Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trust me on this....

  When I was growing up in Millville, telephones were connected to wires in the living room, and you only used them if you needed to talk to someone, or kill a big spider. Indoor games consisted of folded cardboard, some cards, and a few pieces of pot metal or plastic. Absent of much store bought equipment, we mostly made up our outside games and entertainment as we went along. I don’t think it took quite as much to amuse us back then.

  My brothers and I spent a lot of time down at the creek, catching minnows, crawdads, and snakes. It seemed like a lot of fun then. It doesn’t sound so inviting now.

 Sometimes, one our sisters would want to tag along, and since we could always use an extra set of hands on the homemade gunny-sack seine, or an extra set of feet driving the quarry into it, we graciously consented.

Now it happened that in between the house and the creek was a barn lot, and surrounding the barn lot was an electric fence wire that kept the cows in that lot. It didn’t take much for the younger boys to crawl under it, or for the older boys to jump over it, but the cows, who occasionally brushed against the wire, seemed a little wary of it. Our sisters, who apparently had either witnessed an unfortunate cow making contact, or who remembered Dad’s warning not to touch the wire, shared the cows’ wariness.

  On one occasion, our little sister Mariellen asked to join us on our adventure, and being the good big brother, I promised that I would help her get under the fence. I had her get down and start crawling about ten feet before we reached it, and every time she asked if it was safe to get up and walk, I replied “not yet.” About a hundred yards later, everybody, except Mariellen, had a good laugh when she finally crawled up to the bank of the creek. I don’t think she ever trusted me quite as much after that.

  Trust is funny like that. We’re all born with it, and we all need a certain amount of it, but as we get a little older and wiser, we learn that it’s safer to temper our trust with some of the same wariness those cows had for that electric fence.

 People trust different things. There’s a woman on the other side of town that does psychic readings out of a room in the back of her garage. I always figured that if she was really psychic, she would have a nicer office, but apparently enough people trust her enough that she can afford to keep the neon sign turned on out front. And even if she was really psychic, I think it would be hard to be right 100% of the time. I imagine there are some people who used to trust her that don’t so much anymore.

  Some people put a lot of trust in the government. I’m not really sure why. The people who run the government are just folks, just like you and me, except that we don’t know them and they don’t know us. Getting elected doesn’t automatically give them greater insight into how you should run your life, or how you should plan for your retirement, or what it takes to create real job for you, or what kind of health insurance you should or shouldn’t buy.

  Given the mess the government is in, I think more and more people have been trusting it a little bit less in the last few years, and I think even more will trust it even less in the next few years. And that’s not a bad thing. Maybe we can start to put a limit the things we trust government to do, and maybe we can start trusting ourselves to make more of our own decisions again, instead of trusting the politicians to make those decisions for us.

   After all, it’s not like they’re psychic or anything.



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