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Art Callaham: Things that make me go 'hmmm'

April 07, 2013|By ART CALLAHAM

Everyone has some things that make them go “hmmm.” Here are a few of mine.

• Although I consider it an opportunity to exercise extreme personal patience, following anyone into a drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant who orders for eight or more coworkers or friends, refuses to move to a take-out location and have the restaurant bring out the order, thereby impeding the line of cars behind for 10 or more minutes always amazes me. You know who you are. Didn’t your parents teach you just a little about courtesy for others? 

• How about flying the United States flag at half-staff, anywhere on American soil, in honor of a dictator who continually spoke out against U.S. policy while consorting with international leaders who expressed a desire to overthrow the U.S. government? Or how about giving a national award to anyone who advocated that 9/11 was a righteous event.

• And elected officials, the ones who run on a “more jobs” platform and never submit a jobs bill. Or the ones who promise to lower taxes yet don’t have the political wherewithall to move that legislation forward. One of my very close friends and a political confidant reminded me that politics today is all about being “liked” and has little to do with platform or statesmanship. “Promise them anything they want” seems to be a well-tested and rewarding political posture.

• What about a president who asks for sequestration and then tells the nation that his opponents are wrecking our economy by allowing sequestration to occur? Or better yet, how about a Congress that falls for the trick? Republicans, Democrats, independents …

• What about the cost of putting locks in doors at locations that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or the Braille letters and numbers on drive-up ATMs, on the driver’s side no less? How about the double swinging doors with one of the doors locked? I always pick the wrong side to push or pull.

When I would go to Washington, D.C., I often rode the metro out of Shady Grove. I remember one Monday when I got on, I observed a man sitting on a copy of the Washington Post newspaper that was lying on his seat (that told me how much the man thought of the newspaper). Two or three stops later, another man got on and asked the man sitting on the newspaper if he was finished reading the paper. The man got up, turned a page, sat back down and said, “No.”

I guess what this means is that if you want to see things that will make you go “hmmm,” ride the metro or any form of public transportation. Heavens, maybe some of this stuff occurs in your own car.

Speaking about being in your own car, how about the “texters” or the folks talking into their “hands on” mobile phone while driving? I particularly love the ones talking or texting while driving on the interstate, at 80 miles per hour, or while they are driving under the “No Texting” and “No Cell Phone Use” signs.

I wonder about the Mail Callers who call out an individual or group by name and then won’t leave their own name. The same goes for the commenters under newspaper articles and opinion pieces who use some cutesy screen name when commenting. Always remember that who you are or aren’t adds to or takes away from your credibility.

Americans are afforded the right to free speech; however, every American should be responsible for what he or she says. Whether you agree or disagree with what he said in the “secret tape” scandal, or even whether Mitt Romney meant what he said, Romney was held responsible for his “free speech” by the American voters.

Let’s not forget the telemarketers who call your phone even though you registered with the “no call” hot line. How’d they get your number? How’d they know that you have a mortgage? How’d they know how old you are? I wonder what part of “no call” the telemarketers don’t understand.

Oh well, it’s April, I’ve got cabin fever and have had too much time to spend thinking about all the things that make me, and maybe you, go “hmmm.”


Art Callaham is a community activist and president of the Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees.

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