Chauvinism back in the day

Idle American

Chauvinism Back in the Day…

Strange, isn’t it, how issues lodged far back in the recesses of our memory seemed critically important at the time, but considered in the here and now, fail to warrant yawns?

On the front end of my career, students streaking on college campuses caused uproars as well as countless furrowed brows on college administrators. `We now look back on it as a short-lived fad.  School leaders these days instead face life and death issues of various hues, and sometimes wonder if they give right answers when asked directions to restrooms.

Chauvinism has dropped to a lower rung on the ladder of concerns. Back when, we men often were called chauvinists--usually with good reason. When women folk were really steamed, they added “pigs” to the “male chauvinist” label. And about all we did in response was “oink.”….

The topic came to mind recently when I was attempting to “go with the flow” on a busy Metroplex freeway. In front of me was a tow truck, and the sports allegiance of the owner was clear. The truck was painted in silver and blue--the very shades Jerry Jones uses throughout his sports empire where everything shouts “Dallas Cowboys.”

In fact, the trucker perhaps is able to avoid infringement issues by changing but one letter in his company’s name. He calls it “The Dallas Towboys.”

The name suggests, of course, that his drivers are male. Maybe he has a fleet of trucks, with an equal number bearing the name of “Dallas Towgirls,” but I doubt it….

Another truck--an 18-wheeler carrying precious cargo--had a warning message on the tail end.

It was meant to be sobering to anyone who might consider forcing it to the road side for examination of contents.

The sign read: “Two trips each month, a marksman ‘at the ready’ rides inside the cargo bay with an arsenal of automatic weapons. You guess which trips.”…

We old-timers, with teeth growing long enough to overlap, are able to see “signs” of generation gaps widening in day-to-day banter. Grandchildren regularly send us messages warranting exclamation points emphasizing the chasm between their world and ours.

I’ve been hearing lately that we of a certain age often are linked to the expression about “drawing lines in the sand.” Many of us--“dizzied” by technology whizzing past at warp speed--apply the expression to the use of cell phones. I admit to having drawn such a line several years ago upon surrendering to multiple naggings about getting a flip phone.  “I’ll go not one step further no matter how many bells and whistles they add to cell phones,” I bragged.

And I will NEVER cave in to texting. I’m making good on that promise, well, half-way. I do read MOST texts, but if I respond, it’ll be orally….

I digress. Recently, Addison, our youngest granddaughter who is nine, accompanied me to the grocery store. Upon arrival, I handed her my flip phone. “Call your mom to see if she needs us to pick up anything,” I suggested. Immediately, she handed it back to me gingerly, as if it might be radioactive.

“I don’t know how to use an old phone like yours,” she declared. At first, I felt a slight tingle of triumph. Obviously, I knew how to use something she didn’t!

Reality set in quickly, however, when I “did the math.” She was probably in diapers the last time “antique phones” like mine were in general use….

On the way home, I noticed a grimy-looking tanker truck. It was hauling sewage. A sign on the back read, “Keep Back. We Ain’t Haulin’ Whipped Cream.” Then, Addison asked, “What’s sewage?” Stumbling, I waxed rhetorical. “Wanna play Monopoly when we get home?” She did. And she won. And that’s okay….

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

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