Posts with Category Mad World

What happened to the great American Summer Job?

Teen employment

I got up at 5:42 AM to sweep floors, lug lumber, and do whatever I was told by my boss. By 11:30 AM, a time that many of my friends were rolling out of bed, I was done working my summer job for the day. I started my summer job between my 7th & 8th grade years. There were boards that weighed more than me. Once I hit high school, I started working full days, and continued to do so throughout my college summer breaks too.

I worked for my parents who owned a wood truss manufacturing business. The job left its mark, sometimes literally (I have scars), but more than that it taught me the value of a dollar and…

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Complaining about short summers is a #MiddleClassProblem

IMG_0976

How lucky are these kids? 

My daughter starts 2nd grade tomorrow, August 3rd. Where did summer go?

I want to say that summer was too short. I want to complain that our lives will once again be subjected to the school calendar and the threat of too many absences. (We got a letter last year.)

School should start at the end of August like when I was in school. My kids should have the idyllic summer breaks that I had. I want to say each of these things, but every time I start to or hear someone else say them, I think about the this article in my local paper when school let out in the spring:

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“Are you prejudiced?”

Race Muncie

“Are you prejudiced?” The man on the street asked.

I had just finished the Memorial Day Murph at my local CrossFit gym and was getting a dry shirt out of my car.

“…” I wasn’t sure how to respond.

I suppose I am prejudiced against complete strangers approaching me randomly on the street and asking if I’m prejudiced. Maybe prejudiced isn’t the right word. Cautious is more fitting.

But the man didn’t mean was I prejudiced against strangers on the street. He meant was I prejudiced against people with a different skin color than my own. People like him. Black people.

“No,” I said, “but I’m sorry you feel like you have to ask that.”

Hal introduced himself. We shook hands. And then he told me…

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6 reasons the NBA Playoffs are better than March Madness

Cavs vs warriors

I know that it’s cool to say that you like NCAA Basketball over the NBA. You are entitled to your opinion, but if this is your opinion, you are wrong. Sorry.

You might be able to convince me that the NCAA regular season is better than the NBA regular season, but when it come to the NBA Playoffs vs. March Madness there is no contest. None.

The NBA Playoffs are better than March Madness.

Here’s why:

The NBA is more authentic. The purity of NCAA basketball has been tainted with embarrassing recruiting violations and stripped championships. We can no longer pretend that passion and love of the game drives NCAA basketball. Money drives it.

Money drives the NBA, too. Why…

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Farmer/cartoonist fired for holding mirror to Big Ag

 

farmer cartoon

Rick Friday is a farmer and a cartoonist. Farming is his muse or at least it was his muse until he he poked Big Ag in the eye with a recent cartoon.

The cartoon as described in the NY Times story on his firing:

The cartoon shows two farmers, in overalls and skewed baseball caps, chatting at a fence.

“I wish there was more profit in farming,” one farmer says.

“There is,” the other replies. “In year 2015 the C.E.O.s of Monsanto, DuPont, Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers.”

After 21 years drawing more than 1,000…

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Struggles into strengths

Facing Project Board

(The Facing Project board)

Find purpose. Find community.

I get a lot of emails from students and recent grads who are struggling to find their way or going through a rough patch. The quarter-life crisis is real! I can relate to the struggle. I only began to discover my purpose when I was 25 and tracked down the guy who made my favorite shirt, Amilcar, in Honduras. (We’re still friends.)

I received such an email last month, and I thought I’d share my response with you. Maybe it will help you, or you could share it with someone who you think it will help. 

I first shared this in my newsletter. Go ahead and subscribe already.

Here’s what I…

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What if Trump is Punking us for the best possible reason?

Trump Punkd.001

What if everything Donald Trump says and does is actually satire?

If so, here’s what he’s deftly taught us so far:

Candidates shouldn’t have to rely on million dollar donations from corporations because the candidates should all be billionaires.

We are a racist, Islamophobic nation.

Policies and beliefs don’t matter, polls do.

The media will cover whatever gets the most ratings regardless if it’s necessary information, hate-mongering, and harmful to our country.

The Iowa caucus is a horrible event that puts an obscene amount of power into the hands of of one of the whitest states (92.5), and then only those who don’t work nights, aren’t single parents, aren’t serving in the military abroad or disabled and unable to attend the live event. (h/t Mr….

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The lottery is an unanswered prayer against poverty

lottery litter

 

Luck is false hope.

That’s why I hate the lottery. The lottery preys upon those most in need of hope, those who can least afford the $2 ticket. It dangles millions of dollars like a carrot on the end of an unreachable stick of hope.

Hope is good. When I write and when I live an experience regardless of how tough or how full of despair the story or situation, I always look for the hope. But false hope is exhausting. Too much of it can make you cold and callous.

“People spent more money playing the lottery last year than on books, video games, and tickets for movies and sporting events combined,” writes Derek Thomspon in Lotteries: America’s $70 Billion Shame

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Why you shouldn’t delete your friends who like Donald Trump

Donald Trump is an idiot, but your friends who “Like” him on Facebook aren’t. At least not all of them . . . probably. At least all of mine aren’t.

It’s easy to find out which of your friends “Like” Trump on Facebook, just type in “Friends who like Donald J. Trump” in the search field at the top.

I have 28 Facebook friends who “Like” Trump. There are some really good folks who I think a lot of.  I mean, maybe, they just “Like” his page to keep tabs on him. A “Like” isn’t necessarily an endorsement of all his policies. I’ll listen to Rush Limbaugh from time to time just to see what…

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Suffering in the shame of silence after another mass shooting

Another mass shooting and I’m left feeling the same–ashamed.

As I wrote about the Syrian refugee crisis, empathy should be our default setting, and it’s where my heart and mind go every time I hear news like that of the mass shooting in San Bernardino or [insert the most recent mass shooting].

What if that were my son, daughter, wife, brother, sister, mom, or dad gunned down simply for showing up to work or to school or to church that day?

My daughter is in first grade and several times a year the school has active shooter drills. They don’t call them that. She just knows to hide in the corner or in the bathroom and be really quiet.

What if that weren’t…

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