Momentary thoughts lead to thoughtful conclusions

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It takes six hours to get from central Indiana to where I am at the moment. That’s 360 minutes in which to have solitary thoughts. Now, I plan to let some of those loose upon the world.

Why are automobiles so dull? Americans are so proud of their cars, but most cars are grey, black, red, white or blue. Yes, some are green and there’s an occasional yellow or brown. What has happened to the two tones of my youth? Where are cars painted in the exciting psychedelic creations of the 1960s? Are there no longer individuals driving our roads, only representatives of staid middle age?

And trucks? Boring. Massive surfaces, potential expressions of individual or corporate mirth, roll by in dull conformity. At one time Red Gold trucks had personality. FedEx and UPS vehicles have all the charm of a blood transfusion. Necessary, but no soul. At least Old Dominion Freight Line offers a slogan, “Helping the World Keep Promises.” I’m not sure what promises are being kept, but it makes me think serious thoughts about shippers and their products entrusted to trucking companies.

What is Indiana University talking about on those billboards proclaiming its campuses are “Keeping the Promise”? After seeing one of those billboards, I emailed one of IU’s 14 vice-presidents and asked about the promise. The veep I chose was in charge of policy, so I thought she would know. She didn’t but referred me to the IU Foundation. I need to follow up on that one. Who’s been promised what?

A sign at a highway construction site in Ohio: “Slow down, my Mommy works here.” I’ve seen that message about Daddy but not previously about Mommy. There’s progress for you. Mommy is working on a construction job. It’s a tremendous statement of how women have expanded their roles in our society. Since many road jobs are funded with federal dollars, she probably is being paid at the same rate as the men doing the same work.

Which reminds me of a craft show where wonderful fabrics and clothes were on display. Bright colors and imaginatively designed articles. Women were doing the buying, but they were all wearing dark and dreary garments. Where and when are they going to wear what they were buying?

Which reminds me, did I tell you about of the dull cars on the roads?

Morton Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker who may be reached at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com.