One thing my trip out here has taught me is perspective. People in Afghanistan have nothing. A few months ago, I saw a guy with one arm and no legs pushing himself across the street on a skateboard. How he got the skateboard, I don’t know. He reminded me of the potato sack guy in Todd Browning’s cinematic classic “Freaks”. There is no reason to complain in America if that man with little chance of success is managing to exist in a third world country. Maybe he complains in his native tongue of Dari. But I bet he is too busy trying to survive.
As we come up on Super Bowl weekend, I am reminded how America is land of gluttony and excess. Writer Joe Posnanski recently wrote about the magnitude of the SuperBowl and its “bigness”. The SuperBowl is indicative of America as it is the most American gluttony and excess sporting event in the world. After all, it is only a football game. Yet because of its gluttony, it is a symbol of America and an unofficial national holiday.
A few months ago, I heard a commercial for cream cheese filled pizza crust. Cream cheese filled pizza crust has to be the SuperBowl of food. If that’s your contribution to the world, I feel for you. I really do. I hope the R&D person who came up with that coaches little league or volunteers in a soup kitchen or something. Please don’t tell me creating such a gluttonous monstrosity fulfills some kind of sense of being for them. Only in America, I guess.
We owe it to the world to stop being complainers. It’s not a good look. We are to the world what Kim Kardashian is to the average American. Curvy spoiled prima donnas who live the good life and comparatively don’t work for it. And we put out some really bad home movies, something Kim knows a thing or two about.
Our poor are 50,000 times richer than third world poor. There are common tribal people in Afghanistan who believe sick people have the devil in them and they should see a holy figure and pray the sickness away. If you live, God thought it was a good idea. If you don’t, well, God thought it was a good idea for you to die. In America, we’ve pretty much agreed that doctors and the health care system, however costly and unwieldy it is, is a pretty good idea for keeping people alive.
So since we have these great health care capabilities, we should be thankful. We should be striving to make the world a better place in added years we have been given. Instead, what do we do? We complain about the weather, people in line, how we can’t get good cell phone reception, and how we have 1,298 channels and find anything good to watch. All while eating our pizza with the cream cheese filled crust.
We are cynical about other Americans all the time. “Our society is going to fail, people suck, blah, blah, blah.” But to me, that’s not really helping. Instead of saying “people suck”, how about being one of those who don’t? Or do you automatically include yourself in the good people group? To me, people who are doing good things don’t have time to be cynical, like bad guys don’t have time to work at soup kitchens. Good people aren’t complainers because they are too busy plotting their next good thing.
When we complain, it’s like we have given up. We have given in to the obstacles that we see. Whether we can’t overcome bureaucracy, can’t get a date with the girl or guy we want, or can’t read this because web sites such as this are blocked in most repressive regimes, if we give up, we have given up.
Worst of all, many of the people out here have given up on the Afghans as well. I talked to one person recently who said he had no idea why he was here as the Afghans are going to have a civil war anyway when we leave. That’s a horrible attitude. Horrible. What about the little girls that can now go to school? What about the shop keeper whose store can stay open without risk of bombing in Kabul? What about the people who I’ve written about before who can sing whatever kind of music they want with fear of death? What about the people who are living as free as they want here and don’t have to worry about the Taliban or other extremism? Does he think they want a civil war?
We need to stop complaining. It’s not a good look.
And put down the cream-cheese filled pizza. It’s not good for you. And I bet it doesn’t even taste good.