I was hanging out with a friend recently ago and we got to talking about things in life that are underrated.

I thought I’d present some things I feel fit that description (in no particular order, as usual).

•Pork steak. If you ever tasted some of the ways my wife Wendy has found to cook it, you’d understand. Thank God for pigs.

•Board games or card games. Turn off the boob tube, put away the social media portal (or should I say, vortex), and sit down with a few friends or relatives to play something like “Uno” or “Scrabble” and just see if you don’t end up losing track of time and laughing really hard at least once or twice.

Note to electronics addicts: Board and card games could act like a cure. At least temporarily.

•Walking. Getting outside and walking down to the bridge, the fence line or even the end of the cul-de-sac is always refreshing and never boring. Do it out in the sticks – like around the remote Texas County high country outpost where me and wife reside – and you’re liable to see at least a critter or two or hear a sound you have to listen to very closely in order to figure out what it is.

Of course, you might miss a “Big Bang Theory” rerun, but you’ll survive and advance.

•Dogs. In some circles, these animals aren’t underrated, but the fact is that in other circles they’re misused and abused.

Without elaborating on that unfortunate reality, let me simply say that God wasn’t whistling Dixie when He placed dogs in the position of being a companion and partner to Earth’s highest life form.

Watch a dog smile and take notice of how it makes you feel. Sit on the lawn next to a dog and rub its neck and take note of its reaction.

They really are special animals.

•Drinking water. Well, maybe not all water, but definitely clean well water.

I’m often amazed by how many people you see swilling down 40-ounce sodas when they could be enjoying a liquid their body actually needs and craves. A time or two, I’ve even heard someone say they “don’t drink water” or “don’t like water.”

To each his own, but that’s at very list curious. What’s not to like?

•G-rated movies. My wife and I often talk about how sorry it is that so much gratuitous language, violence and sex there is in most movies these days.

Every now and then, a flick comes along that surprises us with its lack of excess junk, but for the most part we find the opposite is true and most are laden with offensive stuff that doesn’t really do any favors to the overall product. The bottom line is, I’m convinced that movies could be made without all that nonsense and still be worthwhile and highly marketable to boot.

There could still be great special effects, action and storylines without the swearing, excessive gore or silly innuendos. I think Hollywood used to get that, but that’s apparently no longer the case.

•Patience. In this day and age when society is built around high-paced instant gratification, patience is somewhat of a lost art.

But you know what? It feels as good as it ever did.

•Respect. I won’t go too deep here because that would require far too much space. Suffice it to say that many Americans no longer look up to their elders – at any age – and really don’t have much, if any, compassion and empathy for their fellow man.

As awesome as it is and as necessary a part of a healthy relationship, family or society it should be, respect has gone the way of other things that were once cool and are now uncool. Too bad, because everyone wants it even if far fewer than that provide it.

•Common sense. It seems like in a lot of situations and circumstances these days, what would have been considered obvious, standard or even a “no brainer” in the past is now shunned in favor of what doesn’t stand up to reason in the least.

No that common sense no longer exists, but it’s certainly not nearly as common as it once was and I miss it. It made so much sense and I can’t relate to all the complicated, convoluted, new-fangled ways of thinking and acting that don’t.

I think there are a zillion other really good things that are underrated these days, mainly because so many unnecessary, unjustifiable and even worthless things are overrated. But that’s not likely to change any time soon, because of how vastly underrated so many necessary, justifiable and worthwhile things have become.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.


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