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And now for the rest of the story

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By Jim Flynn

If we made any resolutions last year we don’t remember them. Aging has its prerogatives – a convenient memory being one of them.

What should we do first this year? Grandma said in the old country it was against the law to read yesterday’s newspapers. So first thing we’ve got to do is sort through our clipping files and send old news to the recycler.

Re abortion: Right to life vs. right to choose is a forever issue. What more can be said on the subject? Best we can hope is that the contestants and the media drop the euphemisms and call each other by their right names – pro-abortion and anti-abortion. Send all clips to the shredder.

Re Americanism: Many clippings are about political spitball fights over lapel flags, courthouse plaques, and other shallow stuff. Politicians and media personalities who never served a day in uniform love to talk patriotic spit ball. Dump all bumper-sticker blather.

Re education: It’s a subject about which we vow regularly not to write another column. Schools are teaching Parenting and Paternity, Respect for the Homeless, and Responses to Bullying. New York City paid $65 million last year for substitutes and salaries to teachers who sit in “rubber rooms” waiting for hearings on questions of conduct. We’ve lost the battle, the war, and perhaps the future of the nation. Delete all.

Re elections: Clippings become outdated in less than 30 days, sometimes less than 30 minutes. We’ll move a few clips to our Politics folder and dump the rest of the blah-blah-blah in the wastebasket.

Re energy: The nation is in compliance with the Dick Che-ney do-nothing energy policy negotiated in 2000 with Kenneth Lay, the deceased leader of the defunct Enron corporation. Because the details of our energy policy are top secret, our folder was already empty.

Re environment: Like Don Quixote, conservationists ride off in all directions at the same time. It is still uncertain whether the planet is cooking or cooling. Whatever the case, oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, wind farms, water-powered generation plants and cow gas are not acceptable solutions. Gather some wood and rub two Boy Scouts together to ignite campfire.

Re evolutionism and creationism: Like patriotism, this is a spitball fight which generates lots of smoke and heat. It’s a fun topic for columnists, a lot like revisiting the Inquisitions and the Dark Ages (1000-1400 A.D.). Dump everything! Rent the movie.

Re health care: Like an untreated boil on a butt, this issue should come to a head early in the new presidential administration. With zillions of dollars at stake and a cast of thousands, this could be the battle of the century. Save everything.

Re privacy: While we were busy providing volumes of information to banks, insurance companies, health care providers, states, counties, cities, towns, internet providers and telephone companies, our privacy quietly disappeared. Make note to purchase larger wastebasket for all the meaningless privacy statements we receive.

Re secrecy: The recent secret administration in Washington has decreed that all papers, pencils, passes, and posters shall be stored in a secure location for 50 years or until the last surviving member of the administration shall have been dead for 10 years or more, whichever is longer. Saving clippings may be illegal and could lead to prosecution. Shred all news clips and dispose remains in a deep ocean.

Re Social Security: Stock market swoon ended all discussion about privatization. Do not look for a bailout. China and Saudi Arabia together don’t have enough money to solve the problem. Close the folder.

Re taxes: Here’s a subject that will get so hot it could incinerate the re-election prospects of the administration and every member of the House and Senate. Save everything. There’s a big shootout coming.

Re values and culture: There are so many players it’s impossible to know who’s on first, what’s on second, who’s ahead, and who’s behind. Save everything. Subject has unlimited entertainment potential.

Re finances and investments? Destroy folder.

Re ideas for new folders: Open indigestion and insomnia.

Happy New Year.

Jim Flynn was formerly a corporate counsel, served in military intelligence during the Korean War, and once aspired to be a newspaper columnist.