1. A newspaper advice column told the story of a woman complaining that her children will not ALLOW her to put Grandma in a nursing home, even though the old woman suffers from advanced dementia and needs 24-hour-a-day nursing care. And how old are these children? She doesn’t say, but she does say that Grandma came to live with the family when the children were just babies, so they have never known life without her in the home. And how long ago was that? Seven years ago, she says. So the children are . . . what? Eight or nine, at the most. What’s worse, the columnist seems to side with the children and suggests that the parents promise to take the children to visit Grandma every few days. Whatever happened to a family structure in which parents made the rules and children obeyed them?
2. A request for old people who can still read cursive to volunteer to transcribe historical documents for the sake of people who can only read printing. I asked why it wouldn’t be better to teach everyone to read cursive and got no agreement. Yes, I’m old. And I can still remember my graduate school days when I was reading 12-century hand lettering that pre-dated cursive. It was difficult to do, but If I wanted to know what the document said, I had to learn to read it. Is this shrinkage of intellectual curiosity the measure of what computers have done to the human brain?
3. Maybe so, because my next discovery this morning was a posting from a PhD-holding woman whom I have always respected. She had just played one of those Facebook games that promises to analyze your personality if you will just give the application the right to use all your personal information as well as all of your friends’ information. You know the games—the ones like Cambridge Analytica all over the news right now because they have leaked that information to anyone willing to pay for it. Has this woman missed every news source for the last month?
4. Several other Facebook posts this morning announced that the posters were no longer going to use Facebook for anything important. However, they claimed to still need comments about the weather, cat cartoons, personal comments on their current maladies, birthday wishes, and tasty recipes. Not believing everything Facebook says is a first step in reclaiming one’s privacy (or sanity), I suppose. But what makes people assume that weather reports, cat pictures, and recipes are among the necessities of their lives?
5. Yesterday, I went out to my mailbox and encountered a gentleman walking his dog. That happens most every day around here, but this little yappy creature was particularly annoying and on a very long leash. He soon had my feet tangled. I held onto the mailbox post for balance and asked the gentleman to rein in his dog so that I could walk away. I think I smiled—maybe even chuckled a bit as Yappy danced around me on two paws. But his owner reacted with eye-narrowed anger, telling me that if I couldn’t walk without tripping, I shouldn’t be allowed out of my house. Whatever happened to civility?
6. A friend sent me some “Old Age” jokes this morning, and I chose my favorite: it said something like: There was a time when my brain would step in and warn me that it might not be a good idea to say what I was thinking. But now, it says “What the hell? Let’s see what happens!” That’s definitely my mood today.”
(Note for a Monday morning: Sun is out. Flowers did not freeze. Had raspberries for breakfast. All is well again.)