Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fixing Social Security


Just put a leash on 'er.
My parents' generation rolled out of the Great Depression and into Another Great War and all of this inspired them to spawn massively. There's an ocean of us Baby Boomers scraping scale against fin and we are just now heading back upstream to get our due.

Our parents got their own Social Security and most of us will too, but there are problems. Not as many people are out there working. There are too many of us and not enough of the younger ones to keep it all propped up. It isn't our parents' fault. As soon as they saw what they'd produced they did their responsible best to cull the herd. A lot of things are better in moderation, and Baby Boomers are no exception. So they took us for drives in their Oldsmobiles where we could rattle around without seat belts and they encouraged us to hang our heads out the window, where, if you stuck your tongue out, you could dry it until it felt like a loofah pickle, and then pull it in again, if you had not been taken out by shrubbery. And they took us to picnics and invented the three-legged race for us, so they could suck on their martinis and cigarettes for a good long time without having to check on the kids, who could not have gotten far. That thinned out the population a little more due to trampling, although I did okay, because I was small enough to just flap behind the big kid they hooked me up to, like the tail on a pheasant.

Shoot. What could happen?
They bolted wheels to our PF Flyers and sent us out in traffic. They put tiny marshmallows in our casseroles. They made us do sit-ups with our legs out straight. They smoked at us. They encouraged us to lie out in the sun slathered in baby oil and insecticide and leave them alone. They sent out big dogs in roaming packs to prey on the weak.

They gave us mercury to play with. So pretty! So shiny! We played with it for hours. Ha ha! What fun. We played with it for hours. Ha ha! What fun. Then we went inside for cookies and a cup of hemlock.

They did their level best, but a majority of us failed to get sliced out, and so they ginned up another huge war for us and made everyone sign up. That peeled off a bunch of kids and diverted some to Canada, so the Social Security picture was looking better all the time.

People are worried that there won't be enough money for today's kids to get Social Security, but they shouldn't. Another far-sighted president from the Greatest Generation took care of that already. Richard Nixon had likeability numbers in the minus territory and determined that as long as people  had cheap groceries, they wouldn't send him packing. So he subsidized corn and set about to create a whole new genre of products that resembled food in many ways, and we raised a whole new generation on them. Now, although the number of children has gone way down, their total mass has remained constant. Shoot, we've got enough money to see them to age 70, probably. And that should cover it.

94 comments:

  1. You are very naughty. Then again, that's what I like about you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Only one other comment? How did this happen. And well, crap!! I have nothing witty to say. Great post as always. By the looks of things, I'll not be allowed to start collecting mine till age 70, if then. Maybe my paintings will be discovered by then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, sorry about that. I schedule my posts in advance and sometimes I screw up and forget to put in the time stamp as well as the date stamp. When I got up this morning and found no comments, I decided not to conclude that everyone hates me, and went in there and found it was set to go off this evening.

      Delete
  3. The Scrambler! I recognize the decal on the front - it was my favourite midway ride. Failed to kill me, though...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're good! I think the gate has a sign saying "you must be this jiggly to enter this amusement park."

      Delete
  4. Ah, the fond memories you brought back - playing with mercury and being smoked at - to which I add riding bikes without helmets, shooting apples off trees with sharpened sticks, climbing trees until you couldn't get any higher ...

    And you're absolutely right, the death rate is going to dramatically increase and that will take care of a lot of the current crop of youngsters. I think it's actually predicted at this point, is it not, that this generation of children will be the first with a shorter life span than their parents? Sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't actually read that. But I look around and see an awful lot of lumpy and slumpy. I'm 59. I shouldn't be able to out-hike people half my age, but I mostly can.

      Delete
  5. Delightful post. We did indeed grow up in a simpler, more deliberate world. Incidentally, in reply to your 12/5 question, because I was their last child, my parents named me "." (period). The "Geo" was a later prefix indicating my planet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah hah! That explains my own name. "y", with the prefix "Mar."

      Delete
  6. Is it content or comment that gets us in?
    I've ripped up 67 calendars and plan to rip a few more.Perhaps being raised on home cooking did it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm here to say that, little bitty marshmallows be damned, we were better off with Mom's Swedish meatballs and the green bean bake. But that's only because the new crud is so much worse.

      Delete
  7. I still have a mercury thermometer. When it breaks I'll have to go to the computerized one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So the computerized ones don't have mercury? So pretty. So shiny.

      Delete
  8. My hubby fondly recalls riding his bike right behind the mosquito-spraying truck so he could inhale the DDT at full strength. Good times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember the mosquito spraying trucks that made the big, voluminous clouds...and yes, we would play in it. Today's mosquito trucks put out barely a squirt. So disappointing

      Delete
    2. I have to admit, I don't know from mosquito spraying trucks. Maybe we had them in Virginia, but we sure as hell had mosquitoes, too. I don't know what they're doing for vector control here in Portland, but we pretty much don't have mosquitoes. Or window screens.

      Delete
    3. I remember the mosquito trucks, too. My dad was a cotton farmer, and when he contracted with the aerial applicators to poison the fields for boll weevils, I was sent out into the field with a red flag, to stand at the end of the field, so the "crop duster" would have a target. After each pass, I'd have to move over a certain number of rows, for the next pass.

      On the GOOD side, however--I'm now 61, and have NEVER had a personal infestation of boll weevils.

      Delete
    4. Just all those dents in your heads from things falling on you beak-first.

      Delete
  9. Congress has been robbing the Social Security fund to build up the general fund for years. It is time corporate America was tapped to guarentee Social Security solvency.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take your word for it, Buzz. I glaze over when I read about it and basically accept the liberals' take on things without probing too deeply, because the other side is so obviously duplicitous.

      Delete
  10. Hey! My parents bought us jarts! Never occurred to me that they might have had an ulterior motive...
    We thought they just wanted us to have fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know jarts. Dave just filled me in and it's pretty clear they would have taken me out and everyone in the vicinity. Just so you know, it's not at all safe to stand behind me in horseshoes.

      Delete
    2. OMG...we had jarts. Once my nephew gave one a toss and it went right through the top of my brother's jeep. We also followed the mosquito sprayer. Yikes!

      Delete
    3. Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure Dad would have stopped us from following the mosquito sprayer, if we had one. He read Silent Spring.

      Delete
  11. I just turned 70. Are they coming for me? I knew I had passed by "use by" date but what the heck, I'll keep those SS checks coming my way for as long as I can! I love you Murr!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May I just say you are one fine-looking old fart?

      Delete
  12. Ah, yes......all those awful, dangerous (unbeknownst to us) things we did including running with scissors did not kill us but just made us healthier. Whereas the current generations may wear bicycle helmets if they ever raise their fannies from the chair or couch to get on their bikes. Mostly they just sit there destroying their hearing with blasting sound, destroying their vision with staring all day at computer, GameBoy or TV and allowing their muscles to deteriorate into puny strands that can barely keep their bodies erect in the chair. No wonder their life span is estimated to be shorter. When pro football players have to be recruited to produce TV ads begging children to "get out and play 60 minutes a day" what hope can there be for the human race?

    Hmmmm...I really intended this to be a comment not a rant.......honest. You DO inspire me, always.





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always thrilled to get a Lo rant. Hey, I can see why they're so sedentary. The new toys are terrific. If I'd had kids they would have hated me for hauling their sorry asses outside and marching them up mountains. Weird thing is, I'm way more active now than I was in my twenties. Maybe there's hope.

      Delete
  13. We walked to school and home again on our own - when we didn't ride third hand bicycles with back pedal brakes. We took no vitamins because 'you don't need them you have a healthy diet'. We were exposed to dirt (which some of us ate). Survivors most of us...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gotta mention that I don't remember anyone getting ear infections or asthma or anything like that when I was coming up. Of course, it could be the measles and chickenpox symptoms masked all that.

      Delete
    2. And there were no vaccination schemes for measles and chicken pox and whooping cough. Most mothers figured kids started school at 5 so by the time they were 8 they'd have had most of the viral diseases.
      And, by the way, that "lifetime immunity" from contracting whooping cough? Runs out after 50 years! Ask me how I know!

      Delete
  14. Congress is not robbing SS. SS is required by law to purchase Treasuries with excess funds. They do that whether Congress is running a surplus or a deficit. SS is loaning the money to the government. The government is not stealing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am taking you at your word. I don't have a dog in this fight. I won't get Social Security, myself.

      Delete
  15. We've replaced all the Hg thermometers in our labs with alcohol ones. Nowhere near as much fun when they break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. REally, everyone should be able to play with mercury at least once. How harmful could it be? It's not very volatile.

      Tasty, though!

      Delete
  16. I participated in ALL those herd-culling activities, especially "go play with the neighbor kids they have chicken pox!" And all 4 of us kids would dutifully troop over there to get exposed, mom's theory being it was better for all of us to be sick at once, rather than one right after another.

    Living among 3 farms and near a river, we had a few more opportunities not to make it out of childhood, what with rearranging the bales of hay in the barn to make forts (why we weren't crushed I don't know), jumping from the tippy top of the barn into the loose hay at the bottom (surely there could never be a random pitchfork), and going off to play in the river and float from Auburn to Seattle without benefit of lifejackets (we took swimming lessons at the Y and we'll be fine, mom).

    Cars with no seat belts and rock fights with the neighbors, blowing up mercury thermometers by candlelight....ah the joys of childhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True confessions here, that picture of me on the fender of the truck--I actually remember that day, because the reason I was down there was my folks thought I was too young to play in the hayloft (there was a rope swing) with my sister and older cousins. I was pretty bereft on that fender. So I guess they weren't trying to kill me after all.

      Delete
  17. Don't forget the bb gun wars and throwing firecrackers at each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you are such a boy! Danny Hall threw a rock on top of my head after yelling "bombs over Tokyo" but I had no bb gun and we only got sparklers. We were liberals.

      Delete
    2. We were too. My dad was a musician.

      Delete
  18. I grew up at the intersection of Woodward Ave and 8 Mile Rd in Detroit. We used to run into the middle of Woodward at 10 pm and see who could piddle without getting run over while our parents played bridge. Just don't rain on my parade. My first check will arrive by direct deposit December 28.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations! Dave's getting his first in February.

      Delete
  19. My goal is to see how long I can make the government pay my retirement check. I think I may outlast them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so you think bicycling a thousand miles a week is going to keep you in shape, huh?

      Delete
  20. The OTHER Linda D.December 8, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I doesn't matter that you have your time set to send out your posts in the A.M., because I always get them around 8:30 P.M. Does it take them that long to swim the ether to Virginia? And I was just thinking the other day about playing with mercury when I was a child. I also used my grandfather's old molds and made lead shot by melting it down (and breathing in the vapors). Amazing I have any gray matter left come to think of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine's disappearing but I'm not sure what to pin it on. Something. It can't be MY fault.

      Delete
  21. The OTHER Linda D.December 8, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    P.S. Although the time stamp on my post says 6:24 P.M., it is really 9:24 P.M. here in old Virginny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well that's interesting. So everyone reading this has to be on my time! I feel so...powerful.

      Delete
  22. Oh lordy, classic Murr. Hilariously true. Love the pics!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Brought back memories:

    Mom saying about wounds, "It's not bleeding. You're fine." Or, "It's bleeding! Good, that will clean it out."

    Me lying in the hammock under the trees, when far above, out of sight, branches started shaking, then a shower of leaves and sticks, then my brother landing on them on the ground. He shook himself off and went right back up. Mom's reaction to the story later? "He's just like my brothers!" Didn't bother to check for scrapes or anything; he wasn't bleeding.

    My parents' reaction to me chopping the tip of my finger off in a lawnmower? I don't remember them mentioning it. My grandmother took me to the doctor to get mended.

    We all survived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your mommy was tired. Probably for a good reason.

      I really get why today's kids are all helmeted and shinguarded up. I do. But whenever I see one of those padded kids I think something, somehow, is missing. Possibly just an appreciation for chaos.

      Delete
  24. LOL Awww, Murr, you make me smile

    ReplyDelete
  25. Better Social Security than Social Insecurity. Oh, wait; you've got both. Hmmmm.

    Christmas blessings and Bear hugs to (from the hibernating Bear).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice of you to poke your head out of the cave every now and then, Bear.

      Delete
  26. I think one of the reasons why we were able to negotiate a reasonably safe path to adulthood was the fact that we played outside on dirt, and grass, and the school playgrounds were graveled to minimize the risk of serious wounds. Today, I'll bet at least 85% of the kids are surrounded by concrete, that lovely stuff invented by the Romans which has the same shelf life as Hostess Twinkies.

    Oh, and I remember vividly rolling around little balls of mercury on a plate and then coating a dime with same substance, marveling at the feel of it on my fingers. Hey, I was easily amused!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I think about the playground around my elementary school, it was called "blacktop." So you can bounce a ball on it. Yeah, I can't think of where we got the mercury, but I remember races where you had to carry a drop of it in a spoon without spilling. Gorgeous stuff.

      Delete
  27. Alas you forgot sugar. Cereals, a junkies dream with names like Sugar Pops and Sugar Smacks. I guess it was their effort to finish us off with obesity and diabetes. And not to forget drowning us with "Big Gulps" although I have to admit they were much smaller in my day. Tiny eight ozs. bottles went to 32 oz. tubs and beyond.

    How can kids today expect to make it and spawn the numbers necessary to make the nursing home payments for us? Playground land was sold to developers for condos and you can now go K thru 12 without so much as one gym class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the first Seven-Eleven came along when I was about twelve or so. I've been very fortunate never to have picked up a taste for sody pop. Coffee, water, beer. That sees me through the day. And REALLY? Gym class isn't mandatory any more?

      Delete
  28. That's very funny. It's a wonder any of us made it to adulthood!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of us got pretty close and flunked rehab. I forgot to mention those.

      Delete
  29. When I was little, I used to help my granny spray with DDT! And after surviving all that poor Dave eats tainted peanut butter! Maybe our early exposures to poisons gave us a bit of immunity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our early exposures to everything toughened us up for sure, but I can't believe the DDT did you any good. Have you noticed any thinning of your eggshells?

      Delete
    2. Yep! I thought of that very thing every time one of the kids did something stupid. Then I realized it was actually the gene pool from whence they came.

      Delete
  30. As Max would say, "Praise The Lard!". But of course, this doesn't travel well. "Praise The Corn Syrup" just doesn't work. Thankfully, it's not really used in the UK. Even Dr. Pepper is made differently. True story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise the Lard travels very well as far as I'm concerned. That sounds like an Apatheist's liturgy. Really? No corn syrup? When I lived in London it seemed to me that all anybody ate was digestive biscuits and Mars bars. Which were not the same as our Mars bars.

      Delete
  31. I asked Jerry.. "Is that you in the hay loft". "Yep", he replied. HIs story is always the fresh cow's milk and why he still doesn't like cottage cheese...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I don't know who that is in the background there. Yuh, sure, Jerry and Bobbie get to go up in the hayloft and that's why they're SMILING. I truly remember not being allowed, and as you can see, I wasn't very old then. It was traumatic.

      Delete
  32. I really wish I had grown up in THAT generation. don't know if your familiar with the television show "Mad Men" - but if I could time travel, that's the time I'd like to go back to the most.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it the fashions, or the lung cancer?

      I do think our generation had the most fun. Just think, among other things we became sexually active right after The Pill and before HIV.

      Delete
    2. Oh, my dear Meleah Rebeccah, no you don't. It was truly awful to be a young woman in the work force back then. I know from experiences that would curl your hair. Gives me shakes just recalling the things I went through. Even as late at 1971 in Los Angeles when I had a degree from UCLA and worked at UCLA as well, Bank of America wouldn't even give me a credit card, because I didn't have a husband. True story. But the worst was what happened to young women in the workplace. Sorry to be such a downer,but that statement gave me flashbacks! Luckily I'm posting this so late in the game that no one will see it now.

      Delete
    3. I remember getting a friend to stage a "this is my girlfriend" scenario at my workplace so my boss would maybe think twice about playfully poking me in the crotch of my jeans with his yardstick. Because I couldn't think of another way of handling it.

      Delete
  33. I just knew you could relieve our anxiety on Soc. Sec. Mind if I shoot this off to Lindsey Graham? He seems confused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, if you think I could give LIndsey Graham clarity, you go ahead on!

      Delete
  34. Guess they won't be beating the spread.

    ReplyDelete
  35. If I had to live on what I collect from SS, I'd be eating a lot more oatmeal and walking to the bus stop instead of driving my car. We were the generation that said you can't trust anyone over 30. None of us expected to live this long.

    Oh, and I used to drink out of irrigation ditches and open cricks, too. OK - "Creeks." Geeze, it sucks to have a spelling Nazi living in my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That spelling Nazi is what's keeping you upright. Because I'm pretty sure the crick water isn't doing you any good.

      Delete
  36. Old enough to relate, but young enough to one of your damned.
    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, Kat, that sucks! You're on the cusp of everything.

      Delete
  37. Hmmm. I'll have to ask my parents if they remember any roaming packs of child-eating dogs when they were growing up in Baltimore. Were the roaming packs more of a rural and suburban thing?

    "Nixon ... subsidized corn and set about to create a whole new genre of products that resembled food in many ways, and we raised a whole new generation on them."

    My God, it all makes sense! Nixon. Corn subsidies. The sudden collapse of Hostess. The rise of organic produce. Boy bands. Airplane trails. Secret messages in graffiti. SOMEONE GET ME A CHALKBOARD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chalkboard and megaphone, coming right up! And YES, what people did is they got a dog and they let it out the front door every morning to poop in the neighbors' yards and they'd gang up and roam the neighborhood all day long in search of small chewy girls. The German Shepherds terrified me. That was before Dobermans, and then Rottweilers, and then Pit Bulls.

      Delete
  38. My little sisters and I would go out the morning after the mosquito truck sprayed and pick up all the dead birds along the roadside, laying them gently in cotton lined shoe boxes so we could hold funerals for them. We broke thermometers on purpose so we could chase those (so pretty, so shiny) little silver balls around the sink basin. We bounced around loosely in the back of a pickup truck and risked a broken neck diving into the slag filled waters of the limestone quarries. It never occurred to me that the folks were trying to thin the herd.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They didn't want you to know. And you broke my heart with the first sentence.

      Delete
  39. Yeah, with all the crapola we're exposed to we should all be dead instead of collecting Social Security. I guess it'll all come soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hate to be trite, but I'm laughing out loud... again. You should have a blog or something!

    Seriously, this was great, and I'm passing the link along to other sick and twisted people who will appreciate the laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Murr. OK, first, Squatlo linked me in--glad for it.

    What about the big paper sack full of 1960's-era fireworks, handed over with an already lit punk. "Here, son, and don't point the Roman Candles at your sister."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, Mooner J., and welcome to you, I am having to admit that my parents didn't go out of their way to cut me out of the herd, because we only got sparklers and the punk. We lit the punk. I thought the punk was pretty much the whole show. I didn't think it was much of a show, but at least it smoked.

      Delete
  42. I, too, come from the realm of Squatlo and with (cough!) any kinda (wheeze!) LUCK, I'll start drawing SS next August(if there IS a next August). Reading this has rekindled many memories for me and reminds me of an aphorism I heard a year or so ago that should help the newer generations in keeping their own SS viable. To wit: "LEARN FROM YOUR PARENTS' MISTAKES ....
    USE BIRTH CONTROL"
    Great Write and I'll Be Back!

    ReplyDelete