2008-01-17 / Sam Bari

Still writing three years later

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

As difficult as it is to believe, dear readers, we are celebrating the end of yet a third year of "You can't beat a system you can't understand" in the Jamestown Press. After 156 issues, it's still fun to write. 2007 was interesting. We talked a bit about how to lose fat, invaders from outer space, and the differences between the sexes.

A few columns were devoted to my formative years and my erstwhile gang of ne'er-do-well friends who managed to grow up and survive despite the challenges of a complex world.

A few of those kids did more in their childhood than many people do in a lifetime. They lived their lives to the fullest. Every day was an adventure and an opportunity, and they enjoyed each moment as if it were their last. I will never forget any of them or their memorable antics.

Stories about the short-lived career of the Hornsickle Stubfester Soggy Mountain Band, the great circus adventure, Frightenstein and Count Laughula, and visits from Santa managed to resurrect fond memories. For the most part, those were good times.

This year is shaping up to be even better. 2008 promises to be well worth remembering. A few more tall tales need to be told about the good old days that are rattling around in fading memory banks. And, I do believe we have some current issues, events, and developing situations that should be addressed. The Googlamaniacs are poised at their computers to research all that sparks our interest, and the space guys will observe the goofy side of life on planet Earth from afar.

I imagine a good portion of the year will be devoted to political developments as the frantic race for elected office heats up. Yup - there is no doubt about it, the oval office is gonna have a new occupant.

The armies of candidates and their supporters are on the march, moving across the country shaking hands, hurling mud, kissing babies, and making non-specific promises. Don'tcha just love it?

"Desperate Housewives" and the soap operas will have to take a back seat to the greatest show on earth. Nothing offers more drama than election time in America. The issues are many, the platforms are shaky, and the candidates are grasping for solutions to age-old problems that can no longer be ignored.

The most frightening moment for the candidates, however, will be experienced by the winner. Whoever wins this tight race for the presidency is going to have a rude awakening at the end of the victory trail. That unfortunate person is going to be in charge of cleaning up the mess left by the last administration and its predecessors. I do not wish that job on anybody.

Some of the country's problems have been passed down from one administration to the next for generations. That's a long time to be passing the buck. Just putting the country back on track so it can function properly will be a formidable task.

Nonetheless, we shouldn't beat up on our administration too much. Trying to please everyone in the nation must be frustrating at best, and the people in office do that for a living. We should be grateful for those who are willing to dedicate their lives to public service.

Instead, we'll continue to look at "problems light" and try to laugh at ourselves a little. That's kinda like laughing at the system anyway. Lest we forget, we made it. And we elected the people who run it. When things sometimes go awry, maybe the administration should be laughing at us. We chose them - it was not the other way around.

Whoever is elected to the presidency and the many other offices that need to be filled, let's show them some support. Let them know how we feel and what we want, in a civilized fashion, and try to help find solutions instead of just complaining. They need and deserve all the help they can get. Try to remember, we live pretty well when we compare life in America to the rest of the world. The alternatives are not that attractive. Enough said.

So, Jamestown - thank you for another wonderful year. I appreciate your kind letters and words. We'll do our best to continue to elicit a laugh or two as we observe life in a system we can't understand.

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