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Pub date April 27, 2006

At one time in my life, I thought I had a handle on the meaning of the word "service." Service is "the act of doing things for other people." Then I heard these terms which reference the word

Internal RevenueService
Postal Service
Telephone Service
Civil Service
City and County Public Service
Customer Service 
Service Station

Then I became confused about the word "service." This is not what I thought "service" meant. So today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to "service" a few of his cows.


It all came into perspective. Now I understand what all those "service" agencies are doing to us.
I hope you now are as enlightened as I am.

Black and White
(Under age 40? You won’t understand.)

     You could hardly see for all the snow,
     Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
     Pull a chair up to the TV set,
     "Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet."

     Depending on the channel you tuned,
     You got Rob and Laura — or Ward and June.
     It felt so good. It felt so right.
     Life looked better in black and white.

     I Love Lucy, The Real McCoys,
     Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys,
     Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,
     Superman, Jimmy and Lois Lane.
     Father Knows Best, Patty Duke,
     Rin Tin Tin and Lassie too,
     Donna Reed on Thursday night! —
     Life looked better in black and white.

     I want to go back to black and white.
     Everything always turned out right.
     Simple people, simple lives.
     Good guys always won the fights.
     Now nothing is the way it seems,
     In living color on the TV scr! een.
     Too many murders, too many fights,
     I want to go back to black and white.

     In God they trusted, alone in bed, they slept,
     A promise made was a promise kept.
     They never cussed or broke their vows.
     They’d never make the network now.
     But if I could, I’d rather be
     In a TV town in ’53.

     It felt so good. It felt so right.
     Life looked better in black and white.

     I’d trade all the channels on the satellite,
     If I could just turn back the clock tonight

     To when everybody knew wrong from right.
     Life was better in black and white!


For Oldtimers:

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember getting ecoli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the river or lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE . . . and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked’s (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can’t recall any injuries, but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now..

Flunking gym was not an option . . . even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can’t recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah . . . and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee ! sting? I could have been killed!

We played ‘king of the hill’ on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn’t sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it’s a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn’t act up at the neighbor’s house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked there and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amock.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn’t even notice that the entire country wasn’t taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?