Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for August, 2010

Social Security still matters

Even after 75 years Social Security still matters. Almost 17 million senior American citizens are kept above the poverty level because of Social Security benefits. 

Republicans adamantly opposed Social Security when it was passed into law 75 years ago; only 16 Republican Senators (17%) voted for passage and in the House, only 81 Republican Congressmen (21%) voted for it. Based on their reaction to the Healthcare Reform Bill, Social Security would receive even fewer Republican votes today.

Concerning any legislation that benefits everyday citizens, the goals of the party of “NO” are clear – “repeal and repeat.” Repeal the Healthcare Reform Bill, privatize Social Security as the first step in eliminating it altogether, and then eradicate recent financial reforms while repeating the failed policies and politics of the past.

 John Boozman is a Republican who has demonstrated that he subscribes to the political philosophy of his leaders in Washington and will support their goals over the needs and benefits of Arkansans; his recent “NO” vote on the State Aid Bill is clear evidence of his misplaced loyalty.

Every citizen should carefully consider how to vote in November; knowing not only what you are fleeing from but also being certain about what you are searching for.

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A Simple Little Life Lesson

I recently asked a family friend why he was so successful. After beating back his modesty, he said he was just smart enough to realize he was not really all that smart; he relied heavily on good advice and hard work.

 He went on to say that if he was any dumber he would probably think he was so smart he didn’t need anyone’s advice and make a lot of bad decisions. And if he was a lot smarter he might have recognized all the things that could go wrong and abandoned some of his most successful ventures.

Could I be reading too much into this simple conversation?  Or, is there a gem of wisdom revealed in this encounter? I’ve thought about several successful and not so successful people I have met over the years. I find it true that successful people work hard and consistently make good decisions. I have also observed limited success in those who are lazy or are paralyzed by their “it can’t be done” perception of almost every idea.

I can name a few I have known who could benefit immensely from this little life lesson. Unfortunately, they may be too foolish to recognize it, or so impudent that they are certain it’s not true. And there is little doubt that still others would be puzzled that I even mentioned it. –CP

The Cookie Jar

When I was 12 years old, we didn’t have a cookie jar. Instead, Mom used a sugar bowl that she said it was too big and gaudy to put on the table. Kept on the shelf high above the refrigerator it worked fine to hold the household money. Dad was paid in cash. Each payday he would come home with a brown envelope with his week’s pay. Listed on the outside of the envelope were his hours, the amounts taken out for taxes and the net amount of cash it contained.

My parents paid all their bills with cash except for the house payment. It required a money order from the post office to be mailed along with a payment coupon to some place in Virginia. After the bills were paid, the rest of the money went into Mom’s sugar bowl for food and household expenses.

To me the sugar bowl had a mystical quality. I believed that if I even thought about taking money from it without permission, I would be cursed for life. It was Mom’s and she had complete and unquestioned control of it.

One day the money was suddenly missing. Mom was devastated. It was almost a week till payday. I remember Mom crying. I wasn’t accused yet I felt responsible for not protecting the sugar bowl. It was a serious family matter, which we didn’t tell anyone about. We tried to figure out who could have taken it but we eliminated everyone.

Mom was good at making do with whatever food we had so we didn’t get hungry. In the middle of the next week Missy Baker’s parents who lived just two houses up the street appeared at the door wearing long faces. They confessed that 10-year-old Missy had taken the $32 from the sugar bowl. Mr. Baker gave Mom $8 and said he would pay the rest the next week. Mrs. Baker cried. Mom and Dad said they felt sorry for the Bakers.

Missy was a neighborhood kid. She was not a playmate; after all, she was younger than me and a GIRL. Until then I hadn’t thought of her doing it. I didn’t like not being able to tell everyone what she did. I held her in contempt for stealing and making my mother cry. Still her bravery in challenging the curse of the sugar bowl conjured up a weird form of respect and distrust; kind of like the way I feel about some politicians today.

We never had a cookie jar (or sugar bowl) at our house again. I often wondered what form Missy’s sugar bowl curse would take and for a long time I made sure the doors were always locked when no one was home. CP

 “You can only be young once. But you can always  be immature.”  –Dave Barry

The Last Five Miles

We were telling war stories the other day and someone mentioned the twenty-five mile march. It was generally agreed that the first twenty miles was a piece of cake when compared to the last five miles. Usually the trek begins early in the morning when you are rested, the temperature is brisk, and the air is fresh and invigorating. Along with the favorable physical elements at the start, participants are agreeable and an atmosphere of good humor prevails. All these slowly pass with the first twenty miles making the last five miles dreadfully difficult drudgery.

Most of the projects we launch whether they are in business or our personal lives are like the twenty-five mile march. We begin with optimism and enthusiasm. Participants are agreeable; there is a feeling of team spirit and a sense of being up to the challenge. But, too often we stop and make camp after the first twenty miles postponing, sometimes permanently, “The Last Five Miles.”

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”~ Albert Einstein

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