By Dr. Jim Ferguson

At the risk of being labeled insensitive, it is obvious to me that men and women are different. And despite the media and the PC culture working overtime to tell us otherwise, we are created male and female. Of course there are exceptions in sexuality because being human comprises a spectrum of traits. There are manly men, pajama boys, feminine women and Amazons.

The bell shaped curve is a statistical description of normality. For example, if you took 100 humans and plotted a trait you would find that 95% of individuals fall within two standard deviations of the mean. And by statistical convention, 5% would fall outside the curve, and yet by definition they would still be normal. There are folks among us who are just different. I view the LGBTQ controversy similarly. It is interesting that this cohort comprises about 5%, and yet this minority shapes the politics of our country.

I suspect that I would stand out in a women’s restroom, even in North Carolina. Similarly, an iPhone stuck in my wife’s back pocket is not fetching. Let’s be honest, female clothing is not designed for or forgiving of extraneous bulges. And this is where my story begins.

We detected a bump as we drove along Alcoa Highway amidst the other NASCAR contestants. And with a sickening sensation we realized that Becky had left her iPhone on top of the car. The process of loading and harnessing grandchildren into a car seat is a complicated process. I have to admit that I once lost my favorite coffee mug when I drove off with it on the roof of my truck.

By contrast my iPhone stays in my pocket and there is less risk of me absentmindedly laying it down somewhere. Most female clothing does not have pockets, and even if it did there’s no guarantee that an iPhone won’t drop out a pocket and into the commode as happened to my nurse as she approached the throne.

Stopping on the roadside of Alcoa highway to look for a missing iPhone would be equivalent to walking the black top of Daytona during the 500 race. Fortunately, the Apple company has an app entitled “find your iPhone.” We thought this would give us a closer approximation of where we should look. We were wrong. The app identified Becky’s iPhone in the middle of Fort Loudoun Lake at the latitude of Looney Island.

Life is complicated. We are in the process of downsizing by building a smaller retirement home on our farm. As our girls grew up and moved away, we realized we were using only half of our home. Fortunately, one of our daughters needed more space for her growing family, and wanted to take over the Big House. This is great because she and her husband are our partners on Thistle Farm. The only problem is their condo sold and they have now moved upstairs since our New House isn’t finished. The good news is that our grandkids will grow up in the midst of our 20-acre farm, and I get to see them every day.

Philosophically, I am trinitarian at heart. Becky says I can always find three choices in any situation. I reason that four or more choices are too many. And one or two choices is either not a choice or too few. I have discovered the trinity concept of building. Whatever your plans may be, everything takes longer, gets bigger and costs more. And I might add, puts more pressure on everyone’s nerves. I swore I would never build again and instead go straight from the Big House to the “old folk’s home.” You should never say never.

We moderns are slaves to our technology. What I mean is that we love our smart phones which connect us to the world and to each other. We even use our phones to send messages to family members on the farm rather than hollering out the back door or ringing a ranch bell for dinner. And the trill on my wife’s phone is a better locator of misplaced cellular accoutrements than an iPhone app.

Are we happier for the Information Age in which we live? There is a saying that “ignorance is bliss.” Well, if that’s true there must be a lot of blissful people in the world today. I feel it is my duty to stay informed, though I must sift through the news and parse both the real and fake offerings. I graduated from high school in 1969, a time when we were winding down from the Vietnam war. I participated in the draft lottery, but drew a high number and stayed in school. My “tour of duty” is today as I try to speak the truth in these columns in an informative and entertaining way.

We certainly live in trying times. It is apparent that our republic is in danger because the rule of law and the Constitution, which have historically defined us as a people, are under assault by ideology. If you doubt me turn to any offering of the alphabet media and listen to the sound of globalism, open borders and subversion couched in disingenuous anti-Trump rhetoric.

Maybe I need a vacation, some R&R. A friend of mine told me she has just turned off the “news,” but I can’t bring myself to do this. However, when the media sours my soul with their anti-Americanism, I turn it off, for a time. Years ago, my Dad often said, “The world is going to h*** in a handbasket.” The metamorphic origin of this idiom is obscure, but I understand the meaning. The point is that the world has always been a mess and we do not have utopia, a term coined by Thomas Moore meaning nowhere.

I have a friend who challenges all of us to “get informed, get involved and get inspired.”  So, this Doctor’s advice is to do your best and your duty to God and country and to those you serve. And if you need a break, don’t feel guilty. Just step back, recharge your batteries and then get “back in the saddle again.”