Thoughts by Richard Bleil
My mother hated that old Hotpoint refrigerator. It was older than I was, and it came with us from the other house. In the new house, it was a pain because the door opened the wrong way, and besides, she had it forever. Plain white, it was not self-defrosting so periodically mom would have to pull all of the meat out of the freezer and put large pots of hot water in it to melt the ice. But it ran. Seemingly forever, or at least until I was maybe fifteen when, finally, it broke down. Mom went to get something out of it and, lo and behold, everything was thawing. Finally, she thought, she could get a new refrigerator. My dad, on the other hand, took a day off of work and even though he was never trained at refrigeration took to fixing it. By the end of the day, dad had determined that the problem was the thermostat. When mom came home, she found he had replaced it and it was back up and running. Mom gave up and just bought a new refrigerator anyway. Today, appliances are just not made to last. My friend bought a new washer and drier set recently because the old one had broken down. But, she said, it’s fine. The old one was five years old already. Appliances are simply not made to last anymore, and we don’t bat an eye. If we have to replace a major appliance every five years, we think we’re in pretty good shape. We just accept that they don’t “make ‘em like they used to” and all of those old appliances hit our wallet, hit the landfills, and hit our environment as we dig new resources out of our Mother Earth to make the replacements.
Just accept it.
Shortly before writing this, a report was released that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo engaged in multiple accounts of “sexual harassment”. As president Biden calls for him to step down, former President Trump was elected with multiple accusations of rape, including of a minor. That politicians are corrupt, and that they lie, and that they act out of their own selfish interests is somehow just accepted by us. I don’t know if Cuomo will step down or not; Trump certainly never did and, in fact, may have won some votes because of his vile and disgusting behaviors towards women. But that’s just the way it is. Neither party has clean hands, so we tend to ignore the dirt on those in our favored party and call for the end of careers for the dirt on the hands of the other party. But it’s all just a game, isn’t it? Haven’t we learned yet to accept that these reports are always lies for our candidates but gospel for theirs? There will be cover-ups, corruption, lies and worse from our politicians and there’s not a thing we can do about it.
Just accept it.
In the grocery story, inflation has taken a new kind of turn. I noticed the other day that I could not buy a 16 oz can of whole tomatoes. The best I could do was 15.5 oz. The price was the same, but there was less. I guess I can live without the extra half ounce, but it’s a form of hidden inflation. At my previous university, I used to by Rice Crispy Bars from the vending machine. One day I noticed that they went from the large size to the regular, but the price was the same. Businesses will always find ways to maximize their profit, regardless of who it hurts. Companies are cutting back or even eliminating benefits for their employees and keeping pay rates locked in place even as the cost of everything in the country increases. But that’s okay, because the owners of the companies make more profit, right? It’s just the way it is. As stores lay off employees so we can do more of the work at self-check-out, we just move on our merry way. As the disparity between the wealthiest and poorest of us (or even the former middle-class) increases, that’s normal, right?
Just accept it.
But for how long? I can’t help but wonder when enough people will become cynical enough to do something about all of these disparities of fairness. When will we finally overthrow the corrupt government, even if it’s only by paying attention to our elected representatives and voting the corrupt out of office? When will we start favoring long-lasting appliances over the flashy flimsy ones, or, indeed, even giving up on them altogether and finding a new way to do things? America, historically, has been known for its creativity and can-do attitude. Maybe it’s time to get fed up and find the new ways to do things. Maybe it’s time for us to find alternatives to the path we are currently on.
Or we can just accept it.