Not Losing Sight
Grandma didn’t have shoes for two years. First the Nazis came and took all of her shit, then the Soviets came and really took all of her shit. Shoes, food, tools, books, name it. In the winter of 1943/44 and the winter of 1944/45, she walked to school every day barefoot in the snow. During those same dark months, they ate nothing but corn.
My other grandma voluntary lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a large family. She could have set herself up with more but her attitude was always: “Why do I need all that?”. This is the same lady who, when she developed cataracts and we pushed her to have surgery, protested fiercely: “What do I need to see for?” Luckily, she acquiesced and prolonged her vision until she passed, but the attitude was always defiant and resilient; “I don’t need nothin’!”. That WWII generation – tough as boot leather.
Our generation though, and of course Gen Z (or whatever the 20-year-olds are called), we’re softer than warm butter. Nothing but gluttony, narcissism and fake stress. On my end, I started a blog to bitch about the daily nonsense of my work life. But let’s not overlook the positives:
I don’t even go to work anymore or get dressed for work
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll read the paper or play FIFA during some meetings
I perform a job that has no consequence and thus no responsibility. I don’t lead men into battle, thus risking the lives of promising young men if I have not planned correctly. I don’t drive a school bus where a moment of inattention could kill 50 little kids. If I make a bad decision or slack off, there are no repercussions.
I am by no means a rich man but I want for nothing. I own almost 10 pairs of shoes and my corn intake is, by choice, minimal.
I abstained from alcohol for a month and consider that a great triumph
I whine to my wife about one-degree shifts in our thermostat
You get the point. I live in a world of largely fake stress. This deliverable has to be done by Friday! Why? Because some moron who also does nothing of consequence said so? Fuck that guy, and fuck this deliverable. The other fake stressor, lots of meetings. “I just have so many meetings today!”…. So what, play some FIFA. Hell, last month I went to the gym during one of my meetings. I kid you not I gave my “status update” from the lat pull machine. “Still weak but getting stronger, boss!”
I’m still a hardass in comparison to the folks that are 5, 10, 15 years younger than me. Taking pictures of themselves all day, forming safe spaces where nobody can call them out for their bullshit, whining about a slew of “micro-aggressions”. Here’s a micro-aggression from the 1940’s, getting hit in the head with the butt of a rifle and waking up barefoot.
All I can say in this painfully unamusing post (my apologies) is thank goodness for the WWII generation because the only thing keeping me (and many others) from complete and irreversible sissiness and entitlement is the memory of that great generation. As Veterans’ Day approaches, I think back to people who have lived way tougher lives than I have and also the soldiers who have made it possible for me to live comfortably and even pursue various frivolities (e.g., writing a blog about an admittedly cushy, even if at times meaningless, existence).
I’ll post something crass yet flowery and hopefully mildly amusing soon. In the meantime, as odd as it may seem for this publication to do so, in my own weird way I wanted to bring attention to a holiday that seems to be increasingly overlooked but has never been more important.
To the handful of veterans who read this blog. Thank you.