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5/23/2007 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson


My mind is more blank than usual this week and there were no interesting e-mails. So let’s look at what appeared in this column 30 years ago:

We seldom realize how important the "smaller" things of life are.

Usually we take them for granted.

Last week a water main broke in town and we were without water. I mean no water whatever. Not even a trickle.

Well, at first it was downright depressing. Here I had spent half the morning washing dirty dishes from last week and had scrubbed and cleaned all the utensils from the golf club supper the previous night. Here I could have left the whole works and had a good excuse for not doing them. What a rotten deal!

But from depression, the situation turned rosy. Well, how else could one look at it? If a person couldn’t drink water, who would have any reason to criticize me for drinking beer? Who indeed? I laughed and laughed about the teetotalers who couldn’t drug themselves up with coffee. And I had a whole refrigerator full of beer and lemons for lemonade in the morning.

But wait a minute! Those lemons were as useless as coffee beans. The rosy situation was turning darker by the moment. Just then my folks’

dog, who is visiting me in their absence, chose to vomit up some horrible stuff on the kitchen floor. It must have been too many steak bones from the golf club supper the night before. Paper towels just don’t do the trick. And how do you clean off your fingers well before having supper?

Not only that, but boiling macaroni without water doesn’t do the trick. I would suggest that if you’ve got macaroni on the menu you have some water to cook it in. Fried macaroni isn’t worth a hoot.

Despite the horrible failure of the supper there was still a glimmer of hope. I could get as grubby and grimy as I wished without having an excuse, such as a trail ride. I hate shaving. It’s a nuisance. I wouldn’t have to comb my hair or take a bath. Hey, it didn’t seem like such a bad deal after all. I’m really a slob at heart, as most of you know.

But you know, I do like to go to the toilet. Things went fine during the first flush but after that the situation stunk.

I was forced to melt ice cubes to give the dog water. I brushed my teeth with beer (this is something I don’t recommend, even for a beer lover like myself). I even had to force down a glass of milk to kill my thirst because I was so full of beer I couldn’t have forced down another drop.

Good Lord! My plants are watered every Sunday and they would surely die without water — and they certainly would because I wasn’t going to give them any of my beer.

The pots and pans from my cooking built up on the sink and I couldn’t even rinse them out. It meant they were going to be five times as tough to wash. But artistically they looked pretty good. I’ve never seen such beautiful hues of green and brown in a pan.

However, before disaster struck the water main was repaired and that lovely water began flowing through the tap with great spits and spurts. I was glad to get the water again, but it meant a lot of work. Now I’d have to wash dishes, clean up after the dog, scrub the floors and wash myself. I don’t know which situation is worse.


This comes from the RFD Philosopher’s column, which appears in the Washburn Leader:

It’s puzzling. Sometimes Congress can see the light, sometimes it can’t.

For example, take the national debt ceiling. There’s a law prohibiting the Federal Treasury Department from spending above that ceiling, which now stands at 700 billion dollars. When you hit that ceiling, stop, the law says.

But the Treasury Department says it can’t stop, it’s got to spend 75 billion more than that to keep the wheels turning. Do you think Congress flees from this problem? You think it tells the Treasury "that’s the law, abide by it"? Not at all. It recognizes its duty when it sees it, wrestles with the problem and comes up with the

answer: raise the debt ceiling. Over the past decade Congress has solved this problem over and over again, raising the ceiling every time the Treasury Department says it’s got to have more money, if you want to call it that.

Now the puzzling thing is that Congress has a similar problem and can’t figure out what to do about it. It’s the miles per gallon car problem. Congress wants the car manufacturers to produce by 1978 cars that get more miles per gallon and the car makers say they can’t do it by then and still meet the anti-pollution standards being demanded.

The answer is staring Congress in the face and its members can’t see it.

There are two obvious means of getting the car companies to produce cars that’ll get 30 miles per gallon or more in all makes and models.

And they wouldn’t have to wait until 1978; they could do it tomorrow.

All Congress has to do is (1) shorten the length of a mile or (2) increase the size of a gallon.

Any Congressman who can’t see that needs a vacation.

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