Life’s Little Lessons

Today was a day full of lessons. Most of which were learned in the minutes immediately following the realization that the zipper in my pants had suffered catastrophic failure.

But first, the setup. It had been a reasonably hectic day at work, but not the sort of chaos one would expect to put any sort of undue strain on one’s pants. I fly a keyboard for a living. The stress is high between the ears, but below the belt… not so much. So it came as a surprise when I turned to leave the discussion I was having with two of the women I work with and felt a mild breeze in a place where breezes are not so common. A glance down confirmed my fear. My fly was open. Then, the discovery that the fly was not simply open, but broken. Then the thought that the women I had just been talking to were sitting, and I was standing. (You do the math.)

Now I have no idea exactly how long I’d been catching wind down there. But I reasoned that since the ladies hadn’t giggled, pointed, turned red, or looked like they were trying not to notice, that it probably was pretty recent. But I can’t be sure. Does Hallmark make a card for that? “Gee I’m sorry if I embarrassed myself and made you uncomfortable with my flapping fly – unless of course I didn’t.” I guess the reality is that I’ll never know.

Anyway, the lessons I learned:
– wardrobe malfunctions are a compelling reason to leave work early
– there is no inconspicuous way to manually hold your fly closed as you walk
– do not buy cheap pants at WalMart
– and most importantly… always wear underwear – always.

Katrina’s Fury

We have a new guest blogger, who after 3 years of faithful reading, finally opted to post. And no one could accuse her of just dipping her toe in the opinion pool. You go girl! (Can you use that expression on your mother?)

She writes:

It seems that as a nation, when we should be pulling together after the Katrina disaster, the opposite is occurring. We are becoming more polarized than ever before. What has really brought this to my attention are 2 forwards I received today from 2 “friends”. Following are some excerpts:

Subject: For the people of New Orleans…………………………..

#7. The government isn’t responsible for giving you anything. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but you gotta work for what you want. McDonalds and Wal-Mart are always hiring, get a damn job and stop spooning off the people who are actually working for a living.

Subject: Things I have Learned from Watching the News on TV

2. The hurricane only hit black families’ property.

8. The hurricane did 23 billion dollars in improvement to New Orleans – now the city is welfare, looter, and gang free, and they are in your city.

9. White folks don’t make good news stories.

10. Don’t give thanks to the thousands that came to help rescue you, instead bitch because the government hasn’t given you a debit card yet.

12. Ignore warnings to evacuate and the white folks will come get you and give you money for being stupid.

13. I feel so sorry for all those black folks. The only way it could have been worse was to be white.

These “friends” are the same people who are constantly forwarding messages to me of caring and compassion by keeping the faith, with emphasis on the later. However, all this empathy is evidently reserved for those who live on the same side of town, live economically at the same level, and whose kids resemble McCauley Calkin.

They seem to have no clue as to why so many stayed behind when Katrina struck. To them it was a matter of gassing up the SUV, making hotel reservations, and getting the heck out of Dodge. The simple fact that living paycheck to paycheck does not give one the means to do this eludes them.

What comes through loud and clear in these emails is the THEM versus US mentality. THEM are the poor who demand help from the federal government during a disaster, and US are those whom not only depend on Social Security checks to keep up our standard of living, but demand that they keep on coming.

I don’t know why the government didn’t respond more quickly. I hope and pray it was not because the victims were black and poor. I guess I tend to believe that, like everything else in government, it was just plain inefficiency. I do know however, that these emails I received from “friends”, who consider themselves above all Christians and “politically correct”, were frightening. It appears to me that to many people sympathy and support in times of a national disaster should only be given to those who have the means not to need it in the first place, and above all else, only to those who can take care of themselves.

Maybe the scariest part of all this is that my “friends” felt safe in forwarding their sentiments on to me!

Mom & Dad – I’m Sorry…

It must have something to do with boys reaching 10 years of age. The older one did it, and now the younger one is following suit. Waking hours are completely taken up by an incessant monologue on the nuances of the fantasy environment du jour. It might be a video game or a toy series (e.g. Bionicles, Zoids), but be assured that the lecture will go on and on about minutiae that no one not intimately engaged in the same play could comprehend. I try. I feel bad. I hate to admit I’m not listening to him, but the skills I honed nodding and appearing interested in what his mother was saying are coming in handy.

Oh, and the explosions. All of these realms of play involve explosions, battles, weapons, and other things which apparently require sound effects. So this dreadful droning is punctuated by spittle-laden noises, which only serves to increase the joy. My only solace is that this is driving my older son out of his mind. I remind him that he did the same thing, but he denies it.

And Mom & Dad, given that I was once 10, an apology is long overdue. I’m sorry.

The Devil Went Down to Louisiana

As if New Orleans didn’t have enough doom and gloom hanging over it, Dick Cheney has been dispatched to cheer them up. In his first interview down there he said how he’d heard nothing but positive things about how the government had responded to the disaster. Which may explain why he was house hunting on Chesapeake Bay for the last few days prior to meandering down south.

Of course, this is the same branch of government which said that no one could have anticipated the levees breaking (Bush), and that they had just become aware that people were dying in the Superdome (Brown – 2 days after they put everyone in the dome).

It does explain some things though. I mean, given that they can’t tell what’s happening in the Mississippi delta, it’s no wonder they were a little off about what was going on in Iraq.