Here are a few random bits that I would have liked to expand upon, but, due to current health concerns, I was unable to. The first was inspired by the Rose Parade.
If anything can be said to represent the heart and spirit of America, it is the parade.
Not for us those bygone (except for North Korea) hosts of goose-stepping, jackbooted warriors, nor mile after mile of flatbeds bearing missiles armed with menacing warheads.
No, for us it is the alchemy of floats laden with and composed of colorful flowers, costumes and balloons, musicians, baton and pennant twirlers, dancers and horse riders. The Macy's Parade, Rose Parade, Mummers and Mardi Gras - these are the spectacles that capture the imagination of us ordinary Americans, the shining alternative to the dark underbelly of so much of life.
And it is a marvel to ponder how much love and devotion our fellow citizens put into their preparations for our entertainment. The hours upon hours of practice and hard, tedious work needed to play their instruments and march in unison, to design and create the costumes and balloons, to construct and cover the floats that are so magical to view, are rewarded, not with remuneration in most cases, but with the awe and the smiles of the crowds who watch their efforts come to life for an hour or two.
From the national extravaganzas to the small-town equivalents of fire trucks, antique autos and local school bands, we do love our parades. They represent the best of what we are, and what we aspire to be.
In 1996 and 1997, when serious pain began to manifest, I viewed commercials that trumpeted "Ibuprofen will relieve your pain!" "Fine," I said, "that's for me!" The trouble was, the recommended dosage was not quite enough to relieve said pain, so I took enough to achieve relief.
I don't remember the commercials sounding the warning "Exceeding the recommended dosage will eat a hole in your duodenum and allow stomach acid to leak into your abdominal cavity and dissolve your intestines!" It may have been buried in the infinitesimal print on the informational insert, but who reads those?
Had I been sufficiently warned, I could have saved us a modicum of money and anguish by not taking ibuprofen. Now we are told that acetaminophen, the alternative to which I turned, will cause liver damage if the recommended dose is exceeded.
*SIGH* Here we go again.
This, it seems, is the tradeoff. Both acetaminophen and alcohol damage the liver if taken in sufficient quantity. Acetaminophen is non-addictive, alcohol can be. With acetaminophen, I receive short-term pain relief and no sleep. With alcohol, I attain pain relief and a good night's sleep. Can you guess what my choice is?
Here is a thought that we have not heretofore heard anyone utter, yet recent developments lead us to an inescapable conclusion - in order for American corporations to compete effectively and fairly against foreign corporations, their work forces must be in rough equivalence, which is at least partly responsible for the phenomenon of outsourcing, the moving of American jobs to where the cheap labor is. It stands to reason that for the American worker to compete effectively and fairly for jobs, the U.S. standard of living must sink to match that of more poorly paid workers in places like China or India. We can actually witness this happening as formerly well-paid workers in the airline and automotive industries are experiencing cutbacks in pay and benefits, or being downsized and forced to seek much less well-paid jobs in the services industry. This is a disturbing and troubling trend.