Going Soft

Reports from the Independence Day weekend have come in. While the majority of us enjoyed a great home made BBQ sauce or time with friends – I noticed a small trend.

One person informed me that while at a parade people no longer threw candy to the crowd, but walked the route with a basket for the opportunity to pick up some candy. Someone almost got one on the eye the year before.

Another person reported to me that their community would not be having fireworks, not because of the cost of the production, but because of insurance and litigious matters. As it turns out, this is the case for several communities that once held small fireworks programs.

Finally, for the fifth year in a row Takeru Kobayashi of Japan won Nathan’s Famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. The most an American has been able to eat is a mere 32 compared to the Japanese superiority of 53 ½ dogs. That’s a 21.5 hot dog gap they hold over us.

What has become of us as Americans? We have become soft. Our concern for the safety and protection over every detail of our lives keeps us locked away from our full potential. When we have the smallest of bar room brawls, incident with oncoming traffic, or contamination from a manufacture that didn’t test the materials before putting a product to market, our knee jerk reaction is to call a lawyer. What is that about? Shouldn’t we take a little responsibility for reading what is on the package, looking both ways, or not asking someone’s mom at Chucky Cheese how much she charges for the hour? Maybe it’s just me, a lesson I learned from being pelted by candy from the entire high school varsity baseball team while eating dozens of hotdogs under a sky of burning ash from fireworks.

When listening to Live 8 this weekend on XM radio (because MTV sucks – covering the event like a news station rather then showing the performances – my Lord what money grubbing scum with all those commercials) I paused to remember that we have it really good. When I walk through airports and see men and women of the military – I make a point to say “thank you for your service” if it does not interrupt them from the hugs and kisses of their loved ones. It is obvious when standing next to a hero that my dough boy build is by Pillsbury and not by the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard. Maybe it’s a little too comfortable around here.