The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. However, you can’t fix stoopid! So heed this: It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men…

I was walking down the street lugging my malfunctioning RCA radio, desperately seeking a repair shop to fix its 5-disc-changer. And this lady stops me to inquire: Do you repair those things?

“Do I look that competent?” I snorted.

She didn’t care. She just wanted to know if I could repair her radio, also.

But of course!

Alas, alack. At the radio and TV supply store they informed me that not only do they NOT repair radios, they don’t even know who does, anymore. And it’ll probably be ‘cheaper’ just to buy another one.

Cheaper to buy new? But at its purchase I was told this one would outlive my grandchildren. You mean I was ‘misinformed?’ By a salesperson? A pox on her pretty, pouty-lipped face… nestled atop those luscious moguls.

What was I thinking?

Hmm…

Nevertheless, I have no intention of throwing this once wonderful entertainment center out. I think they call that recycling. I had already disassembled the disc changer looking for anything obvious. But obviously I had no idea what I was looking for. Sort of like peeking at the interconnected complexity under a car hood these days.

And as I was departing the radio supply store with a tad more than my usual irritation, another pedestrian eyed my silver and black, cubic-foot plastic contraption hugged in both arms. He sought to know if ‘they’ repaired radios in there.

“’They’ don’t repair radios anywhere!” I was practically bellowing. “Not here, there…Nowhere!”

“It’s a shame,” he lamented. “Nobody wants to do that kind of work anymore.”

“Look, buddy,” I snapped back. “Apparently nobody wants to do ANY kind of work anymore. Except watch football and play poker…”

Hmm…

All I can wonder: If nobody is able to fix one little component of my radio-cassette-disc enlightenment center how is anyone able to fix any of the malfunctioning parts of this big dysfunctional country?

Hmm… Like America’s broken health care system.

It used to be said that the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. And that doesn’t mean only faults in government, but all of our faults – like my radio. It just takes people with inquiring minds to fix things.

We’ve really got to stop looking to Washington to fix our problems. It obviously doesn’t have the ability to do that. People who are successful are not successful because of the president.

Like Amar Bose.

For you idiots who missed it – no doubt too absorbed in the inanity of preseason football — Amar Bose, the acoustic innovator and founder of the Bose Corporation, died last July.

At age 13, to help support his family during the constraints of WWII, he started a business repairing radios. It grew to be one of the largest in Philadelphia. Later, when he was disappointed in the sound quality of an expensive radio to listen to his beloved classical music, he ended up creating the new wave Bose speaker system that revolutionized our listening pleasure.

All he apparently possessed was an insatiable curiosity.

Hmm…

Most of us hoi polloi believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, engineers like Bose believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough of the right features yet.

 Hello out there. Can anybody get their head out of texting, or FaceBook or a TV jockstrap long enough to recognize that if something can be constructed by man, it can be repaired by man.

There’s only one exception: You can’t fix stoopid.

And we’ve all gotten fat, ugly, dumb and very stooooopid! After burping and slurping three consecutive, repetitive and redundant pig skin games our brains ought to be declared ‘flat-lined.’ As in: No life-signs. No discernible activity. We serve little more purpose than to over-work our sewerage pipes.

Look, a passive, bored, idled and easily distracted mind is why we’ve got the government we deserve.

It’s not that I completely subscribe to the old adage that ‘necessity’ is the mother of all invention. It is my shallow opinion that invention also arises directly from idleness, as well as laziness — to save oneself trouble.

Also there is downright boredom. It breeds mischief. But mischief ain’t all bad. At least it requires effort.

What confounds ancient mariners like me is how can folks not-mind properly expending the precious little moment of time we have? How can we not live as if every day is our last; or learn as if we are going to live forever?

I mean, snip the bloody, damn over-priced cable cord and try something… anything cognitive. Like cooking real food. Or dissecting your broken door bell. Or figuring out how to change your own flat tire….That’s how the world works: On man’s curiosity.

Worse yet, look at the price we’ve paid for our resignation into stoopidity. As a 74-year-old friend and longtime casino poker dealer put it: We’ve got a future generation of ill-mannered, socially inept, self-absorbed boors, hunkering their 21-year-old butts around the Vegas poker tables.

Hmm…

What are the odds of becoming an NBA player? No doubt far better than winning the World Series of Poker.

Years back I tried to impress on my children — before they grew too old to still be hating me — that buying something never leads to true happiness. But repairing something… now that truly leads to satisfaction. Even more satisfying than the night each of them was conceived. For not only have you gained knowledge, but you have accomplished something more than a couple of sons who, though into their 20s, still blame you for ruining their Xmas…and Chanukah – all eight days.

But of course!

It’s not even a secret to earless snakes and blind bats that we have been long living in a disposable, consumer society. Easier to throw things out than to fix them. That is until – and probably soon forthcoming — most products will be too costly to purchase. Then who will be able to capitalize on repairing stuff? There, no doubt, will be a thriving market in the sale of books on how to fix them.

To prepare for this forthcoming doom to our world of instant gratification it seems we’ve got to exploit an old-fashion antidote. Otherwise known as first-hand experience.

Because of today’s ease and fast-pace kids get bored too easily. What they need is to get out and get their hands dirty: make things, dismantle things, fix things. Like we once did in primary school with vocational education.

Perhaps it would provide a measure of remedy to our failing school system. You know, make education fun and simple again. Donate our broken appliances and equipment for repair. Kids can then be taught science, math, physics, electronics along with classroom-workshop experience. They learn to not only understand how the world works, but also how to fix it…repair it…make it bigger, better and simpler.

Like the old saw goes: It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

I’ve long concluded that the world is not that complicated. It is the neglect of timely repair that complicates the operation of what is vital and necessary. Like our personal health, as well as our bridges, roads and the rest of our infrastructure.

In reality, nobody’s going to fix the world for us. But working together, making use of technological innovations and human communities alike, we might just be able to fix it ourselves.

Maybe.

But no matter.

At the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself and your actions. And that’s all you can control. So rather than be frustrated with what you can’t control, try to fix the things you can.

What we’ve heard too often before – especially from our government and its politicians – is that: ‘Things are bad, we are gonna fix them.’ Yet they remain unfixed. Like my radio. Until I finally figure it out myself. Or get help.

All I can say is that after my last future-ex took just about everything, there is one advantage to having nothing — it never needs repair.

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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