Crowd, more crowd

I was going to write about something else today. Mangoes, actually. But that can wait.
It’s mid-summer and, among other things, that means I can take my time in the morning to knock out a blog and I can do so with Wimbledon tennis on in the background. With a second cup of coffee next to me, life does not get much better.
All writers have their quirks. Two of mine are I prefer to write in the morning and I can have the TV on in the same room and pay hardly any attention to it. And if it does intrude, it is only when I pause for a moment to consider the next sentence.
This just happened. And changed the course of my writing.
No mangoes today, I thought. Pickup trucks.
Not exactly pickup trucks, though. Rather, the message a pickup truck commercial just sent.
It shows a guy driving a pickup. The Voice Over says something like: What do you want out of life? To be a good person? A good husband?
Damn right, I began to say to myself when the Voice Over interrupted with something like: Heck no. You want a lot more than that. You want to win. You want to be king.
And that, right there, capsulizes much of what is wrong with America in 2017, and has been for some time.
A good person, a good husband is not enough?
Well,it used to be.
It was enough for my dad. And for just about every dad I knew when I was growing up. They went to work, cut the grass, repaired things around the house, coached Little League, went to church, passed the basket, volunteered at the fire department, paid off their car in three years and drove it three more, managed to swing a week at the Jersey shore each summer, made sure there were plenty of presents under the tree and slept at night like babies.
They weren’t kings but they were happy.
The pickup commercial reminded me of something one of my friends said to another friend a few years ago.
“Remember when we were kids?” he said. “Back then there were one or two really cool kids and the rest of us were content to be just crowd. Today, everyone wants to be a superstar.”
There was nothing wrong with being just crowd. In fact, it was commendable. Crowd built America. Crowd won world War II. And no one had to remind crowd to take off its hat for the National Anthem.
Oh, for the record, crowd also drove pickup trucks.

Ed Ackerman