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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your Cheatin' Heart, Be My Guest and an Appeal for "Do-Gooders"

Be My Guest

Occasionally followers of the blog ask that their Email address be removed from the “Blog Posting Alert” list which is used to announce new postings on this blog.  Sometimes it’s because they don’t read their Email anyway and want to remove unread messages from their screens, but I suspect that most such requests are made because the sender was annoyed at something I wrote, or included on the blog. 

I really would prefer, in such situations, that the sender write something to be included in the blog, disagreeing with what I wrote or included.  Or perhaps tell me where I could find an article expressing their views that I could include.  I’d be glad to include something by writers like Cal Thomas or Charles Krauthammer, with whom I usually disagree, if a blog follower asked me to do that. 

Meanwhile I await an impassioned article explaining why Obamacare is a threat to our individual freedoms, unnecessary because we already have the best health care delivery system in the world, despite its leaving thirty million Americans uninsured and dependent on Emergency Rooms (which won’t turn them away) for their primary care, increasing the cost of insurance for those of us who do have it.  You want to write it?  Go ahead!  Be my guest!

Jack Lippman


Wanted:  Do-Gooders !

It has been said that folks who were flaming liberals in their teens and twenties slowly evolve into conservatives once they reach and pass middle age.  The problem is that the issues which so concerned and aroused people when they were “younger” are still around.

Genocide, as well as war and terrorism, still exist in many parts of the world, often based on race or religion.  That should still concern us.   

People are literally starving to death in parts of Asia and Africa. In our own country, the number of people in the government’s Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program is mind-boggling.  And many of these people are working full time!  That should still concern us.  

  African child in need of nutrition

Without getting into a discussion of Obamacare, a visit to any emergency room will clue you in to the vast number of Americans who lack adequate health care , in this, the richest country in the world.  That should concern us. 

The oceans are rising and climate is changing scientists claim because of the amount of emissions produced by the industrial plants throughout our planet.  That should concern us.   

The world’s resources including animal life, on land and in the seas, are being depleted at an alarming rate.  That should concern us.  

Nuclear weapon proliferation, an evil which can make all of these other problems go away, still has to be controlled and managed.  That should concern us.  

There are diseases yet to be conquered which claim the lives of people who still have many productive years ahead of them .  One of these is obesity!  That should concern us. 

All over the world, people are continually being "scammed" by frauds and crooks, ranging from the sale of "cures" for various ailments to questionable investment practices.  Some feel the free market will ferret out these scoundrels. Others look to their government for regulatory solutions.  These things should concern us.

Discrimination against women still exists in many parts of the world, particularly in regard to education and reproductive rights.  Human beings, including children, are being brutalized throughout the world.  Actually, slavery still exists in some places. These things should concern us.

Joblessness and its handmaiden, poverty, occur all over the world, often in the face of extreme wealth in the hands of a very few.  Is the solution found by developing a thriving world-wide economy providing jobs for all, or should we look to governments for solutions? This should concern us.

If you were on the activist side of these issues in the old days, you might have been labeled as a “do-gooder.” But after many years of working hard to earn a living and raise a family, these issues often fade into the background.  They shouldn’t.  They still should concern us.   

This is not to say that conservatives, into which many of us have evolved, are not concerned with these issues.  They are, but the normal conservative impetus is to leave things as they are, “conserving” them, and that does not lend itself to assuming leadership in actively addressing these areas of concern.  That is why the world needs “do-gooders” of all ages and persuasions to rise to meet these challenges.  As a poet once said, “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”  Let’s put those powers back to work.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to the identity of the poet quoted above?

And here's an interesting article which appeared in AARP The Magazine and which is reproduced here since, believe it or not, all followers of this blog are not members of AARP. 


A wry look into the mind of the male monogamist

Judging from the news, women might be forgiven for wondering if every married man is cheating on his wife these days. Or at least every politician, movie star, CEO or athlete of any stature whatsoever. Whether it's Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Ashton Kutcher, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Sandra Bullock or that peripatetic governor from South Carolina, the spectacle of high-profile infidelity suggests that American husbands have lost their moral compass and cravenly adopted the motto: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. In fact, it doesn't even have to happen in Vegas to stay in Vegas. As far as I'm concerned, nothing that happened anywhere ever really happened. Even if I get caught red-handed."
Everyone knows why men cheat. Well, everyone thinks they know. The theory runs like this: Men — not all of them, but quite a few — are pigs. They disingenuously identify themselves as hunters, as opposed to gatherers or certified public accountants or weenies, and thus deem themselves biologically incapable of remaining monogamous.

Once they have manufactured this self-serving, pseudo-scientific rationalization, additional justifications for infidelity are easy to devise. Their wives no longer love them. The sex fell off after the kids were born.  The thrill is gone. When they are brutally honest, they might come clean and admit that they have met somebody younger. Or somebody better-looking. Or somebody richer. Or somebody younger, better-looking and richer. With whom the sex is awesome. Which brings us back to the original point, that a lot of men are pigs.

But most are not.

Statistical evidence suggests that cheating is nowhere near as rampant among ordinary men as it would appear to be among pols and jocks and thespians and high-octane suits and other libidinous creatures. According to the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, no more than 22 percent of men have ever engaged in marital infidelity, and only one man in 20 is unfaithful to his wife on an annual basis.

So if a guy calls his wife to say he's working late, there's a 95 percent chance that he's chained to his desk, not stepping out with the nubile new hire in creative services. (Men are more likely to stray than women — or at least more likely to admit it — though the gender gap may be closing, the survey found: Nearly 15 percent of women say they have cheated.)  


Our natural instinct is to believe that faithful men adore their wives, are blissfully happy in their relationships and would never dream of fooling around, because it would violate their personal moral code. You can build entire societies around mensches like this. These men are willing to work to make a marriage succeed. To them, marriage is not a trifle, not a lark. Following this logic, men who don't cheat are first-class human beings.

But are they? All of them? Really?
Over the years, I've met a few guys who cheat on their wives and an awful lot who don't. Or let's just say I think they don't. But is it possible that these husbands refrain from cheating not so much because they love their wives, and not even because they view cheating as immoral, but for other, less laudable reasons? Consider, if only for the sake of argument, the following explanations for why some men are faithful to their wives:

Many men are incredibly lazy 
Men like to plop down on the couch and watch sports and drink beer. 
Romance, by contrast, is labor-intensive; you have to shower, shave, slap on some deodorant, put on something other than sweatpants, buy flowers, go to the movies, read a book every once in a while, think of compliments, engage in conversation. Cheating on your wife involves travel, dinner reservations, booking hotel rooms. Once a man has been married a few decades, the energy he would need to expend on an extramarital affair could be a life-threatening shock to his nervous system. It would be like asking the Sahara to suddenly erupt in foliage. That's why so many older men wouldn't even think of cheating on their wives. It's too exhausting.

Some men are startlingly ugly
Women swear up and down that looks are not nearly as important to them as they are to men, that a woman will not hesitate to marry an unattractive man if he has other compensatory qualities, such as a sense of humor or a highly developed intellect or a villa in Tuscany. I only believe the part about the villa in Tuscany. I personally cannot recall the last time I saw an attractive woman with a hideous man, and I keep my eyes peeled for this sort of thing. You might see a 10 with an 8, or an 8 with a 5, but you never see a 9 with a 2. And that's the reason ugly men do not cheat on their wives.  An ugly man is so happy that he found one woman willing to gaze at his baleful countenance for the next 40 years that there is no way he is going to risk everything by cheating on her.

Lots of married men are cheap
Having an extramarital affair takes money. Even if you don't have to shell out for airplane tickets and hotel rooms, sooner or later you're going to have to pony up for meals, flowers, chocolates, theater tickets, lingerie. "If your girlfriend is really into Barbra Streisand or Andrea Bocelli, the concert tickets alone could bankrupt you," a reformed cheater ruefully observes, "especially if you have to take your wife to the same concert the very next night."

"There aren't enough hours in the day to be married and maintain an affair," says one veteran philanderer. "Having a mistress becomes just another job."

Men fear getting caught
According to a Gallup poll, only 6 percent of Americans view cheating as acceptable. And 64 percent say that it is an unforgivable offense. Which means that the risks are enormous. Many men would cheat on their wives if they thought they could get away with it, but know that they can't get away with it because they're sloppy, forgetful, disorganized, dumb. 

They're going to put the motel charge on their credit card instead of paying cash. Or they're going to pay cash for the three-hour day rate in the motel but forget to tell the seedy desk clerk in the Black Sabbath T-shirt not to put the minibar charges on the Visa. They're going to make too many late-night calls to the same mysterious phone number in Vegas or Amarillo or Buenos Aires. They're going to get caught, they know they're going to get caught, and they don't want to have to deal with the consequences of getting caught. And that's why they don't cheat. If they coulda, they woulda. But they couldn't, so they didn't.

Affairs are time-consuming
"There aren't enough hours in the day to be married and maintain an extramarital affair," says a veteran philanderer I know. "At a certain point, having a mistress just becomes another job. And if your girlfriend lives in another city, the travel will eventually wear you down."

Bores can't get dates
Just because you'd like to cheat doesn't automatically mean that you're going to find someone willing to take you in. Much like the ugly guys, boring guys count their lucky stars that they were able to find one woman capable of staying awake while they moan about the latest Financial Accounting Standards Board standards or complain that no one ever plays Seals and Crofts or Bobby Vinton at weddings anymore. Finding a second woman who would put up with this stuff can be a stretch.

Men have seen Fatal Attraction
Michael Douglas meets the One-Night-Stand-From-Hell. 'Nuff said.  

    Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction"

In proposing all this, I do not mean to disparage the millions and millions of men who remain scrupulously faithful to their wives because they love them, honor them, cherish them and can't imagine ever being unfaithful to them. Those guys are great; those guys rule the world. All I'm saying is that marital fidelity is not always the direct result of a romantic disposition or an ironclad values system.
Some men would cheat on their wives — at least once — if they knew they could get away with it, if they didn't have to worry about the blowback (e.g., bunny boiling). But in the final analysis, I suspect that some men don't cheat for the same reason that they don't water-ski: They're not really good at it, there's no learning curve for this sort of thing, and the results could be disastrous.

By the way, women already know all this.

     Happy Thanksgiving to All.  May your Plates be Filled with Good Things! 


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