Upside Down World

Suburban News Publications
1/22/09

When I was a child, I loved to stand on my head in the summer grass. The world looked different, the blood would rush to my head and invigorated, I’d kick my bare feet down to the grass, stand up and run like the wind. Being a child was real freedom in the 50’s.

As I grew older, my perspectives changed, and seeing the world upside down lost its charm.

Being inverted can relate to many things including finances and morality.

Conversations often turn to making ends meet and concerns over retirement investments that are dwindling each day. We make do with less – maybe we didn’t need “more” to begin with – and we become inventive in our shopping, clipping more coupons and waiting for sales before we make large purchases.

Being upside down can indicate you owe more money on your car loan than it’s worth. Our houses drop in value and our mortgages might be upside down. Groceries cost more and getting back to basics has a new appeal. My husband and I are expanding our garden this year while canning and freezing more food.

The news increasingly seems to worsen. We can watch or read news and weather 24-hours a day on our television or computers. Most people born before the mid-fifties, can remember life without television (and of course, computers). But now there is concern that when communication turns 100 percent digital, those not using cable or satellite will be without television. Converter boxes are sold out.

Maybe that’s not so terrible. With our increased forms of communication worldwide, we know more today than we really want to know.

Morality, or what we consider to be right or wrong, decent, or honest, is another issue that troubles me; in part because it seems morals have a wide scope of meaning in our world today. Performing a crime or breaking rules used to be accompanied by punishment.

Children have more choices than my generation and I wonder if they have the time to simply stare at the sky – or stand on their head for sheer fun. And I wonder if it’s safe for children to play outside.
A mid-1600’s English ballad shows in a humorous way the bizarre possibilities of our dilemma:

“If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse…
Then all the world would be upside down.”

Will we stay the wrong way up? I think it’s up to each of us to make changes to reverse the trend.

Make an imaginary triangle in the grass, place the top of your head inside holding your body with your arms and flip your legs in the air. Give it a try. Teach your children or grandchildren. But if you’re close to my age, be sure and have a back-up plan.

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