Taking Things Forr Granted Essay, Research Paper
Taking Things For Granted?
While chowing down some fried rice, I was busy watching poetry in action when my mother told me to turn off ?that wrestling trash.? Then I pondered something: how many people are missing out on this stuff? Then I pondered something else: how many people don?t watch it because they don?t have a TV? A week later, I was wolfing down some yogurt while listening to George W. Bush mispronounce a certain somebody?s name along the lines of Slobodan Mi-LAA-se-VICK, and then another question popped in my mind: how many people are interested in or actually care what he?s talking about? A few seconds after that, I thought about those who did care about democracy, freedom, rights, and having their voice heard, but could do nothing about it ? Just like that, the obvious epiphany popped into my head. We as a society take just about everything in life for granted. Whether it be our family, our resources, or our health, everything is expected to come to us, and if it doesn?t, then we complain that life just isn?t fair.
When contemplating taking things for granted, one might first think of the family. In ancient times, the basic unit of Roman society was the family. Even today, most issues center around ?Who?s taking me to school?? and ?Why did you scratch your older brother?? My daddy and mommy always tell me that everything in their lives is for my sisters and I. They always say, ?When we die, we won?t be taking all this stuff with us into our graves.? I could never picture anything but my mom sacrificing her entire life, her entire working career just to bring us up correctly. I could never picture anything but my mom always at home ready to cook me some nice, hot chicken ? you know, the kind where the outside is all nice and crispy and the inside is all tender and juicy. Only 4 days in my entire school career did I ever buy lunch ? the reason why, you ask? My mother chose to wake up every single day just to make me my very own healthy, but tasty, lunch. How about siblings? My parents always tell me that they yearn to see their own brothers? and sisters? faces, if even just for a moment. They tell me how they too were like us: they?d tease one another and fight a lot when they were all young, and then, slowly, but surely, everyone got married and started living in different houses. I then realize the true importance of family: I have someone to go home to and talk to and relate to and tease; I have someone to tell all of my problems to; I have to someone to answer most, if not all, of my questions. But, do we ever think of that one kid who?s an only child or those 3 children of a single parent?
It doesn?t stop there, though ? people tend to dismiss their available resources. It?s a common sight to see people stuck in a traffic jam complaining, honking, and making love signs at their neighbors. Yet, we?re lucky that we?re sitting in an air-conditioned vehicle, listening to music, or talking on a cell phone. If someone were to hit us, we would be restrained and protected by airbags and a seatbelt. In the mountainous terrain of Peru, the people?s main mode of transportation lie in swinging on cable lines across wide, hot, mosquito-infested chasms. If they mess up, if they fall, they?re gone ? there is literally no safety net. This past night, I left my fan on because I was hot, my lamp on because I?m afraid of the dark, and my computer on because I was downloading a song when my little sister, not my mother, told me that I was wasting energy. Now, I said something along the lines of ?Yeah, right? or ?Oh, well,? and yet, she had a point. Figuratively speaking, every one of us, at least in our life, has left the water running while brushing their teeth. For us, water isn?t a problem ? it?s literally at our fingertips. In places like Tanzania, people rush outside when it rains because that rain is their main source of water ? they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Considering their dry climate, if they?re even a little bit late, they can forget about taking another shower for the next few days. Furthermore, it?s a common sight to see someone go up to their mother and complain, ? Mommy, I need another pair of jeans ? I got this big pen mark on the pant leg.? What?s wrong with this picture? Well, you might say it depends on who you ask, but there is indeed a common theme. My dad never discards a shoe, sock, shirt, or the like ? if it gets stained, he works in it outside in our garden. The fact it, though, that he has the power (both monetary and mobile) to go out and buy something that he needs to wear anytime he wants. While most of our society is becoming more and more concerned with the outside-in instead of the inside-out, our materialistic ways serve as a foil, if you will, for those without resources. One can go into the heart of Mexico City and easily be approached by over 20 kids asking you to buy $.05 chiclets from them ? their basic source of income. In India, where my cousins live, power always goes out at least 1-3 times a day for hours at a time; meanwhile, my computer is on the Internet in one room downloading a song and I?m in the living room watching the Letterman Show. Even a basic thing like education we take for granted. Here we are in a general school system that offers us free schooling to help better our future, and yet we still choose to cut classes and take off periods instead of taking that one extra honors class that might enlighten some of our future decisions. Hearing this, one can only think of the youth in the Middle East, who, with all of the hate and fighting going on, have no choice ? no school or college, only military. Even in ancient Greek times, only the richest families could afford to have their children educated, and even that didn?t come cheap ? they had to hire private tutors. An even more proud feeling for our society is that almost 36% of scholarships go untaken because no one applies for them ? FREE MONEY THAT NOBODY TAKES!!!
By far, the biggest concept that we take for granted is our health and well-being. Picture being lactose-intolerant, not being able to digest dairy products, as I am right now, and driving through Hershey, PA smelling the sweet, melted aroma of chocolate emanating from the nearby Hershey?s Chocolate factories. Wait ? I think I can hear the Oompa Loompas singing their ?Oompa Loompa? song about Wonka bars and Scrumdiddlyumptious bars. Now imagine sitting at a table while the person in front of you gobbles up a chicken McNugget, an ultimate cheeseburger, or a Pizza Hut triple topping supreme while all you can do is sit there drooling with your mouth open. That?s a position I?m always in ? being diagnosed with Crohn?s disease, a disease that stems from the inflammation of my large intestine. Before I got sick, I always was a picky eater, eating only my favorite foods at meal time. I?d be surprised if anyone I met never cleaned out the middle of an Oreo or took out the greens from a burger. With a diet that now consists of only rice and yogurt, and Boost ? supplemental drinks, I can now remotely relate to those in Africa who consider brown water a delicacy and those famished, poverty-stricken people of Somalia. Hearing of routine outbreaks of malaria, and just recently, ebola again, I come to appreciate our rather advanced methods of healthcare as compared to others? still primitive methods. We all watch Keanu Reeves as Neo in the movie The Matrix with his gravity-defying moves and Trinity, his sidekick, with her high-flying acrobatics, but do we think of those confined to wheelchairs who haven?t walked on their own feet in years, if ever? Do we pause to think of the average 10-year-old diabetic who?s had over 2000 finger pricks?
In retrospect, appreciation of life (or its lack, thereof) doesn?t cease to surprise me. Only in America can one stand out on the street and vent his anger in loud torrential speeches; only in America does one actually have a choice about what to believe in without having Big Brother watching over them. As a victim of disease, I can voice whatever limited wisdom I have accumulated in my 17 years. We should appreciate what we do have and what we can do, and what we can eat, because as soon as we have that one thing taken away from us, we are in a world of hurt, anger, and frustration. Watching someone else eat up steak and potatoes when you can barely digest milk is one of the worst feelings for a once-healthy person. So, the next time your little sister takes your gum or your chess set from your room, and you confront her, and she scratches you, and you shove her, and she goes to your mom and starts doing her little fake crying bit and gets you in trouble for something she started, and you feel like locking her outside of the house or staying cooped up at school or the office to avoid your family, remember one thing: No one?s tombstone ever read ?I wish I spent more time at work.?