Friday, August 21, 2015

Run It Up the Flagpole, Boys (and They Can Stick It Where the Sun Don't Shine)

Y’all got a flag yet? Tell you what. I’m gon’ get me one. Couldn’ve give less of a shit up till a few weeks ago. For me it wasn’t nothing but ten dollars better spent. Then they started taking ‘em away from us. They think that’s gon’ work?
            I was coming back from the store this afternoon and passed a Richard Petty-looking dude in a jacked-up truck. Thing was rumbling like thunder and had two big old rebel flags flapping from the back of the bed. A little while back that son of a bitch probably looked more like a deacon at Macedonia Baptist—right up to when the damn goverment started gettin’ in his face. Now, with all what’s going on, seeing that truck, flags wavin’ . . . I swear, it like to give me chills.
            And what’s even worse than being told what to do is if we say we don’t like it then we’re a bunch of racists. It ain’t about race. We don’t hate nobody—except maybe Obama, but that’s just about his communist style of goverment, got nothing to do with race. Now, is he an American? No. African or Hawaiian, one or the other, but he ain’t no American. And that just might explain—are you listening, friends?—why it don’t matter to him who comes in or where they come in from.
            What I was saying was, it ain’t about race. We get along fine with the blacks. Or is it African-Americans now? Whatever. Listen, if you hated colored people, could you watch television today? That’s all that’s on there. ‘Cept maybe for NASCAR. And of course every commercial on TV has got to have some colored in it. I mean that’s just flat law now. Goverment law.
            We know all about the Civil Rights movement. We seen the changes. Shit, we’re living the changes. Live in the same neighborhoods, kids go to the same schools, work right alongside one another at the same jobs. (Now this is just a comment about me and not nobody else, but my philosophy is, I might be drunk, or worse, but I’m gon’ get my ass to work.) Point is, racism ain’t even possible these days.
            Notice: I ain’t said nothin’ about no heritage neither. Only problem for us white working people here in the South is the goddamn goverment all over us like tarpaper. Ain't but one political party in the U. S. of A. today tellin' it like it is, and we all know who I'm talkin' about. No: it ain’t hate and it ain’t heritage neither, far as I can see. Heritage? Don’t know about you, brother, but my family never had no slaves on no plantation. And here’s what’s funny to me. We poor white motherfuckers didn’t get to have no slaves, but we’re the ones get blamed for all the hatin' and all the lynchin'. By who? By the goddamn liberal communists. 
                All I’m sayin’? Lot of folks out here tired of gettin’ pushed around.  
                And if what Sheldon told me this morning is true, that Wal-Mart has done pulled all the flags from their shelves ‘cause the communists said to, well, I don’t know what I might do. But whatever it is, it ain’t gon’ be my fault. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Dope on Dope

Should marijuana be legalized? No, of course not. Why? Because of the drug’s downside. And because of its upside.
            First the upside. Let’s face it: the weed is huge fun. But people, what are you thinking? That it’s okay to have a bag of fun just lying around the house? To be indulged in whenever? What’s happened to our puritan heritage? You remember when H. L. Mencken said that puritanism is the fear that somebody, somewhere, is having more fun than you are? Well, what the great sage of Baltimore apparently failed to appreciate was that this is a good fear, an important fear, a society-stabilizing fear.
            Most important, it’s a motivating fear. After all, the puritan doesn’t respond to this fear by going out and having more fun. He goes out and works harder, accomplishes more, makes more money, and sneers more fiercely at the free-gigglers. In other words, he keeps the world moving, and I think we can all agree that that’s an essential chore.
            So the upside, fun, is problematical. Not that fun, per se, is bad. But fun is the reward state, not the perpetual state. First we do something useful and productive, something to serve the public good, like thanking veterans for their service. Point is—we earn fun. It’s not complicated. And the people who say that “dope” can transform the things we do to earn fun into . . . fun? Well, we’re not listening to those people. OK? Because that’s crazy.
            Now, the downside. It ain’t pretty. First we’re going to have to take a candid look at the effects of marijuana, chief of which by any measurement is raging paranoia. Of course, this is another fear, and an equally useful one. What would you do if could get high and not worry about being high, not even think about the worst possible person knocking on the door or the horrible news a telephone call might bring. Of course you would, and so would everybody else. Can you imagine it? All that fun on the loose? Scary. But that’s what we’ll have if pot is legalized.
            A final point, a bit personal, about us older folks. Another universally recognized effect of marijuana is that it makes you stupid. Believe me, we geezers don’t need any help in that department. If you’re going to put your old people on a sofa in front of the TV, fine, give ‘em a little pot. Otherwise, no. I already spend enough time wandering from room to room, picking up magazine here, opening a drawer there. So don’t count on us oldsters to get behind your legalization thing. We’ll lose our dignity soon enough without your help.
            Well, hell. It’s a young people’s game anyway. All those millionaire hippie kids at Apple and Facebook and Google, blowing the world away with their gizmos and gewgaws. Probably got joint dispensers in the break room. What does a nattering old man know?
Just this: There’s a bigger picture here. The prospect of legal marijuana, alarming as it is, merely illustrates a much larger sociocultural phenomenon: funcreep. Think about it: Sunday alcohol sales, legal gambling, gay marriage, gay Boy Scout leaders. Wow! People are having fun in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
Hey, I know we got a lot of problems in this country: racial unease, injustice, economic inequality, war. I almost hate to add to the list. But, frankly, I’m worried. Fun is out of control.