Monday, June 11, 2012

The Make-Itself Bed

I saw it on TV. I saw it on the Today Show. They now have a bed that actually can make itself for you. Isn't that amazing -- amazingly stupid?

I think it takes five minutes to make a bed. Ten if you're fussy and have a nice group of Teddy Bears to put on top. Come to think of it, even with the make itself bed you have to manually put the Teddies on yourself -- so what good is it?

We have park itself cars, tell you where to go navigational systems, make itself beds, meals in a bag (you do still have to set a tiomer and push the start button on your microwave), movies on your phone. What's next?

We complain bitterly that the next generation doesn't have the work ethic of their mothers and fathers. I think it;s like today's music -- we always complain about the upcoming generation and fear for the future. It's the job of the present (my kids) and the past (me) to do that. But the fact is that, in our benign efforts to make lives better for our offspring, we promote laziness. We hand the young entertainment in a box alongside a happy meal. This is observation; I offer no solutions to the problem. I think the solution begins at home, one on one or two on one: parents have to instill a work ethic into their children, a sense of reality predicated on the simple truth that youy have to earn anything you get, be it respect, love, trust, or an iPhone.

But there is another issue. There are people in Amnerica who cannot afford things like iPhones, make itself beds, park itself cars. They can barely afford a happy meal, but go that route when regular nutricious food costs even more. They are bombarded by the ads and social pressures to consume, consume, consume, just like the rest of us, but are expected to grab their share of the American Dream without the means. One in six Americans live below the poverty line -- which is $22,350 total income for a family of four. $22,350. If one member of the family has a job paying $7.75 per hour, which is the high end of minimum wage, he or she would have to work 55 hours a week just to get there. Someone working full time, 40 hours a week, at $10 per hour, for a full year would fall $350 short. No wonder families fall apart. No wonder one in four children in the United States goes to bed hungry every night.

But we have beds that make themselves now. We have newscasters who talk about bargain homes for sale around the country, or harp on how much you have to save in ordfer to afford being retired. We have a movement circulating that wants to destroy unions, one of the few organizational groups that tries to protect worker wages. We have an ever growing schism between those who struggle and those who don't -- and the number of those who struiggle who still believe in the American Dream is bound to shrink. Can we say "disconnect?"

So now will hotels and motels invest in self-making beds so they can fire their maids and save that minimum wage? After all, maids don't take vacations -- they can't afford it.

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