Stuff my generation knew to be true

Blackdog McFarland


First bunch of bunk:  People with graying hair are smart because of all they have learned as they have aged.

Perhaps part of this age-old idea could be true. A lot of information has no doubt flown through the brains of us seniors. However, who says you have to learn anything just from existing for a number of years and having myriads of thoughts bombard your gray matter?  Gray hair may only identify a person who is not intelligent enough to find the hair coloring section at the drug store or supermarket. Either that, or they think they look good with gray hair, a delusionary thought which certainly does nothing to lift the status of their IQ. Either way, it has become apparent that there is no correlation between gray hair and one's ability to think.  Sure, gray hair can sometimes give a distinguished look to its owner, but let's face it: There are plenty of gray-haired nitwits roaming our universe.

Second bunch of bunk:  Celebrities are to be admired and respected for their success and moral virtues.

Where in the world did that idea come from, anyway?

Looking around the present-day world the opposite, with some exceptions, appears to be true.  Recent confessions by David Letterman, John Edwards and Tiger Woods, to name just a few, seem hubris-driven, and wouldn't it be great if we the public greeted them with the big collective yawn that they deserve? Unfortunately, the media has little interest in those who are to be admired and respected for their success and moral virtues. That doesn't sell ads, or newspapers, or magazines, or whatever. Fifty years ago celebrities seemingly enjoyed less scrutiny. Perhaps they did set standards of decency and morality for others to follow, or perhaps their indiscretions just were not plastered all over the media.

Third bunch of bunk:  Vapor trails from airplanes over the next few decades will block out enough of the sun's energy to bring on a new ice age.

I know that people born in the last two decades will have trouble believing this, but the above bunk was a real hot item a few short decades ago. Scientific journals published weighty articles from experts who were trying to predict the onset of the next ice age and its effects on growing seasons all over the world. One can only hope that the current concern over climate change [global warming] will end up in the same bunko scrap heap, but I am certainly not a qualified enough person to make that judgment.

Fourth bunch of bunk:  Epping is the center of the universe.

Sure, even 50 years ago that bit of bunk might have had a little tongue in cheek in it. Even so, modern science, working with the latest GPS technology, has proven without a shadow of a doubt that earlier calculations were off by a mere 27 miles and that the real center of the universe is located on the Rye-Newcastle border. Following this information to its logical conclusion will result in the realization that the volunteer staffers of Rye Reflections magazine are all aliens from outer space sent by some mysterious force to our small communities charged with a mission to bring sanity to our planet. Good luck planet!

Fifth bunch of bunk:  Now that we have 13-inch black and white television, technology has nowhere to go.

This was certainly a widely believed bit of bunk when I was in my early teens and one which has been disproved again and again. People who believe the same pertaining to our current state of technology will most certainly be proven wrong. Technological advances are coming at us with the speed of light and are not confined to electronics but are occurring in other fields such as medical and energy. The next fifty years should be interesting. Maybe we will even be able to send our fingerprints over the internet. I know, why would you want to do that?

Sixth bunch of bunk:  Between now and the end of civilization as we know it the Red Sox will never win another World Series.

This was certainly a widely held view during my youth which has been proven to be bunk. My father certainly believed it, as did my grandfather. Indeed it was common knowledge throughout New England. The fact that the Red Sox have won two World Series within the last several years gives hope to those who believe that someday there might be peace in the Middle East or cholesterol-free burgers.

Seventh bunch of bunk: What's good for General Motors is good for America.

This is a statement which was attributed to Charles Wilson when he was appointed to the post of Secretary of Defense in 1953, and it created a real uproar even back in those days. Since 1953 there hasn't been all that much to cheer about for General Motors. Perhaps Mr. Wilson should have phrased his thoughts differently. What's bad for General Motors is bad for America. Please, let's not go into details.

Eighth bunch of bunk:  Live Free or Die.

In the fifties New Hampshire followed its motto fairly well. As citizens we mostly did as we pleased and paid a small sum to our towns and our state to keep them viable. That may be a good or a bad thing. That's not the point of this article. In 2010 anyone who has tried to implement a new project around their house or turn a restaurant into a condo knows death is the only option. Yes, it's true that our regulations are well meaning and meant to avoid our infringing upon our neighbor's rights. Yes, before these regulations there was sometimes abuse of the environment and unsightly blight in our communities. Eliminating these conditions is a worthy goal. The problem is that in our current situation the process of permitting a new project is so complex and time consuming that most of us would prefer to skip the whole process and keep the status quo.

Ninth bunch of bunk:  Love Makes the World Go 'Round.

How stupid is that? Maybe God makes the world go round, or perhaps it's the laws of physics, but love does NOT make the world go 'round. Looking back, a typical Doris Day movie might give one the impression that love makes the world go 'round. Obviously some such long ago movie must have been the origination of this bunko idea. But take your girl friend to the movies today and check out Rambo or War of the Worlds, and I guarantee you will go home with an iceberg.  Love makes the world go round. Humbug!

Tenth bunch of bunk:  The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.

C'mon! You are reading Rye Reflections, our little online publication based in the lovely town of Rye located on a tiny piece of the miniscule New Hampshire seacoast. Haven't you heard of a three-day northeaster? The chances of the sun coming out tomorrow are about one in forty. You must have seen Annie too many times to believe this nonsense. Your author is a senior citizen. He can vouch for the fact that back in the late fifties and early sixties the chances of the sun coming out tomorrow were much better. Maybe one in five or so. You can blame Obama or you can blame Bush. I don't care about your politics. But you can bet your last dollar that some political figure is at fault on this one.


In a parallel universe, February, 2010