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We used to talk about things we couldn't change — and we still do

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Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 2:51 pm, Fri Jul 9, 2010.

When I was a kid, there was as much politicking in the daytime eating establishments in Lodi as there is now.

The difference is simply the subject matter and the age of the persons engaged in the conversation. When we were kids, we talked about the kinds of kid stuff we couldn't change; now we talk about grown-up stuff we can't change.

Ironically, the people in both instances are still the same people. The other morning, a bunch of 75-year-old Lodi High punks were in the Avenue Café discussing such things as the installation of water meters, or why in the hell they are tearing up Lodi Avenue again for the 10th time, especially when they still pave over man-hole covers that they will hafta dig up again in another coupla weeks, and the handicap-based restructuring of the Grape Bowl and the finer details about what makes that issue an issue in this burg in the first place.

Fifty-plus years earlier, a bunch of us Lodi High punks were in a daytime restaurant plotting the havoc we were about to visit on Stockton High, its kids and its real property.

Far as the Grape Bowl is concerned, you can imagine the basic attitudes a bunch of growed-up squareheads had about having some out-of-town Jasper wanting to sue Lodi because he had a client that needed wheelchair access on or about those premises. Not all of us had animosity for the kid in distress. What we really wanted was to give that hustling lawyer a little "what fer."

It seems as though it was just yesterday when the younger high school girls, all dressed in their pastel prom dresses, at least I think they were prom dresses, came promenading down from the Grape Bowl east end zone, singing and swaying in time to the music and looking beautiful as they brought flowers and flat little bottles of booze to the girl graduates, who were all poised to listen to the words of wisdom from some great civic leader (yeah, I know!) as he threw his pearls of wisdom to a bunch of ungrateful brats who had not the foggiest notion what the man was talking about. Or cared, for that matter; celebration was on their minds. The distinguished speaker, however, was ego-convinced that taking his advice at commencement would make us into unmitigated successes if we would but act on every word of his verbal largess. ("Commencement." That seemed the wrong word to use at that time; after all, we had reached the end of our school careers, not the beginning.) I had almost as much schooling left to complete as I had already tolerated, and so did a lot of others.

I honestly thought I knew exponentially more then than I do now. Reminds me of the dad of a 16-year-old who wanted to sell his encyclopedia set: He said he didn't need it anymore because he had a kid who knew everything.

Ironically enough, as we age, we become more aware of the fact we don't know a damn thing. When I was little, I was pretty sure we could go out some clear night and accurately count the stars. I also thought there were only three kinds of tomatoes: Round ones, not-so-round ones and little ones. I talked to a tomato grower one day and he allowed as to how there are something like 400 varieties. Astrophysics guys suggest there are as many heavenly bodies as there are grains of sand on this planet. That boggles my mind, if you want yours really boggled, just go out, get a tablespoon of fine sand, pour it out on a table, count the grains in just that spoonful and then start multiplying.

These days, the Class of 1949 is still as close as ever and we still meet regularly to eat and complain about how fat we are becoming. And … we still know everything, or at least little things like how to run the country and Lodi.

Ironic, ain't it? We '49ers don't know anything, but we all agree we could run the country better than the guys who don't know anything either but think they do.

I think back to the times when we were in student clubs or in church groups. We would have meetings in which minutes were read. This could be a lot like this quote:

"The meeting was called to order by President Evangeline. The secretary's minutes were read and approved. The treasurer's report showed we have $14.26 in the bank. The president called for new or old business. Robert said he would like to borrow $67,000,000 from the bank to buy some ping-pong balls for the new table tennis set Mr. Schmidtsker left us when he died. The group voted to get the loan. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned."

This is what the people who are running the government are doing in comparison. Makes you wonder who the reckless ones really are.

Oh yeah, a full breakfast is running around 10 bucks these days. It was 75 cents in the 1940s. The conversation is still free and worth every penny of it.

Bob Bader is a writer who practices chiropractic. You can reach him at bobbyo@softcom.net.

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Welcome to the discussion.

9 comments:

  • posted at 10:59 am on Sat, May 22, 2010.

    Posts:

    And, who knows, just asking could be either brian or the kimono with one of their other many personalities who respond to their own nonsense, right sparky? LOL

     
  • posted at 10:57 am on Sat, May 22, 2010.

    Posts:

    Typical Lodi. Brian is back to his real name and although I don't agree with just asking, I guess his opinion isn't accepted as free speech. Kimono, brian and others just naively insult others or name call to assert their own shortcomings.

     
  • posted at 2:31 am on Sat, May 22, 2010.

    Posts:

    Sounds like JUST ASKING is the MORON in this story!!!!!

     
  • posted at 9:21 pm on Thu, May 20, 2010.

    Posts:

    retort: (noun) a severe, incisive, or witty reply, esp. one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc. Excellent retort, indeed! (actually falls quite short of the definition, since Jerome is so fond of definitions. Any five year old couldn't do better!! The two of you are quite the pair....I do have to give Mr. Bader credit for not blaming the poor disabled boy, unlike most of the commentators on the original story. He and his fellow "punks" were outraged, however, that an "out-of-town Jasper" had the nerve to sue Lodi because someone needed wheelchair access. Guess there are no Lodi "squareheads" that ever need wheelchair access...and if they did, they would obviously hire an attorney from Lodi to make sure they received all the rights to which Lodi "squareheads" are entitled.

     
  • posted at 8:43 pm on Thu, May 20, 2010.

    Posts:

    Brian - that was an excellent retort; bravo!

     
  • posted at 4:17 pm on Wed, May 19, 2010.

    Posts:

    justasking wrote on May 17, 2010 2:17 PM:" Why the LNS still publishes this moron's garbage just amazes me. "-Yep,The LNS did publish your comment. Moron.

     
  • posted at 6:29 am on Wed, May 19, 2010.

    Posts:

    "justasking" - how about not reading the column. I had to LOL when I read the "flat little bottles of booze". Those were the days.

     
  • posted at 1:43 pm on Tue, May 18, 2010.

    Posts:

    justasking - Talk about angry!Bob Bader is a highly respected Lodi resident who simply enjoys writing. I would think if you had something substantive to say about what he offered you'd at least be able to do it with a modicum of self-respect. If you have a real problem with his column, I might suggest that you lodge your dissatisfaction with the editors of the News-Sentinel; but I think you get more enjoyment doing it your way. Pity.

     
  • posted at 9:17 am on Mon, May 17, 2010.

    Posts:

    Why the LNS still publishes this moron's garbage just amazes me.

     

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