Being on vacation affords one the opportunity to lounge around and relax or perhaps to do things that the regular humdrum of a work-a-day schedule preempts. It also affords the opportunity to watch a lot of TV that one might otherwise not see, and an examination of these shows reveals a sad fact. People have surrendered their ability to think to the experts. I watched Good Morning America and was told that it is dangerous to decorate the house for Christmas, that eating too much was unhealthy and that my pet needs a new wardrobe because—and I quote—”if I am cold, my pet is cold.”
I have been putting up Christmas decorations for more years than I care to mention and I have had my share of near-accidents. The tree has fallen over more than once (in fact one year it fell over three times) over the years. Thankfully the tree never caught fire. I have climbed on several different roofs of different pitches and almost fell on a few occasions. But I never did. Why? Because I was careful and I knew it was dangerous to be on a roof.
And seriously, do I need a doctor to tell me that eating too much is bad for me? Anyone who has eaten during the holidays and suffered the tale of the scale afterwards knows full well the cost of overeating. The last thing I need is some TV doctor (and I use the term loosely) telling me the obvious. Besides, you could hire the surgeon general to personally come to my house and critique every bite I take and I will not stop nibbling on that turkey or skip that second piece of pumpkin pie.
I’m not even going to delve into the mentality of people who dress dogs in outfits. But to assert that a dog needs an outfit because it is cold outside either shows the depths that marketers will sink to lie to the public to get a sale or it shows how stupid people are. Dogs have a freakin fur coat! This keeps them warm in the winter. This is how they were designed. This is why they never developed clothing for themselves. They don’t need us dressing them.
This illustrates a problem with people. Everyone assumes that every decision should only be made by experts. People hire contractors to decorate and renovate their houses and take their car to the shop for routine maintenance. Now I realize that many do this for the convenience rather than because they don’t know how, but the effect is the same. People lose the ability to do things on their own. People hire services to hang Christmas lights and walk their dogs and cook their food in their own house so much that they no longer know how to do it themselves.
Why do we assume others know better than we about our lives? Granted a doctor goes to school for 12 years while a lawyer does 8 and both work hard to get their credentials and we should respect those credentials, but not to the exclusion of our free will. In many cases, these learned experts have no more a clue than you or I and often find themselves at odds with their own peers. This is why people should always get second opinions on serious decisions.
Once was a time that a man built his own house with timber he cut himself. Women sewed and mended all the clothes the family wore. Dads taught their sons how to fix the family car. Moms taught their kids how to cook and clean. This self reliance is a dying breed and will soon be extinct, replaced by the contractor labor force. Once our society truly crumbles and we find ourselves in the apocalypse, those of us who learned how to built things and cook things and do things for ourselves will thrive and those who have never swung a hammer or flipped a burger or walked their own dog will find themselves out in the cold and sitting in front of a dead television set waiting to be told what to do next.