What Happened to 'That's Too Bad'?

By Marc Dion

June 12, 2017 4 min read

I could have counted the seconds, and I wouldn't have had to count too high, either.

Counted until what?

Until some brutal-minded, frustrated gunslinger told me things would have gone better in London if everyone owned a gun. Do me a favor, check with Chicago, where nearly everyone does own a gun, and tell me if that's working out on the South Side.

It isn't really guns I'm writing about today. I'm writing about the disappearance of "Oh, that's too bad!" which is what my grandmother used to say when someone had trouble, even if the trouble was self-inflicted.

Now, of course, there is no disaster that isn't immediately examined for the tiniest scrap of political or ideological leverage.

A manufacturing plant closes in your town? You don't say, "Oh, that's too bad." You say, "Insane union demands killed that business," or "Bill Clinton killed that business," or "Trump couldn't save it, but Hillary would have killed it faster."

My grandmother, who used to pick up coal along the railroad tracks when she was a little girl, used to hear of a drunk driving accident and feel bad for the dead person AND the drunk driver.

"Oh, that's too bad," she'd say. "He'll have to live with that forever."

She used to pick up coal because her family couldn't afford to buy the coal they needed to heat their home. She told me that, if the guy shoveling coal saw kids along the tracks hunting for coal, if he was what she called, "a good man," he'd throw a couple shovelfuls of coal off the train.

I guess the guy shoveling coal should have said, "The parents of those kids need to take some responsibility for their actions, and not have kids they can't support."

But if you're a good man, and there's a 7-year-old girl picking up coal along the track, and the boss can't see, you fling a shovelful of coal over the side, and maybe you think, "Oh, that's too bad."

The old Soviet Union used to frequently make their state-owned newspapers print admiring stories about kids who turned their parents in for talking against the government. When you read that kind of story, you weren't supposed to say, "Oh, that's too bad." If you did, your own kids would rat you out.

We don't have a totalitarian government in the United States, but we are slowly draining the humanity out of our veins and replacing it with the colder fluid of ideology.

That's too bad.

Donald Trump is the guy who hears your house burned down and tells you you're an idiot for not having fire insurance. He doesn't consider that maybe you couldn't afford fire insurance. If you get robbed on the street, shot and killed, Trump tells your widow that you should have been carrying a gun. If your widow is young, pretty and not overweight, he tries to get her into bed.

It isn't just Trump, either. His value, if he has any, is mainly symbolic.

He is the unrestrained spirit of, "You deserved it," and I grew up in the land of, "Oh, that's too bad."

To find out more about Marc Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "Land of Trumpin'" is a collection of his 2016/2017 columns. The book is available from Amazon in paperback, and also for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

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