A few odd bits and pieces

I don’t look in the mirror much.  I never remember to do it before I dash out the door.  I stand in front of it to brush my teeth and hair but I don’t really look at myself.  When I do, I don’t at all look like the person I think I am.

Today, catching sight of myself, I thought, "Oh, look, my nose is bigger.  I didn’t think it would look like that as I aged." 

I was completely prepared for my nose to be larger; only the shape surprised me.  Noses and ears, my friends, grow all your life. I remember looking at my grandmother, who wore her long white hair swept up in a bun, and thinking that her ears were very large. She wore large button earrings, the screw or clip on kind, for ‘only Gypsies and street women pierce their ears" she once told me. But her earrings, white or pink mostly, were about the size of a quarter and clipped nicely onto her earlobes.  Which had grown along with her ears.  Perhaps I should go look at her portrait and see if my nose resembles hers.

Today in Mass, one of the readings was about the Ten Commandments.  As I listened today, it came to me that the one that admonished us to rest every seventh day was probably a revolutionary idea.  It was addressed not just to the Chosen People, but to everyone in their households.  Wives, sons, daughters, servants and slaves, work animals and even aliens living with them were to rest on the seventh day.  It seemed to me that that stipulation might be a real indication that God Himself made up the rules.  What human would be so kind hearted as to say, "Rest is not just for me.  It’s for my slave and my servant, for my wife, even for my donkey and my ass."

Jesus let us know that it was okay to do things that had to be done. If your ass falls into a pit on the sabbath, it’s okay to take immediate action to get him out.  And many people who work on the Sabbath are doing it only because they have their ass in a crack and have to find a way to get it out. 

I can remember when most stores were closed on Sunday.  Just as banks and the post office are still.  What if we all planned ahead that little bit and everyone had Sunday off?  What would change in our world as things slowed down that little bit.

I wonder if I can learn how to have a true Sabbath again.  I think I’m going to try.

And finally, reading my Sunday paper today, I first read an article about all the things that my state needs to do, and how much money they will cost. Next to it was a list of ways to add taxes and how much the state could expect to gain from each.  How much from hiking up cigarettes another dollar, how much from doubling estate taxes and how much from taxing chewing gum. 

Then there was an article about the bailout and where all the big dollars are going.

A few pages later, there was an article about student loans.  Horrible things in there.  It’s the only loan that not even a bankruptcy can erase.  Some people mentioned would pay back more than a hundred thousand dollars in interest alone, according to this article.

Hm, says I. What if we took all those big dollars and instead of putting them at the top of the pyramid, we put them at the bottom.  What if everyone’s student loan was suddenly just forgiven?    Oh, I know we’d have to make up rules.  Maybe each person had to pay back at least the principal, but no interest. 

But if every one of those households suddenly had that payment money back in their budgets, what might happen?  Pay off credit cards?  Buy consumer goods? Buy an American car?  Buy a house?

I think this is a worthy idea and I’m going to find a way to get it out there. Amnesty for student loans.  If the Federal Government wants to put those millions and billions to good use, that would be a great place to start. 

It’s not unheard of.  My spousal unit and I got student loans from the state of Alaska. Part of the deal was that if we came back to Alaska after we graduated, for every year we lived and worked in the state, a portion of our loan was forgiven.  The idea was to make educated people want to live in Alaska.  It worked, for many years.  (and I often wish I still lived there!)

I think it’s an idea with merit.

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  • I don’t know if students going to universities which are expensive enough to require loans are really the bottom of the pyramid. They’re more like the blocks that are being built to replace the upper levels of the pyramid. The true bottom are the millions of people who don’t begin to meet the entrance requirements to the university system regardless of money and who have been groomed by the system to work the menial jobs of society which truly does make up the bottom level on which the rest of society is built.

    I have no sympathy for anyone who racks up a massive interest debt on a student loan. No one forced them to agree to the terms of the loan, that’s a contract they entered into on their own and they should have to follow it. These kids think they’re so smart going to universities and think they’re better than people who don’t, so then I think they should be smart enough to handle their own finances and avoid falling into debt. If anything I would like to see the penalties for failure to pay increased to include prison time.

  • erikh says:

    I think you have some very peculiar ideas about both students and student loans.

    As grant money has evaporated, the competition for scholarships has greatly increased.

    Students who have grades good enough to be accepted by a university but not good enough to win a scholarship and don’t have rich parents take out student loans to go to school. This is not a statement by them that they are ‘better’ than anyone else. Usually it leads to them being ‘broker’ than anyone else.

    Often they take whatever loans they can get because they really want to be a teacher or a nurse. I personally know two young women who will emerge from college in debt because they sought those two careers. I have only admiration for them. As for becoming ‘blocks’ at the top of a pyramid. . . a nurse? A teacher? I don’t think so.


  • There’s a group on Facebook with this very idea. My wife and I are still working to pay off loans from years ago and now my daughter and I have more loans to make up the difference for the college she’s attending. She received lots of music scholarships but college and textbooks are so overpriced. We do lie to have our citizens in debt in this country. Think of the bookstores and authors I could be sending my money to, if I wasn’t paying down loans.

    I’ve yet to find a good mirror that reflects how I see myself.

  • You’re right.

    Reflecting back on it, the reason why I made such an ignorant comment like that is I really don’t know much about the demographics of who is getting student loans. However, I do know someone on my friends list here is going to school to be a nurse and it’s only like $1,400 per semester. But really the only person I’ve “known” to have gotten a student loan is Nancy Grace, the rich lawyer who has her own show on CNN. She mentions it on occasion how she had massive student loans she had to pay off after law school, so I had that idea in my mind that mostly rich people like Nancy Grace got loans.

    When it comes to anything related to universities I feel a lot of anger. I’ve never had a job that paid over $7.50 an hour, and everyone who has graduated college who I talk to even think $10 an hour jobs are low paying. So I was just thinking emotionally, not logically. That’s why it’s so cool that you blog, because as an elder of society you have a massive storehouse of wisdom that you can share and instill in the younger generations and make us see things in a wiser light.

  • jadeilyn says:

    The idea of being able to do necessary things on the Sabbath does not originate with Jesus. It has always been encouraged, if not required, to address emergencies.

    As for what a modern society that honored a day off would look like, watch for it the next time you return to France. Most establishments are closed on Sundays. This includes supermarkets, many restaurants, department stores and many other establishments. It’s not absolute, as necessary functions are still running and often things like cinemas and museums are open, but the pace of life there on a Sunday is much slower.

  • robin_hobb says:

    Australia is, strange to say, another place that observes Sunday closures. Religiously, I might say, for a country that seems to consider itself not very religious.

    I had two experiences of this the time I want to a convention there. The first was that the convention was over the Easter weekend. Restaurants were not allowed to open or serve food on those days. I could only get a meal from my hotel because I was a registered guest there.

    And I made the mistake of thinking I could wait until the Sunday before I left to buy some sourvenirs. Nope. All closed up tight on Sunday.