No end of the world? Good time to clean up my act

December 23, 2012|Bill Kohler

OK, so the end of the world didn’t happen.


Time to regroup.

Now what?

1. I guess I have to keep being a nice guy. I have a fantasy of being Bill Murray’s character in “Scrooged” for like a week ...

2. I suppose I won’t give a dirty look to the woman who just butted in front of me in line at the post office.


3. Figure out how to pay for that 90-inch plasma TV and gold-plated toilet I just purchased on QVC using an 18.9 percent interest-rate credit card I thought I would never have to pay.

4. Take back my generators and 16 packs of “D” batteries.

5. Schedule an “It’s a Wonderful Life” viewing marathon this week to remind me how lucky I am, and we all are that the world did not collapse into a large sinkhole in Zullinger, Pa.

Where do we go from here now that we’ve realized the Mayans were wrong? How do we look ourselves in the mirror? Speaking of reflections, that 90-inch plasma is glare-free. Sweet.

Anyway, we have plenty of work to do as we prepare today for Christmas and the start of a new year in a little more than a week.

So, in the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to share my grown-up Christmas list for the world. Or at least for us here in the states. We have enough trouble of our own to figure out.

1. A 50-foot-tall stop sign. We need to stop removing God from everything we do. Whether you believe in him or not, there’s no question in my mind that the world would be in a lot better shape and people would be a lot nicer to each other if more of us lived according to the rules and guidelines put forth by him.

At the very least, the presence of the Golden Rule (you know, the do-unto-others theory) could make people stop and think before they act or speak in a harmful manner.

2. The tools needed to fix this “fiscal cliff” thing. I’m eager to commit the fiscal cliff term to memory just like we did the term “replacement referees” in the NFL.

In both cases, the sides thought they needed to prove a point and grandstand. Lots of people were hurt and at least upset by what happened.

In the case of the cliff, the two parties need to return quickly from vacation and get a deal done. Bury the egos, roll up your sleeves and find a solution that benefits the majority, not the 1 percent.

I realize that I’m oversimplifying, but you would think those calling the shots realize the impact of what doing nothing would do. Oh yeah, send the country over this alleged cliff. I think we’re all in agreement that the cliff is a bad thing.

3. A bell to remind local elected officials that they represent us, not just themselves.

As far as I’m concerned, any paid elected official or manager who supports raising taxes without thoroughly examining every possible way to decrease expenses and increase revenues should get a lump of coal in their stocking. I know I’m getting a lump when the Franklin County, Pa., and Washington Township, Pa., property tax bill arrives in January.

4. A rope for Baltimore Orioles management so they can pull themselves out of the big hole called complacency. Baseball, like business, is proof that you must constantly evolve and improve your product.

The Orioles have done nothing in the off-season to improve themselves following a better-than-expected result in 2012. They lived a charmed life in the Charm City last year and I don’t see that happening again unless they add a veteran starting pitcher and another slugger to play first.

I’ll take three years of Adam LaRoche and a scoop of mashed potatoes for my Christmas dinner.

5. And for mankind, I’m asking for a CD with one of my all-time favorite tunes: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.

After reffing more than 50 high school and youth soccer games this fall and working at a newspaper for the last 20-something years and reading in horror about the events in Newtown, Conn., earlier this month,

I’m convinced that a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T could go a long way in bringing us together.

Life is hard sometimes, and I guess I don’t get it why we are so disrespectful to each other at times.

We see many examples of how we do respect each other and respond to help others in need. The efforts to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook shooting are just two of the most recent.

But we can do more. We can slow down, hold the door, put a little extra in The Salvation Army kettle or the offering plate and let the car go in front of you in the Target parking lot today when we are rushing around for last-minute stocking stuffers. We can volunteer at the library, join the PTO at your kids’ school and show up to help at one of the food pantries or soup kitchens in your town.

It’s not just a good way to show respect, but a great New Year’s resolution.

6. And finally, I wish all of you a warm, Merry Christmas however, whenever and wherever you celebrate it.

Bill Kohler is Tri-State Editor of The Herald-Mail. Reach him at or at 301-791-7281.

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