- 5 dec 2002 -

Okay, some of you out there are really starting to piss me off.  That's no big deal to you, I'm sure, even if you're one of the perpetrators.  But fer cryin' out loud, people, let's get with the goddamn program here.

First off, there's all you slackers who've lapsed into blogging.  You went from some real writing to basically cutting pictures out of magazines and sticking 'em up on the classroom bulletin board.  You lazy bastards are climbing your way sideways into imposterity.  There are too many of you to mention by name, but even if I did it's clear from your lackadaisical attitudes that you wouldn't give a rat's ass.  At worst you'd post a link to this offensive entry, using words like "turd" and "dorkface" and then move on to link to a nifty quiz that determines via multiple choice personality questions just what sort of fungus you would be.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.


This next group probably doesn't include you unless you spend part of your day going door to door through America's suburbs in search of shut-ins and inveigling them to buy your cleaning products, your magazines, or their eternal salvation.  Just such a young couple darkened my door yesterday afternoon.  And boy oh golly, they sure were peppy.  I hate pep, though I usually let it slide as being one of the less malignant symptoms of evangelism.  But since I was fresh from overseeing Amy's latest session of unusually virulent epileptic seizures, I was in no mood to match wits and grins with Biff and Muffy, and instead chose to emit my own expulsive spirit with perfect antithetical symmetry in both frequency and amplitude.

The Universal Godhead having thereby been brought back to neutral, the young salespersons, stricken with timidity, attempted a tactical recovery by employing theatrical honesty.  Bypassing their credentials and affiliation, they shifted into being folksy and straight and, y'know, down with it, ready to rap.  But the truth was clear.  Before me stood two soldiers of The Lord, and the proof was in their pitch administered now via questions that, if not answered by a simple "yes" will reveal your proclivity for mother-punchin' and father-rapin'.

They professed a dedication to a successful future for themselves -- he in business, she as an artist -- and magazine sales were their tickets to the top.  This prospectus seemed weak to me, particularly when the artist-to-be could name only two artists-who-ever-were: DaVinci and that schizo guy who cut off his ear and sent it to his girlfriend.  Young fledgling business man then used his sales acumen to try another tack -- when in doubt, use pity.  He was struggling, he told me, saying, "I need points or my boss is gonna rip off my head and 'you-know-what' down my neck.  So c'mon, man.  You're not struggling." he says to me.

"Ha ha ha ha ha.  Hee hee hee hee hee.  Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo." said the tiny man in my head who likes to smear solicitors onto crackers and chomp and laugh.

There is something very satisfying in knowing a deserving soul is about to be hit in the back of the head with a blunt instrument, even if it is a metaphorical one.  I stepped out and invited them to sit on the porch with me where I began the home version of Queen For A Day.  For those of you who are chronologically deficient, QFAD was a television show wherein contestants vied for a mountain of fabulous prizes, and winning was dependent upon which of the contestants was able to muster the most pitiful life story.  It was the pinnacle of voyeuristic shamelessness, truly American, although Mexican TV has been getting pretty good at it lately.  But be that as it may, as we sat there, the afternoon sun slipping low behind the houses across the street, I asked them about the details of their struggles.  They held forth prosaically, inserting as many "and I'm all"s and "so I'm like"s as possible, eventually working their way to the old saw about young people having the gumption to pick themselves up by their bootstraps, adding that it's an endeavor seen so uncommonly among "other people."  When they said "other people" there was a brief pause as if designed to give time for your mind's eye to conjure its own forensic sketch of your preferred bad dude. The young woman, the artist-to-be, was desperate to hold on to her dream and not succumb to the cloven-hoofed devils that lie in wait to snatch young females and run them through with pitchforks.

Then it was my turn.  I kept to a calm, brief outline using mostly nouns and verbs, layering the facts of my dying alcoholic parents onto the difficulties of having a daughter who lost a quarter of her brain from a stroke at birth, and who is now experiencing an increase in epileptic seizures, is hemiplegic, and who wants nothing more from Santa Claus this year but a wheelchair.  I just stuck to the facts.  No dreams, just facts.  I left many of my own issues out if it -- the spinal arthritis, the pinched cervical nerves.  Depression?  Feh.  Cholesterol, fuggedaboutit.  Prostate shmostate.

I knew something serious was going on in their heads, I could smell the rubber burning, or perhaps it was just a whiff of the puppy love I sensed between them.  And since it was clear they were too peppy to be married, I withheld my coup de grāce, the naked truth about the compromise of galactic proportion and glacial dispatch that will forever bind those who've taken the marriage plunge (as apt a word as ever there was).  I decided not to describe the bloodletting of marital negotiation, for they were clearly too innocent to understand the unthinkable yet occasional urge to clandestinely purchase a pitchfork and hide it under the bed. 

After that, they seemed in a hurry to see if my next door neighbors needed any magazines.


Today's last perpetrators of bad craziness are ... well, I was just going to say something about my daughter's education, but while I was sitting here crafting my lovely prose the phone rang.  It was the school district calling to say there had been a bomb threat at Amy's school, that the kids were all okay, but they'd been evacuated and the parents needed to come and pick them up.  

So now we're just back from that chaotic scene and I'm reminded of JournalCon.  I was a speaker there on the "Disclosure: How Much Is Too Much?" panel, and at one point in the discussion we came to the subject of journal content being potential evidence in a legal matter.  So, you can see where I'm going with this.  Right now might not be the best time to say something negative about her schooling, investigations being what they are, and the current investigative climate being what it is.  I actually have a clear moral dilemma on my hands here, balancing the weight of criticism of an agency that has just, as I write this, been criminally threatened, and all the possibilities pursuant to an investigation of that, versus exercising my right to openly criticize it.  I ain't chicken, but I ain't stupid either.  The woods are full of wardens these days.

So no, I'll save my critique of fifth-grade mathematical jargon for another day and hope instead that our local law enforcement can determine, by asking the right questions, just what sort of loser/fungus should be spread on a cracker and chomped on by a pack of bomb-sniffing dogs.


  today's music:

"The Great Nations of Europe -- Randy Newman -- BAD LOVE


today's wisdom:

"Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge."

- Alfred North Whitehead

e-mail me