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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dogs and Fleas

When I was one of those know-it-all teenagers, my Dad constantly reminded me to pick my friends carefully. “You sleep with dogs, you get fleas,” he always told me. In other words, you’re known and influenced by the crowd with which you run.
I was fourteen. We’d lived in Fort Worth for two years, and I was fast becoming a city boy, leaving behind the backward ways of the little hick town up in the Texas Panhandle. I was worldly. I knew it all. And my old man was dumb as a stick.
In Wheeler, there were only ten or twelve boys in each grade, so naturally, that was the pool from which we garnered our pals and buddies. Everyone in town knew everyone, and if we decided to pull some stunt, Dad or one of my relatives knew about it before we even finished.
Not so in the big city. It was sprawling, filled with people, and offered blessed anonymity. Back then, ducktail haircuts, low hanging Levis, and wingtip shoes with taps on the heels were the colors.
Dad would have killed me if he’d seen me like that so I always waited until he caught the bus to work, then quickly combed in my ducktails, yanked down my jeans, and polished my taps.
It was a big thing back then swaggering the sidewalks of downtown Fort Worth, acting tough and drawing stares.
Close to the end of school, I learned exactly what Dad meant. The principal called me to the office. Several windows had been broken throughout the school the night before, and the suspects were ducktailers.
Now, I was a typical boy, mischievous, but I was too scared of my dumb-as-a-stick father to tear up anything.
Naturally, the principal did not believe me until he contacted Dad who informed him I was in bed at ten and never left the house. When questioned as to how Dad could be so certain, he responded “Kent knows I would break his neck if he sneaked out of the house.”
The principal apologized to me, then added with a gesture to my hair. “That hairdo is what the gangs wear. Maybe you should think about it.”
On the way back to class, I hastily combed out my ducktail, and that afternoon, got a hair cut.
We’re all like that. Even our president.
You know, as much as I disagree with him, I can’t help feeling sorry for the guy. He’s so far in over his head, he doesn’t know which way to turn. After his inauguration, he made hundreds of appointments, surrounding himself with his people. I understand that.
He has several advisors. I have no idea how many, but from the innumerable faux pas and gaffes, counting the cabinet and his personal staff, he must be getting ideas from all sides.
His problem is he can’t winnow through their suggestions ore recommendation for their true value. In a way, it isn’t his fault for he jumped into a job he can’t handle.
It’s kinda like an old boy charming a foreman into a job, and when the foreman tells him to grab a hammer, the old boy responds ‘what’s a hammer?’
All you have to do is look around at the tangled shreds of poor judgment.
Who doesn’t remember his ‘the private sector is doing fine,’ remark. When you-know-what hit the fan, he crawfished. It is absolutely not doing fine, he proclaimed a couple days later.
Why was he so far off base?
His advisors, and the fact he’s really wandering around out there in Lala Land.
The only way he could have gotten that little gem of BS is from his top advisor, David Axelrod, who clamed the private sector was doing better than the public sector in spending.
You bet. Private business is doing better than government entities?
Axelrod needs to do his homework for according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, states spending from their general funds climbed in 2011 by 14% over 2008, yet Axelrod says just the opposite.
It’s the blind leading the blind up there, and we’re being carried along with them against our will.
Dana Milbank gave a microcosm of Obama’s years in office from incidents of just the last few weeks.
Job growth stalled, 69,000; sane fiscal thinking ruled in Wisconsin; the attorney general is facing Congressional contempt charges; Commerce Secretary Bryson faces felony hit and run charges; war talks surface with Pakistan; Bill Clinton contradicts Obama; Romney raises more money; both parties complain about  the ‘cascade’ of national security leaks from Obama’s administration; and, says Milbank with tongue firmly in cheek, ‘he claims the private sector is doing fine.’
Don’t forget the U.S. attempt to plant viruses in the computers at the nuclear facilities in Iran or the ‘fast and furious’ gun-running project that resulted in the death of U.S. agents.
If Dad were alive, he’d simply nod and say ‘Mister Obama surrounded himself with the wrong people. Academic ignoramuses who teach because they can’t do! What other results can you expect? Remember what I told you, Kent. Sleep with dogs and you get fleas.”
I haven’t worn ducktails for over sixty-two years, and I still wonder how Dad got so smart.






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