Lowered Expectations

Baby boomers are getting to that age where we expect to get the short end of the stick. Many who have lost jobs during the most recent economic downturn have found there to be an unspoken prejudice against anyone over the age of fifty who are seeking employment. After all, a younger person can be hired at a lower salary, less expensive health insurance premiums and tends to not need to take off as much time as an older person. A younger person also seems to have more energy in doing his or her work. Experience, thus, doesn’t seem to count as much as the pocketbook.

Although I have been fortunate to not be shut out from getting business, I have not been immune to the disappointment of lowered expectations. It started many years ago when I noticed that starting pitchers in baseball were getting babied by their organizations. Back when a man was a man, there was typically a four man rotation among the starters and the fifth was used mostly in tight schedules and double headers. In the old days, you could look on the back of a baseball card and see that a pitcher started anywhere from thirty-five to forty games a season and pitched upwards of 250 innings. Now, you’re lucky if you get thirty games out of a starter and he is considered overworked and subject to tired arm if he pitches more than 210 innings a couple of years in a row. It doesn’t need to be said that this goes hand in hand with the lack of complete games. A quality start by a pitcher today is when he throws six full innings. In the 1960’s, if a pitcher didn’t have at least ten complete games to his credit, he could expect a salary decrease the next year.

In 1993, I bought the best car I ever had- a GEO Prizm. It was so good that General Motors decided to kill it off because it was too efficient. The GEO line was a joint venture with Toyota. When you opened the hood on the car, you could see that it basically had the same engine as its sister car in the Toyota line, the Corolla. The car used to get an average in the high twenties of miles per gallon in the city. When taken for long drives, especially with cruise control on, it would get anywhere from 35 to 38 miles per gallon- no kidding.

Someone in the GM front office decided to incorporate the GEO line into the Chevrolet division. That’s where it got treated as a step sister and pushed to the side. The Government and ecologists can harp all they want about gas efficiency. If they truly wanted to make a statement, they ought to find the guy who dumped the GEO models and send him to Guantanamo Bay.

More recently, I found out that my favorite brand of orange juice- not from a concentrate- had quietly done some chicanery on us, the drinking public. Rather than raise the price of a half gallon container, they reduced the size from 64 ounces to 59, thinking we wouldn’t notice. Then, the competition did the same.

Switching gears- wasn’t Tom Hanks more enjoyable as an actor when he was younger, thinner, more hirsute and funny? Why did he have to ruin a good thing?

Yes, it seems as if more and more, I’m accepting lowered expectations. I haven’t been able to do even a slow paced jog in a few years. I’m down to walking.

Sleeping the whole night without waking up to look at the clock let alone getting up to go take care of something is as rare as a no-hitter.

About the only positive thing I can think about that has happened to me in the area of reduction is the re-finance I did on the mortgage a few months ago that significantly lowered the interest rate and monthly payments. Of course, no sooner than I was ready to gloat on the savings, my health insurance premiums went up along with my monthly condo assessments.

Time marches on at a reduced rate.

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