Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Need-to-Know Basis

Just a few minutes ago one of the admins in our office swung by to inform me that she intended to be "out of the office" for six weeks beginning Thursday. I immediately thought to myself; "this can only be one of two things: pregnancy or surgery." Either way it involves a hospital.

All this talk of babies and pregnancy set me thinking: the Bible mentions somewhere that children are a "gift from God." I don't doubt it; but I'd have to want a gift pretty dang bad to be willing to check into a hospital and have a needle stuck in my spine to get it. You know what I mean? My only real issue with the Bible is that I think God tends to gloss over the details a bit in his descriptions. Like with babies - sure, they're a gift - but so is a fruitcake. Details.

Remember that story in the Bible where God made the sun stand still for an entire day so that the Isrealites could put the hammer down on the unfortunate Hamelekites or whoever? The Bible simply says: "and then the sun stood still and the Isrealites slew them all."

HOLY S#$#$@#$&&TTTRRR!!! THE SUN STOOD STILL??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I mean capitalize it or something. C'mon.

I'm sure after that unfortunate run-in the Hamelekites attitude was "hey, thanks. how about not helping out next time, eh?" You know in their historical literature that sun-stood-still stuff came out in bold double-underline.

Anyway, my admin friend was generally non-specific about the nature of what turned out to be a scheduled surgery (not a pregnancy). She mentioned the technical name of her procedure, but all I caught was "-ectomy" on the end; so I let it alone. My experience indicates that if they're slicing something off that you can do without - its generally not something normal like an elbow. I guess I find that I'm better off, in general, not knowing the details.

Now that I think about it - maybe God has the right idea.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Philistines on the Back Nine

In the last few years I've noticed a general trend away from use of the term "Indian" in reference to the indigenous peoples of the North American continent. It seems that they, on the whole, prefer "Native American." Sure: I'll buy that. Despite Columbus' best intentions we're still a long way from India.

In my experience its tough to admit you took a wrong turn after a 4-month voyage with nothing but flour-water to eat, so I'm sure it took some convincing before he admitted we weren't "India." It’s a good thing he didn't run ashore on Buford Highway or he might have stuck to his guns. I'm just saying: there's no sense in propogating the confusion.

I also notice some degree of resentment over our wholesale borrowing of Native American tribal terminology and traditions: "low man on the totem pole", "Seminoles", "Braves", and of course "Indians" to name a few of our misappropriations.

I don't blame them a bit for some irritation at our blatant theft of "Seminoles". If you screamed my native heritage at me in a drunken slur over and over again on television; I'd get tired of it too. Of course, now we've reduced it to "Noles!!!" which is even worse (although much easier to scream). I imagine a "Nole" is something like a furry, red, ground-dwelling hobbit in a headdress.

I would think "low man on the totem pole" would really be more of a private joke at our expense though. Representational effigy at the very bottom of a carved-up tree with your feet buried in the dirt can't be an ideal position in Native American cultural tradition. Its probably something really terrible. You're just a cubicle-dwelling office grunt, but you describe yourself as a man locked in the body of a cedar-trunk carved beaver for all eternity? You're right: that job sounds terrible.

So, as far as lingo goes I guess I'm with the Native Americans; but it isn't our use of indigineous peoples' names for our sports teams that’s the biggest problem - it’s that we single primarily THEM out for that dubious honor.

I say we pick and choose from more global national and political groups throughout history for our sports teams. What about the Turks? Nazis? How about the Hezbollah? Philistines? Zulus? Catholics?

Would you watch the Zulus take on the Sunnis in a grudge match skins game at Pebble Beach? I know I would.

Wouldn't you love to see the Philistines win the World Series in game 4 - live? No? Why not? 2000 years is a long losing streak. Why should the Philistines always have to lose?

You racist.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CranApple Anyone?

The thing about The Airline is that they don’t seem to care much about you or the status of your delicious MinuteMaid Cranberry beverage.

You can complain, but lets face it: nobody's really listening. When you talk to an attendant you're actually not talking to The Airline (believe it or not); you're talking to a 30yr old mother of two who can't believe there is an adult in front of her who really wants to complain about cranberry juice 30,000 feet over New Mexico. She has a point. You'd think a less-than one-to-one ratio of people to parachutes would be a more pressing concern but no - its cranberry juice.

Even if you were somehow talking to The Airline- should you really expect to engage in a rational conversation with an entity concerned primarily with one number (gross profit) anyway? As long as you're quiet - you're profitable. The moment you open your mouth you become a cost center. Someone in charge, somewhere, knows that…and he doesn't care. He's probably drinking the delicious Cranberry beverage that you should have gotten from the attendant.

Instead, you got a CranAPPLE beverage which reminds you of the watered-down apple juice the Sunday morning nursery workers tried to pawn off on your underdeveloped 2yr-old palate as the real deal. When you're two you spend a great deal of time differentiating between Mott's and lesser brands, and buddy - the nose knows. A 1982-vintage Mott's (glass bottle) with its gentle, fruity, bouquet and undertones of butterscotch and oak gently swirled in your sippy cup bears harsh contrast to the musty, half-fermented, off-brand decanted by institutions everywhere.

Plus, you don't want to be reminded of preschool because it reminds you of Jennifer Schrumm who called your picture "Scribble Scrabble", stale saltines, tiny chairs, and those little overall-shorts that make your knees all cold.

The airline attendant seems confused when you try to explain; and she keeps asking you if "Jennifer would like some saltines?"; vaguely indicating the sleeping woman to your right.

CranApple isn't so bad.