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ALEX HARROLD: Why so glum?

Alex Harrold
Alex Harrold - SaltWire File Photo

Winter is just about over, which means being able to get out and about more, which means heading out to see the doctor for a check-up, which means meeting up with old friends. Because, after a certain age, meeting up with old friends in the hospital waiting room constitutes 50 per cent of your social calendar.

That wasn’t necessarily the plan, but here we are.

In case you’re wondering, the original plan might have involved meeting up on the golf course south of here and going to the doctor when you got back. In May. But, since you never learned to play golf, and you can’t really afford a set of clubs, let alone the green fees, you do the next best thing. You find a place to meet up with friends you swear you’ve known for a hundred years and talk about the same things you usually do: the weather, or politics.

The curious thing about discussing politics, especially when you’re surrounded by imminent elections, is that it seems like a lot of politicians may be out right now playing golf, and you guess it might be because they can afford it, and you can’t. See, that’s one of those cynical approaches you and your old friend have developed over a long period of time after seeing and hearing pretty much nothing new from politicians during the last 50 years.

Deep-seeded apathy during a run-up to an election is a typical condition that develops among the elderly after hearing the same thing over and over again from what seems like a majority of politicians, and realizing you’re not going to live long enough to bask in the glory of the things they’re going to do for you. There will be basking – somewhere – it just won’t be you.

Have you ever wondered why so many retired politicians move somewhere else when they finish what they’re doing? They can afford it, while you struggle to find senior living accommodations that meet your needs, or figure out which medications you can live without. Your parents had the same issues. Probably your grandparents too. And likely your kids will too. You know, all those things they were going to fix, if only you’d vote for them. How’s that working out for you?

At the federal level, we have to listen to millionaire politicians telling us how hard they’re working for the middle class. Here’s a question: Why are we still identified by class? No one yet has figured out how to balance out our resource-based economy in a manner that does not separate us according to how much money we “control,” probably due to our shared human flaw of not being as smart as we think we are. True, we can’t fix everything. Nor are we making great progress on things that we can fix. At least it sure seems that way when you get to the point where you can look back and see great technological change but not much in the way of social change. Ironically, much of the technology improvements have led to negative social change. Never mind the Internet. Can you say factory freezer trawlers?

So, my old friend and I talk more about the weather than we do about politics, coming to the near ridiculous conclusion that we can do more about changing the weather than we can about politicians and the things they say.

The doctor will see you now.

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