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The Sandwich Shop

These are my thoughts. They are based on what I see going on around me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

I know very little about myself. If I did know myself better, I probably wouldn't be doing this.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The People vs. The Jetsons, A Class Action Suit
George Corneliussen
Updated: 12:37 a.m. PT May 25, 2006 - Plaintown, Pennsylvania
Sam Smith, age 52, a resident of the small town of Plaintown, Pennsylvania, has filed a class action suit against the entire Jetsons family, stars of the animated televison series named after them that originally aired in 1962. In his suit, Mr. Smith names all Americans over the age of fifty as co-complaintants in the suit.
When asked what the motivation behind the class action suit was, Mr. Smith replied, " They've not only ruined my life, they've ruined the lives of countless other American men and women who believed the lies they spread through the guise of a cartoon show. They claimed they lived in the 21st Century, right ? Well, this is the 21st Century and where are all the things they promised us? Where are the robots ? Where are the flying cars ? Where are the floating sidewalks ? And most of all, where 's the life of leisure they promised all of us ? We're all working longer and harder than we've ever worked before, not less and easier the way The Jetsons claimed we would. We're all out here hanging on by our fingernails while The Jetsons are living large off forty years of cartoon royalties. It's just not fair. It's time for the entire Jetson family to pay for all the years they've been lying to us. They've ruined lives, millions of lives. If we had known life was going to turn out like this, none of us would have sat around watching the lies they spread on that TV show of theirs."
Far Fetched ? Anyone over the age of fifty remembers the days when our whole society was talking about the utopian life we would all be leading by the year 2000. Now that that the year 2000 has come and gone, the only thing we remember about 2000 is that it was the year Microsoft put out a really lousy version of Windows. But I digress.
Through the latter part of the 1950's and all through of the 1960's, our society was totally convinced that Utopia was the destination we were all headed for. I remember sitting in front of my family's black-and-white TV in the late 1950's watching all sorts of science fiction shows that showed how perfect life would be in the not-so-distant future. No one would have to worry about health , food, housing, or money ( many sci-fi shows claimed there would be no money in the future; everyting would be free ).
In 1962, I remember sitting in my sixth grade class as my teacher told us about how one day, in our lifetime, food would come in a tube like toothpaste or how a single pill would contain an entire turkey dinner. That same teacher used to tell us that by the time we grew up, there wouldn't be any regular cars; we'd all have flying cars. ( Funny what your mind decides is important when you're a kid. I remember actually worrying about having to learn how to land a flying car. What if I crashed ? Would I be in trouble ? ).
The fifties and sixties were an amazing time in the area of the mechanical sciences. Imagine what it felt like growing up watching "space movies" with spaceships, flying saucers, ray guns, spacemen, and interplanetary travel, and then one day in July of 1969 a manned spacecraft actually lands on the moon. In the fifties, a "portable televsion" was something that two men with a handtruck could move.By the early sixties there were transistor radios the size of a pack of cigarettes. It was a time that was hard not to buy into. A time when the triumph of the human spirit was being marketed with as much gusto as the "American Idol" is today.
When the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" came out in 1968, the dream was already losing quite a bit of its shine. By the time the 70's were over, it had all but been completely erased . When the 80's rolled around, all dreams of equality and leisure in the future were replaced by a " get the other guy before he gets you" mentality; and the way to do that was to work harder and build a power base. Taking time off was for losers.
The 90's saw the generation that grew up on dreams of a utopian future becoming parents and having kids of their own. These kids were raised in a world filled with dreams of Terminators, Predators, and other not-so-utopian things . Now we kids of the fifties and sixties are becoming grandparents and in so doing are finding ourselves coming full circle. We dream of a utopian world for us and our grandkids, a world filled with flying cars, and floating sidewalks, a world where the family is always together and always happy in a world that lives in peace. Funny how the circles in life tend to do that.
It does make you wonder just what would the Jetsons' family life be like in the real 21st Century, instead of the cartoon version of the 21st Century they sold us some forty-plus years ago.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Communication Breakdown ( It's always the same )

George Corneliussen

( Communication breakdown, It's always the same, I'm having a nervous breakdown, Drive me insane! - Led Zeppelin )
One of my favorite games that we played when we were kids didn't even have a name. If it did have a name, I never knew what it was. To play this game we needed at least a dozen kids, but the more kids we had the more fun the game was to play.
The rules of the game were simple. The dozen or more kids playing the game would stand in a circle facing outward with their backs to the inside of the circle ( it was important that we not be able to make eye contact in order for the game to be played correctly ). Then someone would be designated as the "first" person in the circle. That person would then tell a short story to the person on their right. These stories had to describe something someone had done and contain no more than three or four sentences. Example: "Sally went to the store to buy ice cream. She met Harry on the way. Harry started talking to her about baseball. Sally forgot all about the ice cream."
After the first person in the circle told the story to the person on their right, that person had to tell the same story to the person on their right, and so on, and so on, until the story made it all the way around the circle back to the person who started it.
The fun part of the game came when the last person in the circle told the story back to the person who started it. The story was never even close to the version of the story that started the game. By the time the story of Sally's trip to buy ice cream made it's way around the circle it would sound something like, "Sally's mom yelled at her for eating all the ice cream. Harry felt sorry for her so he took her to a baseball game. Harry tripped on the way to the baseball game and broke his leg."
At this point, everyone in the circle would laugh wildly and compare notes to try to find out how the story got so messed up. Once that was figured out, the circle would reform and a new "first" person would start a new story on its journey around the circle. No matter how many times we played this game, the story never made it all the way around the circle intact.
I don't hear much about kids playing this game anymore, or about adults reminiscing about playing it when they were kids. I think I know why that is..........................
A game ( a way of playing; pastime; amusement;diversion ) is only entertaining when it is in opposition to the norm. A game is always the most entertaining when it takes our minds to a place it doesn't normally go. Now that telling a story inaccurately is the the norm in our society, why would anyone want to entertain themselves doing it ? That would be like someone who works in an office cubicle all day pretending they were sitting in one on their days off.
If you think about why the "circle game" works, it's not hard to figure out. Once the story is set into motion, there is no reference to the source available. Each person in the circle becomes "the whole ball of wax" when it comes to interpreting and communicating the story to next person. The first time a player in the circle isn't paying attention or misunderstands what has been told them, the mutation of the story begins. Then it's only a matter of time before the mutation gets mutated.
If the players in the circle were facing each other, the game wouldn't work. The person who started the story would be following the story around the circle and immediately correcting anyone who told the story incorrectly. The story would make it around the circle accurately every time, but there wouldn't be any fun in playing the game.
Isn't that what we've become as a society ? Aren't we all constantly setting stories into motion and never following up on the accuracy with which they are retold ? Isn't this why nothing in our society means the same thing to any two people? Haven't we all turned our backs on one another when it comes to communication ?
Let's look at the "big picture" for a moment. Are there any products, goods, or services you can think of where the story one end of the circle tells matches the story the other end of the circle tells ? When you deal with a person on a "professional" level , whether it is buying something, using something, or requesting a service, do you get the impression that the person you are dealing with face to face, over the phone, or through correspondence, has the same understanding of the product, good, or service as the owner the company that provides it does ?
Are you surprised when a product offers a "100% unconditional guarantee" and a representative of the company who sold you the product tells you the guarantee is void because you've "used the product"? Are you surprised when the local utility company bills you twice for the same month's usage and when you complain, the service representative thinks you are trying to sign up as a new customer ? Are you surprised when a local elected official publishes their headquarter's phone number, but when you call the number, you are told the elected official in question does not take personal phone calls?
I contend all the things that made the "circle game" so much fun are now a part of everyday life, so we can't entertain ourselves playing the game. We stand with our backs to each other, never make eye contact, never follow up on anything we start, and never correct mistakes along the way. To be fair though, there is one major difference in the way we play the "circle game" in real life.
In real life, when the mutated story makes it all the way around the circle, instead of everyone laughing and comparing notes to see where and how the story got so messed up, the person who started the story simply retells the mutated version of the story and sends it on its journey around the circle all over again. Deja Boo-Boo all over again.
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