Al McCombs

Al McCombs

From the title this sounds like a Valentine’s Day tribute, but it’s actually a Rolltop Roundup from almost 50 years ago, Oct. 21, 1970 and reprinted in 2013, and here again with some notes added in italics. Hopefully it will put present day woes in perspective.  

Just as sure as those dang horseless carriages took over our streets and women got the right to vote, change is an inevitable challenge to the comfort and satisfaction of mankind. So if it turns your stomach into a furnace or speeds up your blood pressure whenever you hear something come along that is going to turn the community, nation or civilization into the melting pot of Hades, then please stop reading right now.

Here’s a list of things we’re going to live to see, if we don’t die of apoplexy first:

In the near future (don’t forget, this is 1970. There is some shocking genderitis) – the midi skirt accepted. Look who’s defending the mini – the very people who used to be shocked. Give it two more years, folks. In the meantime, boss you’d better get used to your secretary wearing suit pants to the office. Yes, I mean you up there at the banks, too. They’re becoming as popular as credit cards and 9 percent mortgages.

No-fault car insurance. It can’t come soon enough, except for attorneys.

Legalized marijuana. Sorry, mom and dad. You booted it when you refused to cut out smoking and to drink only out of the sight of the youngsters. Booze used to be illegal, too, until the traffic in illicit stuff became worse. Whenever society loses more than it gains by enforcing a law it’s bound to change it. I’m not saying I like it that way, but we brought it on ourselves. 

The day will come when gun controls follow explosive controls. Gun hobbyists, sportsmen and marksmen will cry to the skies that America has lost her heritage, but the facts of life will make free gun traffic too scary for the normal, meek, quiet-living individual to stomach. Sorry about that. (Hasn’t happened yet.)

The four-day work week. It’s here.

Pornography laws will apply only to juveniles. If you can’t stand the heat, you’ll have to stay away from the fire. We lost the battle when they started advertising underarm deodorant freely.

Legalized abortion. Came in the same year we walked on the moon. Ten years ago they were saying both were impossible.

Public advocacy of birth control. We’ve got it already. It’s only a matter of formalizing it in most places. Don’t forget they said a Catholic would never become a President, either. (When I was married in Connecticut, it was illegal for my wife’s doctor to discuss this with her.)

Minimum income level for all citizens. This is a communist plot, like the income tax, social security and federal aid to education. What the devil is a Republican President doing promoting it? (and in 1970!)

What do these things have in common that make some of you angry? They seem to flaunt the religious, political and economic traditions of our country. The principles that made our nation strong are being dismembered, you feel. Well, what happened when we ran out of land frontiers, when we began to foul our own air and water, when we got involved with undeclared wars, when we forced integration on the south, and discovered an individual had the right to refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

Don’t get discouraged. The world is full of highly moral non-Christians, honest humanists, patriotic college professors, responsible black people, hard-working longhairs and well-clothed fictional characters.

Don’t forget we also have television, wash-dry business suits, self-cleaning ovens, plastic garbage bags, tube-less tape-players, painless dentist drills, silverless coins, Medicare, 350-passenger airplanes, air-conditioned churches and married school teachers. At one time or another, nobody would admit these were possible. 

I can remember in my town when the Presbyterians didn’t approve of pool so their kids went to the Young Men’s Christian Association to use the billiard table put there to keep young people off the streets.

Those were the days when we held our high school fraternity initiations up in the hills (what ever happened to those?), and a college student volunteer could load an elementary school youth group into his old car and take them on a trip to the hills without someone worrying about liability insurance.

Times have changed both ways. We’ve become more free-wheeling and more restrictive at the same time. The length of men’s hair, women’s rights, four-letter words, the nude statue in the museum or the smoke belching from the factory employing 5,000 people are good or bad, according to their effect on our sensibilities and our way of thinking. We can get upset and even make laws about them, but what happens 10 years from now when we look at them in a different context? Dr. Spock’s advice is an example. (Spock, who’s he?)

The best advice is not to get frustrated and to have a good reason for your beliefs. That way you’ll live longer and your children will be able to accept something that makes sense.

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