Monday, June 9

Don't try this at home.

For anyone who was hoping that maybe I'd start making better choices now that I've turned 30, it's probably worth relating one of the details of the birthday party/drinking binge held at the Blue Monkey this past Saturday night. The very last memory I have of that night is of two drinks sitting in front of me: a tequila shot and a partially-consumed glass of Scotch.

I, uh, don't recommend it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's going on in America now?
By Dink NeSmith | Commentary | Story updated at 12:11 AM on Saturday, May 31, 2008

America, home of the free and the brave, is losing the war. I'm not talking about our $3-billion-a-week fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's another debate, as is our futile attempt to guard our porous borders against illegal immigration. And as for the War on Drugs, there's no sign of the enemy waving a white flag.
If those Big 3 don't make you reach for the antacids, how about these? The Middle East has tightened its headlock on us in the past eight years by spiking the price of oil from $27 per barrel to $135. We yelped during the 1973 oil embargo, but since then we've stuck our heads in the sand. No solution is in sight.
And then there is the mortgage meltdown fueled by three greedy co-conspirators: unqualified borrowers, undisciplined lenders and Wall Street, which peddled the shoddy goods to investors. How can the collective genius of America be so dumb?
We have no one to fault but ourselves. Unfortunately, I don't hear solutions being offered in the presidential campaign. Instead, we see political posturing and finger-pointing. There's enough blame to shame both the Democrats and Republicans. I am disgusted with our national leadership.
I am also worried about our electorate - you and I. America is getting lopsided. Fewer people are producing and paying taxes. More and more contribute nothing to support the system, yet they expect the most. One-half of Americans pay no income tax. The top 5 percent of wage earners pay 80 percent of income taxes collected, and the Democratic candidates are pledging to tax that group even more. Where's the logic to whipping the horse pulling the wagon, while freeloaders pile on?
In 1607, John Smith explained it best in Jamestown: "You don't work, you don't eat." Somewhere along our journey, America got off the path. I will be the first to help those who can't, but I have faint compassion for those who won't. Laziness should not be rewarded with entitlements.
We must break the chain of generation after generation believing America owes them something. Talk about a battle worth fighting. And here's one idea to fire the first shot - every 18-year-old is required to spend two years working to build a better America. Just like the old draft days, students would be granted college deferments. Otherwise, the mentally and physically healthy would be obligated to serve in the military or some form of civil duty. But all would undergo a boot camp experience.
Simple life lessons of personal hygiene, physical fitness, self-discipline, verbal communication, time management, employable job skills and public service would be the foundation of the effort. Few would tote a rifle, but all would be engaged in cleaning up our attitudes and our country. The crisis-stricken people of Myanmar and China deserve our benevolence. But pick a town, any town, within our 50 states, and you'll find nightmarish needs.
As a global leader, we cannot turn our back on the world. But if we are to survive, we must start drilling deeper into our own problems. Otherwise, the terrorists will continue smiling. They know that with the American way, all things, including self-destruction, are possible. Every day, I wonder: What are we thinking?
Come on, America!
• NeSmith is president and co-owner of Community Newspapers, Inc., an Athens-based group of southeastern newspapers. Send e-mail to
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 053108