Grownups In the Mist

Grownups are a vanishing breed, creatures half-glimpsed in the mist who disappear when we try to follow with our cameras and get a picture to prove they exist.

Part of the reason for this is very good.  No?  Try reading the biographies of people in centuries past.  You don’t have to go as far as the sixteenth or seventeenth century, though if you do you will find stuff that will make your jaw drop.

You know how proud you are your five year old can read and write?  Well, in the past, your five year old – from an educated family – might have known the rudiments of Latin and Greek as well.  And if you were a colonial farm family, he might well have work-duties around the farm, which might be relatively light or very hard.

But you don’t have to go that far back.  The early twentieth century – and in places of the world, the mid to late twentieth century – will do.  Some people in this blog have talked about watching their siblings when they were little more than children themselves and when by the law of my state, at least, they wouldn’t even be allowed to be left alone.  I remember seeing a lot of such families, usually in markets, while the mother was doing the selling the older daughter would be in the background, helping, and often the next older daughter would be carrying around a baby almost as big as herself and keeping order over two or three unruly little boys maybe a couple of years younger than her.

I was pampered, as my family was thoroughly middle class, if not upper middle class (It’s hard to tell such distinctions in what would have been, for the US, a poor village – for Portugal where it actually was, it was a relatively prosperous one – but we had indoor plumbing, after a fashion, we never missed a meal, and the kids went on to high school and college, without having to enter a factory at ten.)  But most of my classmates started working at ten and worked full shifts in the textile factory down the street (yes, yes.  Child labor is illegal in Portugal.  Portugal was one of the first countries to ban child labor.  That meant that parents went to the doctor who signed a paper saying their child was uneducable and mentally retarded, and then they could work, under the heading of “professional training” or something.  I WISH people would stop legislating economics.  It does about as good as legislating the amount of rainfall.  Child labor stopped, or at last mostly stopped when most people stopped needing it.)  And most of the farm kids were considered adults for the purpose of work at eight or ten.  And I had household duties my kids would find back breaking.

Bah.  Economic facts.  It is a good thing we no longer have kids performing that kind of labor for the very simple reason that we no longer need them to.  That means that as far as our species goes, we are wealthy/easy enough that kids don’t need to work and we can afford to grant them what to our ancestors would have been an extended infancy  (Since childhood involved some work.)

Am I not equating adulthood with the amount of work you can do or perform?

Yeah.  I kind of am.  The reason for this is that work matters.  Put it another way: everything works.  Animals work for a living.  It’s just their work is chasing down and eating other animals…  Or plants or whatever.  But everything works for a living.

Everything but the young of any species, who rely on mom and dad to do the work for them.

The work you do for a living matters at the most basic form of nature living (Not the one you engage in when you go back with your ripstop tent and your thinsulate jackets, okay?) if you don’t work you don’t eat, which eventually means you die.

It matters even at the level of people in the early twentieth century if a kid doesn’t do his share of work in his family it will affect the rest of the family and eventually family survival.

Even we who are adults or technically adults don’t have that level of immediate pay-back in our society.  If you slack off and the bathroom doesn’t get cleaned one week (my least favorite chore) it’s not going to affect your family survival (probably.  We’re assuming it’s somewhat clean anyway, meaning you wipe down the sink and stuff everyday, of course.)

Our kids, therefore, don’t get that work-to-adulthood ratio.

I read something this week about how millenials work harder but fewer hours and expect faster promotion.  Please.  Millenials are overgrown infants – like, to an extent almost everyone in our society.

See, we’ve got to the point that growing up requires an act of will.  I know forty and fifty year olds still living off their parents’ “help.”  Not occasional (we all need occasional help.  Well, look at the economy) hand up when things get really tough, but continuous “I’ll pick up the tab for your house/food/clothing indefinitely” type of help.  Most of those “adults” who live that way do so in order to “pursue their dream” – being people I know, this dream is mostly becoming writers, but there are others, including perpetual students.  And some live with the help of societal help structures and not their parents.

This is what I have against the “you must pursue your dream” or “you must do what you love” speeches at graduations (and occasionally cons.)

Do I have room to talk?  Heck, no.  I took 13 years to sell a short story, and I’m still barely making a living wage eleven years later – and not every year, at that – but here’s the thing: although I’m aware I couldn’t have done it without a husband who brought home the money for roof and meals, at least I TRIED to pull my weight.  This means on top of the trying to break in, I worked to do many of those things my friends in two-income families shelled out money for.  And while I sort of enjoy refinishing furniture, there was stuff I enjoyed far less.  For a while, for instance, I made a lot of my own (and some of the kids’) clothes.  I cooked almost every day unless there was an emergency.  I cleaned (even the bathroom.)

In other words, in return for the flexibility to “pursue my dream” I worked d*mn hard to give us the same life level as our peers without the money to do so.  That meant I sacrificed mostly time and sleep.  It was worth it.  (I am now at the level that, given a bit more income – please G-d.  Let me show You it wouldn’t spoil me – I’d pay someone to do some of it, in return for time to push on the career now, when it might make a difference.)

I was trying to be an adult.  As an adult, you pay for what you want to do.  And that’s what I’m trying to get at.

It doesn’t matter if your parents or a governmental agency or your significant other or a trust fund are willing to pay for you to “pursue the dream” – chances are neither the dream nor you, yourself, will ever reach full “adulthood” in the sense our ancestor knew it, unless you, yourself, pay for what you want.

If it’s a trust fund, at least, you’re not taking from anyone else, but both with government support and with support from your parents or even your significant other…  You’re taking what someone else accrued, in order to “chase the dream.”

Again, we’re not talking about a hand up, or a temporary help.  My parents have given me that in emergencies and I’ve been grateful.  We’ve never taken governmental aid, but that’s because we were willing to skip a few meals – give us one more kid and a little more trouble and we might have once or so.  What we’re talking about are “adults” quite willing to be supported by family or strangers, so they can do what they really want to.

What makes you such a special snowflake?  What gives you the right to take the living someone else earned in order to pursue your “dream.”  Do others have dreams, also?

Shouldn’t you at least do something to “pay” for it: even if it is taking an extra burden in the family, or doing things you’d otherwise have paid for?

If not, why not?  Because you believe all the movies about how geniuses need support and might never be commercial?  Let me tell you, those movies for the most part lie.  And those geniuses are very rare.  And it’s unlikely you’re one of them.

Being an adult these days requires a conscious decision – “I’m going to pay my way if it kills me.”  It might never be achievable, not at the level our ancestors were adults and understood the link between work and survival.

But as weak and flailing as my own attempts have been, I can tell you that making the attempt is worth it.  It will put everything in perspective: the dream as well as the living.

Yes, it takes almost a miracle, a decision, a strength.  Yes, it hurts like living h*ll, as all emotional growth does.  But it might just be worth it.

So, on the count of three, let’s try it, shall we.  Small steps.  Try to figure out if anyone is carrying your burden and what you need to do to lighten it.

It might mean postponing the dream.  But when you get it it will taste all the sweeter.

153 thoughts on “Grownups In the Mist

  1. Totally agree with this. I consider housework, particularly with children, a full-time job, so no need to hang your head about that. Everything you did earned money, because it was money that didn’t have to be spent instead, plus I would expect a significant improvement in your family’s quality of life. My mom was a full time homemaker, and I know my quality of life was better because of it (it’s not politically correct to say this, but it’s true. Yes, I have friends who were single moms and had no choice and did the best they could, and it was a good best, but I was never a latch-key kid).

    On trust funds – I’ve said, if I ever have any money to leave in a trust, I’m putting it down that no one can touch it until they’re 59 years old and ready to retire, with the exception of paying for the first four years of an offspring’s college education (with further stipulations that said education means training for a real job).

    As for special snowflakes pursuing their creative dreams, I think they’d all be better off, and better artists, if they had to work real jobs while developing their craft (and the Mom job is definitely a real job, IMO). Particularly writers – given that writing is, more than any other of the arts, a reflection of the spirit of the writer, and you don’t grow as a human being sitting in front of a computer screen facing a blank page (or canvas) all day, with nothing to get you outside of your own head. Certainly it’s a very selfish, self-centered existence (which is why I count being a mom as a great job to counter that – talk about something that isn’t selfish and self-centered).

    You sound like you’ve done a pretty good job to me. It makes me realize what I’ve missed out on by not taking that path.

  2. “And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: ‘If you don’t work you die.'”

    A sense of unearned entitlement is a body blow, if not a death blow, to a society. No exceptions. Tulipmanias, Mississippi Bubbles, Bread and Circuses, Welfare Societies – all signs of the same thing. When everybody thinks they can get richer by making somebody else poorer, by always looking for that Greater Fool, the walls are about to come tumblin’ down.

    1. I was thinking, they don’t teach Kipling in school anymore, do they. That would do a lot to teach kids about reality, and knock out all of the PC nonsense they get instead (which is why they don’t teach Kipling anymore).

      1. Kipling was racist and a voice of the Empire. Do not read. He was also a stickler for memorable rhyme and meter, unlike modern poets who are unconstrained by outdated modes of verse. Unlike that hack Kipling, little they write is memorable. It is the perfect metaphor for contemporary society, flowing over the brain, washing it clean of thought.

        1. After last week, one has heretical thoughts like “is Empire really such a bad thing?” and “Wasn’t civilization spread on the Empire model since Babylon?” These are double-plus ungood thoughts and I shall report myself for reeducation before it leads to the reading of such things as “White Man’s Burden.”

          1. I wish I could claim it ironic that those who decry White Man’s Burden as imperialist racism are all too inclined to enact it as policy.

            Blessedly, we have removed the Christianist Bush administration in favor of one that bases policy on Matthew 25:40. Of course, personally tending to those least is so very very tedious (and threatens to soil our $540 sneakers (which are soooo important in bringing a touch of chicness to the food bank) so it is better to sub-contract those duties to the government.

            Yes, it is politics. No, I am not ashamed of myself (well, I am, but for other reasons.) Yes, I shall do penance (beyond that already performed in having to Search Engine for the precise details of Obama’s abuse of religion. If we’re banning entertainment based on insulting religion, does that mean all prints of The Master must be recalled and The Book of Mormon required to end its Broadway run?

            1. Yeah, my first thought was, are they going to ban South Park?

              If it’s okay to burn a Bible, it’s okay to burn a Koran. If it’s okay for the Piss Christ photos, or Salmon Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, then it’s okay for this movie (granted, we all know it ain’t about the movie).

              1. No, no, no – you’re resisting the MSM Jedi mind tricks … It is all about the movie (these are not the causes your are looking for) … It is all about the movie (these are not the causes your are looking for) … It is all about the movie (these are not the causes your are looking for) …

                1. You know what they say in marriage 101: when a couple argue over money, they aren’t arguing over money.

                  The movie is what they are using to distract us, it is the misdirection, the magician’s wand, the watchacallit the magician waves about so we don’t notice what the other hand is doing.

        2. Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.

          I feel the same way about the visual arts. So far as I am concerned Western painting reached its zenith in the Orientalist school. (Although some Pointilism is not without charm.) Everything since has been a slow descent into merchandising the talentless.

          1. Sorry. My hands typed “Pointilism” when my brain clearly directed them to type “Impressionism.” Pointilism is in fact one of the branches of Impressionism I enjoy, but it’s a *little* broader than that.

                    1. Second worst thing; you apparently missed his 2007 performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

                      Looking back on it, he could probably have slain them with a Ronald Reagan imitation. He could easily achieve the look, and the Gipper’s memorable diction and voice would suit him well.

                  1. Impressionism requires Hollywood generate recognizable, memorable iconic stars. Interchangeable immature androgynous male leads do not facilitate the field.

                    It may also be the result of a similar dynamic as has infected publishing; if bookers decide “nobody wants impressionists” nobody doing impressions gets enough working opportunity to develop and refine their act. Bookers decided that ventriloquism as a dead genre, too, until Jeff Dunham demonstrated otherwise.

                    1. SNAG (Sensitive New Age Males) do not make good male leads in movies imho. I really miss Tom Sellack and others who played strong characters. I know Tom is in TV… but I mean I miss young male leads who had the strong character that these other leads showed in their actions and character (including Clint Eastwood.)

                    2. My friends and I have lamented over modern movies, asking, “Where are the men?” It’s all pretty overgrown boys. One of the big reasons I vastly prefer golden age Hollywood to the modern stuff. (It’s fine, and wonderful, to have boyish charm and playfulness, as long as there’s strength and maturity when it’s needed).

                    3. The Expendables was a fun, popcorn-laden trip down the memory lane of action movies. It was exactly what it claimed to be and delivered on all points.

                      The Expendables 2 was awful. Pure shit movie-making worthy of Lucas. It was poorly written, with A-Team-like action set pieces, and tortured dialog meant to include as many cliches as possible in the shortest amount of time using the fewest brain cells. It was nothing like the first one.

          2. Without Pointilism we would not have comic books or inkjet printers. Without comic books Hollywood would have had no films that made money these last few years. Feature, bug, who knows.

            1. Halftone printing was actually developed before Pointillism. That’s right, the Hated Philistine Industrialists were ahead of the Wonderful Talented Artistes — again.

      2. Come to think of it, no, they don’t. I almost didn’t realize that we hadn’t read it for classes because I spent those years devouring all the Kipling I could find in the library anyway, but yeah, it wasn’t part of the curriculum. Which is kinda weird, because if any school would still teach Kipling, I’d have thought it’d be the one I went to. huh.

        1. My dad always thought it was because Kipling was actually fun, and they never wanted to spend time on anything fun. Same with Mark Twain, or Edgar Allen Poe – you might get one short story from them, but the bulk of the classes were spent on something like The Scarlet Letter, books that I enjoy as an adult, but my teen self was nowhere near ready for.

          But I think RES is right – these old writers are flawed and represent the evil old ways of thinking, restricted by old rules and prejudices.

          1. RES is right” is a phrase that cannot appear too often in print. 😉

            Jesse Stuart, writing in The Thread That Runs So True about his experience teaching Remedial English in Ohio River area High Schools in the 1930s noted that most of Shakespeare was beyond most teenagers; they involved adult emotions and viewpoints that kids lacked experience to appreciate (it is often observed that King Lear is the most difficult role in the English-speaking Theatre, because by the time an actor has lived long enough to properly understand the character he no longer owns the physical ability to play him; this may be a consequence of how much time is spent adolescing.)

            When the Daughtorial Unit was young we had a period in which it was quite difficult to find books both challenging and age appropriate. It takes a certain aging to understand such emotions as jealousy, lust, despair and the like. Many a mystery or thriller (anything by James M. Cain or Raymond Chandler, for example) are not really decipherable by the young, yet many of the books presented for them are at so undemanding a level of writing as to eviscerate any desire to read them.

            1. Yes on finding books that didn’t talk down to the kid, but the kid could understand. This is why we tolerated “the cat who” mysteries fascination. Robert wasn’t ready for anything else. His younger brother’s love of Rex Stout at eight, OTOH is something that worries me a little.

              I was thinking about the prolonged adolescence the other day and how characters in sitcoms NOW turning forty are sort of like we were at twenty five. At around forty I started noticing I didn’t QUITE have the energy to do what I did at twenty and there were a multitude of white threads in my hair. Mind you, I’d been on my own (married) since 22. I wonder what it’s like now, when a lot of the “kids” I know are getting married at 36 or so — and not after living a full life, but after being “sort of teens” a very long time — and then four years later they start getting “old” — we’re eliminating everything in between childhood and old age…

              1. Books that don’t talk down to kids is one reason we fed D.U. on SF. Heinlein may have talked down to his readers, but I can’t recall any instance of it. Same with Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Dickson, Ellison, Farmer … and Zelazny. If anything, SF writers flatter their readership, encouraging them to reach for the stars.

                1. If anything, SF writers flatter their readership, encouraging them to reach for the stars

                  I’d have to say that’s true in most cases. Unfortunately, I just finished Stirling’s latest in the Change series. I’m not exactly sure what happened here. The pace was slow, even during the largest battle of the series, and I noticed that he provided exposition about characters repeatedly. I don’t mean that he did it more than once in the book. I mean he did it more than once with the same information about the same character. It’s like he started writing, stopped for a while, then came back and finished, but had forgotten that he’d already told us why character x was important in character y’s life. I don’t know if it was realized, but it certainly made me feel like he thought I wasn’t smart enough to grasp everything that was going on.

                  As he has been one of my favorite authors since the mid-90’s, it was quite jarring.

                  1. Sounds more like bad editing to me – when you spend weeks or months writing a book, you forget what you said months ago, but a good beta-reader or editor should have caught that.

              2. And the hell of it is, you constantly see people lamenting how “kids these days grow up too fast”.

                That makes me grit my teeth, because they have no idea what they are talking about, nor even the slightest clue what things were like as little as 75 years ago (less in some areas, more in others). Teen mothers? Tons of them. Married teen mothers. Young people knowing about sex? Yeah, plenty of people lived on farms then. You don’t need anyone to “teach” you what sex is when it happens in front of you several times a year. Only need someone to tell you the whens and the whyfores, so you understand what you’re getting yourself set up for if you get (or get someone) pregnant. And even that wasn’t so important when most children grew up taking care of their younger siblings or cousins. Young people using foul language? Well, you have something there. Most of the time, back then, it would get them backhanded in the chops. But learning to control your mouth is actually the mature thing to do.

            2. “RES is right” is a phrase that cannot appear too often in print.

              Because it would strain the fabric of the Universe until it ruptures? 😉 (Running away)

            3. Great Oogly-moogly, someone else has actually read “The Thread that Runs So True”!!!! *falls over in a faint from utter surprise* If you’ve read “Singing Family of the Cumberland” I will be truly shocked.

              1. I’ve read the latter for a class I was taking a few years ago. It certainly made an impression, although admittedly the most iconic bit (for me, at least) was getting one’s hide tanned with a rosebush. If “The Thread that Runs So True” is good, I might seek it out as well. Recommended?

                1. I first read Thread almost fifty years ago, and shared it with Beloved Spouse as a travel read-aloud something like thirty years ago, and still treasure the experience to have made a gift of the book this last summer. It relates the author’s experiences as a young man teaching in schools along the Ohio River in the 1920s and 30s, from one-room schoolhouse to High School principal. Stuart is a graceful and accessible writer, as you would expect from the (one-time) poet laureate of Kentucky.

              2. I read Jesse Stuart’s book in 9th Grade English. It is possibly the ONLY assigned reading I did (when assigned) in H.S. I recently caught an appearance by Jean Ritchie as featured artist on the Thistle & Shamrock show, but have not read “Singing Family of the Cumberland”.

      3. They teach “If -,” and a few wildly out of date books include “Rikki-tikki-tavi” or perhaps one of the “Just So Stories.” I used “White Man’s Burden” along with speeches from Teddy Roosevelt and others in US History class to illustrate late 19th and early 20th century attitudes towards empire. And I pointed out that Kipling was warning the US about what the country faced if we took a colony. I also managed to astonish a hay-wagon full of grad students by reciting almost half of “Ballad of East and West” from memory. Then I compounded the sin by reciting “The Man from Snowy River.” Does no one memorize poems anymore?

        Oddly enough, the German literature class I took in Germany (university level) spent some time on Kipling, because Bert Brecht translated three Kipling poems into German, but shifted the meanings slightly to emphasize (or over emphasize) class distinctions.

        1. My older son was given — at a very early age — tapes of the complete works of Kipling. No, not by me. i welcomed it, because he would be entranced by the tapes for hours on end, and this meant that pregnant-me got to sleep a lot, which was pretty much all I wanted to do. He would recite along with the tapes. Two years later the tapes mysteriously disappeared, because I couldn’t TAKE them anymore. Not that I have anything against them, but everyday, for years… Recently someone — looks significantly at Tedd Roberts — gave him a book of Kipling. here we go again.

        2. To my mind, Kipling’s works are one of the saddest losses to the PC disease. He’s an excellent writer and one of my favorites. And nowadays, people who are familiar with his writings are few and far between (in my age group, at least).

          1. TXGECKO, from what I’ve heard, modern India considers _Kim_ one of the great works about India. They recognize Kipling’s worth today.

            1. I loved Kim, must put on my reread list. My school did not teach Kipling (that I remember, but I read most of his stories, but not his poetry, while in school) they did however show The Jungle Book cartoon in 3rd Grade (I think), why I have no idea. Since I had read all the Mowgli stories by then I was NOT impressed with the movie.

              1. Oh yes! I discovered Kim about half-way through high-school. I distinctly recall being delighted to realize that it was the template for Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy 🙂

            2. Oh yes. Some of the best academic writing about Kipling and his place in literature, along with a few very sympathetic biographies, are by Indian scholars.

                1. When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
                  And the women come out to cut up what remains,
                  Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
                  An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

  3. I am a special case because I became ill and couldn’t take care of myself at 41. When my brain came back, my doctor warned me that working around people (in an office or other place) could shorten my already shortened life so I do life off my husband and write on the side. I am hoping to break through eventually.

    But– I had to be an adult when I hit puberty. I spent a lot of my time raising children and housekeeping as a teenager. When I decided to go to college, I couldn’t get grant money because my parents supposedly made too much money even though they had eight children at home and were living above the poverty line.

    So I worked two jobs and went to college. When I realized that I couldn’t do that for more than a year, I started looking for ways to make money to support myself. I eventually joined the Navy. My parents were actually asking me for money (not the other way around). I worked every single day of my life until I had enough time to go to college with my GI bill and the support of my hubby.

    Sarah – working as a housekeeper, seamstress, child care provider, and writer is a heavy load. I salute you.

    It was a hard thing for me to realize that I was now the dependent. I went through some really emotional times. It was like my adulthood had been taken from me.

    I have finally reconciled to the notion that I am still adult– a disabled adult even though I look pretty normal.

    Yes, I would like to see more adults. No, I don’t like to see the back-breaking labor that made children into adults at such young ages. So what is the solution?

  4. A slight variance to what you said about growing up in earlier times, if you were poor rural, especially farm kids, you started working very early, even in the mid 20th. By the time I was 8 I could bale hay and cook supper, feed cattle and most other farm work that didn’t directly involve me using heavy machinery. My younger brother was the same. For that matter even the wealthier farm kids did more work than a lot of “adults” today have ever done.

    1. Same with me, Sanford. Life in rural Tennessee in the 60s involved a LOT of work. By age 15, I was operating heavy machinery.
      Left home at 20. Supported myself (and later a family) ever since. I assumed that was what everyone does–wrongly it seems.

  5. Those old time kids may have been able to converse in Latin and Greek, but they didn’t have to know how to txt msg, did they, huh, did they??? They didn’t have to carry around the programming schedules of 500 channels in their heads, either, leaving lots of room for multiplication tables up to 20. And they didn’t have to hunt down their news like kids do today, they had it killed and delivered. (Victorian girls had a much easier time keeping up with boy bands, too; that takes a lot of work these days, like, y’know.)

    1. Those old-time kids went to schools that taught Latin and Greek. It’s a bit thick to criticize kids today because they haven’t learnt what nobody has ever attempted to teach them, and what the teachers themselves don’t know.

      1. Those old-time kids also passed a grade by passing exams, even if that meant skipping a grade because you could pass the exams, or taking more than a year to reach the next level (very common). You also didn’t have to have a high school diploma to enter a top college, you just had to pass the entrance exams (which is what prep schools were all about, prepping you for those exams). And top colleges like Yale and Princeton were affordable – you could earn enough during a summer to pay for tuition and your own lodgings if you were frugal.

        1. In the case of the five-year-olds referred to, yes. Most people who learnt Latin and Greek did so at school. Good luck finding a school that does that — and even better luck having parents who know Latin and Greek to begin with.

          Again, my problem is that RES’s bit of snark seemed to be blaming the kids for not having received what nobody had to give them.

          1. well… you’re right and you’re wrong. You’re right that most places don’t offer Latin. I’ve been trying to find a Latin class locally and it’s very difficult. Ancient Greek is even more so.

            You’re wrong in that, clearly, you haven’t explored online learning. There’s all sorts of places offering free courses. Kids COULD find them, if they had an interest.

            You’re right again in that kids who have had the past disparaged to them all their lives have no way to know how good this would be for them, or how it would ease their way.

            But I think RES wasn’t snarking the kids but the education establishment’s excuses… because I’ve heard that almost verbatim from various teachers and other supposed educators.

            1. Tsk – I really ought read all the comments before hitting the “Reply” on my email notifications. (You know me too well.) I think kids are marvels of learning being filled full of the wrong kind of knowledge. Mostly they enter school eager to learn and come out with minds deadened of interest, so tell me: bug or feature?

            2. Oddly, the 2nd rate (on a good day) public school in my home town offers Latin in both Middle School and High School. And all the private schools around offer it (OK, so all but one in the area is Catholic, but still).

              1. Our middle school used to offer Latin. Younger son was driven out of it by an air freshener that gave him massive headaches. This year he almost couldn’t take his fourth year of German in high school. They wanted to cut all the German classes to save money for more Spanish classes. There was enough protest to keep teaching continuing classes but no new students will be taught.

          2. Sorry – the snark was aimed at those who defend ignorance and failure to provide instruction. The problem with kids is primarily a lack of adult supervision, something for which the kids are hardly to blame. It got out of hand with the Boomers and their demands for educational “relevance” and has gone downhill since.

  6. I remember reading, probably some twenty years ago, about a problem they were having with trees grown indoors, in places like Mall of the Americas, indoor zoo sections and the like. It seems that they were having to recruit volunteers to come in and shake the trees; the lack of breezes tended to prevent the trees from developing tough fiber and left them prone to breaking under their own weight, unable to support themselves.

      1. Metaphor or less.

        I’ve met a pair of twins, I’ve met some triplets, too, but I must confess that before this, I’ve never metaphor.

        Must check that coffeemaker, I think it is filtering out the caffeine.

    1. Seems to me that a little sign saying, “Please let your children play around the trees (just no climbing)” would solve that problem handily.

        1. Well, I’m thinking of the mall’s aversion to being sued if Little Klutzy falls down and needs stitches or something — mall floors are hard! So they at least need to say “no climbing.”

          That and kids who are Too Big trying to climb trees that are Too Small. The poor trees. (I do hug trees, even while I complain that the problem with tech is that it is not sufficiently advanced yet.)

          1. the irony is that when they go and make the playground surfaces “safer” they don’t decrease accidents — they may even increase them — by creating the conviction that it’s safe.

            Plus a good many safe features do not allow children to learn the physical skills they will need to manage.

            1. When center brake lights were introduced, the NTSB said it would reduce rear-end impacts by 50%. *I* said, no, it won’t. Any potential benefit will be mostly cancelled out by the fact that now people will be paying attention to one light instead of two so when that light fails, people will be *more* likely to hit somebody else from behind. Plus, people will eventually get used to the idea and then they will drive just like they always did.

              Several decades later we find that it had almost no significant effect on the incidence of rear-end impacts. God, I hate being right all the time.

              (Note: Cecil says that the long-term impact has been just under 5% which the NTSB claims saves >$600million a year in damages. I remain skeptical. If they best they can do is a 5% demonstrated benefit… well, it’s not like they don’t have an incentive to put a brave face on things. Add in the discount rate and I think I was right all along.)

  7. I’m pretty much in the same boat as Cyn, yet also very different. I had childhood chores from the age of about seven, when my brother was a baby. In high school, I’d get up every morning at 5:30AM, feed and milk the two cows we had, feed the chickens, rabbits, and pigs, get my brother and I both ready for school (including cooking breakfast – neither of us liked cereal), and was at school at 7:30 for whatever club meeting I had that day. Joining the Air Force at 18 was actually a DECREASE in workload.

    I retired after serving 26 years in the Air Force. During that time, I thoroughly messed up my back doing what normal people would use a machine (mostly a fork lift) to do. My retirement wasn’t enough to support my family, and I worked. My back was bad enough by the time I’d worked for seven years that I had to quit. It took me three years and twelve doctors just to DOCUMENT what was wrong with me. Social Security granted me disability in 2005, retroactive to 2001, the year I quit. They recently switched me from disability to regular social security. I also draw a VA disability check as 80% disabled.

    My wife is 70. She worked enough she also draws social security. She also has multiple sclerosis. Between the two of us, we manage to keep the house relatively clean, take care of ourselves, and take care of Timmy. I also provide partial support to all three of my older children. Since I’m retired, I do have the time to write, and really don’t NEED the money. That’s one reason I give away so many of my books in electronic form. I LIKE getting paid for what I write, as that, to me, is what sets a professional apart from amateurs.

    Far too many people today think success should be instant. NOTHING is instant. Everything has a price, from the effort needed to breathe to the cost of succeeding at whatever task you are faced with. Sometimes, the price is too high, and we shy away. Some people aren’t willing to expend the effort to finish the task, and fail. Most of us used to accept failure as just one additional step toward success. Too many people today throw up their hands and quit, and expect those of us that do still work to support them. No, thanks — grow up and learn to work!*
    * Not directed toward anyone reading this blog, of course.

    1. This is the essence – I’ve known college graduates who thought they should walk into an upper management, $120,000 per year job, as if society was just waiting for them to emerge and save us from ourselves.

    2. This is the essence – too many college graduates expect to walk into an upper management job making $150,000 per year right out of college, as if society was simply waiting for them to come along and save us.

  8. Sarah, first, the musical “Titanic” is on the road (tryouts?) and will be coming to Colorado Springs. My niece Angela “Angie” Shultz will be singing in the show. Sarah, Angie is one of those gals like Kate Smith and others who have the golden voices.
    Second, please read John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education. He will explain to you that the public school system has two purposes:
    1. To extend childhood, &
    2. To dumb kids down and train them to be good employees. Thinking for themselves is no part of the equation.
    He will also explain the history and goals of the progressive philosophy — to perpetuate a self selected Brahman caste in Western Civilization.
    In addition you might read Carroll Quigley’s (Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown U) Evolution of Civilization. Dr. Quigley does a beautiful job of explaining the cycle we are in.

    1. 2. To dumb kids down and train them to be good employees.

      Well, they can score a massive FAIL on the second part of that step. Dumbing people down actually makes them LESS good employees. They MAY (and I am really skeptical on this) be somewhat more compliant employees, but certainly not good ones.

      1. Unfortunately, their definition of ‘good employees’ (like nearly everything else in the American Progressive ideology) was fossilized about 1900. A ‘good employee’ is an unskilled worker who can obediently fasten Bolt 13-A onto Assembly 6-W ten hours a day — not someone who actually has the cognitive skills to operate sophisticated equipment.

        1. Operationally, that “good employee” definition translates into a machine that will perform a given task for a fixed cost per unit, over time, without demanding PTO for weekends, holidays, election day, birthdays, first day deer hunting season and five weeks a year. It will also not show up for Monday morning hungover, fail to comeback after lunch Friday, drop a monkey wrench into the line when they want an extra break …

  9. Mrs. Hoyt, it feels as if this rant were directed against me personally. (I know it’s not, but it could have been if I were important.) For most of my chronologically adult life, I have not been an adult by your definitions — but I don’t see what else I could have done.

    Very short form of the story: At 14, I was expelled, not merely from high school, but in effect from the entire school district I lived in. I had to try to finish school by correspondence — which at that time, before the Internet, was a method with a 98 percent failure rate, and I did not beat the odds. I was unable to gain admission to any postsecondary institution; here in Canada, they’re all run by the government (except seminaries and Bible colleges), they all have pretty much the same admission rules, and if one of them refuses you, you can forget about getting into any others. When I saw career counsellors over the years, to try to find some kind of work that I could do (given the generally parlous state of my health), they always came back with the same thing: Any job I could do required a university degree, which I wasn’t allowed to get.

    After more than twenty years of this, I finally got permission to take a couple of courses at a small Catholic college near me. Why? The place was so small that it could not afford a bureaucracy to turn down applicants, so when I applied to go there, the dean had to see me in person. He could see that I was not a fool, despite my lack of an academic record; so he wrote ‘OK’ across the top of the form and I was in. (At every other institution I had tried, I was turned down by a clerk at a wicket — couldn’t even get an appointment to plead my case with someone who had the power to say yes.) I got straight A’s there, and that allowed me to get into a local university — I couldn’t raise the money to go anywhere else. Then I got hit by a truck and could not attend classes anymore.

    So I’m stuck with a bunch of unpaid student loans, no ability to raise money to finish my degree, and at least three major medical problems that between them prevent me from getting any job that you can get without a degree. So I write — and since the publishing industry is effectively broken, I have to scratch out what odd few bucks I can by self-publishing. It’s the only thing I’m any good at that I am allowed to do — but so far, it doesn’t pay the bills.

    When I was 14, and the school board declared me a permanent and total waste of space, I wanted to kill myself. I don’t know, maybe I should have. It would have saved me from consuming other people’s resources and earning other people’s righteous censure. But you know what? I’m not going to give anybody the satisfaction. I don’t see why I should do anything to oblige a person who wants me dead. If someone thinks I should be dead, he’ll have to kill me himself.

    I’m stubborn that way. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

    1. Tom, it does not seem as if your prolonged adolescence was of your own intent. The problem is that too many want you to roll over and accept their estimation of your capabilities, to accept remaining on the teat rather than contribute to your upkeep. That is the sort of attitude that will keep you out of college and out of published authordom.

      You want to be grown-up, they want you to accept less. And they want you to be grateful for their kindness.

      Give a man a free lunch and he’ll figure out a way
      To steal more than he can eat ’cause he doesn’t have to pay
      Give a woman free kids and you’ll find them in the dirt
      Learning how to carry on the family line of work
      It’s the man in the White House, the man under the steeple
      Passing out drugs to the American people
      I don’t believe in anything, nothing is free
      They’re feeding our people the Government Cheese

      1. Actually, ‘they’ don’t want me to be grateful, and ‘they’ aren’t showing me any kindness either. I’ve survived this long because of help from my family. I have received very little help from what Tolkien called the Theyocracy.

        1. Well, you just need to accept your place.

          Ever notice what type of person speaks with pride of “putting somebody in their place” — and contemplated what that phrase actually implies?

          1. Yes, I have noticed that many times. And if this country had a Second Amendment, I’d have been sorely tempted to put some of those people in a place they wouldn’t like at all, at all.

      2. I don’t think he had a “prolonged adolescence.” Indeed, it seems like he had a premature birth into adulthood in a society not slanted toward that, and has thus had to make up for lost growth time.

        Mr. Simon has indeed made something out of his life, despite being provided with extremely short bootstraps, and has thus earned many bonus points in the Game of Life. I salute him, while continuing to enjoy my copy of Lord Talon’s Revenge.

    2. Sigh. No. It couldn’t be directed at you. You were prevented from becoming self-sufficient partly by a crazed bureaucracy. (My kid came “this close” to something similar through no fault of his own.) What I was talking about are people who simply refuse to put forth ANY attempt to support themselves, because they’re “pursuing the dream” (usually of writing or the arts) while actually working very little and being perpetual adolescents, because they feel they’re “geniuses” or “gifted” — it’s a volational thing and a symptom of our wealth, but still very bad for them and for society. You, I’d say are justified. Yes, there might have been more you could have done, but you know, looking back there’s tons of things I could have done to “get there” faster. Hindsight is 20/20 and at the time I was doing all I could or all I could think of.

      1. Always keep in mind that had you “gotten there” faster you would not be who you now are. And some things you refused to do, such as trade on your Portuguese birth to compose books lecturing on the evils of Free Markets.

      2. Thanks for making that distinction. It does help.

        That said, there are people who neither know nor wish to know anything about my circumstances, but judge me a complete failure based on my lack of accomplishments. And they criticize me in just the same kind of terms you used to criticize those who don’t even try.

        It is reassuring to know that you aren’t one of those people, that you can tell the difference and are willing to do so.

          1. I agree that they need to be “taken care of”, but I suspect that they and I have rather different ideas about what constitutes being “taken care of.”
            [Insert “Sand the floor, wax-on/wax-off, etc.” montage from original Karate Kid film]

            Even if they somehow do develop their talent, those twits will never “earn” a thing.

    3. No, Tom, much as it pains me to admit it, she’s talking about someone more like me.

      I had an easy childhood: Putting away my stuff and occasionally helping with the dishes or helping in my dad’s garden were the extent of my responsibilities while living at home. I didn’t apply myself in school, got average grades when I know I could have been in the top 2%, read and watched TV, or sometimes played video games all the time, except in the summer, when my father took me with him to the YMCA camp where he worked, and I fished, roamed the creeks, or spent all day at the trampoline, taking turns with the campers.

      When i went to college, I was poorly prepared, still didn’t apply myself, and wound up dropping out in my Junior year, when they took away the only class I really enjoyed, because I was on Academic Probation, and only allowed to take the bare minimum number of classes to be considered full time, and they dropped me from the highest level class I had on my schedule, without notifying me first.

      I’ve had to rely on lots of help from my parents, though I have been trying to become more self-reliant, though I never was able to make myself do enough to take up the slack before I got a job in the computer industry. I would have finally been there, the past couple of years, but medical bills have cropped up to eat all the excess money that I had finally begun to make, and I’m still getting some help from my father. I’m getting ready to start a home-based business, though, and I hope it will finally break the barrier to self-reliance.

        1. I just wish I had gotten ready before the political season got really going. It would make a good start then, though the holidays coming up should help, too.

          1. Will keep good thoughts in your direction. I wish the political thing got done. I’ve never been this involved or, frankly, this scared. No. Not true. I just haven’t been this scared/involved in elections in the US. I need this solved, hopefully in the right direction, so I can work in peace.

      1. No, Sarah, I know it’s not QUITE what you were talking about, but close enough to sting when I think about it.

        1. Sorry — though if it helps at least you’re aware of it and trying to change it. I did say it was easy to fall into that in our world.
          On the other hand, I don’t think you faced people ACTIVELY trying to help you out of it, while you insisted that no, you’re a genius and…
          Your career sounds more like what we do to gifted kids in our culture. It’s all too easy.

  10. About arts, from Finnish viewpoint: a couple of years ago there was bit of tempest in a teapot here when some people in the newcomer political party The Finns Party suggested that one of the places where there might be a good place to cut costs (we are not quite so badly in dept as some other European countries, but there is still quite a lot of debt) might be in that part reserved for arts in the government budgets.

    Huge uproar on discussion boards. Sounded as if the country would head straight to barbarism, all ‘higher’ arts would disappear overnight and so on.

    Hm. In visual arts the best known, most loved and nowadays most expensive Finnish paintings are still those done back in the days when government mostly didn’t allot diddly squat for arts but the painters lived by having sponsors and by selling their paintings, while pretty much nobody but those people whose job it is to be involved and a small handful of aficionados can name even a single modern Finnish painter.

    Nowadays in order to become one of those people acknowledged as (by the professionals, at least) artists a person needs to get the necessary schooling, sponsored by the state, then if she is lucky she may get one of the few jobs open for professional artists (such as a municipal artist), or if not, if she can win enough contests, and be shown a lot, and the professionals critics like her, she might get one of the yearly stipends allotted in the government budget to live on. Those artists who do not go through those channels only very rarely get noticed by the professional critics. Well, the end result has been that what gets hailed as art is mostly only the stuff approved by a rather small group of people for whom ‘art’ is their profession, in one form or another, and who are also the bigger part of those people who seem to be able to get something out of that type of art, while what might be needed, and wanted, by us peasants usually gets no appreciation in those circles.

    So, it could be said that here you are a ‘real’ artist only if you are living on government money.

    1. Exactly! A small elitist group of people with all the money means a narrow range of acceptable art, and artists who succeed more by sucking up to the arts council rather than creating art that people might actually want to buy. (I think all government art money should be used only to support the classics, not to support new artists.)

      And it is possible for a fine artist to make a very good living. My parents had a neighbor (now deceased) who did wonderful paintings (I saw a gallery showing once, full of impressionist style paintings from a Venice vacation, lovely stuff). He earned enough by private sales, no government assistance, to live in a moderately ritzy neighborhood. But he did gorgeous work that I wish I could afford (and those were a come down in price – apparently he could make $10K per painting during the oil boom).

      1. One of the guys I went to school with does the most awesome photorealistic paintings I have ever seen. He’s done portraits, book covers, D&D artwork (probably the most widely-known example of his D&D work is here). As far as I know, he’s never relied on grants from the government.

        Oh, I’ve never recommended him for book covers here because he would probably be a bit pricey.

        1. What’s his name? Then I can bookmark him and use the bookmark as motivation. ‘One day, if I keep at this, I shall write a book that sells well enough to be worth hiring him to do the cover.’

          (A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Browning for?)

          1. (A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Browning for?)

            To reach out and touch somebody a few hundred yards away? (you were referring to a BAR, right?)

            1. I have an Elmer Keith on the line for you. He says hand him that 1911 and start running.

              (For those of you unfamiliar with Elmer Keith: he was probably the best pistol shot who ever lived. A man once told him with scorn nobody could hit anything with a pistol at a hundred yards. Elmer took a thousand dollars out of his pocket, put it on the ground, and said, “I’m gonna walk a hundred yards over yonder. When I do, you try to grab the money.” Then he took a 6-shot magnum revolver out of his other pocket. “If I can’t stop you, it’s yours.”

              The man wisely declined the wager. Elmer once hit a deer which had been wounded by another hunter at 600 yards, multiple times, with a 6 1/2″ S&W Model 31.)

              1. Also those of you who are 44 mag or 41 mag fans, you can thank Elmer Kieth for those.

                Have you read his book, Hell, I Was There! ? My grandfather knew him (I never knew this until after grandpa was dead unfortunately) and I have my grandfathers copy of the book, it is a very interesting read.

        2. I used to have a vet whose brother was an artist. He had prints hanging in his vet office (his brother sent him a print every year for christmas and his birthday because he told me he couldn’t afford the prints, much less an original) I several times heard people argueing over whether those prints were paintings or photographs. THAT is the kind of art I like, and like any other job, if you are good enough you can make a living at it, if you need the government to support you; well maybe you should find a real job.

          1. and if you’re not good enough maybe you’re serving your apprenticeship — which, incidentally means you should find some way to support yourself while doing so, and “serving your apprenticeship” means, yes, extra work.

            1. Oh, I agree, I didn’t mean forget your dream because you can’t make a living at it. But simply to make a living first, then pursue your dream in the time left over.

    2. The goal is, of course, to create a closed guild where only “responsible” artists — those who scratch the right backs, kiss the proper rings — are allowed to play.

      See: extended discussion at this and other writers’ blogs regarding the self-fellating nature of the contemporary publishing industry, in which licensed experts determine in advance what the public will be allowed to buy and then use the public inability to buy anything not approved to prove the approval process is successful.

      1. Hear, hear.

        In the days before I got certified useless by the school board, I had a brilliant drama teacher named Peter Spear. How brilliant was he? Well, he ran the only live theatre company in Western Canada that could survive on gate receipts — no government funding at all.

        Unfortunately, it could pay its own bills but it couldn’t pay him, because it was competing with all the subsidized theatres in town. So he had to give acting lessons on the side; and then, when that wasn’t enough to live on, he had to go back to work full-time for the Board of Education and run his theatre in whatever time was left.

        One year he went home to B.C. to visit his folks for Christmas — found a couple of days when he wasn’t snowed under with work. On his way back to Calgary, he felt ill, checked into a motel, and never checked out again. He died of pneumonia, as I recall, which he never had time to treat because he was so desperately overworked.

        So the subsidized theatre in Canada killed off one of the few genuine geniuses that Canadian drama has ever produced. When Peter Spear died, I believe he was not yet forty years old.

        1. So sad.

          This is why I have some sympathy for companies taking government money – if the competition is taking subsidies, it’s the only way to compete.

          1. No. It only spreads the rot. It also divorces the outcome from the product. THE thing to do is find a way to make the subsidy darlings irrelevant.
            Don’t make me go into an indie rant, since I have books to finish, and RES will kill me and CACS MIGHT help. 😉

            1. Oh, I agree, but sometimes the alternatives really are: take the subsidy or go bankrupt. Very wrong to do, but I have some sympathy for them. I have none for the politicians who cause this to begin with (and who are buying votes by creating these dependencies and ruining the competitive climate and – well, yes, there’s a whole rant there).

              1. I have long believed that the reason so many females despise “sluts” is that such persons reduce competition for male attention to the lowest common denominator. Grace, style, taste, intelligence count for little when the knee pads come out. (N.B. – that males are such easy prey for deep cleavage is not to their grace, either.)

                The provision of subsidies is an initiation of Grisham’s Law*, the driving out of good money by the bad.

                *I know it is properly Gresham’s Law, named for English financier Sir Thomas Gresham (1519–1579), but in the context of a literary (ostensibly, although multiple misbehaving miscreants mutually manage to misdirect discussions) the opportunity to attribute this to John Grisham’s legal potboilers (which may, for all I know, be readable) is more than mortal can resist. Surely there live critics disdainfully sniffing that Grisham’s popularity has diminished the market for truly well-written books.

                1. His first book, A Time to Kill, was very readable. I read several of his next books and they would all qualify as readable, but not hit my ‘rave about, great book’ list. I haven’t read anything he has written in the last several years, so can’t comment on them.

            2. SHAME ON YOU for spreading such slander about me! You would only WISH you were killed.

              As for the content of the comment: there be reasons many Americans look at Ford before GM or Chrysler before buying a new car or truck. Make the SUBSIDIZED label a badge of shame. Perhaps include % subsidized on the content label (no, the sugar industry would kill us there … although as an accountant I would profit mightily from the compliance calculations.)

        2. it was competing with all the subsidized theatres in town.

          A point well made in Charles Koch’s recent Wall Street Journal OpEd:

          Charles G. Koch: Corporate Cronyism Harms America
          When businesses feed at the federal trough, they threaten public support for business and free markets.
          The role of business is to provide products and services that make people’s lives better—while using fewer resources—and to act lawfully and with integrity. Businesses that do this through voluntary exchanges not only benefit through increased profits, they bring better and more competitively priced goods and services to market. This creates a win-win situation for customers and companies alike.

          Only societies with a system of economic freedom create widespread prosperity. Studies show that the poorest people in the most-free societies are 10 times better off than the poorest in the least-free. Free societies also bring about greatly improved outcomes in life expectancy, literacy, health, the environment and other important dimensions.
          We are on dangerous terrain when government picks winners and losers in the economy by subsidizing favored products and industries. There are now businesses and entire industries that exist solely as a result of federal patronage. Profiting from government instead of earning profits in the economy, such businesses can continue to succeed even if they are squandering resources and making products that people wouldn’t ordinarily buy.

          Because they have the advantage of an uneven playing field, crony businesses can drive their legitimate competitors out of business. But in the longer run, they are unsustainable and unable to compete internationally (unless, of course, the government handouts are big enough). At least the Solyndra boondoggle ended when it went out of business.

          By subsidizing and mandating politically favored products in the energy sector (solar, wind and biofuels, some of which benefit Koch Industries), the government is pushing up energy prices for all of us—five times as much in the case of wind-generated electricity. And by putting resources to less-efficient use, cronyism actually kills jobs rather than creating them. Put simply, cronyism is remaking American business to be more like government. It is taking our most productive sectors and making them some of our least.
          [MORE: ]

          1. I personally have a theory that government subsidies have stalled the development of small hydrogen fuel cells, as well. 10 years ago, a company had a promising design, and a production device that was incorporated into a scooter/bicycle hybrid, but that has disappeared, and the same company now makes fuel cells for US Military work in things like powered exoskeletons.

  11. Half full, half empty cup? “If life is a bowl of cherries, then why are most suckers starving to death?” What goes around comes around. Positive versus Negative.

    Education is pretty much what you make of it. Many of my favorite students were returning adults, who held down jobs, had families, yet had a desire to learn, improve their credentials, or simply finally get that degree they wanted most. To do so, they had to sacrifice in many ways, as did their families. And that, people, is the key. Is what you want worth the sacrifice of time and energy? Is it worth the money, and if it isn’t about money (but everything pretty much is in the end), is the payoff worth it?

    My husband’s grandfather was born on a dirt farm in Oklahoma. Like all farm kids, he worked hard from an early age, but his parents made sure he went to school. By the time he was 14, he was a teacher in the rural school. He was had learned and taught History, Geography, Latin, English, and Mathematics. He was also the football and basketball coach for the schools. (He was a huge sports fan of high school and college sports.) Then he met and married Dollye. Looking around for a bit more income, he and his wife bought a building and built the first motion picture theatre in the area. By the time they retired, they owned almost all the movie theatres in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas – including ALL the drive-in theatres.

    My point, is that people make themselves. Even the most wealthy of people make themselves unless they are parasitical kids who live off mommy and daddy, or live in a country that controls citizens from cradle to grave. (Like Tom) I know that Grandfather B. expected his kids to work from the time they were kids. My husband was expected to work too. He spent many a summer working with his dad cleaning theatres (bathrooms too) and repairing air conditioning units so they would stay cool. He would often ride with his grandfather to look at land, learning from the wise old man. Yes, Hal was raised in the lap of luxury, but he never knew it. And to meet Grandfather B., you would expect he was just a retired farmer like everyone else around. (Grandmother B., however, was a witch in disguise who ate people for tea.)

  12. Being a bachelor, I can tell you that being a housewife IS a job. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what our society tries to tell you. Growing up my mom was a stay at home mother, and I can tell you that she was always busy doing whatever needed done around the house, she certianly didn’t lay on the couch and watch TV all day (of course the fact that we only got one channel, two if it was clear out, facilitated this). Having lived on my own and having to do my own household chores since I moved out certianly has kept me from looking down at housewives.

    My parents have never helped me out moneterially (although I have helped them a couple times) but they have provided other help at times. Like allowing me to move back home at 19 after I had done a fantastically thorough job of screwing my life up, and driving me to work for the next year until I could get my drivers license again. Then for several years I worked out of town, and was only home at times on the weekends, they provided me with a place to store my stuff, and a place to stay on the weekend. But it was always a give and take relationship, in turn I would do things around the house my dad no longer could (back injury) and help out in other ways, including providing food and helping with bills that I benefited from (like electricity).

    Nowadays I see entirely to many 24-25 year olds who are still sucking at the teat. Still going to school at that age is fine, if your paying your own way, or at least trying to, and going to school for a purpose other than to delay joining the workforce. If your going to go to college, GET A DEGREE IN SOMETHING YOU CAN GET A JOB AT! Underwater basketweaving is the one always quoted, but the one that always comes to mind for me is a major in History, virtually the only job that qualifies you for is that of history teacher, which very few of those who get the major actually do. History is great, very interesting, and everybody should learn more of it, but major in something you can make a living at when you graduate!

    I’ll shaddup now, since I’ve already written a goatgagger for a comment. 😉

  13. And off topic, but I want to tell about this: I managed to write a bit over 7000 words of a new story during the last five hours. I’m usually rather slow, I think that’s the best I have done ever, so far. 🙂

    1. Congrats, I got in at 8:30 tonight, and read this blog; Sarah’s blog is both an inspiration to write and a great distraction from writing. 🙂

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