Little encouragement to be found in the headlines

Categorized as 11/30/09 Goshen News column

After last week’s grim look at some of our bad habits over here, I realized there was one I missed.

If you’ve read the column for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a news junkie. Given the state of world affairs, I’m starting to think this is a bad idea as there’s certainly not much encouragement to be found in the headlines these days.

“H1N1 vaccine push plagued by problems,” reads one. The spread of the virus and the availability of the vaccine have dominated the news for weeks. By now, I’m this close to nailing 2x4s every which way over the doors so no one gets in or out. This would be followed by a whole-house spray bombing with Lysol if any of our members so much as sniffles. Including the sniffler.

“Congressman calls for post office bailout.” Not again. I’ve already burnt up one calculator, trying to track the national debt, and I’m not eager to blow another one.

Now look here. What is so hard about living within your means? This current batch that we’ve got up on the Hill keeps spending my money before I can even make it, and I’m getting plenty tired of it.

But what do I know? I’m just a simple American mom with four kids, a mortgage, and a husband who is self-employed. Apparently, knowing how to run a household and a business on a budget doesn’t qualify a person for higher office. I’d be happy to explain to our senators just how the simple envelope system works in balancing one, but I’m afraid I’d get, “Huh? What? You must be speaking Swahili, ma’am,” followed by a dial tone.

See what I mean? Right there, that one headline has my blood pressure up, and I haven’t even left my desk.

Here’s another depressing bit of news: “Unemployment rose in 29 states last month.” This one runs concurrent with another one that proclaims, “Top Eurobank prepares for global economic collapse.”

As if that weren’t enough bad news for one sitting, the Senate has just released its version of a health care bill. This is a monstrosity which, it’s reported, would take over 34 hours, a team of speed readers, and a mountain of lozenges the size of the Appalachian foothills to read. To quote Charlie Brown, “Good grief.”

The dismal drumbeat continues, “Somali pirates strike again.” I don’t know about you, but those guys have just stepped on my last nerve. They have got to stop scaring people and taking stuff that isn’t theirs. This is nothing that a good, sound spanking wouldn’t cure. All it would take is a pirate-sized spanker and several judicious shots to the britches. I think that could go a long way in helping them choose repentance. I’m willing to serve.

“Syria suspected of concealing nuclear activity.” Them, too? Note to State Department: Send in the moms. We’re real good at sniffing out contraband, and we come with built-in lie detectors. If those corkers are hiding stuff and fibbing about it, we’ll find out real quick. You can pay us in Starbucks franchises, numbered Swiss bank accounts, and a villa to call our own in the south of France. Tax free, of course.

Turning from the front page now, I see an article entitled, “U.S. residents fight for right to hang laundry.” This story is playing out in Pennsylvania where Carin Froehlich just wants to use her wash line. She’s received two anonymous notes from neighbors who “don’t want to see her underwear flapping about.”

Now this story has elements that I can actually identify with, not the least of which are dirty skivvies and the desire to save money. Since going green is in, I can’t think of anything more environmentally friendly than a clothes line. I hope she wins her fight for the right to hang.

Reading further, now, “Jury sides with NYC police in clown’s lawsuit.” An honest-to-goodness, professional clown just had his big, red nose handed to him on a platter when a jury sided against him in favor of the police department. He had filed suit, claiming mental and physical injuries after he was arrested for leaving a suspicious package at a Manhattan Starbucks. The package turned out to be his balloon inflator.

Poor guy. He’ll likely need some of his fellow clowns to come and cheer him up.

“Congressman moves for a ‘Day Without Complaining’ resolution.” Aha! I could sure get behind that one. This one’s actually biblical. “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” Phil. 2:14 admonishes.

About six or seven years back, I ran across that scripture and announced to the tribe that it would be our verse for the year. Sighing, one of them asked me, “When the year is up, can we drop it?”

I’m feeling better now. Reading about the trials, tribulations, and escapades of other normal, average Americans is refreshing. From now on, I think I’ll just skip the front page and start further back. You know, with Charlie Brown.

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