What a square


Webster defines a square as a “person who is disinterested in current fads, ideas, tastes, etc., old-fashioned, conventional, conservative”.

“Square” is another of the good old words that has gone the way of disappearing, like modesty, patriotism and marriage, something to be snickered over or outright laughed at. It used to be there was no higher compliment than to call a guy a square shooter or one who offered square deals. Today a square is a guy who gets his kicks out of doing his job better than anyone else. he hasn’t learned to cut corners or goof off. He gets choked up hearing the National Anthem. He lives within his means, whether the Joneses do or not and thinks Uncle Sam should too. He doesn’t fly now and pay later. He saves money for rainy days rather than count on yours. He doesn’t use credit cards or have the latest technology. He gets his books at the library rather than the drug store. He tells his kids that it’s more important to play fair than to win. Imagine. He doesn’t believe in participation trophies. He tucks his kids into bed nightly. He even believes in God and says so publicly. He is faithful to his wife and respects all women. He treasures her and she guards him. They did the “life commitment” thing. He believes in honoring mother and father and that kind of stuff. Like Abe Lincoln, he walks miles to return borrowed things. He doesn’t sue teachers, employers or doctors. He lives the Boy Scout laws. He always votes. He and his wife raise the kids, no village does. He doesn’t have to “watch his language.” He eats “hash”, cleans “pot” and pans and drinks “coke.” His teens get home on time. His younger kids don’t need to be told to “play nice”— that just happens. The neighbor kids practically live at his home. His kids say, “Sir and ma’am” a lot.

One local ‘square”, Ray, found a $30,000 plus ring on the ground; the owner had it back in hours. Another local square told me the he held the door open for a woman and she said that was becoming too rare.

Though made fun of, squares are often secretly envied. They never have to ask for raises or seek work. They are always in demand. They may not be flashy or big spenders, but that’s irrelevant. Trustworthy, reliable, honest, no shortcuts. They farm fields, bring home the bacon, fix toilets and move mountains, without needing thanks.

Know any? In my work I lived in Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and the U.P. In hiring workers I always hired ranch, farm and U.P. employees –never disappointed, great work ethic. There are a lot of squares up here. Thank one. If you are married to one, hang on. Mostly, squares exude — gratitude. They dignify the human race.

Mike Olson

Ford River/Escanaba