I am reading Henry David Thoreau, and I find him quite humorous. One of my favorite lines is one which has become famous because of the fact that it is right. That is that “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” That quote came from his book, “Walden.” He determined that he spent the most money on his windows to his small house. The total cost of the entire structure was twenty eight dollars, twelve and one-half cents. Now, we never had half cents in these United States, but Britain did. Maybe he paid in British pennies.
Donald Trump is an enigma to me. He recently stated that the way to handle abortion issues was to punish the woman who had an abortion. I remember reading a story about a woman who had an abortion because they did not feel they could afford a child at that time. Five years later, she had kept her children’s swingset rusting in the backyard, where she looked at it and could sometimes see the ghost of the child she had aborted. Women do not need to be punished for abortions, and, just out of curiousity, where is the punishment for the father who goes along with the idea of abortion. I wish people adopted. I am sure that woman in the “Boston Globe” article felt the same way.
I was studying for this article and I found out that, in the 1800’s, men who were veterans were not compensated if they did not suffer their medical condition as a result directly of their service. Many veterans of the Civil War did not get enumerated for their service injuries. And, there was no such thing as PTSD. People thought that that was fair, and that nobody suffering as a result of their service should get any money.
For those of you who wondered about this, I believe it was William Howard Taft who was the President who got stuck in the White House bathtub. They had to use grease to get him out.
If Donald Trump wanted to be a valuable addition to the debate on where this country is going, he would learn history and stop speaking in Fourth Grade English. It scares me that we have so belittled ourselves that we speak, on average, in Fifth Grade English. But we do. Thus, we had the show on what we learned in Fifth Grade. It was a hit show.
I like Billy Joel. I especially like his song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It is written for adults. After all, who can remember half of the people he sings about. He says it was a guitar song. I sent my students home to study the words, which I provided, and determine who the characters were. That was when I taught History. It was not uncommon to have students listening to the song on tape, back before CD’s.
What Thoreau does not tell you about Walden Woods is that, in the time he spent there, much of the wooded area was decimated to provide wood to the railroads. But, at least in the beginning, he had woods. One more quote from him that may be of some interest is, “I have always endeavored to acquire strict business habits; they are indispensable to every man.” He used them as bellweather beacons to clear land for his house, use what he could to make his own lumber for his house, and save money in a big way by practicing good business practices. That is why he spent just $28.12 and 1/2 cents. It was a valuable project and is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. The swimming is great and every foot of depth was measured by Thoreau. Few ponds have been as totally studied as Walden. It is nice that his book is so lively.