Dumbing of America – Drink me

Is it only me?  Or is our great nation, the greatest nation on Earth, getting dumber?

What do I mean, this time?

We like to drink our water in a variety of ways.  For thousands of years we were happy with exactly that, plain water.  Then we learned about flavoring the water with leaves, berries, and fruit.  Eventually we added sugar, gas, and started the fizzy-pop-soda industry.

In the few decades that I’ve been alive, I’ve seen the rise of a whole new industry, water.

I never thought it possible, After all, it took mankind thousands of years to figure out how to get a fresh water supply to all of us through a marvelous system of pipes, filters, and pumps.  Now, here we are at the pinnacle of progress, and what do we do?  We turn our noses up at “free” water coming from our taps, and prefer to spend billions on the same water that comes in individual containers.

So, here I am watching a great Korean drama, and what do I see?  An advertisement for drinking water.  Not just any water.  This is water that you flavor, YOURSELF!  Yes, not only are we buying individual bottles of water, but we are also now buying the flavors separately so that you can add them yourself!  It’s almost as if we have stepped back in time.  We are going out to gather our own water.  And then we go out to gather our berries to add for flavor.

What else is wrong with this picture?  You are not only paying for water that you can get from the tap, but you also have to buy the flavoring.  You could have bought some flavored drink earlier, but now you do it yourself.  There’s a good chance that what you are paying for the combined water and flavor is MORE THAN what you would have paid for the flavored drink in the first place.

So, if you know someone who’s paying twice for something they could have only bought once, help them out.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste, no matter what the taste.

Dumbing of America – Energize me

Is it only me?  Or is our great nation, the greatest nation on Earth, getting dumber?

Now what’s bugging me?, you ask.

Energy drinks.  Power assists.  Getting a legal buzz on.

Years ago, when I was but a lad, people drank coffee.  It had a little caffeine.

Since then, we’ve discovered vitamins, enzymes, free-radicals, and all sorts of small things that sound interesting and wonderful.  Humanity is only just beginning to understand all the implications of these compounds, and how they interact to help our bodies function.  Some we think we know better than others, but the science is only beginning.

That doesn’t stop the old snake-oil salesman from putting it into his concoction and telling you that it’s good for you.  And that’s what’s happening.  It doesn’t matter whose drink your putting into your system.  They will tell you it makes you peppy, happy, and better than you were before.  In reality, all it has done is give you a small dose of dirty water, and taken a few dollars out of your pocket.

A few dollars.  Does it seem like a lot to you?  Or nothing at all?  Put it into perspective.  These companies are billion dollar affairs, that spend hundreds of millions on advertising alone.  The actual cost of the product they sell is pennies.  And you pay dollars.

Per unit, you pay more for the drink of “energy” than you do your alcohol, your water, your gasoline!  You spend more for that drug, per unit of time, than anything else in your life.

We have good people working at our company, and many of them in production don’t make a lot of money.  It doesn’t stop them from buying “energy” drinks.  We always get a kick when they ask for a raise, and we gently suggest that a change in lifestyle could amount in a bigger effective raise than anything we could give them.

It wasn’t always like this.  Workers actually saved their money.  They drank water, and brought their own food to work.  Americans in general didn’t believe the snake oil salesman.  We even passed laws to make it harder for them to do business, and set up agencies that were supposed to help guard against them?

What happened?  I have some ideas, but that’s for another post.

Thanks for reading.  Now, where can I get some more energy?


Dumbing of America – Get Rich Quick!

Is it only me?  Or is our great nation, the greatest nation on Earth, getting dumber?

Growing up during the 50s and 60s (that’s the 1950s and 1960s for you young’uns) meant that you got to experience the fun advertisements in comic books.  These ads promised you ways to become a handsome hulk at the beach, or grow sea monkeys, or learn morse code.  None of them promised you riches and retirement.  Our society was more interested in honor, integrity, independence.

As the decades have rolled by, getting rich has become more important.  We watch the stock market daily, even though it’s a meaningless number.  We attend seminars on investing our portfolios, even though it’s been proven that none of these methods help.  We invest in dolls and stuffed animals thinking their value will grow to immense levels, someday.  And we allow ourselves to be barraged by ads and people promising us that we can live a remote life of luxury by “working the web.”

Anyone with an account on wordpress knows what I mean.  Most of the people wandering about in the blogosphere are trying to cross sell each other.  They go by various acronyms but they all amount to the same thing; make lots of money by not doing much real work.

How much longer can this go on?

What do you think?


Dumbing of America – Hammers away!

Is it only me?  Or is our great nation, the greatest nation on Earth, getting dumber?

One of the advantages of getting older (and there aren’t too many advantages) is that you get to personally observe great trends in behavior.  These are affects that may take one or two decades to perceive, and then ANOTHER one to two decades to verify.

One of the great trends that my Saturday Breakfast Buddies and I have observed is that our nation is getting dumber.  To us it’s indisputable.  From learning that college freshman don’t know how to use a hammer or screwdriver to observing people drive on the roads without proper skills or courtesy, we see the evidence all around us.  The problem is that for now, it’s only the whining of old men.

As old men we’ve grown up with this knowledge.  We learned how to use tools as pre-teens.  We wanted to.  We admired carpenters, electricians, mechanics.  We dreamed of driving as young teens, and took to the roads as soon as we could; much to the dread of surrounding adults.  And we mastered all those skills as well as we could, taking pride in that knowledge.

Today we can see how much pride children take in acquiring these types of skills, all important life-sustaining skills.  Almost none.  The parents don’t demand it and don’t teach it.  They don’t know themselves.  And there’s no peer pressure to learn, either.

As adults, they are coddled even more.  Need to fix a door at home?  Call a carpenter.  Better yet, text them.  Stuck drain?  Email a carpenter.  The list goes on, and I’m going to share it with you over the coming weeks.

What do you think?