In Debbie’s World, We’d All Learn To Make A Few Simple Changes


When I first moved to the western area of Palm Beach County in the early 1980s — to Loxahatchee, to be exact — there were two popular bumper stickers. One was, “Loxahatchee: Love It and Leave It Alone” and the other was, “We Don’t Care How You Did It Up North.”

As a young person, I couldn’t understand A) why a community wouldn’t want to at least try to improve itself, even if those “improvements” were figuring out how to regulate the preservation of all its best parts; and B) the logic of refusing to at least study how things were done up north (or “out west” or “back east”), in case those areas of our country had figured out problems that we in South Florida were now grappling with. It seemed short-sighted. It seemed like re-inventing the wheel, a waste of time.

Now that I’m older, I’d like to say that I’m wiser, and my viewpoint has changed, but the truth is, I still have problems with A and B and, in fact, have expanded my perplexity to include C) the entire world. So, in what my husband calls “Debbie’s World,” not only would communities not A) leave things alone and B) study how things were done elsewhere, but they would C) look beyond America’s borders to other countries.

That done, I would immediately have everyone start crossing their zeroes and sevens and zees like they do in Europe (like this: 0, 7, Z). I can’t be the only one who occasionally cannot tell a handwritten letter O from the number 0, a 7 from a 1 or a Z from a 2.

And please (this is for the code-senders) — please, I beg of you, quit using L as a number. No matter how important it is that I transfer the time sensitive security code you’ve texted me from my phone to my computer, I simply cannot distinguish your small L from your number one. Case in point: 11ll111l1l11l. OK, you tell me, which characters are which? In Debbie’s World, computers would simply refuse to acknowledge these characters, particularly when used in passcodes.

I heard recently that the people who do studies finally completed a long-term study in which they ascertained that the people of Finland are the happiest people on earth. In South Florida, we cannot conceive of this. Why? How? Not Possible! It’s cold in Finland.

But I have my own perspective — it all boils down to being able to tell a small L from a 1. Every day. Consistently. Without having to try it several ways before they can log into their bank statements… or whatever.

And, because I would prefer that the citizens of the United States be the happiest people on earth, I’ve put a deadline on this: all of us need to get on board with the 07Z thing by Jan. 1, 2024.

I would also like us to convert to the metric system, but let’s not get crazy.