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Used to be you could ‘catcher in the rye’, have a wry sense of humor and enjoy ordering Rye Toast. Not today: reading Catcher in the Rye would be like listening to a warm up band for a following act with regard to our  current day to day interchanges.  Today Rye toast is severely challenged by a slew of Variety breads while today’s  brand of humor holds nothing  sacred- and this is not offered here as a Zen sub-text of ‘the answer to the question is not to ask’. Nothing today is sacred in humor as in everything is ‘game’ so to speak.

Today raciness, by past standards, is completely out of hand and, oddly, it is- hand twittered , hand text or hand IM. Senses of humors today are seldom plain wry but rather abrupt, perhaps language corrupt, brazen, up front, naked if you will, lacking when compared to now bygone societal sensibilities. Any trace of politeness, if present, is used but for just an instant to merely slow a conversation’s progression towards bare bones exposure . This pause,  or recognition of sensibilities, is most often used to heighten the effect of the full disclosure or confrontational dialogues that follow. And about that Rye toast?  Sure , it’s still sold in supermarkets across our great Nation- a Nation now rolled in Breakfast breads, Croissants’, Panini’s and all the way Bagels, but who orders it? Personally, I still like Rye Bread. But the newer items seem just that and maybe that does make all that stuff fresher too?

The point is what to do with the ‘shock’ wave of musical obscene lyrics which can often be heard today? And how about all the  suggestive clothing or sexual facial and body  beckoning stances being handed to the now over 50 generation by the twittered, flashy, got to hurry, B-wording younger generational people? What should be done about that?  I hope you don’t think I know? I don’t. I often sit, my car purring softly waiting at a light, with my windows rolled up. I’m  hoping to ‘keep’ out a barrage of every f-word I didn’t even know existed coming from the boom speakers of the car next to me. All this is annoying for sure, but let’s be honest-is it really ‘BAD’? I say-no.

All this stuff I wish I didn’t have to put with now is too much like the ‘stuff’ I put out there in the early seventies. I can’t now cast ‘the first stone’. My ‘Back in the Day’ long hair, flower flowing shirts, bell bottomed pants and peace signs drew many odd looks, slanderous slurs, ‘killing’ looks and, yeah, I’ve even been spit on too. Back then to me, and I think to many of those who were like me, these kinds of reactions from the general populace felt somehow more like a metal of honor than a signal that I had somehow stepped off the planet. And maybe if I had to sum up what was the best contribution from my generation to this society it would be that now people are allowed to look however they want to look. Not much spitting going on now. Are you  in a Afro hair do? Nice! Are you tattooed silly? Fine! Are you pierced and ringed as if meant for a circus merry-go-round? Fabulous! Or perhaps you are nearly undressed by ‘high-fashion’? It’s all up to you!  Don’t worry- it’s all good.  And, I guess, I like this freedom.

So when I hear, see or feel like my sensibilities are being offended I try to find a place to pause in. Yesterday it was how you dressed and what you thought that could get you in trouble. Should how you speak to each other, what you show each other or how you act with each other get you in trouble today? I don’t think so.  Sure some rules have to be followed.  But I guess mostly it’s time  for the elders of ‘Us’ to trust, let go and find a good place to read a good book. You see today’s youth like the way it’s going-they like their chatter, flash, sexy talk and liberation. We swept the way clear so the following generations could express their freedom-now it’s time for us to let them enjoy it.  And no, I don’t think they  order Rye Toast, at least not often.   Franque

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June 2009