ERROL CASTENS: Codgertating to no end



We’re such slaves to some conventions that we probably wear underwear right-side-out, with the scratchy seams on the inside – even though no one would ever know the difference if we turned the seams outward.

Also on the subject of convention, there’s also the well-worn story about the whole lineage of mothers and daughters who cut the end off every ham they ever cooked, only finally to determine Great-Grandmother did it that way because she had a small roaster.

On the other hand, we’re prone to discard some conventions simply because we can’t imagine – or don’t agree with – their origins. In such cases, the law of unintended consequences often kicks in.

I wonder how much less anxiety medicine we might use if we hadn’t almost universally jettisoned a weekly day of rest. Or how many social ills we might have avoided if we hadn’t largely laughed off the idea of married monogamy that used to provide most kids a mama and a daddy.

In farming, the adage is sometimes expressed this way: “Don’t tear down a fence until you first understand what it was built to fence in – or fence out.”

A preacher acquaintance said the other day that life actually is fair, because it eventually breaks everyone’s heart. Admittedly he was trying to be lighthearted, but I couldn’t help answering theologically: If life were fair, I would have been hung on that middle cross.

Tragic trivia: One of the few benefits, if you can call it that, to Memphis’ continual violence is that trauma surgeons from other parts of the country sometimes come there to learn how to repair gunshot wounds.

Sympathies to the folks whose birthdays or anniversaries are on Sept. 11.

In the latest wrinkle in the “He who controls the language, controls the argument,” leftists are now saying the term “pro-life” doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t agree with several decades more of the same bankrupting and counterproductive federal social programs that we’ve tried for the past 50 years. By their new way of thinking, you’re “pro-life” if you favor abortion and the virtual enslavement that federal “compassion” often produces, but if you suggest any alternatives, you’re merely “pro-birth.”

One of the most disturbing elements in this argument is that it actually makes sense to the people promoting it.

One sure-fire recipe for failure is to see only the potential benefit of every possibility. Another is to consider only the things that could go wrong.

The trick is to know the difference in upportunities and oopsortunities.

Bro. Earl (no relation) says, “We can’t always be happy, but we can be hopeful.”

Contact Daily Journal reporter ERROL CASTENS at (662) 816-1282 or


    As our moral compass continues to search for true, we can rejoice that the social ills of yesterday progress to the social ills of today, and eventually we will grow weary of repetition. We citizens of the USA are so incredibly blessed with opportunities unimagined by only a generation ago. If we can but grasp for a moment the incredible possibilities those opportunities afford, perhaps the codgers of tomorrow will greet each other with a far more positive outlook on the future.