Sometimes in preparing each week’s post, I cycle through a number of ideas. These are the ones I rejected for this week.
I considered complaining about United Airlines. We flew to Chicago recently, but I’d originally made the reservations for the wrong weekend. When I re-booked, I was charged a $200 administrative fee – even though I did everything myself, me, online, without intervention from any United employee, and when I complained, they refused to do anything about it. How long do they think they can nickel-and-dime their customers before people decide to just stop flying? They’ve taken all the fun out of travel.
There are several reasons why I can’t complain about it. First, most of the airlines are the same (yes, I know Southwest is different, but I’m not folding myself into a 737 for a flight to Chicago). Second, when I complained after the trip, apparently United was so enmeshed in post-Continental merger mayhem and complaints even more heinous than mine, it refunded the $200.
I considered writing about the economy. I’m hoping I get my debts from the last recession paid off before the next one hits. But at least I’m working. I keep running into fellow Boomers who are either unemployed or underemployed, with their hopes dimming because why would a company hire anyone old, tired, and expensive? (Uh, because we’re more experienced than two young whippersnappers it could hire, that’s why!)
In the meantime, Republicans keep insisting that low corporate taxes create jobs, oblivious to the fact that corporations are sitting on mountains of cash rather than hiring people. And Democrats keep insisting that more government spending creates jobs, oblivious to the fact that we already have a gazillion-dollar deficit. Because no political leaders seem to have the intestinal fortitude to make any difficult decisions for fear of offending some voting segment, it’s just going to worse before it gets better. That’s too depressing to write about.
On a similar vein, I considered writing about the presidential election. I read an interview in Time where Mitt Romney, lord and master of the entire political spectrum. The man’s anti-gay, but he couldn’t give a straight answer to save his life. According to the transcript, Romney went from saying he wanted to keep “the highest-income people paying the same share they pay now” to saying he wanted to limit “deductions and exemptions for high-income Americans” within two sentences. To me, those are two different concepts, one meaning they pay the same and one meaning they pay more.
And I keep hearing friends of mine say they’re going to vote for Romney because they’re so disappointed in Obama. I can’t believe they don’t see that it was the policies that Romney supports – less financial oversight and regulation – that got us into this economic mess in the first place. Not to mention the thought of more Republican nominees to the Supreme Court, where corporations are now considered people and campaign finance laws have been subjugated all to hell. If you’re going to vote for Romney, do it because you’re for Romney, not because you’re against Obama. Or vote for whatever poor schlub is running on the Green Party ticket. But I decided not to write about that because it’s only June and nobody but me is paying attention to presidential politics yet.
I also considered writing about death. I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this, other than because most boomers are past the halfway point of their lives, and closer to the end than the beginning. I keep wondering how many times you get to cheat death before death wins. And what counts as cheating death? I was on a plane on approach to Houston one stormy night in the 80s, close enough to see the ground (but not the runway), when suddenly the pilot aborted the landing and circled around and tried again. Is that cheating death or simply being in danger?
Another time, I was rafting on the Skykomish River in Washington State and we wrapped on a rock. I was swept out and only the clear thinking of one of my co-workers saved me. He grabbed the top of my wetsuit and hung on for dear life – mine. Eventually he was able to pull me back into the raft. I still owe you, Kyle Kittoe.
Then there was the time I developed several pulmonary emboli on a flight to Australia. I didn’t develop any symptoms until I returned, which precipitated a week’s stay in the hospital. To me, it was just a bad case of shortness of breath, until my wife reminded me that most people – like Kansas City Chiefs player Derrick Thomas – died from them. My lung capacity still sucks.
But as I said, it’s June. Summer is upon us. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. It’s much too nice a day to talk about death. That’s a topic for the grim days of winter.
So there you go. Nothing to write about today. Maybe I won’t write about more stuff next week.