by David Sisler

Even with a high school diploma, a bachelor of science degree and almost 48 years of learning behind me, I will admit that I am frequently puzzled by some of the things people say and do. I don't think I am as puzzled that they do them, as I am by why they do them.

Take for example, recent grumbling about the increased price of postage stamps from 29 cents to 32 cents for a one ounce, first class letter.

One postal patron was quoted as saying she would buy only enough stamps to pay her out-of-town bills.

That raises at least two interesting possibilities: she is either not going to pay her local bills, or she will personally deliver those checks.

My beloved wife will do that--drive five miles, run out a quart of gasoline, and waste 10 or 15 minutes to save a stamp. I don't understand the logic that says, "We will pass right by there. We can circle through their parking lot and put the bill in the night drop." That slight detour will cost more than 29, now 32 cents, I explain, but to no avail. We make the detour.

There is no arguing with my wife--she will leave the grocery store, drive one-half mile--granted it's towards home--and go into a convenience store because they have her flavor of potato chips on sale for 18 cents less than the place where you can allegedly buy for lower prices. It has to take more than 18 cents worth of gasoline to stop the car and start it again!

Let's put this protest in the same class with the man who complained because he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet. Just for argument's sake, let's say that you are standing in line at the post office, complaining about the postage rate increase. You have arrived there from your job where you earn $5.00 per hour (granted, not a lot, but this is just for argument's sake, remember?) To buy that 32 cent stamp, you had to work slightly longer than four minutes.

I received a letter before Christmas from my "adopted" daughter in Samara, Russia. With the exchange rate then in effect, it cost Lena about 32 cents to mail the letter to me. She earns $35 per month teaching speech therapy to special children. That breaks down to 21 cents an hour, or about 90 minutes work to buy one stamp.

Ready to stop complaining about the price of stamps?

No? Okay, try this. When I send a letter to Lena, I have to write on the outside of the envelope, in Russian, "Do Vostrebovaniya"--do not deliver. Lena must go to the post office, show her passport and ask if she has any mail. If I don't put that notice on the envelope, the letter will be lost before it ever reaches her apartment mail box.

Now, the rising price of stamps is a problem we may never lick, so consider some other complaints which probably won't make the Rush Limbaugh show (and I wouldn't hear them if they did).

Three members of city council are ready to turn the local legislative process upside down because one of their fellow councilpersons dared to vote across racial lines. They may turn the defector himself ("Judas" one of them called him) upside down if they get the chance.

Here in Dixie we still think of clever ways to continue segregation--from all sides of the color line. Now our African-American brethren are going to practice the same potential fratricide that we European-Americans have been practicing for centuries. Gentlemen, learn from our mistakes. Don't repeat them. Racism directed against your own race is still racism.

Readers protested selections in a competition for the year's leading story because crime leads the way. I'm a father and I grieve when the story of the murder of babies and teenagers makes the news. I'm pro-life, but I grieve when the doctors who kill unborn babies are themselves murdered.

Tragically, those are the things human beings have been doing to each other since the days of Cain and Abel. Chicken Little may have been wrong, but when it comes to the way we treat each other, the sky really is falling.

If we are going to change what we read on the front page of the paper, we are going to have to change what goes on inside of us. That inside job can only be performed by Jesus Christ, God the Son. Like the fellow said in the comic strip the other day, "An ostrich will never catch any fish with his head in the sand."


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 2/11/95

Copyright 1995 by David Sisler

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