All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


B-Side, Another One Bites the Dust

If you were to visit my town you might see on the back of some of the cars and trucks window stickers.  This is normal.  Lots of small towns are proud of their high school sports teams and parents will put their kids jersey numbers and name on their windows to show support for their kid. 

If you hang around here long enough, and spend your time checking out window stickers you will notice two stickers show up more than others.  Each sticker is a reference to a different boy.  Each boy was popular.  Each boy was on the football team.  Each boy had everything going for him.  They had something else in common.  Each boy killed himself.  The window stickers are "remembrance stickers". 

The first boy, we'll call him "G", offed himself about 10 years ago.  The second boy, we'll call him "T", did the same about 6 years ago.  I don't know much about "G".  I do know a bit about "T".  "T" was a football star.  He had a choice of scholarships one to play at U of W.  Granted not a Big 10 school, but still pretty good going into his senior year.  Maybe he would have gotten a better school at the end of the season.  He also had an appointment to West Point.  His parents own a successful business in our town.  They have money.

If "T" left a note, I don't know about it.  I do know, on a passing basis his sister.  She is an attractive girl.  "T" was a good looking kid too.  It's fair to say that the whole family are what you might call "the beautiful people".  Money, good looks, youth, a promising educational career, and a leg up on life, it wasn't enough.

I was teaching the teens at the time and one day the kids came to class despondent over "T".  So we talked about it.  I told the kids that "T" didn't matter.  I told them he was a selfish fool.  People who hurt other people like he did are fools.  He didn't matter because he quit trying. Checking out is cowardly.

I don't think my counsel was what they were expecting.  I know its not what they were getting from the professionals at school.  I also told them that 5, 10 or 15 years from now no one would remember "T" because he decided that he didn't matter.

That proved untrue.  I still remember.  Yesterday I was behind a truck with "G's" sticker on it.  The truck was old, like mine.  I reflected on the fact that soon that truck would be traded in on a newer one.  We wouldn't be seeing his sticker around much longer.  Most of the window stickers are gone now, the beautiful people can afford new cars a little more frequently than the norm.

The kids in my class have moved on.  Most of them have graduated by now.  Several are more than have done with college.  Life has moved on.  "T's" sister is married and moved out of state, her and her husband are living their dream.  "T" would have finished his college football career.  I don't know if he was good enough to go pro.  We'll never know that.  Maybe he would have went to West Point.  He'd be a brand new butter bars now.  We don't know if that would have worked out either.

He might have married the girl he took to prom, but he didn't go.  He might have had a case full of trophies or a chest covered in medals.  He might have.  He might have tried.


  1. I think everyone has had the passing thought of suicide at least once in their life. When I was young I wondered what dying was like. I decided that experiment would provide no known results. Like that movie where them young folks are scientists and they kill each other then bring them back to see if they can get any insight. That was a weird movie.

    I've heard the saying suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I always say when asked that suicide just means you let Satan beat you. That seems to shock people more, and I think true.

  2. Its a hard situation. It's even harder when the person has everything going good for them. I could understand it if something bad had happened.

  3. Susan9:05 AM

    If parents don't take the time and responsibly fill that spiritual spot in a kid's soul, all the benefits in the world will not suffice. Kids feel that emptiness deeply.

    That boy's family has a hole in it that will never be filled as long as they live. This also brings to mind an old saying. Beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.

    2 weeks before my hubby and I got married 36 years ago, his aunt's husband killed himself. Even though she has moved on outwardly, she and her daughter still have emotional issues and sadness that never truly leaves.

  4. Alaska has high suicide rates. Mostly amongst the natives. a few years ago I had to hire some temp help from the local Rescue Mission. I asked for the 2 best guys they had. One was short and squat, the other tall an rangy with the stereotypical look of 'the pickled native'.

    Instead of being as dissapointed as I expected, I was pleased, both were hard workers and between the 2 of them, there was 3 years seminary, 3 college degrees, one had taught Russian at Alaska Pacific Uni (APU), one had run all the native olympics in his villages region, and the list went on, they were both accomplished, capable men. The only failing was some weakness with alcohol that Whites don't seem to be as near prone to.

    The issues up here don't have an easy answer...

    At one point, I felt comfortable enough to ask about the suicide epidemic in the bush. It's not the whites that are killing themselves. Turns out that reincarnation is part of the traditional native religious beliefs. For some, the thought parallels our thoughts about rebooting our PC if should be running better.

    One of these guys was a devote Christian, the other was steeped in native paganism but knew enough Christiananity to get food, bedding, and dried out at the mission. Their arguments/discussions between themselves were just as enlightning as their answers to me.

    Ann Coulter's solution to the Mid East would also solve the vast majority of problems in the bush. Just convert them all...

    Recently, our Congressional Rep, Don Young caught a lot of heat for saying something along the lines of "if there's a suicide, the family should have done more". At the annual Alaska Federation of Natives week long event, he ended up giving a formal apology to the natives. As these things go, some woman skipped his presentation with apology, but accosted him later and as coincidence has it (especially with elections coming up) a film crew just happened to be secreted nearby and filmed the encounter.

    Apparently Don had a family member, I think it was a nephew, who'd committed suicide. He was speaking from first hand experience. The angry woman was more to do with politics than anything, I think, but the issue remains.