Roaring the End of the Summer

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In the last weeks since the last post so much has happened, some seemingly trivial which has caused questions to arise that have no real meaning in the “big picture,” and some that have caused a great roar to be expelled from my throat. So many questions, so many frustrations, disappointments and angers.

So, I’ll start with the trivial and amusing: question number one: who takes pictures of people taking selfies? I see so many photos of people holding their phones in the position of taking photos of themselves. Do we really need to feed this self obsession with, “Smile, let ME take a picture of you TOO!”

2. How does a word spelled R-E-A-L (obviously pronounced ree-uhl) T-O-R become “ree-luh-tor out of the mouths of so many smart people? Rather like noo-lee-uhr VS nook-yoo-lar, or FAFSA becoming FAS-FA. It doesns’t make sense that folks who can read mispronounce so many words whose spellings so simply indicate how they should be pronounced.

3. I’ve seen a sweet commercial about a grandson searching antique jewelry stores (no, not joo-luree) and finally finding what he is looking for and presenting the lovely ring to his grandmother, who is astounded and thrilled with the gift, exclaiming, “I can’t believe you found it.” Sweet moment, causing emotion to raise up toward a liquid expression from my eyes. But what comes next confounds me…it is a commercial about investing. WHAT!!!

In observing the walking appearances of elderly people. I always said that I didn’t want to be an elderly person who rocked from side-to-side as I walked. I didn’t realize that I rocked horribly from side to side until I got a new knee and began to walk upright, or at least more than I had for many years as my left knee deteriorated. But when my brother took some photos of my husband me walking with our grandson, I noticed that I did indeed still rock from side to side. But now in observing many people walk, it seems that humans just do rock. I was reminded of a program about evolutionary biology that I saw on PBS earlier this year, “Your Inner Monkey,” starring paleontologist Neil Shubin. He explained that when hominids left the trees we did so with the same knees and spine that we lived with in the trees, which explains why we have so many problems with our knees and backs. These problems won’t leave us by means of evolution because they don’t prevent us from passing on those genes to the next generation, who will continue to have knee and back problems, and, I suppose will continue to rock side to side as we walk upright like the hominid descendants of tree-dwelling primates.

Speaking of evolution, human intelligence has kind of ruined it by learning how to keep the sick alive. I’m not going to speak to whether this is a good or bad thing because I know that nearly every parent loves their child, and wants to keep him/her alive no matter what health defects the baby might have. We also want to keep our parents alive as long as possible-it’s our nature to love and want to keep those we love with us. All this to say that I was encouraged this week with a story about many parents who are suddenly refusing to have their children vaccinated. Now, just biologically some of us have the immune systems to fight certain diseases, and human science has given us the ability to trigger an immune response by vaccinating with weakened pathogens. This has become another reason the human population has grown so unwieldy; historically many people would die from the pathogens we can now vaccinate against. But there is some bad science that many people bought suggesting that certain ingredients in vaccines cause autism in children. This has been repeatedly disproven, but the belief persists. And it occurred to me watching a news story about this that we may now be able to thin the herd a little. When these unvaccinated people become ill from the pathogens they are not able to fight, some will live and some will not. So maybe we should thank those parents?

Lastly, I think a lot about Christians and their unwillingness to live by the rules they expect other people to live by, and their insistence that they don’t have to because they are “forgiven when they accept Jesus into their hearts for all sins, past present and future.” So here is my question, if the fundamentalists were to get laws passed against so many things…homosexuality, reproductive choice, etc., what would they do about following those laws? They don’t believe they have to follow the rules of the book they claim to love and live by, what if theses things became the ‘law of the land?’ Just some food for thought. I have to hope that never happens because the terror group ISIS has shown us once again what happens when a little group wants to the world to live according to their idiosyncratic interpretation of its religion. The same thing that happened in Spain with the inquisition. It never, ever works out well when any religion is in charge of the government. Never.