Madison County Opinion...

SEPTEMBER 3, 2003


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 3, 2003

Frankly Speaking

Government takes away the fruit of our labor
Why do we celebrate work? This was written on Labor Day 2003, a day set aside to honor workers. FACT: all wealth is generated by labor. Our economy is based on the production, distribution and consummation of goods and services. Ideally, everyone who works to produce and distribute goods and services should receive goods and services equal to what they produce.
This is not an ideal economy. Far too many people consume goods and services without producing anything in return. That means that someone else has to produce more than they get back in order to make up the difference.
I often hear people excuse their non production by saying that the government pays for it. That is a fallacy. Government has no income of its own. Government takes away the fruit of our labor in the form of taxes, then hands out the money to non producers. We, the working people of American still pay the bill.
•How should Atlanta honor Maynard Jackson? His family is demanding that Hartsfield International Airport be renamed for Jackson.
It is totally inappropriate to demand that a relative be honored by the public. Honor, respect and memorials must be given freely based on the high value the public places on the individual. For Jackson’s family to demand that he be honored suggests that they have doubts if that honor has been earned.
If Jackson deserves to be honored, those honors will come about in an appropriate manner. To me, a demand that he be honored is grounds for refusing that honor.
•Is the public education system flawed? People responding to this question on a recent internet site voted 90 percent “yes.” I agree. The purpose of education should be to prepare students to function in the adult world. It should include exercises to train the mind to think analytically, to read and write clearly, to understand our history and culture and to develop creative ability.
The young mind needs to be exercised in order to be strong. Math is one of the best ways to develop this exercise. I believe it is a mistake to allow computers and calculators in math classes. Students will only develop strong minds by learning math without these aids.
Students should be taught to write accurately without the aid of computer grammar and spelling checkers. Again, mastering proper grammar makes for good writers and strong minds.
Students need to know the origins of our culture. That requires that accurate history be taught. History that has been twisted to support some political or social goal is more damaging than no history at all.
These are just a few of the things that are on my mind this summer. While there is not much I can do about them, I can always gripe, a skill quickly learned in the military. Sorry about that.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
September 3, 2003

A Moment With Margie

Life without glasses
Looking at the picture of me at the top of this column, you can see I wear (or wore) glasses.
I've worn them for a number of years now.
I got my first pair in third grade when my teacher informed my parents I was having trouble seeing the blackboard.
The process of picking out my first pair was an exciting experience for me for about five minutes. Then I put them away and only wore them on pain of not being able to see an assignment on the board, or some other vital function in which there was no way around it.
They were, to me, ugly. They were little horn-rimmed plastic things (the kind that are actually coming back in style now).
As I grew older, I grew more dependent on my glasses. When it came time to drive, I had to put those things on (by now they were at least the more fashionable wire-rimmed) before I could read road signs. So for a while, they came on when I drove, and off as soon as I exited the car.
Then came my 30's and I had to put them on if I wanted to watch TV, or see what my kids were up to in the back yard, or the speaker at the front of a room, or...(you get the idea). The glasses more or less became a permanent fixture on my nose, as necessary to me as any other "part" of my body.
The real aggravation began when I would lay them down and then be unable to find them because I couldn't see them. My children were often hilariously amused when they pointed out that they were actually on top of my head - after I had been combing the house room to room looking for them.
One night I woke up around 2 a.m. and couldn't remember if Miranda had come in or not. I got up, without my glasses, and went down the hall to look in her room. I peered inside from the doorway and couldn't see anything on her bed. Beginning to feel panicky, I went into the living room to see if she'd fallen asleep on the couch - no luck. Now really nervous, I started to try to call her on her cell phone when I remembered - no glasses.
I went calmly back to my room, felt around for my glasses on the night stand by the bed and went to look in her room again.
There under the covers was the just visible blond head of my daughter, sound asleep.
Often, I found myself daydreaming about wearing fashionable sunglasses on top of my head as I strolled around; I also dreamed of actually being able to see myself enough to put make-up on in a hotel room without actually having to climb up on the counter and almost into the mirror to see what I was doing.
I tried to wear contacts once. The optometrist and his assistant both gave up on fitting them on me in the office and sent me home with a trial pair. I worked on getting them in (once I actually succeeded, and then had to work even harder to get them out) - I batted them across the room too many times to count and then had to put on my glasses to find and then sterilize them again and again. After a couple of days I looked at my bloodshot, tear-stained eyes and decided it just wasn't worth it.
So my glasses and I stayed a team, like it or not.
When I got out of the car in the summertime, the blasted things fogged up. When I got in the rain, I couldn't see where I was going until I cleaned them off, when I... well, all you eyeglass wearers know what I mean. They can just be a big pain in the "you know what."
All this accumulated aggravation brought me to a decision recently. I could not afford it, it scared the bejeebers out of me, but I had to do it.
Maybe it was part of an on-going midlife crisis, like hot flashes and mood swings, but I just had to get out of those glasses - so I, who cannot stand to have my eyes touched in any way - had laser vision correction surgery.
And if I can do it, believe me, anybody can.
The procedure itself takes only 15 minutes or so and is nothing less than a miracle for someone who laid down on the table not being able to see much of anything more than a couple of feet away and came up off of same said table able to read the time on the clock across the room.
Thanks to a little Valium and lots and lots of numbing drops, plus a very pleasant bedside manner by Dr. Richard Blue (Blue Laser Group) and his staff, I made it through just fine. I walked out of the room with Charles (who had watched the whole thing) by my side and with my bug-like dark goggles on to announce to those in the waiting room that it was a "piece of cake."
And, in hindsight it was a "piece of cake." Charles seemed as excited as I was, sharing my joy when I began to read road signs to him before we got home, as excited as any little kid - and I can assure you far more excited than the eight year old who got her first pair of glasses.
My kids got a laugh at my "bug goggles" which I had to wear for several nights after the surgery, and everyone looked very "angelic" to me for a while with halos and starbursts all around them,
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


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