Biff America: Low sitting in days of yore (column)
January 7, 2017
My knees came up to my chin as I sat on the toilet — a reminder of the "good old days."
I'm sure many of the guests who stay at the Squatting Moose Cabins do so for the old school nostalgia; I was there for the price. My guess is, in the summer season, the place is packed and expensive. But during the cold months you can get a great deal on a "rustic cabin" with nearby backcountry skiing.
The Squatting Moose Cabins are adorned with the angler in mind. There were several decorative wooden fish, fly-rods, nets and paddles hanging in every room including over an ancient toilet. The commode in question was about 9 inches from floor to lid (I just measured my home toilet it is twice that high). After a long day of skiing, the low privy was tough on my knees but sitting on it gave one the sense of driving a European sports car.
The only concession to winter sports was, mounted over the bathroom door, a pair of 210cm skinny alpine skis with bear trap bindings guaranteed to break your legs.
The bed sagged like a hammock and, if that didn't take the romance out of the air, there was a huge wagon-wheel chandelier over the bed that didn't appear to be that well attached to the ceiling. I slept that night wearing a helmet.
Not even 5 miles away was a contemporary motel, but like many of us living in this modern world we opted for character over luxury and convenience. We longed for the good old days.
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It is my contention that one of the ways that Donald Trump was elected is he promised to return America to the good old days. What is considered those days, I guess, is dependent on how old you are. But in truth, they are a better memory than reality.
For me, it might be when I arrived in Colorado and the streets were dirt and sidewalks wooden. I was young, dumb, broke and considered myself "wicked worldly." During the good old days there was unlimited parking and nine single women. In my memory, it was an idyllic time: it was wild fun and lacked rules. But the truth is, most of us were living hand-to-mouth, could not afford health insurance and had to relocate in the offseason to make enough to live. I remember cracking my tooth on a walnut shell and not being able to afford a dentist. Luckily, several days later there was a huge brawl at the bar where I worked, and I got punched in the face. I claimed the punch broke my tooth and the restaurant paid to get it fixed. (Pretty sure the statute of limitation applies here.)
For some, the good old days were when there was an abundance of blue-collar jobs. Yes, there was a time when there were more opportunities for an unskilled worker to hold down a manufacturing job and raise a family. But the sad truth is, desperate people in oppressive nations will do that same work for a fraction of the cost, and then be discarded when they are too old to toil.
Blame NAFTA or allowing China favored nation status in the World Trade Organization, but it is likely that those jobs are gone for good. But it is important to remember that many of those same American blue-collar workers in the early '60s couldn't afford health care after retirement until LBJ signed Medicare into law.
Another reminder that the good old days weren't that good is to recall that not too long before Medicare was created, legalized segregation — like "whites only" bathrooms contained in the Jim Crow laws — was still in place.
Interracial marriage was still illegal in some states in the early '70s and as late as the mid-'60s it was legal to pay women less for the exact same job as a man. When I grew up, I knew only one black guy and I saw bigotry first hand. I knew only one guy who admitted to being gay (and about 30 who turned out to be). It is healthy to remember that during the good old days women and minorities were openly discriminated against. I will say, even then, this nation was head-and-shoulders above most in this regard, and we have steadily improved.
I'm very happy with how far we've come as a nation. Yes, my Gal, HRC, lost the last election, but, with my voice and money, I will keep fighting for policies I believe in. It is fun to reminisce about the days of dirt streets, long skinny skis and 9-inch toilets. But, at least in my opinion, America is already great and the high toilets and short skis and high tech bindings are easier on my knees………
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff's new book "Mind, Body, Soul." is available at local shops and bookstores or shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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