Around here where I live, there are always a bunch of shiny new cars on the road on Christmas Day. Lexuses. Mercedes. BMW.
It’s so annoying to see the conspicuous consumption. Folks who, on top of every other luxury they already have or have gotten that morning, need to have a brand, spankin’ new luxury car. Jeez.
Well, that’s how I felt until today.
Today I’ve decided to jump on the “gimme” bandwagon and demand a new car for Christmas.
Now, there are three problems with my new plan.
First, I don’t know quite how to convince my husband that I’ve changed my mind. You see for years I’ve been commenting on how disgusting, decadent and indecent it was to expect someone to buy you an expensive car like that. It’ll be tough, but I’m pretty sure I can convince John of my new found fondness for fenders. I am quite an actress, you see.
Second, I’m not sure exactly where we’re going to come up with the money. But it’s never all that tough to come up with $100 K in cool cash around the Holidays, is it? We can cash in everything for it because I’m worth it.
The third and last problem is the most difficult one.
I’m really not sure how I can drive my current car to the dealership to trade it in without John seeing the enormous dent I decorated it with this evening.
I wonder if I can trade my car in for a used AMC Gremlin. That’ll impress the neighbors.
We’ve all seen them. They seem to be on every commercial vehicle these days.
But have you ever called one of those numbers? Have you ever reported somebody? I didn’t think so.
Recently, my son was stuck in traffic behind Truck No. 47. So he called the number on the back of the truck.
“Hello, this is Nancy,” said the voice at the other end of the phone. “How can I help you.” (She didn’t sound very happy to be getting this call, Jacob later said.)
“Hi,” Jacob said. “I want to report Truck No. 47.”
“Yes sir,” said Nancy. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Oh, I just wanted to let you know that the driver of Truck No. 47, well, he’s doing a really great job.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“Yeah. The driver of Truck No. 47 is a terrific driver.”
“Would you please hold for a moment sir? I need to find a form to record this on.”
Meanwhile, traffic started moving again.
“You need to hold on, please. Traffic is moving, and I have to pull over,” Jacob allegedly said to Nancy. (I know, I don’t believe him, either.)
“Now, how long were you observing Truck No. 47, sir?”
“Oh, I’ve been following him for a while, all through Northern Virginia. He’s amazing. He stays on his side of the road, obeys the speed limits, always uses his turn signal. Really, this guy is a model driver.”
“Ummm, thank you for calling to let us know, sir.”
“You’re welcome. It’s just nice to see such a great driver on the road these days.” Jacob hung up, smiling.
I am pretty sure that this qualifies as a random act of kindness. It was definitely random.
Cool Kid, 1994
Today is Jacob’s 21st Birthday. Happy Birthday, Jacob!
By telling this story, I just wanted to let you know, today, how very proud I am of this crazy man cub John and I raised. Because you see, Jacob is one of the funniest, nuttiest people I have ever known.
It’s true. Hey, Jacob? You’re nuts! 😉 I couldn’t have found a sillier birthday song for you:
Some days I am overwhelmed with awe at how brilliant people can be. I read about new discoveries and new science every day. And it is amazing.
And then there are days like today, when I am astonished at how willfully and intentionally ignorant some folks can be. And I realize that the lengths to which some folks will go to remain and reaffirm their ignorance is merely the tip of the iceberg. The icing on the cake. The snow on the mountaintop.
Yesterday, while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, I saw this billboard:
It doesn’t mention what happens in the end, though.
And I have to honestly say, I don’t get it a whole lot of things about this billboard.
First, I don’t get why folks are bound and determined that I am going to think just like them. And that they will keep hitting me over the head with their crap until I agree.
Second, do they really think that someone is going to be driving along the New Jersey Turnpike and need religion? (Well, sometimes it does seem like hell, but still.)
Do they think that, while sitting in gridlock, paying exorbitant tolls or avoiding stupid drivers, people will suddenly “see the light” and say to their spouse:
“Honey, I understand it now. God created the universe in seven days. Period. Seven twenty-four-hour days. And science had nothing to do with it. But you know, Dear, what I can’t seem to figure out is why God let us think up all this science stuff to begin with.”
My mother used to say “you catch more flies with honey.” And it’s true. Especially with people’s deeply held beliefs. Christianity became such a dominant religion by incorporating much of the beliefs and traditions of the pagans. Not by saying “nannie, nannie, boo-boo, I’m right you’re wrong.”
Even seeing stuff like this billboard and a thousand roadside signs I passed, well, sometimes I can still be surprised by the lengths to which folks will go to try and tell me, to prove to me, that my beliefs are wrong. But today I read an article that has me still shaking my head, hours after seeing it.
Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence that evolution is myth
Nessie, in the famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” from 1934 that is widely believed to be a hoax. (Thanks, Google.)
THOUSANDS of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real– in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.
Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.
The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism. (Emphasis added by me.)
Me, I don’t understand why evolution and creation cannot co-exist.
The existence of God and belief in a higher power does not mean that the universe was created in a week and man in a day. Man and woman, however we were created, have minds and a curious nature. That’s what makes us unique. That is also how we discover cool things, like how to photograph pretend monsters.
But public money is going to pay to teach religion. I will repeat. Public money. Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? The founding fathers will have something to say about this at the Reckoning, I’d bet.
As a nation, and as living, rational human beings we are walking a tightrope. Backwards.
One of my very favorite movie scenes of all time is one you may have forgotten. Have you seen The Italian Job with Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland and Edward Norton? I love this movie, and not just because it is (partly) set in Venice, my favorite place on Earth. And not even because it also stars my beloved late (sniff) blue Mini-Cooper.
Remember the scene where Hansome Rob (Jason Statham) is stuck in traffic waiting to make a left turn behind an actor (played by Scott Adsit) rehearsing for an audition?
“Give me your badge. And your weapon.” Over and over until the light is just about to change. Then Rob honks the horn, the actor realizes he needs to go, and does, leaving Handsome Rob stuck at the light.
I love the scene because it’s such a true-life event. In fact, this sort of thing used to happen to me all the time. The result – I sit in
Damn, I hate that. It’s funny in a movie. In real life, when there are things that must be done — important, occasionally life changing things — well, it isn’t quite as funny, is it? Usually, I just need to get along to work, to home, to the bathroom, to wherever. So does everybody else.
You know, it seems that now, in real life, the absent-minded driver has been replaced by the intentionally jerky driver who doesn’t stop when he/she know there isn’t a snowball’s chance that he will make it across the intersection. So he/she gets stuck in the middle along with other, like-minded jerks, and folks like me who try to get along. Nobody gets anywhere. No work gets done. The only thing they raise is blood pressure.
I know these folks. I’ve seen them outside of their cars. They are the same jerks who used to throw temper tantrums on the playground if there wasn’t a swing available (whether they really wanted to swing or not). Who used to bully. Who have been jerks since before the egg and sperm that formed them ever hooked up.
We here in the Washington, DC area are way too familiar with these guys. And we don’t want any more. In fact, we are pretty damn tired of folks who stamp their feet, pound their fists, and spit in the face of one of the cornerstones of civilization: working together for the common good.
Now someday soon, I’ll tell you all about the truly wonderful work that was done as a direct result of bipartisanship in the United States Congress. Yes, it’s true. And it happened in my lifetime and yours. But that’s for another day.
But believing as I truly do in lawmakers working together, imagine my disgust when I saw this clip of the jerk, Richard Mourdock, who beat Senator Lugar to be the Republican Party’s candidate for Senate in Indiana.
Boys and girls, listen up. Nobody gets anywhere when everybody stands and stamps their feet. And if someone running for office says:
“To me, the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else”
Well, then, it’s time to work to keep him out of office. We have enough jerks pushing their way into the middle of the intersection and going nowhere.
Let’s see if we can find folks who might want to work together to solve problems. Because we have a whole mess of them. And to fix them, all of us need to get along.