By Virgil Vaupel
Thanks for Listening 

A Most Embarrassing Moment


It took me 73 years and 71 days but I have finally had it! I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems to have fallen on deaf eyes, especially mine, but I don’t see a tangible solution to the growing problem. Several or more of the presidential candidates have given the problem token air time, but I fear there is nothing even the newly-elected president, or president-ess, can do about it.

Every time we go to the hardware store, the super market, the clothing store, the farm tractor selling place, the appliance store: every time we go to buy someone a birthday gift, or an anniversary present or a valentine card, we run into the problem. Even when we buy the long-awaited-and-saved-for new car. At least 40 percent of that new car smell is attributed to the problem.

I suppose you’ve figured it out by now.

I bought a new gas range. It is made by Hot Point, a company that used to bear the Made In America label proudly. Well, as I was bringing home my new stove in the back of my made-in-the-US-with-about-40-percent-of-its-parts-made-in-some-foreign-country-Ford Ranger pickup, the words Estufa and Cuiseniere came into view in the rear view mirror. I think the first one is Mexican and the second is (?) French. What the hell are those words doing on a Hot Point gas range sold in the United States? These words and many more foreign words were boldly emblazoned on all four sides of the shipping crate for all the civilized world to see.

I was mortified with shame. At this point, as cars were passing me on the highway, I tried to hide my face, wishing I had parked my pickup in an abandoned alley somewhere and waited until dark to bring home my foreign-made gas estufa.

Yes, I bought the least expensive stove in the store and maybe the most expensive ones were made in America. I didn’t go back to see. I didn’t want to make yet another trip through town with the damning evidence loudly displayed in the back of my pickup. And folks pointing at me.

I said earlier that I didn’t know of a solution, but I do, and so do you. It’s getting our manufacturing back. It’s proudly making our own stuff from shoes to bras to cars to washing machines, pencils, paper, caps, cameras, TVs, stereos, purses and wallets, neckties and corned beef hash. Just look around you from where you are sitting listening to this diatribe. What do you see that was made, in full, in America? (No Gertrude, children do not count.)

Now ask yourself, “Why wasn’t it?” It used to be made in America by a worker that when he went on vacation, he loaded up his family and spent his hard-earned cash on a road trip with his wife and kids traveling to Disneyland or Yellowstone National Park. Now all the ball caps and T-shirts are made in Sri Lanka. How many Sri Lankians have you seen lately, spending money in Glasgow? Or for that matter, how many Chinese, Pakistanis or East Indians?

When you open up a bag of dried fruit, do you think of the “millions” of Turkians from Turkey who have graced our Valley County businesses? Know why not? Because there ain’t any!! I received a box of candy for Christmas. It had the Hershey’s name on it. It was yummy indeed. It was “Manufactured in Mexico.”

I’m starting a letter-writing campaign to Daines, Zinke and that other guy, letting them know that if they do nothing ... again ... to bring manufacturing back into the United States, I will NOT cast my vote in their direction and I will encourage all of my friend (“s” omitted by request) to do the same.

This is where it starts, folks. Someone has to make a move to get those people who are elected to take care of our interests to do the right thing no matter who is president. It’s high time you people in Washington, D.C., get off your collective arses and support the American people, not just your chosen political party or the “good ol’ boy club.”

And one of the first things you have to do in congress is to castrate the EPA. A little bit of their high-handedness goes a long way and they need to be curtailed so that businesses can thrive and still keep the environmentalists happy. They’ve got all the flamin’ liberal money backing them and it’s tough for us common folks to fight the big bucks when ours are so few comparatively.

Make your mommy and daddy proud now. Write some letters. Chew some butt and even threaten a bit. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Oh, and please indulge me here. It’s something near and dear and I would like to share this with you.

I was shopping for groceries at Reynold’s yesterday, and something happened that made me think that maybe there are some young folks who listen to this drivel.

Most of you 17.3 readers know how I like to hear some “thank you’s” when I spend money, but they are so few and far betwixt sometimes I lose hope. But here’s good news.

As I was receiving my change, the checker lady actually said, “thank you,” and you all know how I feel about that. It wasn’t the usual “there ya’ go” as she handed me my change. And ... and ... the young lady sacking my groceries turned to look me dead straight in the eyeballs and said, (I was waiting for the obligatory “have a nice day”) but as I waited patiently it didn’t come. Instead this young lady said, “I hope you have a very nice night.” She didn’t presume to have the power to grant me a nice night. She “hoped” I would have a nice night. Yikes!!! I was so phlustered with the “thank you” and then the “I hope you......” I forgot to note their names.

Kudos and thank you to you both from me.

That’s it for now folks. Thanks for listening.


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