We recently bought a new-er car. It is a Jeep Renegade and it is very orange. Bright orange. It’s the same color Garry’s 1969 Dodge Challenger ragtop was. He loved that car and kept it for 20 years when it stopped being even minimally reliable.
So, in a way, this is a return to the days of yore. Back to The Orange Car.
I had just come back from a couple of weeks in Israel. It was work, not vacation. I was in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, so there was no sense that this was a vacation. I also made the dreadful mistake of drinking local water without worrying about it because, after all, I had lived there a decade without a problem. Times changed. So did my gut. What I did in the past didn’t stop me from getting one of those ugly waterborne diseases.
Which is why I was at home on 9/11. I was in no shape to go anywhere where I couldn’t get to a bathroom in less than a nanosecond.
The phone rang. My son was working at one of the “backbone” services that handled the Internet.
“Turn on the TV,” he said.
“What channel?” I asked.
“Any channel,” he replied.
Any channel? That sounded serious. I turned it on in time to watch the first tower fall and was still standing there with my mouth open, in total shock when the second tower fell.
Everything changed after that. We were not invulnerable. Not that we had ever been invulnerable. Pearl Harbor should have reminded us of that, but that was before I was born. And it was on “some other island.” It wasn’t “home.”
Not that I currently live in New York, but I was born and raised there, as was Garry. New York wasn’t “just a place.” It was home and even though we lived in Massachusetts, New York was where we began, where we became ourselves.
Everything changed and we thought, for a while, it was better. But it wasn’t. I wonder if it will ever change back again to the place I remember. I know growing up, the world was very far from perfect, but it was home.
Now, I don’t know what this place is. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.
I was out of lunch meat, so Garry went to the deli. It was Monday and they were out of everything except (sigh) turkey breast. Not my favorite, but I’m betting today is a delivery day.
Garry asked the newest lady at the counter for 3/4 of a pound of turkey breast.
Like a deer caught in headlights, she was lost. She could probably “do” a pound — or half a pound. But what was 3/4? She obviously didn’t recognize it as 75% of a pound, or even that it’s likely the line between the half pound and full pound markers.
Schools don’t teach math in any way that might be useful to those they have taught. They have gotten into systems so complicated that no one under 40 can do any math in their head. They need a calculator. Even to subtract one number from another. Oh, and they can’t count on their fingers.
Eventually, the boss stopped what he was doing and came over to rescue her.
Garry came home. He commented that there’s a scale and surely the young women (in her 20s) could tell that there was a line between half a pound and one pound and that would be the three-quarter, right?
Wrong. She doesn’t know that 3/4 (of one) = 75% (of one). Have you ever tried to explain to a clerk how to turn 99-cents into a dollar?
“Look, I’ll give you a penny and you can give me a dollar.”
“It says 99-cents.”
“So that means that if I give you a penny, you can give me a dollar.”
“It says 99-cents.”
This is because she doesn’t understand that 100 cents (pennies) equal one dollar. We are worried that our “below age 40” youngsters aren’t going to vote. I’m beginning to worry that they can’t think. Apparently, thinking is no longer taught in any school. So if you don’t get a head start at home with the whole “thinking” thing? You’re doomed.
Vote? If they don’t know that 99-cents plus a penny equal a dollar, how can we expect them to vote? Or have a grip on the issues? Or even know what kind of government we have or want?
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