August 11, 2003

This evening, in a rare

This evening, in a rare 25-minute slot of free time, I sat down and watched an episode of the Andy Griffith show with my siblings. Everyone should have the opportunity to see this show at some time in their lives; even if they don't appreciate the fact that a show about decent people can actually be funny, it gives a good example of the way people used to think life should be like.

The one we watched tonight centered around a fairly personable hobo who hitched a ride into town on one of those things called trains. You know, they travel along tracks and try to run innocent cars down at intersections. Anyway, this hobo seemed to be fairly well-read; he made various references to evolution, oriental methods of horticulture, and the groundskeeping around Buckingham Palace. He also was acquainted with methods of extracting gumballs from gumball machines without using any shiny, round bits of metal. As the story goes, he runs into Andy and his son Opey while they are off fishing. A little while later, Barney picks him up on various small charges of loitering and jaywalking, and Andy, being the kindly sheriff that he is, lets him off the hook, since he's bound to be out of town before too long anyway. One thing leads to another, the hobo influences Opey to play hooky and fail to clean his bedroom, and Andy eventually convinces the amusing yet less-than-law-abiding vagrant to catch the next train out of town.

The character portrayal of the hobo startead me thinking. Here we have a fairly decent guy with a good sense of humor, a way with kids, who apparently knows how to read, and enjoys it. The only thing that's wrong with him is that his moral compass tends to point northeast instead of true north. If there ever were people like that who rode trains and stole apple pies from law-abiding citizens, they seem to have disappeared nowadays.

Until I realized that they haven't disappeared at all. See, a bunch of them got grants from the government and what all, and went to college. Most of them became Professors of Sociology and Applied Morality at Ivy League schools, but a few also decided to be Democrats and Socialists and confuse people in Washington and protest wars and things. Since they got to be so important, people assumed they'd had operations to get their compasses fixed, and started listening to them, instead of telling their kids important things like "Don't steal" and "Go to school so you can learn things". Thus we have people who think that since gumball machines don't use the money we give them, they don't need it. In fact, all the gumball machines really need is a nice pat on the head to make them feel worth-while.

And then they went around and told the kids that they could have as much sex as they wanted, as long as they didn't have babies or get sick. And if they do have babies or get sick, all they have to do is ask nicely and Uncle Sam will give them money to make all their troubles go away.

Then they told the parents that they'd better stop telling their kids what to do, since it's bad for the kids' self-esteem.

Then they told the big countries to make the little countries stop fighting, and the college students to make the big countries stop fighting, and the United Nations to make everybody stop fighting.

And then they decided that killing the little owls is bad, but laying off the people who cut down the trees and make money to feed their families is good, because then the little owls don't have to move to different trees.

And then they told all the little girls that they had to beat the boys at everything. And they told the little boys that they should stay home and watch the kids because it's more fun.

And then they told everybody that they would have more fun if they gave more money to the government so the government could think up fun things for them to do.

And thus the hoboes ruined the world.

Posted by Ardith at August 11, 2003 09:47 PM