Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Aztecs did NOT invent the vacation

That silver-haired Daddy of mine certainly was a wise man. He gave me all sorts of advice that, in many cases, has worked like one of those time-capsule cold tablets. Which is to say, at first, it put me to sleep, but as time went on it has proven to have had a salubrious effect.

One of his oft-repeated phrases was "measure twice, cut once," and it turned out that he was referring to not just wood but also words when he said that. An exacting man, when he asked for a 2 x 4 and I'd reply, "How long did you want it?" he never replied, "Well, I want to keep it." No, he did not truck in cheap gags and snappy retorts. He would say that he wanted the 2 x 4 to be 3'7" (that's 43 inches, if you're scoring at home) and by that he meant not around 43 inches or like 43 inches or 43 1/2" or 42 3/4". He dealt in specifics and made sure of measured wood and measured words.

So you have to wonder what he would think if he were still with us...or if he just popped in for a visit. What if he had been hanging around the house the other night while I watched "Commando" the other night? What if I had told him that the Austrian meatloaf, painted up in black-and-green camo, chasing an evil dictator who played his part as if they had told him "The character is a cross between Henry Rollins and Freddie Mercury," had now become the governor of California?

How to explain that a talented and polished performer like Jay Leno had been replaced by a self-conscious, nervous but not funny-nervous-like-Don Knotts guy named Conan?

And most staggering, how to tell him that the collective intelligence level of the plebiscite had fallen to a point where a significant portion of voters are willing to believe that the duly-elected president is not really president because he "wasn't born here"? The fact that Mr Obama was born in Hawaii, and the fact that, against all odds, and even though you can't get in the Chevy and drive there, Hawaii is so a state, would make him a natural-born citizen of the United States.

I don't know what makes me sadder: either that, again, a significant amount of people fall for this balderdash - it's not just the few who also sit with aluminum foil covering their heads to protect themselves from the Martian gamma rays - or that the Daughter Of Cheney and others of her ilk who seem bent on spinning this yarn into whole cloth, even though they know it's a lie and they know it can't be true, keep on weaving it because they know that a certain amount of people will buy into it, and that this will hurt the president and his chances of getting us out of the morass into which other members of the Cheney family led the nation.

Willie Nelson wrote a song called "I Never Cared for You" using the same model: the repetition of ridiculous statements to prove the point that if A, B, and C are stated to be true, then surely D must be so. Willie wrote:

The sun is filled with ice and gives no warmth at all

The sky was never blue,

The stars are raindrops searching for a place to fall,

And I never cared for you.

Four wrongs still don't make a right, and four left turns bring us right back to where we started. I say, let's get over this nonsense about where the president came from and get on with where he is taking us.

We're doing OK down here, Dad, but jeeeeeeeesh! Sometimes, I wonder how.

PS Today's title about the Aztecs came from the Firesign Theatre's brilliant album "Everything You Know Is Wrong." It's great! I know it is. Uh-oh!

1 comment:

Ralph said...

Love it, Mark. And I wouldn't be so quick in reassuring Dad that "we're OK down here."