I saw a guy on TV the other night, ranting and raving about how the media refers to the people who alerted the authorities about the Times Square bomber as “heroes”. He went on to say that they were concerned citizens, doing exactly what every good American citizen should do when confronted with suspicions about dangerous and illegal activities going down, but not heroes in the true sense of the word. Even the mounted officer was referred to as a hero, doing the job he’s been paid to do. A hero, by definition, is a person who is admired or idolized for courage, outstanding achievements or accomplishments. Okay, we thank them for their quick action, but where’s the courage? A soldier who rushes an enemy position in the heat of battle, while risking his life to protect his buddies, can be considered a hero. A woman who physically helps another woman fend off an attacker, rather than just standing by and shouting at the perpetrator, is in my estimation a hero. A policeman or fireman who goes the extra mile and jeopardizes his own well being beyond the call to rescue someone from imminent danger, now that’s a hero.
That’s what I’m talking about when it comes to ranting and raving. Are we just sheep, for crying out loud? Do we just accept anything because we read about it in the newspaper? Here it is, one of the worst economic downturns in United States history and some of what we read concerns public officials who vote hefty raises for themselves. Sometimes, as soon as they take office and without doing one day of work on their new job. Are they kidding? They knew the salary when they took the job, but they didn’t say one word about it. They knew what they were about to do. We, the public, should have booted them right out the door as soon as we saw what they were up to. But did we? Someday.
Right now, unemployment in this country is near 10% and these disgusting manipulators on the public payroll discount the sensibilities of the taxpaying public and go ahead and vote themselves a raise. How dare they? I thought that being a public servant was an opportunity to have a secure job with a pension, not to make more than the people who pay you, and not to pile up compensation for unused sick days and vacation days in order to boost your pension payout to amounts befitting a monarch of a small kingdom. But these arrogant and greedy individuals think nothing of trying to acquire additional compensation for jobs they’re already overpaid to do. Are we going to do anything about it? Eventually.
I think everyone will agree that Bernie Madoff got exactly what he deserved, almost. I’m sure we can all think of additional punishments we think they should have piled on to make his life a living hell. What about the guy who ripped off a Long Island North Shore school district for millions of dollars, was able to collect his pension of over $174,000 while in prison, continues to collect his pension and served just under four years behind bars out of a measly 4-12 year sentence. This arrogant criminal is just one of the many involved in that recent scandal. There are plenty more if you do the research on the Roslyn School district.
How about the law that tells every driver to signal when making a lane change? I always try to obey the law, but sometimes, in the heat of pressure from traffic conditions, I need to make a lane change to get to an exit and refuse to signal. Signaling a lane change, especially when the need to change lanes involves making or missing an exit, is like signaling a guarantee that you’ll be unsuccessful. Because once that first blink occurs, it alerts the car to your rear oblique that an interloper is about to fill the gap in front of them, and they speed up to block you from making your move. If you want to test this theory when you’re not in a hurry, signal to change lanes when you see a sufficient space to do so, and watch that space close up in a matter of seconds. Works every time.
To people over sixty: Did you ever notice that young people react to what you’re saying the way you reacted to those boring stories told to you by boring old people when you were a kid?
To people over forty: Did you ever realize how much easier and uncomplicated your life would be if you just listened to an older person about buying a new car, for instance?
To people around twenty: Do you ever read a newspaper or watch a newscast?
To people with the latest cell phone technology: Enough already. Put them away and talk to the people around you. No, I don’t want to see your photos, your special apps or stuff on the internet. I have a cell phone, a camera, and a computer of my own. Do you want to sit and watch me take pictures, answer my calls and do my work?
Every one of us has at least one pet peeve, and some of us have more than others. I’m the latter. Here we go again. I pull into a public parking lot behind Town Hall in Oyster Bay to find a parking space so I can go in to pay my taxes. Am I in some dream state? All the good spots are reserved; in fact, ALL the spots in one lot are reserved. Does anyone in government care about giving the public even an iota of respect at any level? I know that town employees need parking, but hey, did anyone ever think that maybe the public did also?
Did you ever catch yourself saying thank you to the cashier when he/she gives you your change, but get no response?
Did you ever hold the door open for someone who doesn’t even touch the door, but walks silently through as if you were hired by the building?
Hey you insensitive clod, you see me following slowly behind you in my car as you walk to yours. You know the lot is crowded and I need your space. Do you mind acknowledging me and letting me know if we’re getting close? To make matters even worse, they then cut across parked cars to get to theirs in another lane. Worse still. Once inside their vehicle, they do a million things before pulling out.
If you think I’m being petty, you’re not owning up to feeling the same frustrations every day. Like pulling into a gas station to get that low price for gas advertised in huge numbers, only to discover these words on the pump in very small print: Cash only. Do people still pay cash for gas? Who carries that much around?
This column hasn’t even touched the surface. Airport direction signs, misleading ad disclaimers, supermarket pricing, respect for older drivers, honesty; the list is endless.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very happy person, but there’s something important about ranting and raving. It serves a valuable purpose. If it weren’t for this activity in our lives we wouldn’t have laws governing cell phones for calling and texting while driving, Leandra’s law, and things of that nature. In order to right wrongs, we have to rely on the rantings and ravings of people like me to bring out the inequities of life and I’m very happy I could be of service.