2015-02-07 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

Another Super Bowl is in the books and people can get their minds back to the things in life that really matter, like basketball and the latest stupid situation comedy show on TV.

Usually if I predict which team will win a sports event, it’s the kiss of death for that team. The Super Bowl was no exception. Calling that pass play when they would have notched the win with a running play or two will haunt the Seattle Seahawks coaches for a long time.

I am not a fan of the NFL, but we were invited to a party by our neighbors and I wanted to be sociable. The fact that they were serving just about anything you might want to eat or drink may have influenced my decision.

I could write a lot about the President’s State of the Union address, but it would just be more of the same complaining I always do, so I will try to be brief.

He should have been a Baptist preacher. I believe the man could charm a snake, as he is a good speaker.

Some of the things he said were okay, but he didn’t mention all the times that he missed the boat and could have really helped this country. If there was anyone in that crowd who represented the middle class or really cared about the little guy, I didn’t see him.

Obama trotted out the good old “tax the rich” line and ignored the real problems, which are the loopholes and other tax breaks that have been written into the tax code to reward the influential. I do not believe in penalizing success like his plan calls for.

I asked a bunch of people if they watched the President’s speech on TV and the answer from just about all of them was, “Hell, no!”

One older gentleman who moved out here to Arizona a while ago said if he wanted to listen to a bunch of liars, he would call the Liars Club at the Buttonwood Restaurant in Emporium. No names mentioned.

Some old-timers reading this might recall the days when they showed newsreels on the screen before the movie started at your local theater. You were supposed to follow the bouncing ball as it danced across the screen over the printed words and sing along.

The stock market reminds me of that. It goes off the charts one day and down in the dumps the next. It can befuddle the best of the investors and make them want to take out their frustration on their brokers.

I am no whiz with money matters, but there must be a better way to run that place. There are a lot of people who gamble their fortunes in the market and I wish them luck. That is no place for me because, when it comes to luck, if it was raining soup I would have a fork.

Maybe one day after I grow up I will be able to understand that game.

Aging is quite a phenomenon. The longer you live, the more you’re supposed to know, but younger people have no interest in your acquired wisdom.

A lot of people want to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want folks to know why I look this way. I have traveled a long way and some of the roads were not paved.

The older people get, the fewer things seem to be worth waiting in line for. Eventually, people stop lying about their age and start bragging about how old they are.

Shirley and I got a taste of home last week when our old neighbor from Sylvan Heights in Emporium paid a surprise visit. What a joy it was to shoot the bull with him. Not much gossip, but a lot of hometown news.

Old Man Winter has been spending a lot of time in the Northeast. You need to be a skilled driver when you encounter snow and ice and quite a few people lack those skills, or they were off taking a comfort break when God was handing out common sense.

Most people drive too fast for conditions and that is how they usually end up in the ditch or run into another vehicle. Are you people really in that much of a hurry? Have you discovered a cure for cancer or learned about another 9/11 plot? If not, take it a little easier on that gas pedal.

I remember one trip we were on in 2003. We were going to spend Christmas with my son in Atlanta.

We ran into a snowstorm in North Carolina and stopped for the night. In the morning, the car was buried in two feet of snow. The motel was about 100 yards off the highway and the traffic was moving by. The locals were either in the ditch or the median strip, but the snowbirds were merrily motoring along. They were used to driving on icy roads.

I am no stranger to extreme weather. In January 1953, my friend Nick and I had to attend Arctic Survival School. We slept in a shelter we made out of two tarps. The first night it got down to 60 below. Believe it or not, our shelter and our double-Arctic sleeping bags kept us warm. You could survive if you used the gear you were provided with.

During the day it warmed up to minus 56 below. The days were the hardest because we had to build fires to try to keep from freezing.

I have always been interested in the news, and especially the developments that could affect our country’s security. I am so sick of the narrow-minded, opinionated jackasses on some of the TV network newscasts trying to tell me what to think.

PBS still has some good news programs that are informative and not full of political bias. The same can be said for 60 Minutes. As far as the entertainment shows, the networks have all been cranking up the background music and the laugh tracks to the point where you can barely hear what the characters are saying.

Of all of the many selections for programming on the remote device, sometimes I think the best one of all is the off button.

The Presidential candidates for 2016 are already making their moves and soon the mudslinging will be starting.

Now that we have a woman who will likely be the Democratic nominee, I am anxious to see what kind of remarks are made about her marriage and other family issues.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Republicans will find a way to hop on that subject, since they are all so moral. They only get in bed with the lobbyists, and not with their mistresses.

I never seem to be satisfied with what is going on all around me.

I want to watch all three rings of the circus at once. I also want to hear the band playing, watch the fireworks and keep my eyes on the pretty girl walking the high wire. I guess you call that a thirst for life.

Keep you money in a mattress and away from the stock market and make sure you musket is clean and your powder is dry.

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