Why Horatio Alger can no longer get ahead

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(Photo by David Suarez on Unsplash)

America has long subscribed to the myth of the self-made man. The 19th century tales penned by Horatio Alger Jr. of young men escaping poverty through hard work and determination promoted the belief in the rags-to-riches doctrine so beloved by Americans even today.

The problem is that the Horatio Alger story is more the exception than the rule. It is more likely that, hard work and perseverance notwithstanding, a poor American will remain as such. It’s also more likely than not that their children will do no better.

For those finding it hard to jettison the national belief of unlimited…


Wherein I can’t avoid the truth of my recent weight gain

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Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

Day 1

Welcome to your new Litewate Interactive Digital bathroom scale. Please program in your name, age, height and sex. Thank you, Dave, we’re ready to go. I’ve recorded your initial weight at 210 pounds and I’m assuming you’d like to lose some. Maybe 20 or 25 pounds at least? Just saying.

Day 2

Sorry to report but you’re weighing in at 212 pounds. Not to worry; variations like that are common, especially when someone’s heavyset like you. No offense. Probably just a bit of water retention.

Day 3

213 and a smidge. Let’s call it 213 but clearly you’re…


LUDDITE CORNER

Yearning for ancient technology

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Photo by Katrin Hauf on Unsplash

Since turning seventy, just about every day brings a new reminder that I’m old and rapidly getting older. Perhaps you’ve seen those articles that picture some 19th century gismo, doodad or whatchamacallit and ask you to identify it. Typically, it’s an apple corer, a meat grinder, a butter churn or possibly all three. Unless you’re over ninety, however, you’d seldom have a clue.

Sadly, I’m now on the other side of aged and more and more finding myself identifying and explaining items that once were commonplace. …


PLANETARY TRANSITIONS

The planets look to lose weight work out or explore their sexuality

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Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

We humans are always looking for ways to improve or change, be it a diet, surgery, a makeover or even exploring our sexuality. Well it turns out that our solar system’s planets are not much different.

Mercury

I’m the hot one but because I’m so small no one seems to notice me. My New Year’s resolution was to sign up for beachbody.com, work out and bulk up. Come summertime, look for the new happening planet with the rockin’ hard abs. Ain’t no one gonna kick stardust in my face any more.

Venus

I’m tired of everyone categorizing me as Earth-like…


So you want to be a Republican?

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Say you’re a young conservative and you’re thinking of joining the Republican Party. Easy peasy. Just go to the state or national GOP website, give them your contact information and you’re in. No fee required although you’re free to make a donation if you’d like.

But that’s so easy, you’re saying, there must be more to it than that. Well, yes, but not much more. All the GOP asks of you is to familiarize yourself with their handy political glossary which defines the following terms:

Antifa

This is short for anti-fascist and usually refers to a loose-knit affiliation of like-minded…


The Maple Avenue Family Treatment Agreement

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Photo by Paul Fiedler on Unsplash

It was a long and rocky road to replace NAFTA with USMCA, the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement but negotiators were finally able to reach a deal on October 1, 2018. If U.S. and Canadian trade delegates had learned a few lessons from the Brooks-Martin household, however, NAFTA 2.0 could likely have been a reality much sooner.

Back in 2015, we quickly hammered out the latest version of the MAFTA or Maple Avenue Family Treatment Agreement. …


Paring political categories down to two

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(Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)

I’m not a political scientist nor do I play one on TV so I’m finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate one political stripe from another. It used to be that there were two camps, liberal and conservative, and most everyone fit into one or the other.

But today those classifications seem to have lost their original meanings and to serve little purpose in characterizing an individual’s political philosophy. Now we have folks describing themselves as both fiscally conservative and socially liberal although the opposite combination seems rare or possibly even non-existent.

In addition, there is now an entire rainbow of…


LITERARY NON-CLASSICS

No one will publish my work

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Photo by sasan rashtipour on Unsplash

I think I’ve had the last straw, possibly even the one that broke the camel’s back. For years now, I have been writing fabulous novels and short stories and submitting them for publication.

I doubt you’ve ever heard of any of my works for I have met with an unfortunate and horribly unfair fate: no one will publish them.

Even as a child, I could not catch a break. At the age of ten, I wrote a short story about a town’s annual event held to choose who would ultimately die by stoning. I called it “The Raffle.”

I submitted…


Swearing in the age of atheism

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(Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

I’m not averse to swearing. The problem is that I’m not religious.

That doesn’t create an issue when it comes to my sex-based or bodily function-based foul language. It doesn’t even matter for my illegitimate descendant-based cursing like “bastard” or “son of a bitch.”

But it does create a problem when I use religious-based profanity. After all, if I don’t believe in any deity (or at least have serious doubts), it’s a bit hypocritical of me to take the name of what to me is a non-sacred and possibly non-existent being in vain.

There’s a handy explanation, of course. I…


The 12-step program to help you identify the truth

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Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Good evening and welcome to Dysveritas Anonymous, the twelve-step program for those having difficulty identifying the truth. We here at DA are a non-judgmental, mutual-support organization dedicated to helping those suffering from dysveritas, an ethical disorder not uncommon within the general population especially among lawyers, criminals and politicians.

If this is your first meeting, please be assured that we can help. Just as folks suffering from various addictions are able to overcome their problems, dysveritas sufferers can eventually learn to be truthful.

I’d like to invite any first-time attendees to introduce themselves and briefly detail their struggles. …

David Martin

David Martin has published several humor collections including “Dare to be Average” and “Screams and Whispers”, all of which are available on Amazon.

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