You can always tell that it's February. Everyone starts to get a little edgy. The holidays got us through dark December in good cheer, but on Jan. 2 when everyone woke up to the reality of another New Year, the longest, darkest month loomed large. Not only did we have to face the Iowa caucus this year, and politics, local and national, ad nauseum, right after New Year's Eve, but also the spectre of more reruns on TV as the writers' strike dragged on. The kids were home from school for another whole week on vacation, sales tax went up a penny, and to make matters even worse, the Alaska Legislature convened for only 90 days when in the past they couldn't even get their main act together in 90 days.
No wonder that by the first of February, personalities start to clash
So, I offer you a parable. Please apply to whatever issue in your life it fits:
Johnny was mad at his big sister, Betty. "You took the last bag of chips," he yelled
"Mom told me yesterday that I could have them for Janie's party tonight if I did my chores and didn't have anything else to take," she replied.
"But maybe she changed her mind today. You don't need them! You don't need to take anything to Janie's!"
"I need to help with the refreshments, and I was busy with my chores so didn't have time to fix anything else."
"I'm going to tell mom. She'll make you leave them home."
"Tell her. I'll do what ever she says. You know, you can come over to Janie's too. Bobby will be there and he asked if you're coming." Betty picked up the bag of chips.
"Not me! Leave them here! MOM!!"
Mom rushed into the room "Don't yell, Johnny. What is going on? Are you hurt?"
"Betty is taking the last bag of chips to Janie's Party. Make her leave them home."
"Betty," said Mother, "Did you do your chores? Did you finish the dishes, fold your clean clothes and sweep the entry way?" She took the bag from Betty's hand.
"Yes, Mom. And I also took out the garbage and walked the dog. I didn't have time to fix anything else for the party."
"OK. Johnny, did you finish your chores?" Mom looked at Johnny.
"Well, I put my clothes in the laundry and emptied my wastebasket. Make her leave the chips."
"Ummm. Is Johnny invited to the party, Betty?"
"Janie said to bring him along and Bobby asked if he was coming."
"OK. Let me think about it." Mother left the room, taking the disputed bag with her.
"Nyahh, Nyahh, Nyahhh!! You'll have to leave them!" mocked Johnny
"If Mom says so. But then we'll not have many snacks."
"Who cares?" said Johnny, "I'm not going to be there"
In a few minutes Mom returned. "Betty, you can take the chips to Janie's party." She handed the bag to Betty. "You did your chores, I checked, and I told you yesterday you could take them. Johnny, you should never have made such a fuss. Go to the party and share them."
"Not me! You don't love me! You like Betty more than you do me! She gets everything! You shoulda changed your mind." He stamped his feet, and clenched his jaw.
"Do you want me to change my mind about your going to the movie tomorrow night? "
"No! You said last week I could go!"
"I said you could go if we weren't doing anything else. Maybe we should all stay home and play Scrabble."
"But you said I could go!" Johnny's face scrunched into the pre-tears mode.
"Maybe I changed my mind." Mother smiled. "You want me to change my mind every time you don't get your way but not when you do."
Johnny tuned away, pouting and muttering to himself, "No body likes me! Life isn't fair. I'm going to run away."
"Promises, promises," said Betty so only Johnny could hear.
We all have our opinions about the issues, but sometimes we forget that when we offer ours, it automatically gives the other guy the right to argue the opposite side. That's what's great about America dissent was written into the Bill of Rights right up there with freedom of religion and before the right to bear arms.
One thing about it, if you don't like the results of a local election just wait a year or two, it will change. True to the Alaska way, we will vote on each issue until someone thinks we get it right. If another faction doesn't like it, we will vote again, and again and undoubtedly, soon again. I usually vote the same on each ballot. At least I'm right half the time.
And remember, in only 19 days, it will be March 1 and we can look forward to break-up.
Virginia Walters lives in Kenai.
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