Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Things I Don't Get

As you might tell from the pic that accompanies this space, my age isn't necessarily the best thing about me. I have a good number of older friends, and so am aware of all the things I have to look forward to physically, but I try hard not to say things that sound "old". How old am I? Old enough to recall Eisenhower, Little Stevie Wonder, The Cuban Missile Crisis, and Annette Funicello, if that helps. But I'm also young enough to know that admitting you don't "get" something is like admitting you already have one foot in geezerdom. Personally, I don't think you have to be as old as Andy Rooney to confess that some things, popular though they may be, just don't make sense. And since no one's paying me, it's not like I must claim never to be surprised at anything in order to keep my pundit's license.
Take rap, for instance. I know that rap is connected to hiphop, and that almost every rapper has a name spelled with "Z"'s. Beyond that, I don't know what makes one rapper succeed and another fail. Nor do I have a clue why rappers would use big nasty weapons on each other. I bet many of you are in the same boat, but are afraid to admit it.
NASCAR is hugely popular, but I don't really understand why. I'm told that watching a NASCAR race is very stimulating to the senses, but that fact just doesn't carry over into TV, where I would watch a race if there was only one channel working. I only reluctantly concede that NASCAR drivers are athletes in a general kind of way. I don't believe that Dale Earnhardt takes over for God when the latter goes on vacation.
See how easy it is to admit your ignorance of things others may consider earth-changing? I also don't understand much about real estate. The money required to own a home in this smaller west coast city is, to me, breathtaking. What got you a pretty fine home back in the midwest might get you a shack here, even though wages here seem pretty modest. True, we've also been about 50 degrees warmer lately than the folks back in the Frost Belt. Think there's any connection?
Internet marketing leaves me puzzled about how certain items can be sold via mouse click. Don't you have to try on a pair of shoes before buying them? And how can used cars be sold this way? Or used anything, for that matter? I suppose used things are like people - they don't have to seem attractive to everyone, just to someone.
In fact, business in general isn't really my strong suit. Sure, the object is to end up with more money than you had last year, hopefully without making new enemies or skipping all the little fees that go with commerce. But who do you hire, who do you fire, who do you promote and who do you really trust? Those, and a hundred others, are business questions for some kind of capitalist Solomon, not me. All I can say is that, like Edison, I've found about a thousand methods of not generating a profit and so I must salute those with the ability to turn a dollar without appearing to work too hard.
At the top of the list of things I don't get is homosexuality. I'm wired the other way, but it's not so much a lack of experience as just a lack of understanding. I know they've been around forever, and that they can come from everywhere and from any family. I know no one would choose to be gay, since it must complicate lives way past what most people are used to, not to mention making life more dangerous. I know that people can and do hide this tendency, as is their right. But if it's genetic, then wouldn't it show up more in certain populations more than others? Or in both identical twins? Why do some societies seem to deal with it more easily than others? I remember a book from many years ago entitled "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask". Perhaps the gay version would also be a big seller. But then again, a good businessman probably already has that project under way.


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