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Just stop it

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo -

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Today the world wants to announce all sorts of thing to me, and it wants to treat me as a child – simultaneously. I am tired of it.

The major international delivery companies now have on the side of their vans what fuel they are using, particularly if it is natural gas. Why? Why do they think I care?  

I say ax the senior vice president of fuel choices and her whole staff and lower your rates.  I cannot think of hardly anything I could care less about (well, there are polar bears, coral reefs and manatees, see below).

Same way with my car. It has more graphs and information about fuel consumption than NASA has data in their control rooms. Why am I paying for these fancy graphical things on the dashboard? All this stuff tells me is that if I am going downhill in a tailwind I get better mileage (really?), and, as an added feature, a ring around the instrument cluster turns green when these conditions exist.  

If there is money in my pocket for gas and I want to go, I’ll go. I made the fuel economy decision when I bought the car. This discussion is over.  

Laura’s car, slightly newer than mine, besides doing all these cutesy things, turns the engine off every time you stop at a stop sign or light. You can select to not do this when you initially get in the car, but there is no universal, forever, off switch for this feature.  

She didn’t ask for this, and in fact, hates it. These are things we have been forced to pay for by some corporate or government bureaucrats. 

Then, there are the people that want to tell me what they do in a certain room in their house (this is a family publication; you figure out what room). I don’t care, and further, I don’t want to know. That’s between you and God. Yes, God. His book sets out clear rules for your behavior in all rooms in your house, and outdoors, too. 
Don’t talk to me, talk to Him.

Also, our utility companies want to shame us in doing things I don’t want to do. Notice: I went to college specifically so that I could afford to set the temperature in my house where I want to set it. I was tired of freezing to death in a drafty old farmhouse.  

Every month, the electric company sends me a graph that compares my electric usage to my “peers.” Notice again: I don’t care.  

You want to change my behavior regarding the thermostat? Change the price of utilities by a factor of at least 4 or 5 (and change it for my peers, too – in this case, I do care). 

By the way, in my dotage, I’ve grown to like the temperature fluctuation when I visit my dear Mennonite friends. They have this new invention called insulation; we didn’t have it when I was a kid.

Polar bears, coral reefs, manatees – show me a direct link between my personal choices and their survival is Part 1. Show me whether their survival will directly impact my lifestyle is Part 2. One must demonstrate the Part 1 and Part 2 (not “or,” but “and”) links for me to be interested.  

My pharmacy wants to control my life, too. There is one prescription I take, which when I started, I took four “horse pills” per day. The specialist that prescribed this said I could adjust the dosage. I did, I am down to one per day (and that’s good, because at the rate he started me at, my out-of-pocket cost was $106 per month).  

You guessed it, every four weeks, this pharmacy sends me a text message telling me to come pick up the full dosage. Guess they want the 106 bucks.

But, I take another prescription that is an injection. It is a substance that the body makes, but after my stem cell transplant in 2017, I don’t make it any more. The pharmacy used to give me a three-month prescription in vials that held two doses each, so I would get three vials each time.  

They decided – didn’t ask me – to give me three months in one vial. When pulling it out of the vial with a syringe, it is very difficult to get exactly the right tiny amount for the biweekly injection; I usually get a bit too much. That adds up and I end up with a shortfall toward the end of the prescription.  

I told my doctor about this, and she sent in a new prescription to cover the deficit. The pharmacy will not fill it, because their records say that I am not due to have it refilled for another month. When I confronted the pharmacy about all these things, they tell me it is mostly government regulations (and their policy) in order to make sure I take my drugs exactly as I am supposed to take them.  

They further tell me that they don’t have these kinds of problems with any other patients. Really?

After I left that merry little conversation, I had regrets. I had regrets that I did not tell the pharmacist the rest of their customers must be Democrats who either trust the government or don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain. Forgive me, Lord, for even having these thoughts.

Finally, this very computer on which I write these columns feels it must (in fact, right here, right now, it told me to change “has to” to “must”) tell me how to be grammatically correct, spell words and punctuate my sentences. It has an option to grade my composition for clarity and grammar correctness. At least the grading option is my choice, it doesn’t do this automatically.  

I recently had a reader in another publication for which I write send me an effusive note, gushing at my writing style, complimenting me for writing like Mark Twain. I thanked him; I think that is a compliment of the highest order. Yet, I wonder how these computers would grade Mark Twain’s work?

I thought adulthood would let me make choices as long as they were within my means.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at


Matthew (not verified)

12 April 2023

Won't manatees be less threatened if global temperatures rise? And if sea levels rise, they'll have new habitat farther inland, because more of Florida will be underwater. What if a manatee wants to identify as a womanatee?

David A. Mayer (not verified)

13 April 2023

Several top technology executives have called for slowing Artificial intelligence research or whatever they are trying to create because it seems to be a concern over nefarious issues and uses. I haven't tried AI. Hard enough trying to use an application on my cell phone to buy one get one free legendary sandwich from the Golden Arches. But if have some free time, from constantly fixing a broken laptop, following and commenting on local politics, the stock market trading, and looking for a house, I may give it a try. Wonder what AI finds if I enter the books by Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, the New American Bible, and every post I ever wrote online in the Highland County Press. My guess is the world wide web and the power grid will collapse.

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