WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Incivility

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

From my blogging vault, July of 2018.

NOTE: I give credit to CBS for tackling this subject, but the fact is the left is far more unhinged and off its rocker.

On several occasions I’ve linked to a 1996 US News & World Report article about this very topic.

More than 24 years later it still rings true.

Read the entire article here.

That leads us to September 12, 2022, and columnist Tom Purcell.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Is recycling a waste?

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

Back on 1/01/2013 the city of Franklin where I live changed recyclable containers from 18 gallon tubs (picnic basket-sized containers) to 96 gallon (or 48 gallon upon request) carts that look like this.

I ripped the idea at the time. But I was wrong and adjusted to the change quickly. There remains the question of how effective recycling really is and if municipalities like mine should just trash the whole practice.

From blogs I posted in 2019:

Is recycling popular in Wisconsin?

That bastion of outstanding journalism, the Shepherd Express, without crediting sources reported that in Wisconsin, recycling supports 97,000 jobs and contributes to the $5.4 billion-dollar environmental industry, and 94% of households in the state support recycling and recycle regularly.

Then you have wisconsinenvironment.org that reports:

Recycling rates in major cities throughout Wisconsin reveal one of the more wasteful states in the nation. Based on the most recent available data, only Madison and Waukesha have managed to eclipse the national average of 34.7 percent (see table below).5Due to a lack of reporting in certain jurisdictions, the state’s overall recycling rate is unclear. However, given low rates in major cities, evidence from other states suggests that Wisconsin’s statewide rate is even lower than the national average.

I’m guessing that here in Franklin recycling is immensely popular. Popular in that it doesn’t bring giddy joy and enthusiasm, but that the practice is one that’s embraced, with residents willing to comply for what they perceive to be a greater good.

And yet recycling is increasingly being frowned upon, not by the folks that drag their carts to the end of their driveways, but by the elected officials in charge. Why? The cost.

The NY Times reports more cities have decided to get rid of recycling, again, because of the cost.

Johns Disposal in action.

Founded in 1969 Johns Disposal services cities, towns and villages in Dane, Milwaukee, Jefferson, Kenosha, Racine, Rock, Walworth, and Waukesha counties. And that includes Franklin.

China has decided to ban all recycling imports, and that change is being felt here in Wisconsin.

“Our processing costs are not nearly what they need to be to cover costs,” said Dan Jongetjes, general manager of Johns Disposal. “Some of our communities, like Racine, have been willing to amend (their contracts) to help us, which we’re very grateful for, but that’s a fine line to walk.”

The the Franklin Common Council unanimously approved details on a new contract for 2020 with Johns Disposal Services to provide weekly recycling and automated garbage services.

Both recycling AND trash will be collected with automated trucks. ONLY carts will be collected (no more plastic bags, stuff on the side, thin cans, etc.)

Recycling will be collected WEEKLY.

Residents will be able to choose the size of carts/cans they want.

Franklin has decided to recycle more often, bucking the national trend. How so?

Is this the end of recycling?

Finally, to the major issue at hand.

Is recycling a waste?

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Labor Day

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.

This is also the time of the year when we are lectured to bow in gratitude for our day off.

Last August the US Dept. of Labor wrote:

“So if you have Labor Day off, thank your local union leaders for bringing it to you.”

I am not sorry for my annual intentional refusal to offer thanks to any union leader.

Instead I concur with the following perspective that I shared with readers in 2009. Jerry Agar of the Illinois Policy Institute compared Labor Day to Christmas for atheists.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Manhood

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

I read a lot. And I share what I read a lot. When it comes to posting I select only topics I find to be of great interest.

Let’s go back to a column I liked back in June of 2016 written by the edgy and provocative Kurt Schlichter. Millennial Monks, To Get Girls You Need To Get Your Manhood On. Here’s an excerpt:

The main problem with Millennial men is fear – fear of women. Now, that fear is understandable in the sense that it has been actively instilled in them since an early age.

And once you finally get out of college and into society, women are still a mystery and an object of terror – not a surprise since all of your interactions with them have resulted in you being informed by some fugly social justice warrior that you are terrible for having a penis. So let’s review some basic ideas that might help you recover and actually become a man.

Read the entire column here.

Fast forward to today and a more recent column by a new favorite writer of mine, Jeff Minick. He has four children and a growing platoon of grandchildren and for 20 years taught history, literature, and Latin to seminars of homeschooling students in Asheville, N.C. Today, he lives and writes in Front Royal, Va.

Manhood Matters: Reviving the Manly Virtues

We should ask ourselves, ‘What does it mean to be a man?’

BY Jeff Minick, July 26, 2022

During the Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked the nominee whether she could define the word “woman.” Jackson replied in the negative, adding, “I am not a biologist.”

Given the postmodernist debates and confusion over gender and sex in our culture, we can safely guess Blackburn’s question might have left even biologists scratching their heads.

In his recent film “What Is a Woman?” Matt Walsh poses this question and encounters many educated women and men who hesitate or refuse to define a woman, who believe that human beings endowed with a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs can nonetheless claim to be, and are, women.

This inability by some people to define a woman gives rise to certain dilemmas. How, for instance, do we speak of women’s rights or women’s sports if we can’t define a woman in the first place?

Which raises a related question: What is a man?

The Basics

My online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a man as “an adult male human being.” Another part of this biological picture is, of course, chromosomes. Nearly all males have XY chromosomes while nearly all females have the double X.

But now, my trusty Merriam-Webster has clouded the meanings of these basic terms. Added to the definition of female is “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.” The definition of male now includes this addition: “having a gender identity that is the opposite of female.”

In other words, those of the opposite sex claiming to be male or female wipe away chromosomes and any other visible features of their birth gender. The 20-year-old male who identifies as female is, in fact, female.

In light of this muddled state of affairs, maybe we should ask a different question.

Epoch Times Photo

Reframing the Question

Rather than seeking to answer “What is a man?” let’s substitute this inquiry: “What is manhood? What does it mean to be a man?”

Sure, manhood is an old-fashioned term, but it offers a better chance for an answer. Jackson, for example, might have delivered a reply to Blackburn had the latter asked, “What is the meaning of womanhood?”

After all, 50 years of modern feminism have sketched out some broad guidelines for womanhood. Women these days can become whatever their desires and talents allow: a cutthroat tycoon clawing her way up the corporate ladder, a Marine Corps pilot, a banker, a stay-at-home mom devoted to her family. For decades, our culture has rained praise and encouragement on its daughters, constantly reminding them that they can become whatever they wish and decking them out in “Girl Power” T-shirts. We raise adolescent females with intention and with goals, cheering them on to be strong, self-assured, and confident of their womanhood.

As for instilling the virtues of manhood in boys and young men … that’s a different story.

Bad Maps, No Compass

In his essay “The Crisis of Manliness,” Walter Newell writes, “As a culture, we have never been more conflicted about what we mean by manhood.” He addresses problems ranging from absentee fathers and the lack of role models for boys and young men, to the attempts at social engineering, especially in our schools, to eradicate male traits and values, to make young men more like their female classmates. “We should stop trying,” Newell says, “to reengineer the human soul to prevent boys from being boyish, while encouraging all forms of self-expression in girls.”

Near the end of his article, Newell importantly notes that “boys and young men today need re-introducing to [the] tradition of manly civility.”

Newell sounded this warning nearly 25 years ago. Statistics and anecdotal evidence testify that few have heeded his words. Google “young men failing manhood,” and you’ll find boys and, in many cases, males who are considered adults, flailing away, failing themselves and others, in large part because they lack any real idea of what it means to be a man.

It wasn’t always this way.

The Old Codes

In 2008, Brett and Kate McKay founded “The Art of Manliness” website, which frequently features articles by writers from bygone eras, as well as helpful tips for men on nearly every imaginable subject. The site’s popularity attests to the need even by adult men for guidance in their quest to become better men.

In their book “Manvotionals,” the McKays begin the first chapter with this observation: “Mention the word manliness these days and you’ll probably be greeted with snorts and giggles. … Whatever image they have in mind when you mention ‘manliness,’ it isn’t usually positive, and it probably has nothing to do with virtue.”

But as the McKays demonstrate, an ideal of manliness, of what it means to be a man, runs through Western culture from the time of the ancient Greeks down to the middle of the 20th century.

Just a few generations ago, for example, men such as Theodore Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling, and other writers, politicians, and commentators promoted a code of manliness that included virtues such as honor, courage, resolution, and self-reliance. Men who treated women with respect, kept their word, worked hard to provide for their loved ones, and fought the good fight, whatever that might entail, were esteemed by their peers and often revered and emulated by their sons.

Today, we not only sneer at manliness, but have turned its meaning inside out, associating it with aggressiveness, crudity, and misogyny—a relic of patriarchy from a bygone age.

Why Manhood Matters

These assaults on manhood, and now on the meaning of “woman,” are triggered by postmodernist Marxism and its handmaiden, the deconstruction of language. Words and definitions matter, and when they’re altered or destroyed, so are the concepts they embody. Today, for example, institutions like marriage and the family are much diminished in meaning and purpose, in part because manliness has gone missing in action.

If the old ideals of manliness to which so many men once aspired have been knocked from their pedestals and broken to pieces, what, we should ask, has taken their place? Absent the old verities, what does it mean today to be a good man? Our gender-neutral culture retains some of the old standards—respect for others, for example—but the ongoing deletion of male–female attributes and the erasure of virtues and strengths traditionally associated with men and women have left both sexes confused and feeling displaced.

Try this experiment: Ask a male older than the age of 20 what it means to be a man. Ask him what it means to be a father. Ask him, “What is the place of a father in the family?”

Epoch Times Photo

How do we help our sons become good men? Encourage them to play to their strengths. Let them play at their imaginary sword fight, and to read tales of adventure, whether historical or fictional. (Biba Kayewich)

What Can Be Done

I would wager that a good number of young men can’t answer such questions. Why? Because no one has taught them these things.

To help our sons become good men, we should aim, as we do with our daughters, to play to their strengths. We should allow our 8-year-old boy to wave a sword at imaginary dragons and bad guys after he watches a movie about King Arthur. We should encourage our teens to read historical adventures, to explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth, and to commit to memory some lines and words on manhood from the great poets.

Even more, parents, both moms and dads, and mentors like coaches and teachers should be aware that boys and young men are watching and taking lessons from them, and act accordingly.

These and so many other resources and experiences give young males a stout foundation for facing the storms of temptation and disaster. By word and by example, we can teach them the duties and pleasures, and the joys and sorrows of what it means to be a man.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: When certain voters stay home, it’s OK

I am fully aware I’m in the minority. I’m of the belief that fewer people should vote. Reason? They’re just too dumb. Shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a polling place.

Newspaper editorial writers from all across the state (even those really tiny rags that nobody reads) would be in aghast at the very thought. The guy (me) must be totally nuts. Like I give a damn.

So, previously on This Just In….

The update: Click here for video that proves my point.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: America is forgetting how to make stuff

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

Three years ago I posted about the value of dirty work:

From my wife’s Facebook page:

Trade School FB Post

FLASHBACK to February of 2017:

Make America build stuff again

And now fast forward to the present.

Published on August 15, 2022:

America is forgetting how to make stuff

These skills are a matter of national security and social stability

https://3tu97y2w9w35k69i31phftc4-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/welding-730x475.jpg

A worker welds on a safe that is being manufactured at Liberty Safe Company on March 22, 2022 in Payson, Utah (Getty Images)

Articles about the future and “progress” have been popping up a lot lately, with conversations revolving around the inevitable advancements in technology and automation. Where we should head next is the collective theme. To the metaverse? To outer space itself? But instead of setting our sights on colonizing Mars or creating a perfect alternate reality, we should slow our roll, focus on the here and now and consider whether the frenzied “progress” we’re in such a rush to make has demonstrated any benefit to real-life people.

Manufacturing is a good place to start. Let this startling reality sink in, reported in 2017 by the  Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Between 2000 and 2010, US manufacturing experienced a nightmare. The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States, which had been relatively stable at 17 million since 1965, declined by one third in that decade, falling by 5.8 million to below 12 million in 2010 (returning to just 12.3 million in 2016).

This economic disruption has resulted in growing social disruption. While most people in the US assumed the nation was becoming one big middle class, instead a working class facing declining incomes came into clear, angry view during the 2016 US presidential election. The median income of men without a secondary school diploma fell by 20 percent between 1990 and 2013; for men with secondary school diplomas or some college, median income fell by 13 percent. The decline of US manufacturing — traditionally a route to the middle class — hit these groups particularly hard. There is now a major income inequality problem.

I spoke recently to Charlie Paglee, CEO and founder of American Bantam, an old car company Paglee has helped revive. It is his company’s aim to bring manufacturing back to the US, keeping the use of robots in Bantam’s plant to a minimum. Doing so, Paglee says, is critical to America’s independence and survival:

We as a nation must make a conscious decision to bring tooling and manufacturing skills back to the US and grow these industries [here]. We need to create schools to teach people how to operate CNC machines and turn out CNC operators by the thousands. If we don’t do this now, we will lose the expertise in the US and we will literally have to hire Chinese people to come to the US and teach us the skills that we taught China twenty-five years ago.

Corporations and businessmen in the US made a conscious decision to abandon the US and go to China to build things. They invested a lot of money to accomplish this goal. And until Xi Jinping came into power, that seemed like a good thing. China and the US had friendly relations. China was opening up to the world. But now the US dependence on China is an issue of national security. And wages in China are increasing to the point that things can literally be manufactured in the US for less money, if you factor in all the extra costs involved with doing business overseas.

Providing citizens with tangible, meaningful work is vital to a thriving society. Much is made of the benefits of automation and outsourcing jobs, but the costs are ignored. There’s a high-minded and foolhardy theory that posits: in the absence of manual labor, people will be free to pursue “better” work. But how likely is it that we all have the talent or desire to become watercolor painters, novelists, and master tapestry-weavers? It’s a myth that as machines take over people’s jobs or they’re done by people in other countries, Americans will elevate themselves to something “nobler” and more worthwhile.

Millions of American jobs disappeared a decade ago and millions more continue to be outsourced. Some to robots, many to Mexico, China and elsewhere. And guess what? Bill in the Rust Belt didn’t say, “Oh well, I’m laid-off. I guess I’ll pursue my true calling of being a medieval-style harpist.” No. Bill went home and drank beer. And got depressed. And lost his house. And his wife divorced him. And he grew more depressed. And started taking pills. And got hooked. And…you know the rest.

“If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing; so, keep moving forward,” proclaimed Elon Musk (who also named his latest child “X Æ A-Xii” — never forget that). But perpetual motion, if you don’t have a destination, is dangerous. Is “progress” for progress’s sake — to be the first, the fastest, the most automated, etc. — really an improvement for the people who are supposed to profit? Or, as Peter Thiel puts it, are the advancements we’re making in the digital world mere distractions?

Laying off the Bills of the world in favor of cheaper goods from China is not “progress.” Neither is replacing blue-collar workers with robots and foreign laborers. This makes our country weak, dependent and vulnerable. Of course we want to remain competitive in the global market and relevant in the technological world, but we must be smart about it. In replacing people, we forget people were ever involved, that people were affected, and that people are the whole point. To adapt a quotation from The Forsyte Saga, “What are we progressing for?” Evidence shows the “progress” we’ve made in the last ten years has eroded our middle class and escalated mindless materialism and misery, so are we really better off?

Are we beyond useful technology? Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working, as depression, anxiety and loneliness are through the roof, and our economic and social gap keeps widening. People need something to do that gives them purpose and satisfaction. Our nation can’t afford to lose these skills either, and relying on other countries with historically insane leaders, as we’ve seen most recently with Russia, and automated machines that break down and then need parts from foreign countries, as we’ve seen with the supply chain crisis, is a bad idea.

To bring manufacturing roaring back, Paglee says,

We need to incentivize manufacturing in the US with seed capital or low-interest loans paid back with tax income. This is what the Chinese do. It would be incredibly effective to study what the Chinese do from an economic development standpoint and copy what is effective. We also need to re-examine the commerce clause, or just get Congress to pass legislation absolving small businesses from federal regulation to lower the cost of doing business. If we don’t cut the red tape the US will not be a competitive place to manufacture goods. All those federal regulations may be nice, but require a business to be fully insured and let the insurance marketplace take care of regulating industry safety.

Sounds like a 2024 presidential campaign platform to me.

—Teresa Mull is an assistant editor at The Spectator World.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: When certain voters stay home, it’s OK

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

This week my look back is about a stance that puts me in the minority.

If you haven’t heard next Tuesday is primary Election Day in Wisconsin. Over the years I’ve advocated for…OMG…low voter turnout.

Posted on April 9, 2021, with flashbacks to previous blogs:

Just about everybody and his uncle, and that would include newspaper editorial writers, advocates for high, higher, highest voter turnout each and every Election Day. Not me.

I’ve blogged on the subject several times. Here’s one from August of 2016:

On Tuesday turnout in Franklin for the primary election was 25%. The predicted turnout was about 16% but as the chief inspector at my polling place told me Franklin always does better than expected.

Even so most newspaper editorial writers around the state would probably lament Franklin’s 25% turnout as dismal and a troubling social ill.

Even before a vote was cast the Beloit Daily News was expressing disgust.

“We in the news business become frustrated after working hard to keep issues of self-governance in front of people, large numbers of whom demonstrate lack of interest.”

Low voter turnout makes many people disappointed, even angry. As for me, I’m cool with it.

I wrote the following back in March of 2008:

I have blogged several times that I’m more than ok with a low voter turnout on Election Day.

GASPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, the horror!

Yes, I know that such a notion sends newspaper editorial writers into orbit.

Then again, I don’t really care what editorial writers think. They’re notoriously wrong, most of the time.

If you haven’t read a single newspaper article about a certain election, you should stay home.

If you don’t know who the candidates are, you should stay home.

If you don’t know where the candidates stand on the issues, you should stay home.

If you’re basing your vote on the 30-second ad you saw the night before the election, you should stay home.

If you’re voting for a candidate because your spouse is, you should stay home.

If you’re voting for an incumbent because the incumbent has experience, you should stay home.

If you’re voting for the challenger because you feel it’s time for a change, you should stay home.

If after a gazillion months of campaigning, zillions of ads, trillions of news stories, and billions of speeches you wake up on Election Day and are undecided, please, please, please stay home.

I have nothing against a high voter turnout if somehow we could get more voters to the polls who have studied the issues and the candidates.

If voter turnout is low because people could care less or are unsure of who to choose because they just don’t know enough, I’m not going to lose any sleep.

Enter into the discussion my friend and former colleague at the state capitol Christian Schneider.

Schneider blogs about an interesting article he found in the 1958 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book.

Lo and behold, the article says, “It is essential in a democracy that the people keep informed about the objectives and operations and operations of their government, exercise the privilege of voting and participate in the activities of their government.”

Schneider puts it bluntly, and well, I might add when he writes:

Basically, the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau had no problem essentially calling people dopes if they either made an ill-informed vote, or threw their vote away as a “protest.”

–March 4, 2008

MORE…from May of 2010:

Lo and behold I am proud that conservative columnist John Hawkins, one of my favorites feels the same way.

“In all honesty, we’d be better off if less people voted. If the only people voting were well informed, highly motivated people who paid income taxes, I guarantee you we’d have a much better government and a much better country,” Hawkins writes.

BINGO.

FAST FORWARD TO APRIL 9, 2021

Kevin Williamson is is a fellow at National Review Institute. The headline in his very thoughtful, compelling piece is:

The fact is that voters got us into this mess. Maybe the answer isn’t more voters.

Read it all here.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Manipulating language

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

Economic data to be revealed on Thursday may show two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which has long been the measure that determines whether the U.S. is in a recession. 

However, there’s been a major push by the White House to preemptively declare that even if the U.S. economy has shrunk in two consecutive quarters, that doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is in a recession by changing the ‘r’ word’s definition.

Redefining terms is nothing new. Leftists have been doing it for a long time.

Elle Reynold, an assistant editor at The Federalist, writes that one of many examples is the word racism:

No longer is it considered racist to treat someone differently based on his or her skin color, and not racist to value all human beings equally. Instead, if you’re not promoting theories that “remedy … past discrimination [with] present discrimination,” you are clearly a racist according to the left’s new dictionary. Do you believe in meritocracy? Racist. Think people are responsible for their own choices, and it’s neither possible nor beneficial for the government to dole out equivalent outcomes to everyone by force? Doubly racist. The new liturgy says that true equality lies in teaching some children that they’re part of a hopelessly oppressive system and other children that they’re hopelessly oppressed.

That brings us to this feature from my blog vault. The subject is language.

What is Doublespeak?

What is Liberalspeak?

Are they related?

If so, how?

Please enjoy this interesting feature from January of 2017.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: Postal rage

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, I’M RE-POSTING SOME OLD BLOGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING AND WORTH A SECOND LOOK, OR A FIRST GLANCE FOR MY MANY NEW READERS.

I now understand postal rage
By Kevin Fischer
Tuesday, May 29 2007

Going postal: An American English slang term, used as a verb meaning to suddenly become extremely and uncontrollably angry, possibly to the point of violence.

I do not condone violence, but a recent trip to the Greendale Post Office made me pause and feel some sympathy for postal workers who possess a collective reputation of having never attended a Dale Carnegie course.

A customer with a heavy accent was at the counter, and I was next in line. There was only one postal worker on duty at the counter at the time.

The customer asked for a flag.

The puzzled government employee (Yes, I realize that goes without saying) replied, “You want a flag?”

“Yes, flag.”

The customer then proceeded to explain the last set of stamps he bought had flags on them.

“Ohhhhhh,” said the no longer as-confused postal worker. He reached into his drawers, (okay, stop that chuckling) and pulled out a sheet of stamps with American flags.

All better, right?

Uhhh, no.

The postal worker understood, but his customer was now baffled.

“That’s not it, that’s not right,” the customer mumbled.

“What do you mean?” said the employee, who went into a state of agitation in an instant. “You asked for flags. Those are flags.”

“They’re different,” shot back the customer.

“Different…different how?” asked the worker.

These stamps had a different stamp design from the customer’s last set because the previous set was purchased before the rate hike went into effect. As the worker attempted to explain this to Mr. Befuddled, (“Stamps are now 41 cents, they used to be 39 cents”) the line of blue-hairs behind me, the postal worker and I weren’t ready for what was about to come next.

“Stamps are 41 cents? When did that happen?”

(Palm of my hand slaps my forehead).

“Two weeks ago.”

“When?”

“TWO WEEKS AGO.”

“They’re 41 cents now?”

“Yes, 41 cents.”

The guy obviously doesn’t get CNN.

He then proceeded to confirm his order of a sheet of stamps with the American flags, and pulled out a credit card to pay for them, signed the receipt, and took his stamps.

Story over, right?

Uhhh, no.

The customer now was transformed back into perplexed mode.

He explained that he had two letters at home that needed to be mailed.

Postal worker with eyes rolling in his head looked at him and said the plainly obvious.

“Well now you’ve got stamps to put on the letters you ignoramus!”

Okay.

I admit.

I added the words, “You ignoramus.” The worker didn’t say that, but you know he had to be thinking it.

“No, no, no,” replied the Rhodes Scholar. The letters he had back home already had the 39-cent stamps on them and he hadn’t mailed them yet. (Why, I have no idea. The genius didn’t fill us in on that).

“Well you can’t mail them,” said the worker.

“I can’t.”

“No, you can’t! You need two cents more on each letter.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh…..”

I wasn’t sure if that was a light bulb slowly going on or the poor guy simply realized it was his turn to keep up the scintillating conversation.

“Do you want some two cent stamps?”

“Uhhhhhh, yah.”

“You want two of them?”

“Yah yah.”

“That’ll be four cents.”

Pause.

Pause continues.

Pause has now become lengthy pause as customer stands motionless.

Oh no, I say to myself.

“I have no money.”

“You have no money?”

“I have no money.”

“Well then you can’t have the stamps.”

“No, I pay for them with card.”

“You want to pay for them with a credit card? You want to charge four cents?”

“Yah, I leave home without any money, ha ha.”

Yep, real funny.

When the customer finally said, “Tank you,” the exasperated worker didn’t even wait until the customer had walked away. He looked at me, as if thanking the Lord Almighty for a new customer and said imploringly, “Can I help you?”

“One stamp,” I answered back without hesitation.

I plunked down 51 cents on the counter. All that waiting allowed me plenty of time to prepare.

The employee couldn’t help but smirk as he gazed at the two quarters and a penny, put the single stamp down, looked up at me and inquired in a semi-sarcastic tone, “You wanna charge that?”

“No, I don’t want to charge it.” I heard the blue hairs waiting behnd me giggle. He placed the stamp on my letter and I offered this before I walked away that brought a chuckle from the postman:

“The day I use a charge card to pay for a postage stamp, just shoot me.”

It was only when I finally got to my car that I realized what I had said to that frustrated postal worker.