I have often felt like you and many of the commenters to you piece. But here is the deal. In the last century or so, it has somehow has gotten into our heads that we could expect life to be joyful and fun. Likely Hollywood and Madison Avenue had at lot to do with this fantasy.

The hard fact is that up until the beginning of the 20th century life was thought of only in terms of survival. Marriage and children were not things to be enjoyed, they were simply a means for carrying on. Life was a sun up till to sun down pattern of drudgery. Religion furnished the only sense of distraction and hope from one’s mind numbing routine. It was an existence that wore average folks out, causing them to die young.

Today we are overwhelmed by life options. It is hard to say which lifestyle is worse, today’s over the top sensory input or the boredom of yesteryear. Pick your poison.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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