Dear San Diego Union-Tribune:

As I drag my unwilling body over the scorching sand of the Sahara that is my carpet, I yet again position myself at my trusty desk and keyboard to put a checkmark in the box that denotes another NaBloPoMo done…

November 12, 2007

Dear Whomever Makes the Decision to Fold the San Diego Union-Tribune in a Particular Order:

I often take time on certain days of the week to notice which page is “up” as I sit down to read through the paper. Often when there has been a tragic occurrence, the main page is noticeably tucked behind something that someone at the paper has deemed less controversial, or more for the faint of heart. On Saturdays in general, the “Family” section is what I see when I pull the paper out of its plastic bag. At least I think that’s the routine. But when I do notice, I leaf through the rest of the paper to see what you may be trying to prevent me from seeing on first glance, as if I hadn’t already seen or heard about it on the Internet the previous day.

This past Saturday (and I’ve had to wait a couple of days to write about it because it upset me so much, it put quite a damper on my Saturday morning) you did have the “Family” section in full view. But as I scanned the page, I began to wonder what was really going on. Was it just some poor sap who follows directions, or was it by design that unsuspecting people would be forced to read with their morning coffee three articles that were anything but conducive to a relaxing morning. I don’t like being manipulated.

I’m not going to apologize for being less than enthused about reading these particular pieces. I’m not a wilting violet, and I have far too many opinions about too many things. But I will say that sometimes, I want to choose when I get worked up over something. And most often, it’s because I’m the type of person who immediately feels that I have some degree of responsibility for the problem, that I should be more involved in doing something about it, or that I’m being educated and then chastised about not doing anything to help the problem. I’m sure there are pills for this particular malady, but I don’t like taking pills.

I know that you’re not to blame for my idiosyncracies, nevertheless, they are what they are and I thought that it was time to let you know how I feel about all of this.

“Scratch that 7-year itch; it’s 5 now,” by Shelley Emling was another one of those articles that prove again that anyone can say anything with a set of statistics. Good thing to know as the MoH and I approach our 20th anniversary, that we’re past the scratching and itching stage of it all. But it’s an odd story to run on the “Family” page. I’m sure you’d call it objective reporting of the results of a study. I’ll call it pessimistic. Reporting, that is.

“Missed lead?” by Jane Clifford had me shaking my head with a “what’s next” attitude. Let’s take paranoia about lead in toys to the next level instead of paying attention to more serious issues about pollutants in water, the air, the ground, the materials our homes are built from, and the food we eat. Yes, I do think that just about covers it. Look quickly and you just may see Chicken Little scurrying around with her chicks, trying to keep them from kissing their dolls.

And speaking of food? Well, that’s the article that is to blame for this tirade, because although I only scanned the two previous articles, I read this one to the last grim line. Thanks, Luis Humberto Crosthwaite. Thanks very much for your well-written and informative “Hearts ache for children of the fields.” Thanks for reminding me that in Mexico, as in many impoverished countries in the world, families put their children to work at a very early age, even though it’s illegal. That many of those children die working in the fields handling produce that is shipped to this country.

Thanks very much for letting me know, “It’s sad to consider that our salad was picked by small hands.” Sad to the point of tears sad. Very.

What am I supposed to do about this? What can I do about it? Not eat lettuce? Boycott stores that sell produce from Mexico? Seriously. Sure, that would work. If someone actually organized the effort, and it was successful, how would it play out? The produce would not be sold, it would be left to rot in the fields, there would be less of a need for workers, so then the children wouldn’t have to pick produce. We could all get in bed at night and feel great that we did something to make a difference. Not. Sadly, what happens is then they don’t have work. The families aren’t paid. They have no food.

The families have to eat. They’ll try and find different work because they have to. And the children will be right beside them, working at something perhaps even more difficult than picking produce. There will be no sitting around waiting for a check in the mail. *Oops. Did I just say that? Shame on me.*

Should I call the Mexican government and inquire about why poverty and child labor exist in their country? Because that’s the real problem. Why they don’t seem to care? Or do anything about it? Sure. That would work.

Like it works in this country.

But I’m sure our child mortality rate isn’t as high.

So thanks for reminding me that I need to be thankful for what I have because perhaps I didn’t already realize it, and for letting me know that my lettuce may have been picked by a child who has died in the process.

But I’m not sad about it today like I was Saturday. I’m just very angry.


A Subscriber





4 responses to “Dear San Diego Union-Tribune:”

  1. “So thanks for reminding me that I need to be thankful for what I have because perhaps I didn’t already realize it, and for letting me know that my lettuce may have been picked by a child who has died in the process.”

    Now that put things into perspective for me.

  2. Hey meleah. Perspective, yes. But I can’t stand it when they pontificate about things like this. The whole guilt trip thing is so annoying. Tomorrow, no serious stuff.

  3. these articles sound a lot like the ads on TV…Kelly
    there are a lot of people so stressed by all of the negativity and overload….that they are simply dropping dead from heart attacks…
    one way of solving the overpopulation problem

  4. Kelly, just remember 50% of all statistics are wrong.

    Very nice post.

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