Summer’s Big Chill

18Aug14

Summer is typically known as a slow period for news. The theory is that people are on vacation and therefore less likely to make news or to be paying attention when other people make news, so what’s the point of making news?

tierney_headshotPoliticians know this. That’s why, despite a Sept. 9 primary and a Nov. 4 general election where we’ll be voting for a congressman, a new Governor and a host of other major statewide offices, the average citizen hasn’t heard a peep from any of the candidates. They’re holding their fire (and their advertising war chests) until after Labor Day when, trust me, you’ll be wishing you’d never heard of any of these people.

But there’s some news even the politicians can’t control, despite their best efforts to hide from it.

Market BasketTake Market Basket, please. Seriously, will someone please take Market Basket and end this? I know I’m supposed to have sympathy for the workers who have sided with one millionaire owner over another – and I do. But since many of the workers have been getting paid by the greedy CEO’s they’re protesting against, my patience has its limits.

By now you’ve probably guessed that I’m not a Market Basket customer. But I do share their wish that this stalemate gets resolved soon so that they can get the hell out of my checkout line at Stop & Shop.

Locally, the new Galvin Middle School will be making plenty of news when it opens for students next month. In the meantime, the summer has featured the continuing demolition of the old Galvin. No matter how you felt about the old building, there are few things as visually compelling as watching steel girders being ripped out evan_kenney_ice_bucket_editof a building.

Finally, we have the biggest summer news story of all, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You can hardly turn on the news, open a newspaper, go online, look at your phone or even walk down Main Street without seeing somebody dumping a bucket of ice on his head.

The idea, in case you really have been vacationing on Mars, is that someone dumps a bucket of ice water over his head, marsposts the video on FaceBook and then issues a challenge for specific other individuals to do the same within 24 hours plus make a $10 donation to ALS. If you decline to take a cold shower, you’re supposed to donate $100.

Whoever came up with the idea of blending fad and fundraiser should seriously win a Nobel Prize, because donations to fight this awful disease have reportedly soared as a result.

May I take this opportunity to remind everyone that it’s actually better for everyone – financially if not visually – if you skate on the ice part?

My guess is that as we head into the more brisk days of fall, the Ice Bucket Challenge will naturally melt away, hopefully after raising buckets of dough to fight ALS.

I had an idea to replace it, but somehow I doubt that my Leaf Bag Challenge will catch on.

[This column originally appeared in the August 14, 2014 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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