How Deprived Are We?


I’ve been listening to a lot of people complaining about the deprivations brought about by the COVID-19 quarantine. Truth be known, I’ve complained, too. I miss my hairdresser. If I don’t get a cut soon, I’m going to start looking like Cousin Itt.


People want to go to the movies again. They want to get their tattoos. They want toilet paper, even if they have a stockpile. They can’t understand why we can’t have our concerts and parades and baseball games.

When I hear this, I think, “Wow, we’ve gotten soft.” I think of the stories I was told about what life was like during World War II. If we’re freaking out about hairdressers, I can’t imagine how we’d feel about being allowed 4 gallons of gas a week, and only then if we could justify having any at all.

According to Wikipedia, here are some of the austere measures applied to the American public at various points during WWII:

  • There was a shortage of rubber, so tires were allocated to each community based on the number of registered vehicles.

  • Gasoline rationing was also a function of preserving tires.

  • At one point, automobile sales were stopped. Along with the sales of typewriters and bicycles.

  • A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour was imposed to preserve rubber.

  • You were only allowed 5 tires. IF you could justify a need for your vehicle. All other tires (and all tires for those with unjustified use of a vehicle) were confiscated for government use.

  • Low priority vehicles could get 4 gallons of gasoline per week. Military industrial workers could get 8 gallons per week. People essential to the war effort, such as doctors and truckers, could get more. An unlimited supply of gasoline could go to clergy, police, firemen, civil defense workers, and, scandalously, to congressmen.

  • Automobile racing was banned, as was simply driving around to sightsee.

  • Only households with babies and small children could get canned milk.

  • Sugar rationing lasted until 1947 in some parts of the country. It was ½ pound per person per week, which was apparently half the normal consumption at the time.

  • Coffee was restricted to 1 pound every five weeks, also half the normal consumption.

  • Canned dogfood was no longer produced.

  • You had to turn in an empty toothpaste tube before you could buy a new one.

  • All production was halted for metal office furniture, radios, television sets, phonographs, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and sewing machines.

  • Other items that were rationed were shoes, silk, nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods, dried fruits, firewood, coal, jams, and jellies.

Given the way people are reacting to our current situation, I doubt any of us would have made it through World War II. We actually have it pretty darned good. We can get through this, if we put it into the proper perspective.


An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book!


To War or Not to War

There really hasn’t been a good clean war that everyone could sink their teeth into since World War II. Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but at least we can all agree that Hitler was the bad guy, and people were willing to ration their food and give up their panty hose for the cause. We were all on the same team, and the team spirit was palpable. Maybe modern wars just need better PR people. But today’s audience is much more cynical and selfish than the “Greatest Generation” ever was.

These days we much prefer that our wars not interrupt our primetime TV viewing schedules, and no one wants to actually have to sacrifice anything. Rationing? Are you kidding me? Not gonna happen.

Recently, whether or not to go to war has been on our minds. The consensus seems to be that we don’t want the expense. In these economically difficult times, this is a legitimate concern, but I personally don’t think it should be the only one.

More and more, Americans are questioning why we have been the world’s appointed enforcer, and the world is questioning why the US feels it has the right to stick its nose in everyone else’s business. I think these are both valid points as well.

There are those of us who think that war, in general, is counterproductive. I mean, all the death and destruction and horrendous public relations gets us where, exactly? And proves what? And, as is becoming increasingly obvious, achieves what?

Part of the problem, I think, is that we tend to fight for all the wrong reasons these days. We fight for oil. We fight to stop terrorism, as if it were some identifiable creature that could be corralled in one place and squashed like the cockroach that it is, never to be seen again. Sadly, terrorism is more like smoke. It simply blows away, appearing in other locations, and often our very attempts to combat it inspires more of it to form.

If we’re going to wage wars, the only acceptable reasons, in my opinion, are moral ones. For example, we should have waded right into Rwanda before the rivers flowed with blood. We should have prevented China from setting foot in Tibet. We should have never allowed a single human being to be mutilated in Sierra Leone, and no one should have ever disappeared in Chile. But we averted our eyes every time, and for all those things and many more, we should be ashamed. It’s truly unforgivable.

I certainly think that chemical warfare against civilians is a legitimate reason to be involved in a war. However, we have to stop getting involved in conflicts if clear-cut and achievable goals are not possible. This endless, “Gee, I don’t know, why are we here again?” stuff does no one any good, especially those we are attempting to help. And that’s the confusing fumbling that we’ve been doing since the Korean War. It must be frustrating for our soldiers who so often join the military for good, moral, and decent reasons to discover that they are caught up in bad, politically motivated and undisciplined clusterf***s.

We didn’t fight WWII for oil. We did have an identifiable foe. Not all our reasons for being involved were moral ones, but there was a definite and overwhelming moral element. We could feel proud of what we did, why we did it, and what we helped to stop.

Perhaps that should be the litmus test to determine when we should and should not get involved in international conflicts. Are our motivations something we can be proud of? Can we take pride in our goals and the way we go about achieving them? And will the world be a better place if we achieve those goals?

If we cannot answer yes to all three of those questions, then we have our answer. No.