Can you count or find your way home?

Last week I made an observation on how young people today cannot make change at the cash register. The machine tells them how much one and one is, and what the machine says is what they do.

My son read the column and said, “You know Dad, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” He is a middle-school teacher and is around young people all day. “They don’t know their own phone numbers.”

The young people of today have been brought up with cell phones that remember not only all their important phone numbers but tell them who has called, who is calling and who they must call. They don’t know how to read a map and have a problem figuring out what is south, east, west and north. The GPS does all of that for them. The phones of today keep the kids in constant contact with their friends, families and emails.

You know, I remember when I was a youngster and had an early morning paper route. On the route I got to know the policeman who walked the streets I delivered papers on. I asked him why he wasn’t driving a police car.

He said, “Don’t want to, then they know where you are all the time; all they have to do is call the car radio.”

With today’s phone all we have to do is Google the phone and we know where it and the holder are. Miss the old days yet? Sounds kind of brave new worldly, doesn’t it?

If you want to be counted, you have to first learn to count

It may be because of the use of computers and calculators or something I am not aware of, but I get a sense our young people really don’t know ’rithmatic — how to count!

My grandfather came to this country when he was in his twenties. He fathered seven children; they would update his green card every year. He was never really comfortable speaking the English language and signed any legal documents with an X because he didn’t know how to write in any language. But my aunts and uncles would laugh that Pop could do numbers with the likes of Yale graduates and not only hold his own, but beat then in adding up the columns. He was never shortchanged.

I recently noticed that the young people making change at local eateries are thrown for a math loop when you give them money that is not in sync with their cash register.

For example, the bill is $10.10 — 10 dollars and 10 cents. I have a twenty.

They ring in the twenty on their register and are told what the change should be. I don’t want a lot of pocket change, so I give them a twenty-dollar bill and a dime — 10 cents. I want a ten-dollar bill back. They crash and lock up in place.

I have gotten back anything from $10 to a quarter to $9.90. They have no understanding of numbers or how they work on the simplest levels.

It is really amazing. It happens time in and time out. It makes no difference what the young person behind the counter looks like, they all don’t know numbers, just simple adding and subtracting. With all the charter schools and money being spent on education, arithmetic is a stumbling block for our young people…

Anyone want to see what happens if we take away spell check? Fundamentals, back to fundamentals.

A point to ponder.

Fun of summer is coming to a close

You know you’re on a fast horse when you look up and see we are already in August, the eighth month of the year, the heart of summer, and you realize you are two-thirds into the year of 2015. More taxes, more grandchildren, more incidental drama and some real quick life jolts as well. Time keeps moving. The long lazy days of summer we used to enjoy as kids are no longer in our reach.

There’s just too many requirements from our society that we be compliant with the rules and regulation of our daily living. Think about it. We have to get a sticker for our cars’ emissions tests; we have to get the kids vaccinated and prove we did before they can go back to school; property taxes have to be paid or you have a problem. Can you believe the cost of owning a house, and I’m talking with no mortgage?

These requirements make time move at a very fast pace, and every place you turn, if you are not compliant you are punished, you are fined. If you are late, you must pay the phone bill on time or lose it, you must pay the credit cards on time or lose them you are charged a penalty for sure, you must pay the electric bill or they will shut it off, like right now — same with the gas bill. By the way it’s bad to have too much competition with the utilities. Better to have a monopoly so they can charge more and shut you off more quickly.

And you really need all this stuff. Oh, and how about student loans — those will keep you awake at night. The lazy days of summer are just another run of compliance days. I miss summer; I really, really miss it.

A point to ponder.

Wondering if there is any shame left in America…

Do you think Margret Sanger would be proud of what has been done in her name, or would she be shamed?

Sanger was one of the most important move-shakers in the women’s movement and one of the major forces in pointing out to the world the true social bondage women were subjected to in this country and the entire world.

She set up centers for women in the poorest of the poor working neighborhoods in America; she pushed for birth control and the rights of women to decide on giving birth. It was their bodies, so they should have the choice in the matter; that was her belief and conviction, and she went to jail when there were very few women’s jails. She went to jail and fought for the poor women of America.

In truth, she fought for all the women of the world. It was not unusual for women to have five or six children in her time. and they often lost one or two in the process; the mortality rate for women giving birth in her time was staggering. She fought to change women’s station in this country and fought for them to have the right to decide their right to give birth, to decide their right to life, to decide their right not to be compelled by society or a partner to do something that might kill them.

Was her fight for the rights of women a fight for the loss of dignity and sanctity of life? Did she intend for doctors to be rewarded for getting the good parts of a terminated pregnancy to sell as a commodity product to medical labs and the cosmetic industry? The Roe v. Wade decision was made 1973 with the Supreme Court’s justices acknowledging women’s rights to terminate a pregnancy with their doctors’ agreement for the safety and health of the mother.