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September 5, 2001


Column
By Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
September 5, 2001

R&R courtesy of the tax rebate
A friend of mine in graduate school at Clemson - a smart woman and an excellent student named Christa - would every once in a while declare that she needed a "mental health day" and would take a break from her busy schedule to sleep, read, and whatever else she felt was needed to help her take a step back and get her life into perspective.
Recharging and rejuvenating physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually - wherever there is burnout - and re-connecting with people important to you, that's the idea.
Well, I got my tax rebate check recently and, with Christa's "mental health day" in mind, I've decided to put it into savings momentarily, then use it for a short trip to Charleston and the beach in October. A couple of days off from work, good food, good company, hopefully good weather at the tail end of hurricane season, and time to walk on the beach and through the streets of Charleston. It may sound to some like a frivolous way to put my tax rebate to use, but to me it sounds like a good plan, "mental health days" I'm looking forward to.
So that's my plan for my tax check. What's yours?
Out of curiosity, I've asked around to see how others plan to use the money or have already. Here are some of the answers:
·pay taxes. In other words, "they can keep it." That answer came from a couple of people.
·pay for a rental car, increased insurance and other unfortunate expenses following a wreck. In other words, it was already gone as soon as it was received.
·pay off exercise equipment.
·pay off a new couch.
·pay off credit cards.
·pay bills.
·put it into savings.
·give it to Church World Service and Project Hope charities.
·what is left after paying taxes will go toward a family trip to Washington, D.C., in October.
·to take the in-laws on vacation to Gatlinburg, Tenn.
·to go toward rebuilding an old car.
·to help with the purchase of a guitar amplifier.
And there's always the chance your check will bounce. Did you hear last week about the man in Sioux Falls, S.D., who, after learning that his rebate check bounced, put it in a safe deposit box for safekeeping because it could be worth something one day? He is one of a few, relatively speaking, some 60,000, I think, who have been issued a bad check from the government.
Of course, we may all pay, literally, for the rebate come spring tax time. At least, it may have some bearing on how much you get back or pay when filed on your taxes.
To those of you who are investing the money or spending it in what everyone would agree is a practical way, I commend you. To the rest of us (are there just a few of us?), who are giving ourselves a "mental-physical-emotional-spiritual health day(s)" of sorts...well, sometimes you have to say "Carpe Diem" - seize the check, seize the opportunity and seize the day.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

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Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
September 5, 2001


A drawer filled with oxymorons
When you don't have time to think, form, reflect, consider, contemplate, do research and study, you do the next best thing.
For me, this morning, the next best thing is reaching in the drawer and pulling out something.
The drawer is that special hiding place where you stash bright ideas, deep thoughts, clever sayings, witty phrases and gems of wisdom that come to all of us at times.
Occasionally, when you reach in there and pull something out, you wonder why in the world you saved it. At other times you run across something that saves the day. Like now.
Well, anyway, you run across stuff that helps you fill your allotted space in The Herald this week.
So come with me now, dear friends, as I reach in the drawer and randomly pull notes, oxymorons and I don't know what all.
* * *
Oh, oh, I'm in deep trouble.
The first thing I pull out is a letter a lady wrote to The Atlanta Constitution about homosexuality. It is a subject I know absolutely nothing about, and therefore should not comment. But I will anyway.
I really don't know why I saved the letter, unless it was the finality with which she wrote it.
"Once and for all . . . let me quote from the original and final expert on the subject. God said, 'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.'
"Please be fair to those of us who have reason to condemn this behavior. We are not being unkind or unloving toward gays; we are only upholding God's word on the subject."
I am no authority on God's word, but I have read enough of it to know that He told us not to do a lot of things, some of which I suspect all of us have done. I think He also said not to lie with a woman or man not your wife or husband. The Word calls it adultery.
And I have lived long enough to believe that human condemnation of any kind of behavior we don't like is not always kind and loving. In fact, some of the most unkind and unloving behavior toward gays, drunks and the rest of us sinners is foisted upon us in the name of God by "saints" "only upholding God's word on the subject."
Didn't I read somewhere that more inhumanity to man is committed in the Name of God than for any other reason?
* * *
Next I pulled out a note I wrote to myself. I don't remember when I wrote it. It must have been a long time ago.
"Why would anybody be interested in my philosophy of life?" it began.
(That philosophy is written down and stashed away somewhere in the drawer. I may go grabbling again someday to see if I can put my hands on it. I'd like to see how it's changed over the years.)
"Do I write too much about myself?
"Probably. I have been told that I do.
"But myself is all I have to share. What you see is what you get. What you read is me.
"I am my words. More than the food I eat, I am the words I write and speak. And the words I write and speak are me.
"And I hope my word is my bond."
End of note.
Beginning of comment: You don't hear that much anymore, do you? "My word is my bond."
As you surely know by now, I like to look stuff up in the dictionary.
"Bond: anything that ties, binds, or unites; a written agreement; to provide surety against financial loss; any agreement or binding engagement."
"My word is my bond" is antiquated.
Got to write it down now. Hire a lawyer. Sue. Go to court. Let the judge or jury decide. Appeal if it doesn't go my way.
Forgive and forget? No way! Get revenge.
The Word of God for this segment is 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.
* * *
My gems-of-wisdom drawer is filled with oxymorons.
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which words of opposite meaning or suggestion are used together. (I didn't need to tell you that, did I? I have this bad habit of occasionally writing down to my audience. Sorry.)
Anyway, here are some oxymorons: "wise fool," "cruel kindness" and "make haste slowly." And then there is that "love-hate" thing.
How does "pave to save" grab you? I'm not sure that's an oxymoron, but for the purposes of this epistle it is, and it is original with me.
Road builders, contractors and developers who mention paving and saving in the same breath ought to be ashamed of themselves. Especially when they mean saving the environment while paving more highways to take care of more cars that burn more gas and emit more pollutants into less fresh air.
Build roads, OK. But don't try to pull the wool over our eyes by telling us that more paving in any way, shape, form or fashion is friendly to the environment.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that every square foot of concrete or asphalt poured is one less square foot of good earth that is left to soak up the rain. Talk about floods! We ain't seen nothing yet.
And you don't need a Ph.D. in forestry to know that a lot of trees and other chlorophyll- and oxygen-producing plants are being sacrificed on the hard rock altar of concrete.
Plants take carbon dioxide from the air. Through a process called photosynthesis the carbon dioxide is changed into sugars. The process continues, and as the sugars decompose, oxygen is released into the atmosphere. This oxygen is the basis of all higher plant and animal life ­ including our own.
OK, so this oversimplified explanation would not get me an A in chemistry 101, but you get the gist.
What's the problem? Right now there may not be an apparent one. But sometimes destruction is so gradual that it goes unnoticed. Remember the frog in the pot of water that was slowly heated to boiling?
Better lay in a supply of oxygen/gas masks. And call Home Depot and order the material for your ark. Remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built his.
You probably won't need 'em. But if they keep cuttin' and pavin', some of your descendants somewhere down the line will.
OK, so I'm a radical, longhaired, leftist, hippie-type, activist, liberal tree hugger. Just don't call me a bed wetter. I haven't done that in a long time.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

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