Mourning the death of our friend Common Sense

Mourning the death of our friend Common Sense
Posted on February 4, 2014 | Bob Barrigar | Written on February 3, 2014
Letter type:


Times, London

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Here's an obituary of our old friend 'Common Sense' printed in the Times, London. Did you know he passed away?

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn't always fair;
  • And, maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live, as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust,

  • by his wife, Discretion,
  • by his daughter, Responsibility,
  • and by his son, Reason.

His 5 stepbrothers survive him.

  • I Know My Rights
  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is To Blame
  • I'm A Victim
  • Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.


About The Author

Bob Barrigar's picture

retired patent attorney


by his wife, Discretion,
by his daughter, Responsibility,
and by his son, Reason.
Interesting: These three short lines are as old as Sophocles' "Antigone" (441BCE):
It was imperative in Greek society 2500 years ago to have a wife who had Discretion--abey men in all things, never be seen in public without accompaniment, stay out of politics or any social or cultural discussion; daughters always had the Responsibility to obey fathers and husbands, and only men had Reason; therefore, ""Anti" (against) "gone" (root of words describing male organs) means against man and by extension Antigone's actions were against Reason.
I agree with everything you've written above, the example that comes immediately to mind is a teenage boy who, despite posted warnings all around the enclosure to not break into the polar bear exhibit, cut the wire fence and snuck in. The boy was mauled (I think naturally, of course, the bear did what bears do,) the bear was shot, the teenage boy and his family were awarded a great settlement. I understand the sentiment from society about feeling for the boy, it was an terrible thing to have happened to the boy and there was great and deserved sympathy for him, but why shoot the bear (like the burglar who gets a settlement if injured in committing a crime.

The only thing I hesitate about is what I've written above about Antigone. The roles of men and women have evolved: married men and women should of course be loyal, but women are expected to have their own public lives and personal goals; daughters should of course honor their parents wishes, but obsequious deference to all males and loss of "self" doesn't seem right; and fathers are not always right about their children's socialization, some are abusive, some are incestuous, some are jealous of a child's intelligence, some have egos threatened by their children's own expressed needs and goals in their own lives, and so on. Thanks.