Sunday, July 24, 2022

Post No. 205: I Have a Newfound Respect for 7 - 11

 

 

© 2022, the Institute for Applied Common Sense


If only our nation’s leaders were as sharp as 7 – 11 executives.

 

I’ve alluded to the importance 7 – 11 has played in my life- particularly during my return to Southern California.

 

I considered naming this post, “Things I Learned, or Had Affirmed During the Past Few Months.”  However, after reflecting on my trip to 7 -11 a couple of weeks ago, I thought that I should pay tribute to the true source of the inspiration.

 

I have lived in numerous locations and patronized different 7 – 11s to get a sense of the demographics, while trying to figure out where I should land permanently.  My Father taught me to look in the classified ads to gain a sense of a community.  In my effort to use more cutting-edge technological tools, I simply go to a 7 - 11.

 

I missed this refuge during 16 years in North Carolina, since they are few and far between.  The Southern California store which I first visited always has two clerks, and an amazing array of “junk.”  You’ve never seen so much sugar assembled, of every imaginable color, consistency, price – prompting patrons to spend hours perusing 5 aisles, seeking that one, special, fuel injection.   Imagine a junk food version of Walmart SuperCenter.

 

When I first visited that property, I made a foolish comment to one of the clerks regarding the scientific marketing approach to everything that was in the store, having just read an article about warehousing and inventory. She disabused me of that notion rather quickly.  She said bean counters were constantly changing their approach, which she regarded as a waste of time.

 

I routinely find the homeless at these locations, since the clerks are always willing to engage them. The clerks themselves are an interesting bunch, prepared to deal with virtually any calamity which might pass through the door.  One of the clerks was a man about 21 years of age, who wore a Bruce Lee T – shirt.

 

As is my wont, upon encountering 20 something folks wearing shirts of some kind reflecting 1960s and 1970s icons, I asked my classic question, “And what does a young fella like you know about _________.  You are too young to know anything about Bruce Lee, or perhaps Bob Marley?”  Yet, they always reveal that I am the fool.  My latest clerk simply informed me, “I learned how to fight from Bruce Lee.”

 

He went on to describe his matriculation watching Bruce Lee films (or videos).

 

I refrained from watching videos for the past 14 years, not wanting to waste my time while they buffered up, and I suffered the ads.  I heretofore argued that I could read text 4 times as fast.  Despite being a member of the Triad Audio Visual Group for years, I continued to express my resistance to videos.

 

But them something significant happened about 2 months ago.  I discovered the healthy line of foods put out by 7 – 11. In particular, I found a green colored, cold pressed, not from concentrate drink, and fell in love with its mint flavor.  It occurred to me that instead of bitching and moaning about how people didn’t share my values, I needed to embrace the times and make a change.  I needed to reach across the 7 – 11 aisle and find the healthy products and start watching videos.

 

Then I realized the 7 – 11 executives were way ahead of me.  They started their healthy drink line 4 years ago.

 

Amazing what one finds when one takes time to leave one’s comfort zone and check out what others have to offer. Over the past couple of years, I’ve encountered people who, in pursuit of the goals of comfort and security, are no longer to even venture near a rabbit hole.  Knowing that I am still willing to at least entertain the notion of alien abductions, without Dana Scully being around, is perhaps the most important thing that I have learned about myself over the past several months – I’ll just keep on looking out for them.

 

Now I appreciate that the clerk may have been wrong about the waste.  Being willing to entertain those who think differently just MIGHT be a good thing for an old man as I approach 71 years on the planet.


P.S. Those of you still interested in viewing Gillian Anderson on occasion might check out The Fall.

 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Post No. 204: And Now for Something a Tad Radical - Before We Implode or Russia Attacks (Whichever Occurs 1st)

© 2022, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

I've had many problems during my soon – to - be 71-year-old existence on the planet.


It’s my mother’s fault.  She forced me to read anything and everything on which I could get my hands, and consider all points of view, even thought I may have vehemently disagreed with the positions of others.


And then to compound my wackiness (God knows she tried), when I asked a question, she would never answer it.  Instead, she would point to World Book Encyclopedias (which she sold in her spare time), and say, “Go look it up, and then come back to me with your question.”


Thereafter, she forced me to attend engineering school where I slept through the acquisition of an industrial and systems engineering degree.  Consequently, I think that everything in the physical universe can be fixed or tweaked, while conceding that humans cannot.


Now that we've had some time to appreciate the significance of the 4th of July, and perhaps ignore it, we peaceful citizens need to make an overwhelming statement as we approach the next presidential election. Simply put, it can't be close the next time around. 

 

No frigging 51%- 49% BS so that the disappointed can perform their rendition of a Marx Brothers routine


If: (a) Democrats are willing to "adopt" Liz Cheney (or write in her name); and (b) we can garner the support of moderate Republicans and Independents, we may be able to reach 70% - 75%.  (I know what you are saying, "Silly boy!")

 

Complicated? Yes, but can anyone suggest another pragmatic way to assemble 70% of the popular vote so that the next President has a legitimate mandate?

 

Biden can't do it. 

 

Harris can't do it. 

 

Trump can't do it.

 

DeSantis can't do it.


(Check out the pictures and ask yourself why they are always wrapped in the flag.)


There is simply no way that we will have peace if either party runs with their preferred candidate. We ordinary everyday citizens have more power than we realize, and we need to defy and tweak the system that has been forced on us. (That’s the engineer in me standing on my shoulder.)  We don't have time to form a viable 3rd party.  We may not be able to get around the primary impediments forced upon us.

 

However, we can try to cross party lines and occupy the middle, where (I firmly believe) there is a commonality of interests.  There is no way to get to 60% - 70%, unless we tweak the system, and form a "peace coalition." Can't be done by either party separately.

For all of you naysayers who disagree with this goal, PLEASE tell me an alternate SOLUTION.  If not, spread the word #LizCheney4Prez. (Mitt Romney is my 2nd choice but Cheney has been standing up more recently, and Liz and Prez both end with a z, which may be more important than we are willing to admit.)

Our country was founded through a balancing of competing interests so that we could all live as one people - citizens of one country. There has always been a "tension," and always will be should we continue to exist.

 

A wise former partner of mine once said, “A good settlement / compromise is when all parties walk away somewhat unhappy and partly dissatisfied," and I later added, "...not when one side bullies the other into submission through some type of power." 

 

P.S. 1: This post is well under 750 words, which my now departed mentors horse - whipped me about repeatedly. That leaves time for you to watch one of my favorite movies about the power of ordinary citizens

P.S. 2:  You Can't Always Get What You Want

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