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4:26 PM Mon, Oct. 22nd

Older Than Dirt: Smarty Pants or Common Sense?

Would you rather have a high I.Q. or just some good common sense? Remember the old expression "He/she doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain?" What exactly does that mean?

I have lived in relatively dry San Diego, and also in wet Washington state. When it rains in San Diego, you may see people running for cover! It makes me want to say, "Stay calm folks, it is not acid rain here. It is likely that whatever gets wet will soon dry." Common sense would dictate that rain does not HURT!

Just the other day while I was attempting to cross at the crosswalk on my way to Walmart, there was a large vehicle that waited patiently for me to cross. Keep in mind that it was I who had the right of way, and he was only allowed to turn AFTER I finished crossing the street.

There was a vehicle behind the driver who could not see me. He did not know why the large vehicle had stopped, and was not happy about having to wait. He leaned on his horn in frustration, until I crossed. I watched as the first vehicle slowed down and ended up following the horn-honker. I wondered as I continued on to Walmart if perhaps I had witnessed some road rage. I recall that the horn-honker did make a hand gesture at the other driver.

Does it really make good sense to behave this way in a city that allows people to be armed? In some places the worst possible scenario might be a fist in your face. In our city, it could be much worse.

My mother used to say that, "Common sense is something you either have, or don't. It's not something you can be taught."

Now that I have known many such morons in my life, I have to agree with Mom.

A college degree is a wonderful thing to have, but it does not always mean you are smart. You just make more educated mistakes. You may have heard people refer to "street smarts" (common sense). Street smarts just might get you farther along in life than a degree, and those smarts don't come with thousands of dollars of student loans to pay off.

When I was a working person, I always used public transportation. Often times it put me in areas that were questionable to say the least. I would sometimes have to walk in the dark for several blocks to get home from the bus stop or trolley station. It made good sense to me to always be aware of my surroundings. I sometimes actually walked in the street rather than the sidewalk. I could see much better if someone were lurking around.

Of course I did not have a cell phone to distract me, or to use to call for help! I also kept a death grip on my purse! It was always a shoulder bag that I could keep tightly against my body.

I am proud to say that these precautions got me through MANY years safely. I was never mugged, grabbed or any other such thing. (No one was car-jacking anyone back then, so I could have been a much more inviting target.)

Where did I learn these rules of survival? It was common sense!

Just the other day I saw an elderly woman (elderly means older than me) walking down the sidewalk. She appeared to have come from the grocery store. (She was carrying a small bag of groceries.) I could not help but notice that her purse was hanging from her hand, at her side. I really wanted to suggest that she was inviting someone to grab her handbag and run. It was highly unlikely that she could have put up a fight or run after any one. She certainly could have been injured.

I am sure that we have all seen on the news where a scam is going around either by phone, or maybe e-mail. People are often talked into sending money, or giving out personal information to some bogus con artist. Frankly, I just don't get it!

If I want to donate to anything, I do not do it by phone! My bank has never CALLED me, nor has the IRS! I also have never won a lottery that has asked me for money, to claim it. Common sense tells me that legitimate business is NOT conducted in this manner.

I think I have always been suspicious by nature. I never have trusted strangers as easily as some people do. Maybe that is why I do not accept everything at face value. I have never been easily hoodwinked.

Moving right along, we have the FREE items available on television. FREE credit score companies are notorious. Does it not occur to anyone that if it were truly free, how would they pay for the advertising and remain in business? Hello! How many people have opted for the FREE credit score only to find out that the first one is free. After that, you may receive one every three months that will not be free! Do you know that you can go to a web-site that actually DOES do one free credit report for you once a year? I believe it was the government that made this available several years ago.

Ads both on television, radio, and in SOME newspapers are not always as honest as we would like them to be. Good old common sense can certainly help you from making bad purchases. There are still people who think the "lemon law" with regard to automobiles, applies to all cars you purchase from car lots - even though they may even have a sticker on the window that clearly says "AS IS." The lemon law only applies to NEW car purchases. And I am not totally sure that it even exists anymore.

I have also known many people who make a major purchase without ever knowing what they are paying in interest.

Have you ever had someone recommend an insurance company to you? Car, home etc.? Did you even ask them if they had EVER filed a claim? If their answer is no, then how do they know if it is indeed a good company? Could it be just because they have had them for several years and they politely took their premium every month? And if they have been accident/ticket free they probably have kept the cost the same.

How DO you know if they are any good until you have actually filed a claim? Most companies are gracious enough to accept your payment, every single month.

It seems that everyone has an angle these days. From college loans at high interest rates, to selling you insurance with the "30 cents a day" hook. That particular one has some small print that says "per unit." Do you know how much that is? Probably not much for the 30 cents a day.

Then there is the step-in-bathtub. If you can read the fine print on that one, you are looking at around 20 grand or so for the privilege of walking in and out of the tub.

Do you really want a "stair lift" to get you upstairs? If you still have a beautiful home and you can no longer make it to the top floor, give it to your kids or grandkids! You had your time to enjoy it, now let the kids do the same! If you're lucky, they may let you live nearby.

I have known many highly educated people throughout my life. I personally am not easily impressed by that. Just show me some good common sense over a high I.Q. anytime.