Tuesday, May 6, 2014
What Really Matters
Truthfully it's inconvenient as Hell to be as contemptuous as I usual am about the general workings of American society. Making matter progressively worse, I had this bad habit of verbally expressing my opinion on the inherent insanity of many segments of our banal society. For all my troubles at best I would get a weak smile with the people around me clearly thinking I must have been dropped on the head as a baby or that I'm actually an alien from another star system. Such is the life of a twenty-first century, male version of Cassandra dressed in raggedy cargo shorts, surfer t-shirt, and hippie sandals.
One of the reasons I so excessively dived in the world of blogging was because it offered an outlet for my frustrations after seeing so much of the daily stupidity and self-destructive behavior that is typical in this country these days. Although, as the years have so quickly flown by, it became apparent to even the dimwitted likes of me that all my rants were largely a waste of time. It's almost like some circuit breaker has tripped in my head allowing me to skip the indignation and just enjoy watching the lemmings continue their march towards the cliff and cold ocean below. It's a morbid curiosity I admit, but then I have always had a certain fascination with quietly playing a latter day Edward Gibbon, but unlike the famous historian, I'm actually on the scene as the tragic events unfold.
However, every now and then a circumstance will present itself that raises my tired hackles forcing me to expound, such was the case a very early one morning last week.
As many already know, especially since I have this irritating habit of mentioning it regularly, I work the night shift at my job. While it is a serious pain at times as they say, things could be much worse. But because of my vampire-like hours around I will around five o'clock in the morning check my email. It is almost a near certainty that nothing of any significance will be in my inbox at that time. With the shift winding down, I mainly do it to remind myself of whatever errand or chore my wife has assigned me for that morning. Another reason has to do with the normally inane conversations my coworkers are engaged in at that time of the day. I can only take so much down home, country commonsense group think before I want to run off to the bathroom to puke.
That morning it was particularly bad, the conversation had drifted onto the salaries of various professional athletes. Grown men, always a troubled and skewed source of information, were debating which athlete was actually worth the tens of millions they were reaping for their ability to chase some type of ball. The details are truly unimportant since each individual was showing a clear bias towards their favorite team. What I mean by this is that you can have a legitimate scientific study involving statistical performance in an athlete’s respective sport but, and you would have to know these people, that would have been well above their heads.
As the great debate raged in the room behind me it was then that I noticed on the computer screen a new email from one of my daughter's teachers sent around 3:30am. The email was a list of my daughter's recent grades and a few concerns the teacher had with her classroom performance. It didn't take the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes or Batman to realize that this dedicated teacher had spent the better part of the night grading her students papers then writing a short note to their parents.
Maybe it's just me but I find it outrageous and truly insane to pay someone millions of dollars to chase some damn ball. Yeah, the men who play professional sports do have an actual talent and have worked extremely hard to get hone their skills to the point they can play in the proverbial big leagues. The problem I can't get my tiny mind to accept is that while these athletes are hugely talented the situation that is as equally huge is their total irrelevance to how the world really works. For all the glory and rewards these guys receive from the unwashed masses in this current stunted and corrupted age, one-hundred years from now the vast majority of them will only be some footnote in a half-forgotten record book.
All the while underpaid and under appreciated teachers sit at desks late into the night grading papers, making lesson plans, and then finds the energy to go into work that morning and try to make something of our kids. I recently stumbled across a TED talk where the question was raised what facet of our current society will our great-grandchildren look back at us in shame. I hope our descendants will look back in horror at our current strange and primitive tribal fascination with ultra high-paid professional sports while people who actually matter gave everything they had to make a better world.