Story Time

Pet peeves...

Everyone's got them. Pet peeves, that is. You know, little everyday occurrences that you encounter on a regular basis, or the way things are done in our world...things that you can only shake your head at and wonder why, why, why?

To be honest, I have too many pet peeves. And I focus on them way too much of the time. They cause me gut-aches, heartache at times, but for some reason I can't let them go.

For example, when I'm out on the golf course I should be relaxing, taking it easy. Not worrying about how quickly my round is going. But without fail, I'll get slowed down by a foursome (almost always walking, not riding motorized carts). I have no trouble with walkers, unless all four members of the group insist on walking together as a group from ball to ball, instead of breaking up and marching direct routes to their own balls, then meeting at the green when all four balls are on the dance floor. For some reason, though, it seems like I always get placed behind such a foursome. It irks me to no end, as some of my playing partners can attest (thanks to my not-so-subtle comments and occasional rantings).

Another of my pet peeves are people who chew their food with their mouths open. I know, I shouldn't be watching someone chew their food, but when I glimpse such a person at work, it's almost like a magnet to my eyes, I can't stop staring. Once, when I was in the military, I asked a fellow soldier sitting across from me in the mess hall...a guy who resembled a cow chewing its cud, if he was born in a barn. The outcome of the conversation that ensured didn't end in my favor. I have since stopped asking people to chew with their mouths closed, opting instead to not dine with them any more.

I have several other pet peeves, although they are on a much grander scale.

Take, for example, my irritation with our country's policy on jailing an ever-growing segment of our population. The latest figures I've seen show that nearly 2.5 million Americans are currently lodged in prison or jail, an all-time high. I would hazard a guess that the majority of them are there because of drug-related charges (either from using or selling drugs, or from committing crimes to pay for their drug habits). It seems clear to me, and probably to those who would take the time to think this problem through, that our country's past and current policies of eliminating drugs from our society simply aren't working. There are more drug users and drug dealers walking our streets now than during the hippie revolution of the late 60's and early 70's.

How many decades are we going to continue pumping money into anti-drug campaigns, only to see the drug problem grow worse?

Here's an alternative for you-about about legalizing drugs and selling them like we do fifths of booze down at the local liquor store. Make the drugs affordable so the sleaze in our communities will quit breaking into our homes and ripping off our possessions. Granted, it's kind of out there, but hey, folks, what we've been doing isn't working. Our prisons are proof positive. How much longer are we going to waste money and time in trying to educate our youth about the dangers of drugs, only to continue watching the problem grow?

America has spoken for nearly 50 years now. Its citizens, a growing chunk of them, want to do drugs and are going to do drugs. The considerable resources we taxpayers have provided to stop them from doing so, well, it's kind of like we're just flushing our money down the toilet.

Another of my pet peeves is government bureaucracy. Especially when it occurs at the local level.

Need an example? Look no further than right here in Sunnyside.

Why did our local city leaders have few problems in shuffling their different budgets around and scraping together $2.5 million to purchase the Monson feedlot, all in a relatively short period of time, and it has taken them seven or eight years to find less than $100,000 to build a skate bowl and ramps for the skateboarding kids in town?

Local hero Danny Mendoza (you are a hero, aren't you, when the U.S. Congress awards you a medal for your community service efforts?) was making the transition from grade school to middle school when he began lobbying our city council for a skate park. He put in hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks of work raising funds and making plans for what seemed at the time a fairly simple venture. Danny Mendoza has just completed his freshman year at Ohio State University. We've been told the skatepark will be built and ready for use probably by this summer (I'm not holding my breath).

Just let it go, let it go...that's what I've been telling myself for quite some time.

Sorry, I've let it go for too long. If you ask me, it all boils down to which side of the tracks you're living on. And if it's the wrong side, expect lengthy delays and lots of red tape to wade through when you're dealing with the big fish in the small pond.


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