Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Celebration of "Hard"

Whatever happened to the word "hard"?  It seems to have disappeared as a stand alone term in our lexicon.  We used to have degrees of difficulty for things in life: "easy", "medium" and "hard".  But nowadays things are only described as "really easy", "pretty easy" and "too hard".  Nothing is just plain "hard" anymore.

In sports we hear that kids are gravitating to soccer because baseball is "too hard".  Those of us involved in golf worry about the future of the game because beginners find it "too hard" to play.  Whenever a situation calls for people to do long addition, division or multiplication everyone reaches for their smartphones and brings up the Calculator function because doing math in your head is "too hard".

"Hard" has disappeared from our expected actions as Americans too.  It's now "too hard" to save anything for retirement.  It's now "too hard" to wait until you have a sizeable down payment to buy a house--or the full amount to buy a car.  It's "too hard" to teach more than 14 kids in a modern classroom.  College students can't work while at school anymore because it's "too hard" to balance everything going on in their lives.  And it's "too hard" to get proper state-issued ID to do things like vote or prove eligibility for entitlement programs.  The only person that I want to hear the words "too hard" from are the competitors who physically break down during the marathon portion of the IronMan Triathalon in Hawaii--where it takes every bit of physical strength they have left just to take one more step toward the finish line--but they just cannot bring themselves to give up. 

Even when people try to use the word "hard" nowadays, it's often in the wrong context.  Take President Obama every time he introduces a new Government initiative to spend more money to "help" the "Hard working Middle-Class"--like me.  My job is not "hard".  Yes, it's time-consuming, pressure-packed and sometimes mind-numbingly boring--but it is not "hard".  "Hard" work is done by the guys and gals I mentioned a couple of weeks ago who are out in -30 degree weather fixing broken water mains.

Once upon a time, we celebrated "hard" here in America.  I seem to remember a President issuing a challenge to the nation to put a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth:

"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade--and do the other things--not because they are easy...but because they are hard!"

So what do you say we drop the "too" part, and go back to actually trying to do "hard" things.  It might amaze you what this country can accomplish again.

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