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Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 9:11 pm | Overcast 56º


Harris Sherline: My Birthday Wish List

Here's to good health, better politics, a bright future — and world peace

I’ve never paid much attention to birthdays — my own, that is. Marking another year off the calendar of my life doesn’t mean much to me. However, as the years have continued to add up, I suppose, like many elderly people, I find myself thinking less about what direction I personally want to go in the future and more about what I would like to see happen in the world around me. I rarely think about the past, at least on a personal level.

Harris Sherline
Harris Sherline

I will soon be 82 years of age. It’s a milestone I never expected to see, and since my birthday is the day after the November elections, I’ve decided to make a wish list, put it under my pillow the night before and see if, when I wake up in the morning, the Good Fairy has made any of them come true.

I realize this is probably a pointless exercise because I’m old enough to know that wishing doesn’t make it so, but nonetheless, following is a list of my birthday wishes. Just for fun, you might try a similar exercise at the appropriate time and see how we compare.

Here is my birthday wish list, in no particular order:

» 1) I wish for world peace. This may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but since it seems to be the perennial wish of beauty contestants, I figure I might as well join in by starting with a really big, all encompassing wish.

» 2) I wish we would capture or kill Osama bin Laden, although I doubt that we will. I’m not sure it would make much difference at this point in time or affect the ability of our enemies to attack us, but it would certainly be a morale booster for those of us on the receiving end of his campaign to destroy America and Western society.

» 3) I wish our political leaders would stop spending money as if we had it. Unlike most of the general public, far too many of our politicians seem to think they can continue to spend money as if there’s no tomorrow and expect never to run out.

» 4) I wish America would turn back from its descent into the mind-set that every thought or idea that anyone has is a good thing, regardless of who says it or its impact on our society. For example: equal rights. The concept is good, but when you think about it, people may have equal rights, but this doesn’t mean that they are or should be assured of equal outcomes.

» 5)  I might as well join many other Americans and resolve to lose some weight. I am seriously overweight, and although I’ve reached the age where I’d like to think it really doesn’t matter a whole lot, I know it does. Getting old shouldn’t and doesn’t necessarily mean getting fat, so I have my work cut out for me.

» 6)  I also wish for the good health and success of my friends, and I suspect like most everyone else, there are probably some people I don’t want to see succeed — especially President Barack Obama with his policy agenda.

» 7) Also in the matter of health, I wish for continued progress in managing a problem I’ve had with my eyes, which at one point had the potential of seriously impairing or causing the loss of my vision. Fortunately, under the care of two outstanding doctors, I’ve managed to dodge that bullet.

» 8) Politically, I hope the conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) prevail big time in the November elections. It looks as though we’re headed in that direction, but we will see come Nov. 2 and in the two years that follow. I also hope they don’t revert to type and act like the rest of our political leaders, who are spending us into oblivion at every level of government.

» 9) I wish for the success and happiness (whatever that may mean to them) of my three children and six grandchildren, but I worry about the world that everyone’s grandchildren will inherit from their elders, who really should have done a better job of managing the affairs of the nation.

» 10) I wish President Obama would grow up and become a real leader, who cares more about the people than he does himself.

» 11) I also wish President Obama would stop running around the country making speeches. I’m sick of seeing him pop up on the TV screen just about every day, pontificating about everything from his policies and legislative initiatives to how we should live. The hypocrisy of a leader who constantly preaches to the rest of us about health care but can’t quit smoking is truly irritating.

» 12) I wish America could get out of the many wars around the world in which we are engaged, without just walking away and letting our enemies gain ascendancy.

» 13) I wish people of different faiths would stop attacking those who don’t believe as they do.

» 14) I wish for less cruelty in the world. Two notable examples are the recent behavior of the governments in Iran, stoning people to death, and in Saudi Arabia, amputating a criminal’s right hand for stealing. It’s mindboggling to me that anyone could believe that their god would demand such violent and cruel forms of punishment. There are, of course, many other places around the world that engage in similar practices.

I could go on, but I will wind this up for now with the wish that I get a really big piece of birthday cake on Nov. 3.

— Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his blog, Opinionfest.com.

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