Friday, January 14, 2005

Apples And Allen Wrenches

"We can _BLANK_ but we just can't seem to _BLANK_."

Ever hear someone use this phrase?

Let me explain but please don't be offended if you happen to be an individual who has said this sort of thing yourself as you obviously didn't know what you were saying at the time so you're automatically forgiven, OK?

  I'm talking about what is, in my humble opinion, one of the dumbest things that I ever hear people say which is the phrase above with the blanks filled in;

  "We can make all them fancy computers but we don't seem to be able to keep our kids off drugs"

See what I mean?

Now of course I realize that the intent behind this type of comment is to point out that we don't always have our priorities straight which may sometimes be true but the problem is that the comparisons they make never seem to have ANY relationship.
 Using the above example, I have to wonder if the person who said it understands that it's NOT the drug counsellors or the D.A.R.E. officers who are necessarily the same folks who actually build computers.

  Now if one were to say, for instance, "We have plenty of time to yell at our kids but we sure don't seem to be able to find time to just talk with them"... now THAT would make some kind of sense.

And don't you wish that you had a buck for everytime you've heard someone say "We can put a man on the moon but we can't find a cure for the common cold" if to imply that the development of velcro alone wasn't enought to justify the money spent on the space program!

I mean, sheesh!

  I've also noticed that whenever I hear someone saying something along these lines, using the "We can _BLANK_ but..." formula it's often some idiotic comparison but the person who said it has a proud look on their face as though they have just said something profound.

  The other day I heard someone say ; "We sure can make all these remote controlled planes and high tech surveillance devices but we can't find a cure for AIDS".

Big proud smile.

 Umm....You are aware, of course, that the guys who know how to build planes DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE HUMAN AUTO-IMMUNE SYSTEM, RIGHT?

Trust me, if I ever come down with a potentially fatal disease or suffer a serious physical injury I do NOT want to look up from my hospital bed to see Gomer Pyle and Sgt. Carter looking down at me as they discuss how to proceed.

"Um...uh...nurse? What are these guys doing here?"

"Don't worry Mr. Moffitt. They're taking time out from their duties back at the military base to operate on you".

"Gee...don't they have something else they could be know, like working on remote control planes or something?"

Here's another good one I overheard;

  "We can sure make good DVD players but we just can't seem to cure cancer once and for all".


 Hey Ace. I doubt that Mr. Chang has time in between assembling remote control units at the Samsung factory to work on that cure for cancer.
But hey, maybe when orders slow down a bit after the holidays.

 One of my all time favorites was the 40 year old guy who works in the gymnasium of our local community center and his comment a few weeks after 9/11;

  "Yep, we sure can make all these fancy flat screen TVs and we can send satellites up into space but we can't seem to figure out a way to just sit down with that Bin Laden feller and talk things over".

Big proud smile.

 I had to hold myself back from responding;
 "I know whatcha mean. Take yourself for instance. YOU, on the one hand, can assess how the government and world leaders should be dealing with issues of global peace and international terrorism but at the same time you JUST CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO BETTER THAN A MINIMUM WAGE JOB GUARDING THE EXERCISE EQUIPMENT AT FORTY YEARS OF AGE."

 Is that like what you mean?"

I've decided that since so many people like to make these tired out lop-sided types of observations I'm going to start playing along with them.

In fact I think that the next time I hear someone utter the all-too-familiar observation "They can put a man on the moon but they can't find a cure for the common cold." I'm going to say, with a completely straight face,
"Well, you know, that's exactly where our space program went so very wrong.
The Russians had lead us to believe that the cure for the common cold was actually to be found on the moon!.

Then we got there and realized we'd been had!

Man, were the faces of the high-ups at NASA red!

And of course those damn Russians had been laughin' their butts off the whole time knowing that all we were going to find was a bunch of rocks and stuff".


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