CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Let’s Share a Thought or Two or Maybe Not

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

What better feeling is there than doing something good, without being concerned about reward or recognition? Answer: Nada.

Unfortunately I don’t have an appropriate follow-up but it gives you some insight into how these verbal adventures get started. Some are easy, like picking low-hanging fruit on a tree, but a ladder is needed to reach the upper branches.

[You’ve never been a fruit tramp, so let me explain: You got paid by the bucket (piece work, cherries ten cents a pail, for example). Naturally, ground-level branches were the easiest and fastest way to fill a pail. But to reach the upper branches a ladder is needed, a process that took extra time and energy; thus picking the low-hanging fruit adage came into being.]

I think of potential column material all the time: Riding in an elevator or on an escalator; watching Jon Stewart on TV or koi in a pond; standing in the bathroom, or sitting. In other words, almost constantly. Not complaining, but it is a challenge. And alas, sometimes the end product isn’t scintillating or titillating.

Example: A good friend was in a reflective mood the other day when he suddenly blurts out wishing he’d done something more with his life besides making a whole lot of money. “Like you,” he added, “sort of.” [Rich people, even Nisei, aren’t usually tactful.] I knew what he meant so I offered no rebuttal, even a poor one. He pointed out my good fortune was due to a great wife/family. “And your luck continues because getting old doesn’t stop you from writing!”  I couldn’t find a loophole in his evaluation, so I simply nodded in agreement. Which further added to his aggravation, I’m sure.

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Okay, enuf over-the-shoulder back-slapping. Where do we go from here?

Since we’re in a confessional mood, let me tell you about an eccentricity that I bet no one else has/will own up to/let alone ever consider: Every morning I would check the Los Angeles Times masthead to see how many pages the edition had. And the only reason I’m bringing it up is because The Times suddenly stopped the practice last Wednesday! Am I alone in wondering why? (Probably.)

With a zillion things to be concerned about — ISIS, Iran, Hillary’s email, the sale of Keiro, burnt tongue syndrome — I’m worried about the number of pages in a dying newspaper. Yeah, kinda creepy.

To further underscore how unconventional CR2S tends to be, how about this one: My car clock remains unchanged. Why bother when it’ll be back right on time before you know it? And I don’t bother with the microwave clock either. Too much bother to reset, especially when the power temporarily cuts out.

My computer and TV sets automatically adjust, so that leaves only a clock-radio and the front-room time piece. I reset the radio (simple and easy) but have to unplug the clock (because I still don’t know how to adjust); then plug it back in at exactly 12 noon or midnight to keep it on correct time (which I still haven’t done and it’s Tuesday).

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Is CR2S supposed to prompt thought and debate?

Take UCLA for instance. [And we’ll refrain from a snide Cardinal and Gold answer.] There’s this beautiful home with a fabulous Japanese garden that was donated to the university. And regents can’t figure out what to do with it, or how. It has become an unlikely problem, financially and public relations-wise. The question I have is: How does a “gift in perpetuity” become entangled in such a mess? Another observation: How can buildings/halls/annexes previously named in honor of wealthy donors be so readily renamed when fresh new money appears?

More unsavory news with an Asian slant (pun intended): Pay-to-stay schools and maternity hotels. The former are bogus institutions where students with expired visas enroll in phantom classes to prolong status and stay. The latter are elegant private facilities for tourists who happen to be trimester pregnant giving birth before returning home, the baby automatically becoming an American citizen. Better make both in the past tense: A case of Far Eastern entrepreneurs caught by Far Western legal authorities.

Let’s conclude today’s rehash with a comment on UC Irvine. I get the impression the flag flap was a minor campus rhubarb that took on a racist hue when it went public. It didn’t take long before the debate turned into an anti-Asian (Vietnamese and Indian) tirade. Par for the course, but in Orange County a double bogey.

The Oklahoma University brouhaha will not be included in today’s dissertation. Since I had a forgettable Fraternity Row row of my own, any remark would be biased and that’s just not fair. May I be excused for also saying everything isn’t just black and white anymore these days? Maybe not.

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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