Other bits and pieces

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where's My Pizza

The world is a tough place right now, especially for Americans. With the Economic Down-turn, recession, depression, homeopathic decrease in commerce, or whatever you want to call it, the War on Terror (A.K.A 'the global struggle against those less fortunate who just need a hug), Global Warming, or Climate Change, Swine Flu, HIV, and the battle over gay marriage, Americans are having to struggle like never before to make their way in this world. As we ply our blood sweat and tears on the road to the American dream, we are ever watchful for traps and dead-falls lying in wait to snatch that dream from our grasp. There are school shootings, missing cute white girls, collapsing bridges, and crashing construction cranes. The world is truly a perilous place to navigate these days.

I did it! I actually made it through that paragraph with a straight face.

America, today, is really an amazing place. Life here is really easy. Life here is really fun. We have it better here than anyone else, anywhere else, anywhen else. (I know there's no such word as 'anywhen', but I liked it to go with the other two.) Never before in the history of the world has a newborn child faced such a high probability of a long and productive life. There are problems, but those problems are minutia contrasted against the veritable cornucopia of goodness that surrounds us.

I am hungry. I can solve that problem with embarrassingly little effort. I don't have to leave my hovel with a club, or a spear to find some unsuspecting doe-eyed creature to skewer. There's a great likelihood that there's leftover food in my fridge, if not, I can cook some of the pre-skewered dead animal pieces in my freezer. If I find that to be more work than a spartan like me should be made subject, I can have someone bring food to my house in less time than it takes to lace up a pair of wolf-skin boots. I honestly don't remember the last time I had to literally reap anything that I had sewn. In fact, it's been so long, that I don't even remember how to do either of those tasks. If I need something reapable, I go to the grocery store and bring it home in a recycled plastic bag with holes in it that prevent stupid crotch fruit from suffocating when they put it on their heads. If I don't have any money in my pocket, I can have it anyway. The stores knows my credit card will give them the money in two to three business days. I don't even have to work very hard to earn the money to get the food. I have to spend about 3 minutes at my desk to earn enough money to buy a hamburger.

I need a house. What are my options? I could dig a hole in the side of an embankment. I could start cutting down trees to construct a log cabin. It would take a while, so in the mean time I can live in a tent. I'll just build the one room at first so my family of six has a roof over their heads. (I'd have a family of six because it's likely two of them won't live past the age of four). I could grow a bunch of grass, and then cut sod to stack up and make a house. Heck, I could even gather a metric ass-load of rocks and glue them together with some sticky mud. Or, I could sit back, relax, and remind myself that it's not 1649 and just move into a 2500 sq/ft ready-built multi room PALACE. This place is great! The floors are soft. The water just plops out of a tube in the kitchen (no running to the well with a bucket for this guy!) The house heats itself, cools itself and lights itself. Need hot water? Twist the other knob—this is great! Oh...oh...and here's the best part: I can poop IN the house, and no one will go running out into the night.

I don't feel well. This could be bad. I have a pain in my belly—low and right. No problem, I'll send Alexis to fetch the doctor. He'll put some leeches on me to suck the evil spirits out and make the pain go away. When that doesn't work he'll tell my wife that it's in God's hands now. God is only interested in doing one thing with you once you're in his hands; you're done. If I actually lived in that time, my family would not even EXIST! Diana would have died from appendicitis in high school, and I probably wouldn't have survived my sick gall bladder. It wasn't all that far back in the annals of history that surgery was basically: 'Ew, that looks gross, let's cut that off.' If you were lucky you lived through the infection you picked up from the surgical tools because the surgeon wasn't even aware of the existence of germs. I'm no historian, but I'm reasonably certain that cases of elective surgery during the Civil War were extremely uncommon. Today, in America, you could have something unpronounceably wrong with your subcutaneous dobsosloptoid, and a team of doctors adroitly wielding a laser actuated, robot assisted, optically enhanced proswaid swathermistic incisomatic will fix it up in a jiffy—and someone else will pay for it.

I want to talk to my long lost cousin. No problem; where's that bottle of ink? Let's see, I'll just pluck a feather from this turkey I keep out behind the house. I have plenty of time to write the letter since the postmaster doesn't come through these parts for another four days. I'm in Maryland, and he's out on the frontier in the Washington Territory, so it'll be at least six months before I should expect a response. I might be able to speed the process up just a little bit. I'll scan my parchment into my computer as a .PDF file, attach it to and e-mail, bounce it off a few satellites and my cousin can read it in about 3.4 seconds. Nah, screw that, it's too much work. I'll just call his cell phone.

I could go on and on with these. If I need to be somewhere that I'm not, I could drive my awesome red truck which can carry me, four other people, and a 1000lbs of my amazing stuff 500 miles in a single day. Need to go farther? Let's not discount the miracle that is human flight. I'll say that again: Human...flight. People can fly, and we can haul ass doing it too! How can you complain about the in-flight peanuts when YOU'RE FLYING THROUGH THE AIR like some crazy-ass superhero straight out of awesome land!

We know everything. There is so much information available to you at any given second that those who supply it actually run out of interesting information to present. Would Ben Franklin have been printing stories about the Octomom? Well, he might have, but it would have been just once, not every pamphlet for 10 weeks. You want to know how to a cow's utter works? How about finding the answer to the age old question, “What's that hangy downy thing in the back of my mouth?” Click, click, click, and there you go. The free exchange of information today is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Instead of casting a cloud of despair over life, the universe, and everything, Americans need to relax for a minute. Walk into your kitchen and mix some really neat pink powder with water. Pull a few ice cubes out of the ice maker machine that you don't understand, and make a nice cold drink. Next, grab a bag of dried corn that someone else was kind enough to farm and package for you and throw it in the microwave. Give the Magic Chef four minutes to bombard your corn with radio waves and you've got a greasy, buttery snack to go with your cold drink. Now, take your feast into the living room, sit down in front of your plasma television (another amazing marriage of nature and science) and watch a two-hour story acted out for you with a music soundtrack and stored on a disk made of the derivatives of oil (squirted out of the ground) and then etched with a laser. But, before the opening credits role, take a minute to remind yourself just how cool it is to live in the time we do, and how much cooler it's going to get before your surgeon gives up.

The world is truly amazing.

©Raymond Smith- 2009

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