Sandy Springs: ‘In it for the long haul’ now long gone

I have a brother on the endangered species list. No, this is not a fanciful homily where I claim kinship with the Adelaide Pigmy Blue-Tongue Skink; I’m talking about my brother Tom.

In two years he will hit the 30th anniversary with his employer, and he plans to make it to 40 before he takes up the rocking chair. He likes what he does and the feeling must be mutual.

Stop and think about how many people you know who can say the same. If you can name any, most of you will have a short list. It seems we are no longer in it for the long haul. And we seem OK with that.

The first couple of real jobs I had after college were with small-town radio stations, spinning records and reporting what passed for news. Being in radio was considered somewhat sketchy, as advancement was tied to a willingness to be a gypsy, as well as talent.

Log some time in places such as LaGrange, Calhoun, Tifton or Hawkinsville, then try to make the move to Augusta or Columbus. Make it there and it would be on to Atlanta or another major market.

Some very good people had early résumés that measured job tenure in months. The problem was so did a number of paper-hangers and roués. I tried explaining this to my father early on and his expression wouldn’t have been much different if I’d been telling him I had taken a job as a doorman.

Back then a “here today, gone tomorrow” reputation was not an affirmative trait. My, but times have changed.

The smartphone that has all the bells and whistles today has a very good chance of being a dust collector in less than two years. Try to give away a computer that has been in service 18 months. Less is built to stand the test of time; that which is frequently becomes unwanted.

We have a piano that my wife picked out notes on when she was a little girl. Our daughter played it for a time. A few months back we decided to sell it. It started at one price and dropped in $50 increments until we offered it for free to a good home. And still, a splendid piano for a beginner sits idle in our home.

I’m not fussing about this to point fingers. It’s not for me to say if this is good or bad. But it’s happening. And when a cultural shift takes place, if there are consequences, they arrive too late for a fast fix (you should pardon the expression).

So I’m rooting for my brother to get his 40 years. If for no other reason than there are fewer and fewer folks who can have that on their life to-do list.

There’s nothing wrong with life at the speed of light — until we forget some things cannot, and should not, be hurried. Or to usurp Larry McMurtry: “The older the violin, the sweeter the music.”

Jim Osterman lives in Sandy Springs. Reach him at jimosterman@rocketmail.com

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