ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Being foolished

© Another Day in the Country

Well, I just ruined two perfectly good pieces of toast by not paying attention to what I was doing. I began to write my column while my tea was heating and the toaster was put in charge of the bread. Now that a loaf of bread can cost as much as a gallon of gas, I should be paying closer attention to those precious slices.

Just in case you are wondering, my toast burned and I refused to scrape off the burned parts and threw that bread in the trash. Two more slices of bread went into that machine and I’m watching it like a hawk. I don’t believe any of us like that feeling of being caught not paying attention while the toaster gets too zealous or the marketing people spin their latest creation.

I remember last year, renewing my magazines, I saw one of my favorites advertised for only $12 a year. “Wow, that’s a bargain,” I said to myself and immediately sent in a check for $12 with my renewal blank. A few days later, I got a bill from them saying, “You owe another $4.95.” It was only when I went back and read the fine print did I notice that yes, indeed they had said this magazine was only $12 for a year plus postage,” (in extremely small print). There was just something so maddening about their marketing scheme. I liked the magazine and I enjoyed getting what I thought was “a better deal” but every single issue that came all year long, it rankled that I had been “foolished,” as my grandma used to say. I don’t like being foolished. This year, when the renewal came I went over it with the magnifying glass. The price for a year is now $15, flat out, no tricks! I felt better; even though the price had gone up, so to speak, but at least they were being honest with the real cost.

We’re probably all relieved that the election year has concluded. I, for one, got mighty weary of hearing ads that twisted facts and attempted to foolish us. “Do people really believe this stuff?” I wondered to myself. “Is anyone thinking?” Not that politicians make it any easier for us as they mouth the latest catch-phrase or spin their stories, but I really do want our president to tell us the truth, lay out the hard cold facts, and not just say what they think we want to hear.

At the library, I love looking through the latest books received this fall to see if I might want to read them. The authors I’m familiar with come home to be enjoyed like best friends. However, I’m always on the lookout for new writers so I peruse the covers.

“Have you noticed,” I said to the librarian the other day, “everyone of these authors is touted as a ‘New York Times best-selling author?’” Can this be? I think I’m being foolished.

When I’m fishing for new writers, I’ll take home four or five books — hedging my bets that I’ll find at least one good read in the bunch. Meanwhile I’m mumbling, “How dare they call them best-selling authors? Who approved this for printing, it’s so boring.” They are trying to foolish me with all their fancy words.

While books and magazines and politicians work at the appropriate spin, it’s the food manufacturers who do the most foolishing of all. Whatever the latest health fad, they attempt to jump on the band wagon touting their product without “trans fats” and ignoring the part about being loaded with sugar, chemicals and fats with other names. You’ve got to watch the labels closer than the toaster to really discover what you’re eating for breakfast.

What it all comes down to, I guess, is that the consumer can’t just coast along believing the latest advertising campaign whether that’s for breakfast food or a new president. We’ve got to be educated, observant, truth-seekers or we’re going to be foolished.

It’s a new day, with a new era on the horizon and time for us face the facts, get real, not foolish ourselves. Life has its ups and downs, honesty is the best policy, healing takes time, you reap what you sow, credit cards have to be paid, and freedom isn’t free! For starters!

 

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