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Lana Ulrich is a junior majoring in English and is a columnist for The Daily Collegian. Her e-mail address is
  The Daily Collegian Online	 - Published independently by students at Penn State OPINIONS
[ Monday, Dec. 11, 2006 ]

My Opinion
Kirk Douglas' birthday wish asks the world to step it up

Hey Penn State - we've got a call to arms.

An old man has just issued his 90th birthday wish.

And I say, in the true holiday spirit, we should do our best to make it happen.

Saturday was actor Kirk Douglas' 90th birthday. Douglas is not only an international superstar but an embodiment of the American dream- a really poor immigrant becoming successful through hard work and lots of discipline.

Douglas loves America.

He said so in his Saturday editorial.

And Kirk, I've got to say, we love you too.

I mean, he's been in almost a billion movies (that's a rough estimate).

Granted, I can't name any of them off the top of my head because most were made before I was born, but he's still extremely cool.

According to him, he has "survived World War II, a helicopter crash, a stroke, and two new knees."

And, he's Michael Douglas' dad. And Michael Douglas somehow convinced Catherine Zeta-Jones to marry him, which is really an extraordinary feat.

On Saturday, Kirk decided to make a
world-wide public wish, instead of the customary keep-it-to-yourself birthday candle blow-out.

He said that while he did normally follow the birthday tradition of keeping the birthday wish silent, he decided to try something different for his 90th year and make what he called a LOUD wish for the world.

He announced his public birthday message via the wonderful world of news media.

And his message was crystal clear to all who read it.

"I have a message to convey to America's young people," Douglas wrote. "Let's face it: THE WORLD IS IN A MESS and you are inheriting it. Generation Y, you are on the cusp. You are the group facing many problems: abject poverty, global warming, genocide, AIDS, and suicide bombers to name a few. We have done very little to solve these problems. Now, we leave it to you."

Damn, Kirk, that's a heck of a lot to ask of us right before finals.

If I'd have known, I wouldn't have put off all this reading.

But he's right. The Earth is in a pretty crappy place right now.

The Iraq War has (surprise!) revealed itself as one of the stupidest blunders of the new millennium.

Middle East is about to implode.

The U.S. has one of the highest prison rates of the world.

Taco Bell is giving people E. coli (again, surprise?). And we do nothing but sit around.

You may say to yourself yourself, "I'm only 20 years old! I don't have any money! I have no idea where the Middle East is!"

This may be true. I, too, have no money.

However, Douglas continued with what he would like us to do.

"You need to rebel, to speak up, write, vote, and care about people and the world you live in," he wrote. "We live in the best country in the world. I know. My parents were Russian immigrants. America is a country where EVERYONE, regardless of race, creed, or age has a chance. I had that chance. You are the generation that is most impacted and the generation that can make a difference."

There are small things we can do every day, especially at Christmas.

What better time of year to capitalize on people's good cheer by raising money for AIDS, asking for donations for poverty-stricken kids, collecting cans for the homeless, even by cooking a nice, hot meal for someone less fortunate (You could include me on that list. No, just kidding - I've got enough Easy Mac to last).

It's the time of year when everyone is supposed to hold hands and make nicey-nicey.

Our campus could really use some of that. You don't have to be in a club to hit up Toys-R-Us and buy some dolls and trucks for a local Toys-for-Tots drive.

If you really wanted, you could visit the elderly and maybe even sing them a carol or two. It's time that we college kids got some initiative other than heroically volunteering to drive to the liquor store for our friends who lack a vehicle.

Maybe we could even do something good for the environment besides throwing Wendy's trash out the window on I-80 because it's "biodegradable and the hungry birds will feed on it." We've got to be proactive for Mother Earth.

After all, we're the ones who have got to put up with her for the next 80 years or so.

Save the world, people.

Si habla español, salva el mundo, por favor!

Middle East catastrophes and global warming aside, even in our immediate surroundings, we can at least help each other out on a daily basis, by smiling once in a while, or sharing that last beer in the fridge.

Because if you handle the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.

Douglas has told the youth of America, "You have to fix it because the situation is intolerable."

There are only a few days left in the semester, a week before graduation, two weeks until Christmas, less than a month before New Years.

We don't have much time. Neither does Douglas. So get on it, Penn State.


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Copyright © 2006 Collegian Inc.
Updated: 2006-12-10  19:20:50   -4
Requested: 2006-12-12  6:46:55   -4
Created: 2006-12-10  19:20:50   -4