A. Obesity is a problem. But is obesity just a dietary issue? The media would like you to think so but it is not. The focus of the media and our social scientists is on fast food/junk food consumption while ignoring a major contributor: the lack of physical exercise for children and adults. This has nothing to do with some daily bending and lifting associated with a person's job, or the walking to the water cooler ten times a day. We all need physical exercise outside of the workplace.
Once upon a time kids in grade school enjoyed something known then as "recess." After lunch, the kids were left outside to play.....to run their little asses off and that burned built up emotional and physical energy. And, some individual teachers developed some in-class exercises that proved their effectiveness in garnering classroom attention and participation. After school, many kids were involved with various "pick-up" games in their neighborhoods. Today, do the elementary schools have recess? If so, is there some structured activity? Our kids today need some form of structure now more than ever.
In the mid to senior grades there were scheduled gym periods, intramural and varsity sports. If a youngster did not play a varsity sport, he or she was encouraged to get involved with intramural activity. It seems that today all that exists are the varsity sports. The rest appears to be non-existent (Sorry - having kids walk around a basketball court a few times is not enough exercise for them). So what the hell has happened?
In our race to make things better, cheaper, and faster, we introduced computers and cell phones. When men walked on the moon for the first time, many talking heads were beating the same drum that by the twenty-first century, we would have little to do, except to enjoy our massive amount of leisure time. Well, so much for that fairy-tale. Computers and cell-phones in and by themselves are not bad things; they are after all, machines. But, we have let these machines into our world and have become almost enslaved by them. This is most evident with our young people.
Today's kids cannot wait to get "on-line." It is their world, but it is a virtual world without substance. There is no fresh air and trees, rocks and skinned knees. They do not have the real feeling of exhilaration when they score that touch down playing neighborhood football or hit that home run into the neighbor's yard. And how many kids today play skins and shirts in after school basketball? Kid would rather be on-line. Not only are they lacking exercise, but today's kids, many of them, lack basic social skills, like coping with a problem and dealing with their peers. The machines that we were told so many years ago would free us have enslaved our kids (and many of us - don't forget the smart phones!). Constantly being on-line has made many kids over weight, lazy, and even suicidal; they lack confidence. My ABC opinion - take away the computers and cell phones. Put physical exercise back into their lives. Force them to go to a library and READ BOOKS. There are more suggestions, but the more I list, the more adults revolt and say it's impossible. That attitude is defeatist and pure bullocks. Parents!!! Rein in your kids!!! Starting within the home and continue into the schools, it can be accomplished. Do not tell me it cannot happen. Now the question - how many over weight, confidence lacking, pro-suicidal kids do you want? And, I am not talking about people who have a legitimate health issue (like thyroid problems). This is a situation that can be turned around. The next time you are reaching for that super-sized whatever, put it down, turn off the computer and TV, put your cell phone in the toilet, and start doing some push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and running in place. You will thank me in the morning.
B. Years ago, it was called, "Keeping up with the Joneses." Today we have, "Get the fuck out of my way! I want all of mine now!" Our multicultural information service society is geared towards results, the bottom line, and not a person's efforts. Those who get there first, gather up the most toys win, regardless of who they stepped on or buried. This is today's world. The days of fair play and respect in the work place are gone. Profit is the major mover and shaker and how it is obtained appears to be a non-issue. Those who bring in the big bucks on a Friday are the heroes; on Monday, they are thrown back with the rest of the goats. Years ago, companies had "the Employment Office." Now it is known as "Human Resources." Workers are looked at and treated as if they were interchangeable parts for a machine. In many cases, the older, "less productive" workers are replaced by the younger (gee....we usually don't repair cell phones or computers do we? We just toss them and get a new one) at less pay and are enticed to do what it takes to get to the top. Human Resources is the office that will hook you up to the company's EAP Program if you go to them with a problem in your head.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a way for the HR people to get inside your personal life. It is supposed to help you cope with your problems. Like it or not, believe it or not, the "counselor" that HR sets you up with tells HR some of your dirty little secrets. If those things do not fit well with the company's public image, you could find yourself in the unemployment line. And you will never know the real reason why you lost your job. After all, HR guards personnel files, religiously; it's the law. Recently, these same people want to know your (if you have one) Facebook user name and password. The invasion of privacy here is huge. The infighting in the workplace is huge. It does not take genius to see how a social media site can ruin you personally and professionally. What's next? A chip implanted into your brain that records your thoughts? Why the need to know your personal life? Well, why do you think they want it? Employers? The need for change is obvious. If you cannot see it, you are either brain-dead and on life support or just not paying attention; online time will do that.
C. Apathy is rising at an alarming rate (a definite tie-in with A and B). Nobody gives a shit. What matters - getting by from one paycheck to the next (because you have to pay the bills). Regardless of what you have heard or read, personal debt is still a big deal for many people. That urge, the habit of want, is still rabid. The promise of a better tomorrow only fuels the habit of want. Tomorrow we will have the cash (from the imagined sources/reasons promised by a better tomorrow) so we can buy today. But when that tomorrow comes, it is often cash poor, but that new debt rolls on, added to the rest. Some drastic steps are required to end the habit of want. There are a few methods, but they will not be mentioned in this post with the exception of one: living within your means. It is really a simple affair. You bring in so many $$$ and that is what's available to spend and save. And if you do not save some of your money you are an idiot. I don't care if you put it in a sock and stuff it in a mattress. However, how you get to that point is up to you. It will take time, focus, determination, and sacrifice. And be prepared for a fight. Your opponent is a tough guy; it's you. I am not going to write a paragraph or two tying all of the above together, with some grand solution. That's up to you to figure out. Just like exercising, tossing the cell-phone, and living within your means.
Copyright 2012 Terry Unger
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