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Have you ever found yourself sitting in a movie theater watching an inane comedy and being bored out of your skull while all the other folks in the audience are laughing their heads off? Have you sat there trying to ignore the antics of Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler while wondering what was wrong with all those other people?
If so, you have a pretty good idea what I go through on a daily basis just about every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the television. Some of you, I’m sure, think I make these things up just so I’ll have material to write about. Not so. For the sake of my sanity, I try to ignore this nutty stuff for as long as I can. After a while, though, it reaches critical mass and I have to deal with it or I’ll just burst. It’s as if I’m a balloon, but instead of being filled with air, I’m filled to capacity with the world’s lunacy.
By lunacy, understand that I’m not referring to acts of sheer evil, but to those matters that simply boggle the mind of a logical man.
To begin with, why do we insist that army recruits pass a physical? Most members of the armed services never get near a battlefield. Instead, they support those who do. They’re clerk-typists or they’re computer nerds or mechanics or they work in the Quartermaster Corps and deal with supplies. They no more have to be able to survive a 10-mile hike with a 70-pound load than Bill Gates does. During their time in service, the hardest thing they’ll be asked to do is cut through the red tape. But flat feet or a trick knee is still sufficient cause to keep people out of uniform.
Next, why do we Americans keep referring to France as an ally? If it’s just a habit like calling every two-bit criminal defense attorney brilliant, it’s one we should break. It’s true that twice during the past 90 years we pulled France’s chestnuts out of the fire, thus preventing bratwurst and sauerkraut from becoming their national dish. The last time they supported us, though, was when we broke away from England back in the 1770s. Since then, God knows, the French have collaborated far better with the Nazis and Saddam Hussein than they have with us.
Next, why aren’t all cell phones registered the same as handguns? Maybe they’re not quite as dangerous, but in the wrong hands – and that includes just about everybody but me – they’re a hell of a lot more annoying. If I were running things, any lout who insisted on carrying on loud phone conversations in restaurants would have to pick up the tab for all the other diners. I’m talking about a law here! I would also have similar legislation covering people who insist on bringing their wailing infants along when they go out to eat. “But little Sean was sleeping like an angel just five minutes ago,” the parents would argue in their defense. “Yes,” the prosecuting attorney would reply, “but now he’s screaming like a steam engine and giving 30 adults who don’t happen to share his DNA migraine headaches! Pay up or go to the clink!”
Next, who really cares if Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden sat down in the same room and came up with a master plan to destroy Western Civilization? They are both vile, they are both sworn enemies of America, they both fostered and financed terrorism, and they both deserve to die. During World War II, did it actually matter whether Hitler and Tojo ever broke bread together? Who cared? Even though there were no Nazi troops in Manchuria and there were no Japanese soldiers marching into Poland, the civilized world knew they both had to be defeated. The things that have changed in these past 60 years isn’t that evil has vanished or even diminished, but that the civilized world has shrunk, and craven nebbishes such as Jimmy Carter are too often hailed as peacemakers.
As a lifelong baseball fan, I have come to accept the expanded number of teams, inter-league play, the designated hitter and, on most days, even the subjective strike zone, but what is with those silly chin whiskers the players have adopted? I’m not even referring to full beards, such as the one sported by Boston’s Johnny Damon. I’m talking about those little tufts that don’t connect to sideburns or mustaches, but merely sit out there at the end of the jaw like a small dismal patch of ugly weeds. I mean, where the heck was I when the Amish suddenly became trendsetters?
Not too long ago, I read that Indiana’s Gov. Joe Kernan commuted the death sentence of a convicted killer because his accomplice’s life had been spared on the grounds that he was a mental retard, and it wouldn’t have been fair to execute one and not the other. That decision got me so dizzy that for a couple of days I kept walking into walls and bumping into furniture.
First of all, only lunatics would decide that retarded killers shouldn’t be executed for their crimes. It’s their evil deeds that are being judged, after all, not their I.Q.s. In this country, if a person is bright and especially if he has the slightest bit of writing talent, East Coast elitists such as Norman Mailer and Arthur Miller come out of the woodwork to plead their case, and if the killer is stupid, the system simply won’t allow him to die. So, in America today, it’s only your killer of average intelligence who gets the needle. That is one loony legal system. I suppose, however, this might have been a matter of self-interest on Gov. Kernan’s part. After all, if he ever commits murder in Indiana, there’s now legal precedent to spare his life.
Finally, there’s that TV commercial for a sexual-enhancement product called Levitra. By this time, we’re all accustomed to those dire warnings that accompany every pharmaceutical item pitched on the tube. We are only too aware that possible side effects for even the most benign-sounding nostrums include insomnia, bloating, vomiting, earaches, nosebleeds, blindness and death. In the case of Levitra, though, a solemn voice warns us that if an erection lasts more than four hours, we should seek medical attention. And just who exactly is it we’d be seeking? A sex-starved nurse? A gay physician? A convention of urologists?
And once you get in your car and drive to the nearest emergency hospital, what could the cure-all possibly be? They show you pictures of Hillary Clinton or Mrs. John Kerry until you calm down?