Kent State and the Golden Buckeye

When you write like I do about really serious issues — the financial meltdown, the lack of integrity of many business and political leaders, the pathetic early season performance of the Cleveland Indians, etc. — it’s difficult not to become a little cynical about things. You know. It’s not just that the glass is always half-empty. It’s that some asshole is drinking out of your glass while you’re not looking.

Well, my faith in the greatness of this nation was restored yesterday during a visit to Kent State.

I’m helping the Wick Poetry Center with its celebration plans and communications during this its 25th anniversary year. And I’m even posting regularly on another blog — one designed to spotlight the Wick Poetry Center and serve as a resource for poets and other writers.

After finishing our noontime meeting, I headed back to get my car at the Student Center. When you are no longer a member of the faculty, you quickly learn that the most important benefit of teaching is not tenure, but a parking pass. So I headed to the exit with my parking ticket and folding green in hand.

But wait. A sign below the window on the toll booth (or whatever it is called) proudly proclaimed: We honor Golden Buckeye Cards.

Say what? OK. Another life-defining moment. Do I or don’t I? I caved — and handed my Golden Buckeye Card to the parking attendant.

The gate magically swung up. I was free to go. No charge. All I could do was wave at the attendant — and snicker at the guy in the car next to me who was calmly giving up several of his hard-earned dollars.

Jimmy Carter’s right. Life isn’t fair.

And clearly this is a great country where someone like me can park free on a college campus. While students who are for the most part working or borrowing money to attend classes have to pay.

Note to Obama. Don’t even think about putting pressure on Strickland and his pals in Columbus to get rid of the Golden Buckeye. You can only take this notion of redistributing wealth so far.

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