Let's Reminisce: Reading the headlines, alas
By Jerry Lincecum
Jun 27, 2017
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For senior citizens like myself, reading the morning news can be disquieting.  For instance, the announcement of an increase in school lunch prices of a nickel or a dime sounded okay until I noticed the cost of a meal for elementary students was already $2.25 and for high schoolers $2.50.  I can remember paying 25 cents for my school lunch, and an extra bottle of milk was two cents.  Chocolate milk did cost a nickel.


One of the big stories of the week is the Mattel company’s updating the Ken doll, to make it come in three body styles: slim, chiseled or broad (a euphemism for fat?) and seven skin tones.  It says Ken was “born” in 1961, so I guess he was due for a makeover.  But Mattel had the unmitigated gall to issue a press release with a vintage photo of Ken dolls viewed by a freckle-faced kid who could have passed for me—fifty-plus years ago.  Let me assure you, I never played with Ken, unless you are referring to my Neyland cousin by that name.


Today’s Wall Street Journal has a whole section on “The Future of Transportation,” and the lead story is entitled “The End of Car Ownership.”  Come again?  The thesis is “Ride sharing and self-driving vehicles will redefine our relationship with cars.”   My relationship with cars is just fine, thank you very much.


Even the international news is upsetting.  How come we are depending on China to improve our relations with North Korea?  Is it any surprise that strategy isn’t working?


The Texas Legislature is going to have a July Special Session (rarely a good idea), to consider a “bathroom bill”?  Oh, yes, Governor Abbott also wants a state law passed to prohibit cities from enforcing zoning laws protecting trees.  Does he have something against trees?  I thought Republicans favored local government control.


Just in case you were thinking of taking your grandkids to the beach in order to escape from all this hurly burly, the WSJ has a column about warnings against beach sand. “Studies show that children playing in the sand are more likely to become ill than children merely walking on it. And the risk of illness increases with digging in the sand, being ‘buried’ in it, and digging in wet sand.”  Wow, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up in rural Texas, far from any beach sand.


Remember the pleasures of going barefoot?  Walking barefooted is another “don’t.”  The experts now say, “Have children wear lightweight, ventilated, hard-soled footwear that covers the toes. This helps prevent stubbed toes, lacerations, puncture wounds, and burns from hot sand. Ideally, footwear should be worn for wading in the water.”


The hazards I remember were grass burrs and bull nettles.  I guess it’s okay to walk barefooted on pavement—except when the temperature is in the triple digits.


I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Maybe I should just take a nap and start the day over.


Jerry Lincecum is a retired Austin College professor who now teaches older adults to write their autobiographies and family histories.  Email him at