Sunday, October 23, 2011

Generation Gap, Overcoming

One of the things I miss since Ann died is having someone who understands both the issues and the jokes which were/are critical to my own generation. An uncle, 9 years older than me did 3 tours in Vietnam. In a way, he gave most of his life to and for that war, even though he came home. He died at 62, partly from the effects of Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals dropped from the air into the jungle. My uncle parachuted into those same jungles, behind "enemy lines." Both Ann and I knew other veterans of that war who came back wounded, physically and emotionally. Younger people and those who have chosen to forget seem so surprised at the horrific wounds our soldiers are bringing home with them. They also seem suprised at the atrocities commited by some of our soldiers. But that is the nature of War, All War, and that is the reason it should Only be Considered as a last Resort! Ann and I were Deeply saddened by the decision of President Bush to invade Iraq and stay for oil, as we saw it, Because we hadn't fortotten Vietnam. And now members of Congress are upset because the Iraqis are Ungrateful! and selling their oil to China and Russia. Once Sadam Hussein was gone, if the war had Not been fought for oil, we could have left. We might have left some infrastructure intact that way.

More importantly, once we discovered NO weapons of mass destruction, we could have left. But Oil was supposed to pay us back for the deaths, wounds, and homelesness of our soldiers who came home. Now it Won't!

Evidently President Clinton had contengency plans for invading Iraq, so it sounds like it was a "big business/government" plan for a long time.

The book "Slaughter House Five" was banned in the Republic, Mo. school system, along with a couple of others I haven't read. Now it is only Partially banned, as a reader has to get Written Permission from parents to check it out! Both Ann and I read that book as teenagers.

C. S. Lewis once wrote (I think it might have been in "The Screwtape Letters") that the ideal condition for messing up humans and leading them into destruction was to teach them to lop their Own heads off, in order to "fit in."

Many provisions of the Patriot Act make good sense. But I've Never liked the idea of a librarian being forced to keep tabs on what I read. Well the people of Republic, Mo. seem to be lopping off their children's heads, in order to Help them "fit in" better.

Ann and I loved reading books which taught us something new, about a period in history, another culture, or an unexplored set of facts.

Our jokes were largely based on late 1960's and 1970's music. We had a sort of "name that Tune" thing where something one of us said or something heard on the news would provoke the beginning of a relevant song from the other. And, as I've already mentioned, we played silly word games, making up non-existent words to describe something.

I found among my possessions an old book of fairy tales given to my father for me by a disabled man named Bud, from Ozark, Mo. I asked Ann to read it to me as I'm not too proud to read a good kids book And I was curious. What a shock! The book was Filled with three sylable words which I don't remember having Any trouble understanding as a child! Words like those would Lose most children now!

Ann and I always joked about what rock songs we wanted played at our funerals, although neither of us could afford more than cremation policies. Would it be "Jesus is just all right with me?" "Goin' up to the spirit in the sky" "the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'", "stairway to heaven" or what?
We used to laugh imagining the shock of older relatives and the confusion of younger friends.

But there Are advantages in having younger friends. First, they challenge my brain, forcing me to understand cell phone talk (LOLRF) (How many times is that Really true?) and to enjoy things like, "Damn You Autocorrect." I have to learn new words and also I have to learn How younger people learn. Dora the Explorer teaches Spanish and multi-culturalism which Ann and I read books to learn. From the perspective of a blind person, things are difficult, as so much more material is available to sighted people now, both instantly and Visually. A picture is Much faster than a verbal description, but it does me no good at all. Yet people both take and have access to pictures on their cell phons.

I am Greatly aided by younger people in computer use! They may not know keyboard commands, but can do things in Seconds with the rodent, (mouse) which would take me hours or days. Part of this is their better computer literacy compared to me, and part of it is the unfriendliness of many websites to screen readers.

Having younger friends also makes me aware that we are truly in different cultures, and I get a chance to learn about theirs. For instance, one of the things which many younger people find funny is the repeating of stupid or annoying actions over and over. I don't understand why this is funny, but I know it is. To me, most of the "Saturday Night Live" of more recent years is less funny than the beginning few years of that show. I don't know why today's version is funny, but I understand that some younger people find it so. It Is like entering another culture and I must try to understand and keep up. Good for the brain, but not easy.

Often Ann or I would quote Gilda Radner from the old Saturday Night Live, (Emily LaTella, or Roseann Roseanna Danna) and younger people seemed to think we were laughing at some inner-planetary joke. But when the origin of "Never Mind" uttered in that Particular voice, was explained, (if someone sat still long enough) the younger people also found skits about "Presidential erections" and "Endangered Feces" funny. If we let ourselves, we can learn a lot from one another. It's not easy, but it Is important.

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