Sep 1, 2021

School Doesn’t Start This Month? No New-TV Season?! Outrageous!

Lamenting the sea (and land) changes of September

By Ed Goldman
Welcome to September! Until the past few years, this month’s arrival always had these comforting signifiers:

1. A constant flood of public-service reminders for us to drive carefully because school was back in session;

2. Ads for fall fashions, which trafficked heavily in rust-colored, tweedy apparel, corduroy suits for men and nubby ensembles for women;

3. Recipes published in magazines and newspapers for such autumn fare as hearty beef stews, multiple-ingredient casseroles and cardiac-arresting pies;

Edgy Cartoon

Must-NOT-See TV

4. Magazine and newspaper articles about the new-season line-up of TV shows; and

5. Cautionary messages to arrange for furnace checkups before winter. These messages usually came from furnace repair shops. But still.

Well, things change — a statement that may be a cliché but, like most clichés, brims over with truth.

Let’s re-examine these September descriptors with what we know now.

For example, very few schools now restart in September. Even before the pandemic, I would sometimes ask my neighbors who had school-age kids where they were heading early on an August morning. When they said, “Back to school,” I was surprised. They were starting the fall semester during their summer vacation?! 

Outrageous! What happened to the sanctity of childhood, of playing sandlot baseball through dusk, of sneaking into discount movie matinees during the day, of body surfing and eating over-salted French fries at the beach? 

Then I remembered I did the first of those as a kid in New York—where they had sandlots that weren’t yet labeled as brownfields by the local redevelopment agency—and the rest as a kid in Southern California.

When I discovered that some of the neighbor kids even attended year-’round school, I suddenly felt as though I’d stumbled into a Dickens novel, or at least one of the Kathy Lee Gifford fashion line sweatshops in Honduras.

Bebe: Flash Sale! 40% Off Sale Section With Code FALL40​

Meanwhile, if kids aren’t all returning to school in September these days, does this mean we have to drive carefully throughout the entire 12 months of the year? This sounds slightly un-American to me, like the new mandate to wear masks in the shower until further notice. (No, I’m kidding. It’s in the bathtub.)

As for fall fashions, hearty stews and new TV seasons, that’s all changed irrevocably, thanks to climate change and streaming services. 

Because of climate change, we’re no longer quite sure when seasons end and begin. An annual dive into total smugness used to see us, in Southern California, sending snapshots to our relatives on the East Coast, showing us togged out in swimsuits in the middle of December, while they were digging their cars out from the prior night’s avalanche. Now, with the unpredictability of the weather, some years they can send the same swimsuit shots to us.     

As to new TV shows starting in the fall: I never thought I’d feel nostalgic about needing to be in front of my television at a certain time because that was when my favorite show was going to air, period. Even when VCRs came along, I almost felt that watching a nighttime show in the daytime was akin to cheating — especially if I fast-forwarded my way through the commercials. 

But now, if you’ll excuse me, I think my furnace is overdue for a checkup.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

A SNEAKY WAY TO BREACH YOUR PRIVACY…

As a banker, I am very protective of the rights of our customers, including the right to privacy. Therefore, I’m alarmed by a recent proposal being discussed in Washington, DC, that would require financial institutions to report a larger range of financial information about their customers to the IRS.

If you use the services of a financial institution, you should know about this new reporting plan—one that could force banks to report the inflows and outflows on all personal and business accounts with a balance of $600 or more. Banks would have no choice about reporting this information to the IRS.

I’m concerned that mining for information for the IRS through financial institution reporting is a misguided proposal for these obvious reasons:

  • It will be intrusive and indiscriminate for bank customers
  • It will undermine the goal of bringing unbanked Americans into the banking system
  • It will increase taxpayer complexity and confusion
  • It will make community banks and other financial institutions agents of the IRS while imposing new reporting burdens
  • It will expose banks to penalties for inadvertent errors
  • It will channel more information into the IRS than it can process.

Instead of a fishing expedition that infringes on the privacy of bank customers—and in the process, depletes resources that could otherwise be focused on serving local communities—the IRS should close the tax gap with the massive amount of data it already has.

We community bankers are busy enough continuing our economic response to the pandemic to serve our customer base. As a banker, I’m thinking of our customer’s best interests. I stand OPPOSED to this proposal and remain protective of bank customer privacy!

If you want to learn more about this proposal or share your opinion with policy makers, visit Bank Locally. The private life you save may be your own.

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