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NOT FOR NUTHIN’: We’ve got rules, rules and more rules

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Okay, I didn’t mind when they banned smoking in restaurants. I didn’t balk at the ban against smoking in bars and I certainly agreed with a smoke-free zone in hospitals. But now they’ve crossed the line. No trans fats in restaurants, no jumping out a second-story building with a parachute (what about without one?) and no walking or talking with a cell phone or iPod while crossing the street. How much more can we be policed? When did we become a nation that has lost its ability to use common sense and common courtesy to rule our everyday lives or the humor to laugh at ourselves? I grew up in a house where you couldn’t touch the knick- knacks in the china closet. My mom didn’t take them away to avoid the temptation—she just didn’t allow me to touch them. They were always out in plain view so I had to learn the necessary self-control to stay away. These days it has become the vogue to childproof your house…I did it myself when my daughter was young. I don’t mean the usual safety measures, such as plugging outlets, or keeping harmful chemicals away from toddlers. I mean putting your valuable and treasured items away until little junior or missy moves away to college. We have taught this generation that it is not necessary to control oneself or to use good judgment. Our elected officials will protect us from ourselves and our stupidity by drafting supercilious rules to keep us in line. In short, we have taken the common out of common sense. Recently, I tuned into a talk radio station and listened to the personalities debate the commercials that were aired on the Super Bowl telecast. One in particular enraged several groups with its insensitivity. I bet you will never guess which one. It was the Snickers spot—that’s right, a candy bar. Two men are dressed in mechanics clothes and are each eating the same Snickers. When they reach the middle of the bar they kiss, and then just to prove they are manly men, they pull out their chest hairs. Offensive? I don’t think so—just stupid. To make matters worse, the PR people have filmed four alternate endings, each with a different sort of manly response (each one dumber than the next). Viewers are then asked to choose which one will air during the Daytona 500 race coming up. However the candy company that manufactures Snickers, Mars, Inc., has been inundated with letters, e-mails, text messages and complaints from various gay and lesbian groups throughout the country. Not exactly what they were hoping for. The common thread of the complaints are that this homophobic commercial and its various endings promote gay bashing, violence against gays, and that it’s not right to kiss a man. In one instance, a blogger insinuates that Mars, Inc., is a right-wing Republican funder that uses its profits to support the Republican party. And one blog actually states that “…feel compelled to counter by doing something ‘manly,’ like tearing off a bit of one’s chest hair, aka manscaping for Neanderthals.” Now, if you watch TV you already know that Geico has dissed the Neanderthals enough. Ever since their commercials first appeared, “Cave Men” everywhere are up in arms over the insensitivity of Geico and are boycotting the insurance company, as well as seeking psychiatric help for their persecution anxieties. Do we really need more laws? Common sense and common courtesy should be taught in the home. Parents need to teach by living it day to day, not the enacting of silly rules that waste taxpayers’ money and the time it takes to think them up. If we treat others as we would want to be treated, we wouldn’t need the Politically Correct Police (PCP). If we respected each other’s property, we wouldn’t need law enforcement agents ticketing us for littering. If we respected our bodies, we wouldn’t need to ban trans fats or smoking. A wise editor once said, “If we cannot learn to laugh at ourselves, then we are surely in trouble. Once an issue becomes so overwhelming that we can only deal with it in anger, suspicion or fear, it is then that we are defeated and have lost all hope.” And most important, if we used common sense, we wouldn’t be jumping out of tall buildings with a parachute. E-mail “Not for Nuthin’” at JoannaD@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.

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