Lori: The Death of Common Sense
Initially, my tongue-in-cheek narrative generated a lot of response, and then went quiet, as is the usual course for newspaper columns. Then, five years ago, amidst one of the worst financial debacles in our history, the piece exploded in popularity. Since that time, it has been published in eight countries and translated into Spanish, Finnish, Greek and even Icelandic.
The obituary for Common Sense has been published everywhere from newspapers and magazines to a Bronx homeowners association newsletter, a magazine for real estate companies, a website for international leadership coaches, a publication for the International Society of Explosive Engineers, and — my all-time favorite – a newsletter for the Colorado State Penitentiary. For a dead entity, Common Sense sure enjoys a robust existence.
So why is the essay so popular? The answer is because it puts into words what a lot of people are thinking. They’re thinking we’ve got the cart before the horse and that the tail is wagging the dog. They’re thinking that we’ve been living for too long as though actions have no consequences, and the consequences are about to catch up with us.
Glenn Beck invited me on his television show to talk about the piece and asked what my favorite part was. “Listing the survivors,” I said. “Me, too!” he shouted.
Like you, as I survey the landscape of our country, I wonder what one individual can do to help us get back on course. For me, the answer was revisiting that original essay and expanding it to include profiles of those who knew Common Sense best – his wife, Discretion (she wore pearls, not Mardi Gras beads), their children Responsibility and Reason, and the two step-brothers of Common Sense, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit (they majored in self-esteem and believe that hypocrisy is a virtue) .
The new essays, along with the original obituary, have been released in a small book titled, “The Death of Common Sense and Profiles of Those Who Knew Him.” The little book presents some timely truths in a humorous fashion and is a great conversation starter.
Sadly, a page or two could be added to the book nearly every day. Examples of the lack of Common Sense are in abundant supply. The all-time classic is probably the woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and sued McDonalds. There’s also the 21-year-old Washington state man who confessed to stealing checks from a Money Tree store to, “show my parents that I can make it on my own, without them.”
Or how about the school district in Rhode Island that recently banned daddy-daughter dances because the children who don’t have dads could feel left out? It’s a hard thing to grow up without a dad, but banning dances for the children who do have dads isn’t the answer. There are a multitude of other solutions, but someone didn’t have the common sense or creativity to craft a single one.
Is Common Sense really dead? It sure seems like it. But then again, this is America. Anything’s possible. If we wanted to, we could even resuscitate Common Sense. I’ll discuss how in my next post.
Editor’s note: Marybeth here… Lori is so humble about this little book that she didn’t even put in the cover photo or the links to buy it. I did! But I’ve read the book and highly recommend it. Leave it on the coffee table. Put a copy in the guest bedroom. Get copies for all of your kids and grandkids. Makes a great stocking stuffer this Christmas. Seriously. Our culture needs this book! Mb