As the Holidays crawled to a close I gave some thought to writing the customary review of the past year. 1
But memory is an odd duck.
For example: the years fly by the more you age; literally one second you’re celebrating MLK Day, the next you’re wondering how it is you managed to wait until the week before Christmas to do any shopping.
There is a reason 2 for this; the years to young adulthood impress upon us almost every first – the first time you looked at a boy/girl in that way; your first big athletic play; your first kiss; your first big dance; your first experience with death; your first marriage; the birth of your first child; that first big job/promotion/vacation…everything of note. 3
Firsts are by definition unique and as such are recorded in greater depth and detail by the brain. Repetitive events…not so much. 4 And this is true not just for life’s watershed moments, it applies equally to shorter duration events. Vacations come readily to mind. 5 The first few days idle pleasantly along with a seeming eternity stretched out ahead of you when bam! suddenly you’re back at your desk wondering where the time went.
The same is true for certain years. Take 2011. 6 Very little about 2011 stands out.
Sure…another obscure auto-tune artist peaked early, to little or no reaction. Another legislative body proposed another mindless, unenforceable law. And another sport will be added to the pantheon of ESPN channels. Oh, and that guy who did that thing a decade ago died, his body hacked to bits and fed to sharks. 7
But otherwise? Meh…just the usual stuff.
After all the economy’s great, what with the Republican Tea Baggers in the House thwarting any attempt by the Dems to “ruin America”, creating a balanced budget (complete with surplus);
Speaking of which, what about our politicians? Did you ever in your wildest imaginings dare to dream they would be so incorruptible, so above the common PACs and special interests flaunting their (nearly) free money up and down K Street? And Right Here in River City? The Mayor and the new city council only have our best interest in mind. 8;
And the big banks, mortgage houses, stock investors? They sure cleaned up their act, huh?;
Obama? What a class act! Don’t you just love what he’s done with The Bill of Rights? That whole being detained indefinitely without charges or access to legal council is perfect, really, not worthy of comment. Further we have no concerns about the drones now employed over American cities, or the government’s unfettered access to all of our on-line activities, phone conversations and mail, all sans warrants – one should only worry if one’s up to no good, n’est-ce pas?;
The Administration’s drug policy is also thoughtful, nuanced, and in line with medical data. Said policy has also eased the over crowded penal system and not incidentally moved us from the top spot of nations who incarcerate the largest percentage of their populace. The WH’s upcoming plans to decriminalize even more drugs will have the trickle down effect of further reducing violent crime in the cities, as has been witnessed locally;
Our schools are on the rebound, especially here in KC. Thirty-plus years of excellent oversight by our consistent, tireless and selfless KCMSD school board, and administered by two of the brightest Superintendents in the field, have turned the Kansas City public schools into a world class program, attended by children whose parents thoroughly understand the importance of parental concern, oversight and assistance. These factors, along with unfettered possibilities in the job market upon graduation, have combined to turn out exceptional scholars, 9 sought after by America’s finest colleges and universities;
The military, and Federal employees, are treated like the supporting backbone of our nation that they are…their fiscal renumeration is top of the line, their retirement benefits unparalleled. Excellent medical benefits are guaranteed every serviceman for their lifetime, with no bullshit paperwork to struggle through, with no unnecessary delays in treatment.
Like I said…nothing to see here, nothing to note.
Let’s hope that 2012 is as unremarkable.
- It was either that or do a quick rip-off design (…based on that R.E.M. song. What? They broke up, are all probably richer than Land O Lakes salted butter, and wouldn’t notice any way…) and on-line t-shirt sales in conjunction with the festivities scheduled for my birthday this year. ↩
- Other than old age, bad habits and worse disposition…though those help. ↩
- Admittedly one does stumble into an unlikely number of people who haven’t experienced their initial firsts by age 30. These creatures can be recognised by their awkward, wide-eyed and unsure demeanor in common social situations. ↩
- Though this is on a sliding scale; while one’s 2nd sexual experience is not quite the holy shit sensory overload of the first, it is more apt to be remembered than the 10,000th tryst, even if that routine occurrence was…what? wow…just this morning? (Sorry, Nora.) Perhaps especially if it occurred this morning. ↩
- Yep – gotta head back to the office this week. ↩
- Cue Henny Youngman. ↩
- If there’s any justice… ↩
- Hotels, TIFs and P&L subsidy schemes, oh my! ↩
- Back before Thanksgiving, Dr. Green signaled his thoughts on a state takeover: “…to have a state advisory board, you might say, to monitor interaction between the Superintendent and the school board…but let it be what it needs to be, and step in only at the moment it needs to, correct it (theoretical wrong-headed move by either the board, Superintendent or possibly both parties) and then step back. It’s role would be one of constant oversight.” Clearly the state intends to do… something; (Or not. If that seems contradictory you don’t follow state politics; the STL school district – taken over by the state a few years back – is still a mess and there’s no guarantee the state wants Kansas City’s educational leavings. In fact there’s a serious school of thought that says the state will go right up to taking the district over early…and then bail. Don’t know how they get away with that, but we won’t rule it out. Smart money sez 50-50 either way.) an advisory board – already publicly accepted by the current Superintendent – ought to be its choice. That leaves the courts to settle the DESE funding questions (money following students bailing from the failing school district) and Kansas City’s huge voting populace to deal with the school board. And if this should lead to a significant down-sizing of KCMSD’s purview, with a further reduction of the already over-worked school district bureaucracy, and a realignment of what’s left into a charter-like system…so be it. ↩