My, How We Rant On

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Asking folks to stop and think seems pointless these days. Most won’t.

A while back, I stopped momentarily when an overheard conversational snippet made me smile. Someone said, “Too much is being said these days far too often about far too little.”

Maybe closer examination of the statement is warranted. It may come close to painting a picture of a muddled world bombarded daily by noise by the ton and meaningful articulation by the ounce.

Oh, I doubt that it merits publication in the book of world-famous quotes. It probably won’t even appear on a little hand-painted art piece to hang on grandma’s wall, unless it’s made at vacation Bible school.

It may be worthy, though, of filing away with other gems for offspring to consider when they think adding “as my old momma always said” seems to legitimize whatever they’re claiming.

Upon hearing a “momma claim” such as “a stitch in time saves nine,” I wonder how many offspring think it was actually their moms who originated the proverb.

My 103-year-old Uncle Mort dominated a free-wheeling discussion erupting the other day down at the general store in the thicket. It started, as most of them do, when claims grew anvil-hot about cheating at the domino table.

Nostrils flared, fingers pointed and nose hair stiffened in a melee with a hubbub soon equaling the decibels of a presidential debate. Clearly, three of the wheels of reason had fallen off, and the fourth was wobbling.

Just as things were about to get physical, combatants quietened, seemingly open to Mort’s claim to “know what’s wrong with the world.”

They shuffled the dominos for a new game, pondering Mort’s sweeping claim that many of the hurts of the world would go away “if we didn’t have so blamed many things that plug in.”

“What doesn’t plug in requires batteries that have chargers that do,” he gruffed.

As the others pondered Mort’s mentions, he “muddied up” the conversation with the claim that coloring books are making a comeback because adults are taking to them. “And please take note that so far, none of the coloring books plug in.”

Such logic provides faint hope for the return of intrigue to simpler things, like the wonderment of listening to seashells, studying fireflies in flight or watching morning glories yawn their way to slumber at day’s end.

We might hope that more people would strike “right quick” or “quick now” from common conversational usage.

Must everything be done quickly? Too often I hear prayers begun thusly: “Quick now, let’s pray.” It’s as though if we don’t pray quickly, our petitions may be too far down the list to be heard.

Yearnings for simplification make me want to find old Ma and Pa Kettle movies. Only those long of tooth saw them in first runs.

They starred Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride, the former a raucous “in charge” woman, and the latter a man of meekness. Nothing rattled Pa Kettle. (The “blankness” of his face wouldn’t have changed if he had seen Niagara Falls run backwards or had learned postage stamps have decreased in price.)

Life does not need to speed through at full gallop. Moseying must also be included in more places than school zones.

Perhaps it is my dislike for so much “right quick” admonitions that causes me to re-think my current policy of watching TV only if recorded. Even 15-minute delays allow the skipping of commercials.

Someone pointed out that to miss commercials is to eliminate some of the best creativity on the “toob.” Isn’t this why many of us watch Super Bowls, mostly to check out new commercials?

What about the most clever “new word” in Southwest Airlines’ ad campaign? Whoever came up with “transFAREncy” deserves a raise.

And kudos to DIRECTV and its vignettes of the frontier family, where the “man of the cabin” defends their TV cable hook-up because they are “settlers.” These ads still bring smiles, even after viewing for the umpteenth time.

Wayda minute. I didn’t intend to start “talking up” TV. It’s one of the major offenders of the “plug-ins.”

Now, where did I put that coloring book?


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Columns archived at, newbury blog.