Saturday, August 18, 2018

Do the Right Thing

By Fred Owens

This is a variant on the theme of summer vacation. This one is about the Worst Summer Job I Ever Had.

In the summer of 1965, I came home from the excitement of freshman year at St. Michael's College to the crashing boredom of suburban Chicago. My Dad said not to worry, I have work for you. My folks published a fishing magazine. It was a cool business and they made a good living. Dad worked at the office about ten minutes walking from the house. He did the publishing and editorial chores. Mom worked at a desk on the back porch and kept the books. We Owens children got drafted into various chores. They didn't have to spell it out -- "You get to eat, you get to live, and you get to go to college, so here's the job."

Circulation work. The mailing list. 12,000 names and addresses in a stack of binders over a foot high. In 1965 the Post Office decided that you had to have a zip code on every address or you would lose your second-class mailing permit. So they handed me the zip code directory which weighed about ten pounds. I started with Abbot and Anderson, one address at a time. Look it up in the directory, write it down on the binder. Look up the next address. I think it took me more than six weeks to finish. Boring? This was the dark underbelly of a family business.

But necessary. Dad said never argue with the Post Office, you don't have a choice.

Actually, since that summer of 1965 I have had other boring jobs. It happens. You get used to it after a while.

Do the Right Thing

The title of Spike Lee's 1989 masterpiece is actually a question. What is the Right Thing?  This is a profound moral question that we all face.

I need to see it again. There was Mookie the first time and he was right. Then Mookie the second time and he was wrong. Now I'm ready for Mookie the third time..... It's a pretty good movie that keeps you wondering whether Mookie was right or wrong.

Why Read Moby Dick

Why Read Moby Dick is a slim volume written by Nathaniel Philbrick. He has read the novel 12 times. I have read it twice. We both love it. The book answers the question, but I have not needed any encouragement. Like those long so-called divergent chapters about whaling technology  -- they're the best part of the book. And so politically not correct. This book is about killing whales. We don't do that anymore.

California Senator Kamala Harris for President in 2020

Harris might run. We'll get a decision from her after the November election. One friend told me Harris had little experience since being elected to the Senate only two years ago. But she was Attorney General of California for six years. That's a tough job.

I hope she runs. She has the grit and the stamina. She has the smile and the laugh. Not the charisma, but she engages well with a crowd. She can work a rope line and give a good speech. Women will vote for her because she's a woman. Men will vote for her because she's good-looking. Young people will vote for her because she's only 53.

She speaks for Dreamers and immigrant families. Her career is not touched with scandal. She can win against Trump. She will not scare away the moderate Republicans who don't want to give Trump another chance.

She grew up in Oakland, attended Howard University and then law school. Her parents are both immigrants -- father from Jamaica, mother from India. She is married with step children. She had an affair some years ago with Willie Brown who was married at the time  -- imagine how her life will be examined for stories like this if she runs for president.

Kamala Harris is well-known and liked in California. Let's see how she does when she visits Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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