Carnes: Sorry for the mess we’ve made |

Carnes: Sorry for the mess we’ve made

It’s been three years since my first-born became a high school graduate, next May before number two has the same privilege, and nine more Mays until the final Carnes boy walks the crowded aisle of bliss with his hand outstretched for a piece of paper he’ll admire once… and then promptly toss in an environmentally-sound box for his grandkids to find in the distant future.


But for a specific few hundred of you out there in Happy Valley able to read these words (hopefully), this week is it, the last time you will ever use a No. 2 pencil.

I know it’s a shocker, but we don’t use them in the real world. Deal with it.

So, do you feel like you’re taking that first step and falling off a cliff or climbing up a mountain?

Either way, when I graduated back in 1977 we had about 4 billion mouths for the planet to feed, the federal budget was only $700 billion, and gas a mere 60 cents per gallon.

And we thought that was tough.

To make matters worse, Jimmy Carter was president and Elvis died, but then again we did have the first installment of both Star Wars and Rocky.

Don’t worry, in spite of the mess we’ve been busy making for you to deal with (6.5 billion mouths to feed, $9 trillion in debt and $4 gas), you will survive as well. And if you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy it too. There’s so much to look forward to, you just have to remember a few things along the way.

Like remembering to vote.

Unless Mom and Dad kept you back (waaaaay back) in the early years, next November will be your first foray into helping the rest of us elect a President.

It is a big deal, and ignorance of the entire political scene is only bliss up to this point in your young lives. Now is the time to pay attention.

Signs of democracy at its best have been surrounding you since birth. Just look at the last few months around here to see an example of how the “will of the people” works.

The “will” handed a county commissioner his backside in an Eagle mayoral race. It told the Town of Avon what they could do with their desire to become real estate prophets and Bobby Ginn what he could do with their water rights and sidewalks in Minturn.

Trust me, your “will” to pay attention and vote has a direct impact.

Also remember that life is about making choices.

For example, when asking a partner’s opinion on whether or not to shave a certain part of your beard and she replies, “I’d rather see you shave the whole thing off,” the proper retort is NOT, “Well I’d rather see you with 20 less pounds, but that’s not what I asked…”

A better example of “poor” choices simply cannot be written (at the moment).

Remember that the odds of astrology, palm reading, or any (repeat: ANY) supposed acts of the supernatural predetermining any aspect of your future are the exact same as using a broken Magic 8-Ball in a closet with the lights off.

Coincidences are little more than self-fulfilled hindsight, as your actual future is completely dependent upon you, and no one else. Even if your name is Clinton or Bush, the only entitlement provided by your American birth is one of opportunity.

Only you can fix your problems, not your government.

Remember you don’t have to be appointed or win an election to be a judge of character, so trust your gut, follow your intuition. It’s correct more often than not, except when enjoying frosty cold beverages, at which point intuition becomes known as “beer goggles.”

As adults, we weave through a mundane sea of repetitiveness, looking forward to the next movie, next book, next weekend, next football game, next beer, next vacation, and then grow old wishing we had done more with our lives, forgetting that in all of that repeating, we actually raised a family.

Now is your turn, before the family comes into play. Make the best of it.

Remember, you can’t be happy by accident, and you are the only one who can honestly tell if you are.

NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper … but for vaguely apparent reasons, he thinks they should be.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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