There is no shortage of things in this world that do not make sense to me. While I may understand why some things are the way they are, it does not mean they make sense. If I could, I would change a few things. However, since this is not a super power I possess, I will simply share a few items that make sense in my mind.
Teacher Salaries: Now that schools are getting ready to open, I can’t help think about teacher salaries. Had I chose not to retire five years ago, my salary in my old school district would be about $110,000.00 a year. It’s a great amount of money for anyone who lived where I taught because the cost of housing in Hemet, California is quite cheap compared to most of the state.
However, now that I live in Ventura County, that income does not go nearly as far. I can’t imagine what it gets a person living in places like the Bay Area or San Diego.
It makes sense to me to establish a state-wide pay scale that is adjusted based on the cost of living where you teach. If I make $100 thousand a year in Hemet, it might mean a teacher earns three or four times that amount where housing cost three or four times more.
Once this is done, you just provide all teachers with an annual cost of living adjustment and do away with salary negotiations.
Sex for Hire: Prostitution is illegal in California and most everywhere else in the country. For some strange reason, our Puritan approach to sexual gratification prevents mostly men from paying for sex. Women who work as prostitutes, or as they prefer to be called, Escorts, are deemed trash and sinners.
At the same time, in California, we have a huge pornography industry where oddly enough, men and women get paid to be filmed having sex. This is considered a form of free speech and entertainment and people are allowed to pay money to watch these folks have sex.
It makes sense to me to legalize prostitution since no state is going to eliminate a multi-billion dollar industry. It allows for closer regulation, more tax dollars, and might even result in a significant decline of the forced sex slave industry that preys on minors. In this sense, it’s not any different than the legalization of pot.
Democrats and Independents: I won’t list the reasons why Democrats despise Donald Trump. I also don’t understand why anyone can be sitting on the fence about whether to give him another four years in office. I even understand why the GOP loves the guy.
However, it appears we still have a significant portion of our electorate that has not made up their minds on next year. By now, it seems like we should be able to hold next year’s election today and have the same results that we’d get if we wait 15 months.
In 2016, many Bernie supporters sat out the election because they believed their candidate was screwed out of the primary process. They didn’t vote for either Hillary or Donald which just made Trump’s path to the White House easier (along with Russia’s help).
It makes sense to me for all Democrats and left leaning voters to vote for any major candidate not named Donald Trump. Anyone who sits out because they are mad their candidate did not win their party’s nomination should lose their right to vote forever.
How many voters personally feel happier today than four years ago? Do you feel wealthier? Do you feel safer? Do you believe the nation is more harmonious? Are you more hopeful and optimistic than four years ago? Are you looking forward to four more years of what we have had or not?
Next year, in my opinion, is the easiest presidential vote to cast in my lifetime. I cannot see how it can be any other way for others.
Common Sense: My dad was a doctor. If you grew up knowing who Marcus Welby, MD was, then add some weight to the character and that was my father. Back then, medicine was simpler. However, toward the end of my dad’s career, lawyers began to step in and file frivolous malpractice claims which drove up the cost of medical care. My dad drove around in a car with a bumper sticker that read, Support a Lawyer: Become a Doctor.”
Today, you can replace the word lawyer with the term Gigantic Health Insurance Corporation.
Yesterday, I attempted to make a follow up appointment with my doctor for the minor hand surgery I had last week. It was suggested to me to ask to have it at the same time of another appointment I have with him for the shoulder surgery he performed two months ago. However, when I called his office, and after 30 minutes of a secretary trying to find an answer, I was told it had to be a separate appointment. Her reasoning was it involves a separate issue and requires a certain amount of time to pass from the original procedure. I could smell the BS through my phone.
Next Wednesday, I see my surgeon regarding my shoulder. It will involve me moving my arm in a few ways and verbally answering two or three questions. It won’t take five minutes. Then the next day, I am set to get the stitches removed from my hand that can’t be removed 18 hours earlier for some odd healing phenomenon.
It makes sense to me I kill two birds with one stone and I am pretty sure my doctor will see it this way too. After all, if I can go see my primary doctor and get a toenail removed, some moles frozen off, a finger injected, and go over my blood work in one visit, I think the insurance industry can handle me getting my surgeon to sign off on two things at once.
If not, I guess I will just have to remove my own stitches and save myself a small co-pay.
Jeffrey Epstein: If you have heard of Jeffrey Epstein, you probably either believe he hanged himself in his prison cell or was murdered as part of some conspiracy. I have yet to encounter anyone who claimed the man was innocent of the crimes he was charged with.
Now, if you believe in the conspiracy theory, you may think he was murdered because of his link to the Clintons or because of his link to Donald Trump. Does it matter?
It makes sense to me to be happy we do not have to watch this crap unfold for years on end while he sits in a prison cell. The feds will continue with their investigation, others may be arrested, and who knows, there may eventually be enough evidence linking him to the Clintons, Trump, or other powerful rich folks. What won’t happen is Epstein costing the taxpayers a dime sitting in a cell, presumably under suicide watch. He was never going to cooperate so I figure he saved us a few dollars speeding up what some other sick SOB would have done to him in prison.
Enigmas: There is a part in the film The Great Santini when Robert Duvall talks about how he is an enigma. Because of his lack of predictability, both his home life and military career has suffered. As humans, we like the predictable while lamenting how boring or mundane life gets.
This desire for making us more robotic and predictable has resulted in a canned approach toward education, one that crushes the individuality of young boys and girls and steers them toward a more predictable life that too often results in unsatisfactory careers, marriages, and lives in general.
It is also what allows corporations to profit because by driving out the free spirit inside us, they can guide us toward a way of life that results in blindly chasing a consumer lifestyle, ultimately making the corporate leaders very wealthy and the rest of us permanently unsettled, disgruntled, and poor.
It makes sense to me to embrace the individual if you desire “sticking it to the man.” We need to return to teaching our children how to think and not what to think. We need to rethink how we parent our children, the role we want our schools to play, and take greater control over what our kids are exposed to if we want to turn out mentally sound, confident, and free thinking individuals.
Maybe then we might not need to teach six year olds how to react during a mass shooting. Perhaps we can do away with armed guards at our public schools. We might even be able to change the focus of our national debate toward the things that instill a greater sense of hope and pride rather than fear of the world we live in.
Embrace your inner enigma. Keep folks on their toes. Make them see another side of you that makes you unique and interesting. Then smile knowing doing so actually helps make the world around you a little better.
Top photo: YouTube screenshot of Michael O’Keefe and Robert Duvall in “The Great Santini”
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.