Scene In Passing: Knowing yourself its own reward; or is it?

Three years and three days ago, my tenure with the Nevada Appeal began. Even then I was a septuagenarian; now I’m in my 74th year (zero to one counts, folks).

This matters to no one but me. As is always the task for any scrivener, what comes next somehow must be made to seem interesting to faithful or passing readers anyway. Because brevity is the soul of clarity and short takes help keep things passably interesting, the pledge here and now is to avoid dwelling for more than a couple of hundred words or so on marking this recent anniversary.

The intervening three years with the Appeal have gone by in a blur, as life is wont to do post 40. The secret to making the blur passingly intelligible hinged in part on covering government.

My first clue about how to do this came long ago from the late comedian/philosopher Will Rogers, who used to say: “We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.” Though Congress was never my cup of tea, state and local government became the cream in my coffee over the years. So my aging process came to resemble slow motion if not to a complete standstill.

Another counsel from Rogers, though, is even better and accounts for my nearly 50 years in journalism.

“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple,” he said. “Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”

So, thanks, Nevada Appeal. This 150-year-old recorder of life in these parts — which eyes the important along with flotsam and jetsam — is due a tip of my hat for putting up with me as I keep doing what I love. Now on to a comment or question or two regarding recent news both here and elsewhere.

Around these parts, indexing apparently is the latest rage on the local and state scene. The local Utility Financial Oversight Committee is recommending the Board of Supervisors go for indexing hikes on utility hookup fees after a six-year period of increases being voted on soon. The Legislature also is letting local voters decide on gasoline tax indexing increases next year. Indexing, in general, means things increase automatically with inflation.

Sounds sound until you think about it. Aren’t we as citizens or public officials supposed to keep voting on these things rather than letting them run on autopilot?

Nationally, recent news and reaction has me puzzled. Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner seems mostly to be garnering accolades from the television chattering class for bravery in becoming who he/she really wanted to be. No particular quarrel from this observer. If you want to legally change your name, job, marital status or even sexuality these days, it’s no skin off my nose.

But that begs the question: Why isn’t Rachel Dolezal, outed by her parents as a Caucasian woman who was an NAACP chapter president, being praised rather than accused of trying to deceive people by identifying as black. She said she identified as black from age five and still does. The Associated Press reports Dolezal’s career as a civil rights activist crumbled after her racial identity came out. Meanwhile, Caitlyn goes on a shopping spree.

If Jenner hid his/her preferred identity for years, what is it Dolezal did that’s so contemptible? Bottom line: Life is either aspirational or arid.

As Will Rogers said, we should know, love and believe in what we’re doing. Dolezal apparently did from age five, but it took Jenner until after 60 to catch up.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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