I just realized that I haven’t posted in a week. I actually thought I had posted something mid-week, but, it was just a draft and now I don’t really feel like finishing it. I was going to write something about the hurricane and add some links to some of the great journalism I have seen in the past two weeks, but instead I would just suggest that you all take a look at www.nytimes.com and especially check out the recent column on the hurricane by Nicholas Kristof, a great journalist and writer.
What else can I tell you, fine reader(s)? I’ve had a few nice days off, did some work around the house, stained my first cabinet (for our new bathroom) and planted some fall mums that I hope will actually live through the winter.
I just thought of a topic!
I feel, perhaps in the last three to five years, that I am becoming old enough to get a sense of a historical perspective on things. For example, I now hear myself making comments like “when I was in high school, everyone wore backpacks in the halls,” or “when I was a kid, we played in the park every day of summer…” I feel kind of old, not in a bad way; perhaps experienced is a better word. The thing is, I have a little crew of high schoolers that work for me, and while I don’t feel that much older than them, I do see that they think of me as an adult woman, which is amusing.
The reason I bring up the whole “historical perspective” thing, is that, in my short-ish life, I have noticed a few trends that I have this continuous Seinfeld-like desire to say “what’s the deal with ____?” about. Here goes:
- What is the deal with food allergies? Seriously, when I was a kid at a normal-sized suburban school district, I never knew one kid with any sort of nut, wheat or seafood allergy. People – take a look at the fine print on almost any package of snacks nowadays and you will find some kind of nut disclaimer. “This product may have been produced in a facility that processes tree nuts.” As most of you know, I work in the restaurant industry, and we used peanuts in some of our food at the last restaurant I worked at. I can’t tell you how many parents needed their food to be made specially without peanuts so their kids wouldn’t have a reaction.
So, this sort of strange phenomenon makes me think – what has happened in the last 20 years that has caused so many American children to develop all these strange allergies? Based on absolutely no scientific knowledge or research, I think it’s because of our anti-bacterial, germophobe, clean-freak culture. I mean honestly, Clorox wipes, air sanitizer, and parents freaking out when their children get dirty? Who are we? Just watching advertising for any number of cleaning products might lead a person to think it’s possible (an beneficial) to create a germ and bacteria-free environment. But really, it’s impossible, and no amount of food safety, sanitation and cleaning is going to stop that. Furthermore, we don’t want to raise our children in a sanitized environment, because when they do venture out into the real world, their immune systems can’t function correctly. Maybe this is an explanation for all these crazy allergies – undeveloped immune systems reacting badly to perfectly safe ingredients because they are so underused and out of whack. I think I may have read an article about this once, or maybe I just made it up, but I also think it makes a lot of sense. I guess I’ll do a little research and see if any scientists agree with my theory.
- So, what is the deal with snow? People – where is the snow from my childhood? I live in Wisconsin, and I can honestly remember that most if not all of the winters of my childhood involved large amounts of snow. We had these mountains of plowed snow rimming the playground at my elementary school and we used to climb them and wander around on them. I remember how great it was to see things from an elevated view, feeling tall and like you had a view of everything going out on the playground. I never noticed it much when I was in college, but now that I am back in Milwaukee, it really seems like we never have the amount of snow we had in back in those years, when I was a wee lass. Ok, just kidding, but if that isn’t anecdotal proof of global warming, I don’t know what is. My parents swear that when they were kids there was even more snow.
I know there is a lot more proof for the effects of global warming, but I am just amazed that with all the climate change and the terrible effects humans have on the environment, that we never learn to live in a more conscious way. Everything seems to be about Americans getting their oil and continuing our “great” lifestyle. What is that? Just getting more stuff? We certainly aren’t a successful culture as far as family life goes, with our 50 percent divorce rate. We aren’t a successful culture as far as health goes, with 40 percent of our population overweight and more and more obese children every day. And as we have all read in the past few days, we clearly haven’t been successful at dealing with poverty. We are so selfish, myself completely included, and the more I live with people of another culture, the more I realize how ingrained our selfishness is. The average tv-watching American kid can be totally occupied in the hobby of accumulating stuff – toys, then clothes, then gadgets, cars, etc. We are taught by our modern media to want stuff as if that embodies the American dream. Mexicans, to use my familiar example, are so much more likely to make great sacrifices in their lives for the good of their extended families than modern Americans would. I’m not judging, I completely fit into this category, but I can’t help wondering where we went wrong, and how we might teach our children to be different.