A couple of weeks ago we had some clothes in the dryer. When the timer went off Melody started to take them out and noticed that they weren’t dry (nothing gets by her). So, after calling around I finally found someone who would actually work on the particular model of dryer that we had.

A couple of weeks ago we had some clothes in the dryer.  When the timer went off Melody started to take them out and noticed that they weren’t dry (nothing gets by her).  So, after calling around I finally found someone who would actually work on the particular model of dryer that we had.  
The repairman came and looked at the dryer and found that the heating element was bad – apparently something pretty common on our unit.  The cost to fix it would be over half of what a new dryer would cost so I asked him the life expectancy of our dryer.  He said somewhere between 5 and 10 years.  
Since ours was about 8 years old it just didn’t make since to pay to fix it just to have something else go wrong.  But, think about that – the life expectancy of a major household appliance was 5 – 10 years.  For the younger generation that most likely would not raise any eyebrows.  But for people in my parent’s and our generation that just seems wrong.
I can remember (here I go with the good old days routine) when something like a clothes dryer (or washer, etc) would last so long that you would wish it would go bad so you could get a new one – maybe one that wasn’t green.  But, we didn’t because that would be wasteful.  Why get rid of something that was perfectly good just so you could get one with a new bell or whistle?
Such is not the thought process in today’s throwaway society.  If something isn’t working just throw it out and get a new one.  Don’t worry about fixing it because the new model will be shinier or prettier or might just do a couple more functions than you really don’t need anyway.
And this mentality applies to just about everything in today’s world in this country – especially when it comes to technology.  Phones and electronic gadgets are outdated almost as soon as they come out and companies convince you that you just can’t live without a particular new function that will make it just that much better than whatever you just bought.
All of this is driven by our desire to “keep up with the Joneses” and not get left behind when it comes to getting newer, bigger and brighter toys.  Many just cannot imagine living without the newest and greatest “thing”.
If this just applied to material things it would be bad enough but unfortunately it also applies to people in this country.  Many people enter a marriage (if they get married) with the idea that if it doesn’t work out I can always get a divorce.  

Please do not think that I am being judgmental or looking down on people who get divorces because there are a lot of reasons marriages fail.  What I do take issue with is the attitude that some have that reflects this throwaway mentality – no commitment to make things work even if everything is not perfect.

You can even see this in our most precious relationship – kids.  How many children in this country are in foster care because their parents don’t care enough to take care of them?  Again, there are multiple reasons for kids to be in foster care so I am not casting a net over all of them.  But, enough fall into the category of “I just don’t care” that it is alarming.

The epidemic of school shootings are a good example of what people think of life and the lives of other.  To many, life is just not precious and something to be valued.

Why does this happen in society?  We have become so wrapped up in ourselves that for many people “me” is the only one that counts.  Nothing is important unless it helps me in the world.  I often joke that my equilibrium is in constant flux because the center of the universe changes so often because people think they are the center of the universe.

You may think I have a “doomed” opinion of society as a whole and I really don’t.  All you have to do is look around and you can see example upon example of people unselfishly helping others.  Of people who care more about those around them than they do about themselves.  People who give of their time and money to make society better for everyone.

Unfortunately the group of selfish people seem to be growing faster than the unselfish group can keep up.  But, lest I look at the glass as being half empty, I have hope that if enough people show others that they care beyond “me” maybe we can change the society.  I think we will always chase the next “prettiest” thing but maybe that can end at “things” and not carry over to people.  Things can be replaced – lives cannot.    
   

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.