Saturday, October 11, 2014


For some reason I have been running into rants lately. I don't dare speculate why. So far as I can tell they are normal, hard working people, taking care of themselves day-to-day in the real world. Maybe they are having a bad day. I don't care what their motivation is. I wish I had a tape recorder so that I could listen to these explanations over and over. But, of course, the spontaneity would suffer. Obviously, they wanted to explain something. I write them down immediately after they happen so they are probably fairly accurate in phraseology, and do not represent any personal slant of my own.

Business Owner:

"... in fact everything that is wrong with this world comes from the computer."

(This is the opinion of many rural people, not just this business owner, and some of them are quite well educated.)

"The kids these days can't add and subtract. A young fellow the other day came in wanted to buy a rifle to go hunting with. It just so happened he had the cash. I don't know where he got the cash. I can guarantee he didn't work for it. It took him forever to count $350 from the cash he had. Eventually I had to help him. And they don't see the bills as being real things having value. It is like a computer game. Once those bills are gone you press a button and the bills reappear and spending them is a game you can start all over again. Besides that, they don't want to work. You talk to small business owners, they'll tell you how hard it is to get help. Why is that? And if you do find somebody, they don't care about the job, they don't care about anything you tell them to do ..."

(Another very common opinion: the young are completely ignorant about the boss/worker arrangement.)

"In fact, they are almost happy when you have to let them go. They seem unable to concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes. I can't tell you how many ten, twelve hour shifts I have worked. These kids, five hours maximum. If you get them to do anything for say an hour, and then time for a break, a smoke, a drink whatever, and you point out to them that work lasts till five, there is plenty to do to keep busy, they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I can't have a guy toking medicinal or not for lunch with all these guns and machines around! I'd be crazy. I believe they learn all these things in school..."

(Another common opinion: that in school they teach that it is okay to smoke dope all day, that it won't hurt you and it won't lead to a negative influence on your life, and they teach that most people don't work more than a couple hours a day, if they do, they become stressed out. Work related stress is a big motivator for smoking marijuana, whether medicinal or otherwise. In fact, the schools teach that nothing is so important that you should get stressed out about it, even the every day business of taking care of yourself. Remember: they don't have tests any more, they don't have report cards, and so on. Kids graduate from high school and they can not read. These above in parens are impressions he conveyed to me without going into detail. I admit that if I had pushed he might have branched off.)

"Anyway," back to the small successful business owner, "I don't have anything to do with computers. I don't even have a debit card. Basic math skills aren't there any more. They think if they punch up certain buttons, even if they have made a mistake and punch the wrong button, what shows up on the monitor is the right number, and you can stand around all day trying to explain that the number is wrong because it doesn't add up."

(He made a big point of this. The computer is not supposed to be capable of making a mistake. The thought that human beings are capable of making a mistake is stressful, therefore the above.)

His last point, I assume, came from a direct, recent personal experience. "I hired a guy, a young fellow, he appeared qualified. But he didn't have a car. Just so happened he lives not too far nearby me, so I went by to pick him up. I have to stay late a lot of times, one of the other fellows was taking him home. Anyway, on the drive to work, he chain smoked. While he was chain smoking, I was pointing out cars in the lots and in front of houses up for sale. 'Don't you want a car?' 'No money,' he says. So I explained to him the notion of saving money to buy things. 'For instance,' I says, 'if you quit smoking. How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke per day? He said rather proudly, I thought, that between him and his old lady probably three packs a day. So figure fifteen dollars a day go up in smoke. That's conservative. Seven times fifteen is over a hundred dollars a week. That's four or five hundred a month. You could buy a hellova used truck for that kind of money.' But of course it was all useless. The idea of not spending money to save up to buy an important item in order to stop making a fool of himself was incomprehensible to him."

"I bet he still doesn't have a vehicle," I said.

"He doesn't have a job either."

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