THE IDLE AMERICAN: Ups and Downs of 2017

Published 12:58 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Let us consider bits and pieces of the year to date, sadly remembering that at its beginning, much of the country’s tapestry was intact.

Then, humankind got a hold of it. Much is now in shreds.

Struck by implosions and explosions around the globe, it’s a wonder our planet isn’t woe-stricken by a worrisome wobble. Odds are no better than even on whether the ball falling in New York City’s Times Square will be dropped or shot down.

The word “harassment” has been in heavy use, and in ways that would make Popeye blush. Tough talk abounds.

Squabbles continue concerning athletes’ conduct during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games. Team owners, meanwhile, may unravel to the point that their teams’ inflated value sinks way below the air pressure of those footballs Tom Brady messed with.

Owners are stewing about remuneration for Commissioner Roger Goodell, and whether his contract should be extended by a half-dozen years to 2024. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is screaming about paying Goodell’s proposed $50 million annually, $5 million more than this year. Jones and Goodell’s verbal missiles, hurled with abandon, dominate US sports conversations. Soon, we may know the difference between hissy, conniption and wall-eyed fits. We’re bound to be witnesses to all three kinds.

We used to think ourselves–at certain junctures–to be “between rocks and hard places.”

Compared to the sharp-edged looming controversies we all face, abiding between stones and hard places may soon seem softer than the Pillsbury doughboy who always giggles on the TV commercials after a good rib-poking.

Folks toasting a new year will hoist glasses in a shaky manner at New Year’s Eve parties, and sure-fire investments seem destined for the paint industry, where there’s bound to be a shortage of black paint in the flurry of fresh paint for both pots and kettles.

On the business front, there hasn’t been so much jockeying for position since the last photo finish at the Kentucky Derby. “Little box” stores and malls are pulling out all the stops (and a few of the “go’s”) trying to compete with the “big boxes, and all are going head-to-head with online commerce.

We’ve just experienced our first “black Friday” preliminary, this year springing to life with “can’t miss” sales a full week ahead of the long-established fateful Friday after Thanksgiving.

If they keep juggling the date signaling the beginning of serious Christmas shopping, they’ll meet themselves coming back. Folks will be saddled with trying to determine “best buy” times during “50 shades of black Fridays.”

Can it be? Amazon is offering to leave packages inside our locked doors, and Fed-Ex is paying drivers $18.50 an hour and 53 cents per mile for using their own vehicles during delivery crunch time, and an ingenious card-carrier at a major intersection “will work for cash.”

To cross eyes even further, Sears will no longer sell Whirlpool products, but the latter will continue to manufacture Kenmore products, the brand name favored by Sears.

That’s the condition my 105-year-old Uncle Mort finds himself in as the holiday season begins. “I miss the good old days when conversations were about outcomes of football games rather than lawsuits or player fines,” he moaned. “And customers leaving their latch strings out for Fed-Ex are liable to lose them in the same swoops thieves make to grab their outdoor Christmas lights.”

He believes Americans will continue to clamor for organic foods, no matter the cost.

They may stop short, he claims, of buying a certain brand of turkey, purchase of which provides a written history of the bird from the egg to the processing plant.

“We are past saturation points, and now face daunting tasks of accepting less information. Currently, on every front I can think of, we’ve got way too much of it,” Mort concluded.


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872 Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.