OFF THE CUFF

*Editor’s note: This is a reworked version of a column that first ran in January 2012.

In conversation among all kinds of Americans, a mysterious group of people is often referred to.

While the identity of this group’s individual members is somehow kept secret, its collective existence is widely recognized. Based on the less-than-positive nature of most references to it, the group is apparently intent on causing problems and spreading misinformation whenever and wherever possible. This enigmatic bunch doesn’t have what might be considered an official title, but is instead usually referred to simply as “they” or “them.”

For the most part, it’s obvious they are not well thought of, and the majority of people don’t like what they do, think or say. This negative reputation has seemingly been earned for a variety of reasons.

For example, they’re pessimistic and make statements that are not well thought out or basically inaccurate, which is illustrated by the fact that “they said it couldn’t be done.”

They have time and again been proven wrong in this area, because so many things they say can’t be done keep getting done. Always jumping to the conclusion that something can’t be accomplished only shows how shallow their thought process is.

And although they apparently feel good about the failure of others, their pessimism may have actually worked against them, spurring people on to do more things that they say can’t.

They’re also apparently involved in manufacturing many types of products, but they’re not very conscientious about their work, because people agree “they don’t make them like they used to.”

They’re apparently prone to cutting corners and don’t always use the best materials available to them.

Shame on them for not doing their best to provide quality, but they’re obviously more focused on profit and are willing to leave people short changed to obtain it.

Another way they’ve become such a public enemy is by showing high levels of greed and selfishness, and making it so well known that “if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

They’re apparently not satisfied to simply receive what is offered, but feel as if they’re somehow entitled to more and worthy of snatching it themselves without an ounce of gratitude. This not only reveals how arrogant and conceited they are, but one could argue it makes them thieves as well.

They also must have been involved with NASA in the 1960s and 70s, but that only led to further exposure of their negative tendencies and made people ponder the question of “they can put a man on the moon, so why can’t they…(fill in the blank)?”

One would have to conclude that they can’t because they’re self-centered, uncaring, dishonest and lazy, and would rather promote all manner of falsehood by saying and doing things that are inadequate or incorrect.

There are numerous other shortcomings they have clearly displayed over the years, and they’re probably fully deserving of their rather ugly image. That’s too bad, because they most certainly have plenty of God-given talent that’s not being properly utilized.

Personally, I’m right there with the rest of their detractors, and I plan to keep my distance from them and associate with them as little as possible.

I believe in honesty, integrity and sincere effort, and I’m optimistic by nature – all traits “they” are apparently in opposition to.

As far as I’m concerned, they are nothing but bad news.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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