like Shaquille O'Neal at a Munchkin reunion. Not because of the question, but because of the available answers from which to choose.

I'm referring to a seemingly innocuous query that asked which sex I am. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I kid you not, there were three answers to choose from. Let me repeat that: Three — one, two three — sexes to choose from, Male, Female and Other.


Back in my day, there were only two sexes. That seemed only natural. (Pun seriously intended.) Of minor note, there was a brief period of time in the '70's when a few chowder-heads pushed to have male and female labels merge as one in the unisex craze. Imagine that: one sex — we're all the same. Absolutely ludicrous. The naked truth begged to differ.

The ongoing sticky situations we seem to face on a daily basis are rooted in the practice of not letting the majority rule. I get it, if there is a blatant, fixable problem, it should be addressed. But too often, we cater to the few in order to appease every disgruntled whistle-bop that comes along. We realign laws, rules and regulations to address those whims and anomalies and in the process ignore the sensibilities of plurality.

Back in my day, there was no “other” sex. Even if you changed, uh, restrooms along the road of life, for whatever reason, you would still/now be either male or female. That's fine, if that's what you want.

Moving on … a tad.

Back in my day, speaking of majority, if something was put up for a vote, majority ruled. Period. Those in the minority were left to stew for a while, but they'd eventually come around and accept the rule of the land. Not anymore. Scary. Lincoln was right when he cited poet John Lydgate and said something to the tune of “You can't please all of the people all of the time, so thems the breaks and the losers can just lump it.”

“Lump it” meant get over it, deal with it. Of late, nobody lumps it. Of further note, I have come to realize, you can fool half the people all the time. Even scarier.

On the lighter side:

Back in my day, parents called your name, not your cell phone, when they wanted you inside.

Back in my day, people took photos of other people.

Back in my day, if we wanted to play with electronics, we'd rub our feet on the carpet and touch the light switch.

It was said, back in my day, that if you didn't watch the news on TV, you were uninformed. Today if you watch the news on TV, you're misinformed.

Back in my day, you could go to the store with a quarter in your pocket and come home with three comic books, five candy bars and a couple bottles of pop. Not anymore. They got those damned cameras all over the place.

That's it. But before I go I would be remiss if I failed to thank our veterans. Their service is an immeasurable asset in making this country great. And if I can, I'd like to extend that same appreciation to all of our frontline heroes — police, firefighters, emergency care workers and the like — who continue to put their own health and lives in harm's way throughout these stressful times.

Happy days. (As my father-in-law, Bill Farrand, would say.) And that's the way it looks from the Valley.

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