Home Main Category Opinion Break-Up Checking, Critical Place Theory, Where’d That Elephant Come From?

Break-Up Checking, Critical Place Theory, Where’d That Elephant Come From?

"The Kid" - pounding out the words.

What’s the downside to falling asleep with your favorite Road Trip playlist running? You wake up with Greg Kihn’s “Break Up Song” Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah-ing through your little head.

Try calibrating your day to that one.

Up early and slashing through the morning budget, gauging the rising political tides (local, all local… calm down) and checking out “the wires” and offline interfaces for queries and news tips from the neighborhoods.

The chaos we saw on local roads yesterday finally abated, but not before one person was taken too soon and others were treated to very expensive tours of the American Health Care System. On that note, because it has local roots, we’ll say “Thank You” to The House for passing a bill capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for Medicare Part D participants and for others. We say this because, as caregivers for a parent dependent on the drug, we were often blindsided by the apparently arbitrary $435 price spikes for which the drug is known. We’d pony up, grinding our back molars and wondering what other people did when faced with such a bill, and thinking how absurdly broken health care is in this country.

Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah.

We’ve been identified as “fixers,” a subset of our species prone to spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about things that are broken and how to fix them. It’s a curse. It’s probably why we landed those caregiver gigs. So, along with the Greg Kihn riffs we were thinking about the re-emergence of polio in America, the politicization of our churches, political leaders who use the 5th Amendment like most people use breath mints. That kind of thing. And certainly preserving clean air and water is a worry as we still appear committed to fouling both and because they are, well, kinda necessary.

As amateur problem-solvers, we are pleased when like-minded people connect with us, offering suggestions for fixing brain-crinklers we’ve listed here and others we haven’t. Several folks seem to have adopted xeriscaping as a method of preserving water during a time of persistent drought and we like to see that, adopting the practice with some refinements many years ago. Others talk about crop allocation, renewable energy, crime (some trends surfacing there) and ways to combat opioid addiction – though we had thought Jared knocked that one down. No?

It’s a lot,

Change comes slow and can be hard for some but we can’t help but feel that it’s on its way – and that sluggish adopters may need to stand aside as we react to our most pressing problems, changing the way we live, build our homes, treat the land.

We’re already seeing some dire conditions present themselves in our state, with bodies of water receding to unprecedented levels and more calls to conserve. But will we? Some of us perhaps, but many more seem committed to buying bigger, badder trucks, machines that spew pollution and industries that keep investors happy.

Throw in a pandemic that seems to be doing its level best to figure us out and infect us – or at least keep us locked inside our homes for extended periods – and the old question: What’s the world coming to?” seems especially poignant. When the answer to that question includes the removal of important books from school libraries and a Christian political action committee calling itself Patriot Mobile Action (it’s probably just us, but we’re always suspicious of groups with names like that) driving the election of local political figures, we believe it’s time for Dorothy to click her ruby red slippers.

One issue we would like to see addressed pretty dang soon is that of population. Our production of little people looking just like us who grow up wanting those big smelly trucks and fast food is expected to reach 458 million by 2050 and – as we still hope to be around then – we’re wondering if something can be done to reduce our spreading footprint. We have to ask because, looking around, we don’t exactly seem to be having a positive effect on our planet.

We’re going to have to correct that trend and change our tune soon, we think, because:

…then the band slowed the tempo
And the music gets you down

It was the same old song
With a melancholy sound
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah

They don’t write ’em like that anymore
They just don’t write ’em like that anymore

And that will be the hardest break-up ever.


  1. I’d like to see tax incentives for nurses, paramedics, childless couples, people who “retire” their cars. I’d like to see reforestation efforts and changes to wasteful building practices. So much more

  2. We don’t just need fixers, God bless ’em. We need consensus. We are melting here, and there is no reverse gear in our lifetimes. Hell, we all witnessed that poor NY lawyer melting at the Four Seasons on live television.

  3. Road trip music? How ’bout:

    Trailers for sale or rent
    Rooms to let, 50 cents
    No phone, no pool, no pets,
    I ain’t got no cigarettes.

    Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
    Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
    I’m a man of means by no means
    King of the road

  4. Elephants. Now there’s a funny word. Elephants. Well, you’ve got your white elephants, most often experienced at family gift exchanges, your pink elephants most often experienced in the wee wee hours of the morning, and you’ve got the six blind men and the elephant parable. Given that you didn’t even attempt to identify the referenced elephant, I believe that is exactly the one we all see, from our various vantage points.

      • I wrote a paper referencing Malthus @ 1969 in high school. Not very good but that’s where my thoughts were a half century ago and yesterday. There is no sane reason that we can’t achieve an equilibrium of sorts except that’s not who we are as a species, as an organism. Malthus was wrong about this or that. Ehrlich, too. And yet we barrel along heedlessly, recklessly as though we are promised a tomorrow. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

  5. Just returned from a visit home in France and I can say the Loire River is no longer a river – it’s a ditch with a trickle of water in it. Barely enough to float a child’s sailboat. It is time to take corrective action.

  6. The birth rate is actually going down in some countries and people find that worrisome. I think it’s cause for celebration. I have read that the last time the planet was able to adequately support the number of people on it was just before World War I.

  7. Equilibrium isn’t even considered a desirable goal economically in mainstream academia or in the “business world”. It’s all about growth, expansion, increased market share of a growing pie. Westward ho! I can’t be very Concordian about any of it.

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