Saturday, February 18, 2012
Kick The Can
It occurred to me this morning while reading the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal that mine will probably be the last generation in this country to have actually played "Kick the Can". (It also occurs to me now that giving the WSJ a plug will probably in no way encourage them to give me a discount on that subscription. Oh well ...) What does one have to do with the other? I'll bet some of you have already guessed.
Congress, it appears, is the only group now allowed to play this game; denying such opportunities to our youth. Don't get me wrong. Getting kids to play the game seems an unlikely prospect at best. It's hard enough these days to get kids to go outside in the first place, let alone for the purpose of physical exercise; unless of course there's a chance that it will ultimately lead to a professional contract and big buck corporate sponsorships. And let's face it, in spite of its similarity to game of soccer (football for those of you I know are reading outside the US); its likelihood of becoming the Olympic or professional sport of its higher visibility and equally low-scoring counterpart is about as likely as raising the Titanic this year on the anniversary of its sinking.
It's not that I mind that yet another vague memory of my past has disappeared. Saturday morning cartoons (and not the androgynous PC crap that was on this morning), the large family gatherings that were possible when clans weren't scattered across the country, and the days when a million dollars was a lot and a trillion dollars was unthinkable are in fact memories that I treasure far more. (I thought about adding 25 cent per gallon gas, but that memory is simply too painful to contemplate right now.) What I actually object to is that like so many of the fond memories of my past, this is yet another that has been ruined by the tag team of government and the mainstream media.
The Senate fails to pass a budget in over 1000 days, in spite of the Constitutional mandate to do so, and it's just 'kicking the can' down the road a way. Congress attempts to fix a Social Security System quickly going bankrupt by reducing the premiums that we pay into the program and are simply giving the foot to the real problem at hand. The national debt goes up more in the last 3 years than it has in the previous 233 and our national legislature passes budget extensions (again kicking the can) that will only make it worse.
Kicking the can has become a favorite sport in DC, and one that they are becoming increasingly good at; so good in fact that few even bother to complain when they are playing it instead of doing their jobs. I wish however, that someone would just once stop punting this tiny receptacle down the road to the next generation (or until they're out of office) long enough to deal with its consequences ... before those consequences begin to deal with us (undoubtedly with a vengeance).
Yes I know that this is election year and that politicians are more concerned than ever about raising campaign money and greasing the palms of donors with a bit of drippings of pork barrel spending; but just once I'd like to see some of them work as hard at doing their job as they seem to be willing to do to keep it. Hell, I'd probably be content if a few of them took a night off from kissing babies and rubber chicken dinners to read the Constitution that they're supposed to protect and defend, or enough of the dictionary to discover that there's a difference between 'finding common ground' and 'compromise'.
While they're busy doing nothing but kicking the can down the road, they might see if they cold keep their grubby shoes off of some of the other cherished memories of my youth. They need to call off the health cops and leave the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the cheese sandwiches, and the Fritos and Twinkies in my school lunch alone. They can stop telling kids that they need to exercise, then tell them that they can't play tag, hide and seek, or any other game that might hurt the little crumb-crunchers self-esteem (more than likely as a belated revenge on the part of these narrow-shouldered, pencil neck geeks for not being chosen as kids to play in the first place). They could stop making every companionable hug you give a friend in the schoolyard a case of sexual harassment; and speaking of sexual, they might want to consider leaving the subject of the sex of little Johnny's parents alone for a while at kindergarten (they probably think sex is kind of 'icky' at age 5 anyway).
As a matter of fact, government might want to take a giant step back from children and games period. While I'm not ready to call the federal government a pedophile, they do seem to be spending far too much time peeking over the fences of schools and into the windows of homes lately. Such abhorrent and aberrant behavior in anyone else would call for investigation by the proper authorities. (Which would leave the government investigating itself, something that it finds itself doing far too often these days.)
Quite frankly, the whole thing has me to a point where I'd like to kick a little can myself in DC, if I wasn't so sure that such action would be quickly followed by a visit from the FBI, Secret Service, or Department of Homeland Security that required them to take me to a quiet room (perhaps in Gitmo) to discuss my interest in these games of my youth. (I would be willing to settle for a brisk game of Dodgeball instead, but my sense is that the listed federal agencies would find this an equally unsuitable substitute.) I'm tired of politicians being the only ones able to play kid's games in this country, and all but dooming my offspring (and my offspring's offspring) by doing so, when they're supposed to be doing the job we elected them for. I'm sick and tired of paying them an exorbitant salary for sitting with their thumbs up their rectums and telling everyone that will listen that their little bottom hurts from the hard work that they're doing, while the world goes to hell in large part because of their games.
You know, in spite of my dire predictions, the future may ultimately prove me to be wrong. (I know, you're shocked that I could admit such a thing.) Perhaps Wii or X-box will develop an electronic kinect version of "Kick the Can" one of these days. Of course in order to get the attention of today's youthful audience, it will probably involve kicking a can of toxic nuclear waste through a minefield while Middle East terrorists shoot at you with assault rifles and grenade launchers, all while a group of zombies rises up out of the killing field and tries to prevent you from completing your mission by eating you; but it will at least still be Kick the Can.