Cumberland Times-News

March 9, 2013

Getting used to some things takes an effort

Maude McDaniel, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

— Not too long ago I wrote a column oozing with self-control, in which I mentioned several developments in life that it wouldn’t kill me to get used to. In the interests of equal time, today I have to write about certain developments in this world that I doubt I will ever get used to .

Like tattoos, for instance.

Oh, I try. I keep telling myself, “Maude, tattoos are symbols of the artistic creative spirit, The more tattoss a person has, the more he or she resembles Michaelangelo, who simply put his choices of tattoos somewhere besides his own skin There aren’t a whole lot of churches around these days that are inviting artists to express themselves on their walls, so artistic creation on your own wall must be the modern equivalent.”

Okay. But I still hate tattoos. Something about the mix of colors, maybe, but every time I see a tattoo, my first impulse is to hand the person a washcloth. I don’t mind the little ones strategically placed, just those big all-over ones that look like the person was recently dug up from — well, never mind. And I especially hate tattoos on chefs who are going to prepare my meal. But I don’t eat many meals by chefs, so don’t worry about that.

Then there are men wearing hats in the house, This one really shows how old I am, but I’m going to tackle it anyway. I saw a program on weddings the other day, and one particular wedding was especially beautiful. The bridemaids wore lovely gowns (not black, either); the bride was delectable, and the groom handsome. What more could you want? Well, one thing. I wouldn’t have missed the porkpie hat the groom wore throughout the ceremony and the following celebration.

Now, I know. Humankind has lived so long by now that all the good ideas for shock have been taken The newest generation’s only claim to original thinking is to go back and step on the customs of the past., or what’s a creative young person to do? Men wearing hats in the house is just the latest in defying what appear to be senseless old customs, and if you can even inspire one unguarded moment of pain from the old person in the crowd, you’ve nailed it!

And I have to admit, the porkpie hat was inspired. Anyone else would have worn, say, a baseball cap or even a Lincoln stove pipe. But the porkpie hat revealed a neatly calibrated middle position between mocking all the old traditions and just smirking a bit. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

Now that I mention it, it seems to me that, perhaps, one of the biggest differences between teenagers of today and teenagers of my time is that — nowadays they go out a lot at night. Until very late!

Back in my day (okay, if you have to know, we’re talking late 1940s ,early 50s here) once we got home from school, except for church things and special high school programs, most of us just didn’t go out that much after dark. I hear the voice of my elderly reader here, “Speak for yourself, Maude” but then I always speak for myself in these columns.

Let’s put it this way. The vast majority of us teenagers didn’t go out much after dark until college, or job, or marriage. And even in college, girls had to be in the dorms by 10:30 most nights in those times. (Unless, like me, they worked on the newspaper. But that was work, not play. Mostly.) Nowadays, their evening starts about 10 p.m.

No, I do not approve of the busy nightlife of teenagers.

Finally, and I am sorry to take a stand on this, but it’s true – I will never approve of bringing in a gambling casino to Rocky Gap State Park. As I remember I opposed — in this column — opening up the park to private commercial interests years ago. I argued that it would never turn much of a profit. Apparently I was right.

So here we are facing a change that will immeasureably affect the whole moral and economic state of the area. And, from all lessons learned in other such situations, not for the better. I won’t bore you with the arguments – you already know them all, especially that sure quick money does not excuse opening the door to local public gaming, with all its destructive buddies in tow.

I will never get used to that.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.