COLUMN: Thinking too much about news

Farm Forum

I had to get a haircut this past week. I went to Ruth’s barber shop on North Main Street. After I got my turn in the chair I told her, “Since I had my bout with pneumonia, I’ve lost a lot of hair. When I shampoo and comb it, the comb comes away with a number of fallen-out gray hair. What do you think is going on?”

Without missing a stroke of her fast-moving clippers, she said, “You think too much.”

That got a good chuckle from the other waiting patrons. Oh she’s a good one, that one. I laughed and told her she may have given me a good opening for my next column . . . more laughter.

Heaven knows there is enough news going on to think about. If Ruth’s theory holds up and we old guys all get to thinking, she could have precious little hair to cut, if any. If we all get to pondering, we might put this woman out of business.

The Zimmerman-Martin tragedy in Florida has dominated the national news during this past month or so. If you Google “Zimmerman, Martin case” you’ll find that Google has about 400 million results. Compare that to “Benghazi attack” at 47 million, and “IRS scandal” at 101 million. Googling “Trayvon Martin” gets 900 million results.

Something we should think about, even at the risk of hair loss.

The media play of George Zimmerman’s ethnicity was very interesting. The first reports were that he was a Caucasian. Then when the truth emerged that his mother is Peruvian, you could almost hear a media, “oh no.” The New York Times first used the term “white Hispanic” to describe his ethnicity back in March 2012. Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg said it like this: “He’s only a ‘white Hispanic’ because they need the word ‘white’ to further the storyline, which is: White, probably racist vigilante shoots an unarmed black kid.”

Think about this. With the New York Times’ reasoning, then President Obama would be a white African-American. It all gets kind of messy, doesn’t it? Good grief.

Obama made an impromptu speech concerning racism in our country. Find the full text at It was a fair speech in my opinion. He alluded to his younger days and being followed in department stores, walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars and getting on an elevator and a woman nervously clutches her purse until she could get off. That’s reality for the young black men in our society and that’s a pity.

To his credit, Obama went on and explained why many people react like they do: “African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.”

At this point Ruth the barber would say I’m thinking too much again so . . .

My accordion beckons.

Perk Washenberger, Aberdeen, a retired real estate broker and business owner, now musically entertains people in senior living and care centers and at community events. Write to him at