The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Monday, July 24, 2006

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: There are any number of other, more important things, to write about, as I am sure you know just from watching the news this past week, and as a rule this sort of thing doesn’t usually annoy me to the point where I feel the need to write about it, but I think it’s high time that someone said something about the prevalence of cheap suits in this our Great Republic today. Just from my observation, cheap suits are growing faster than kudzu on a hot day in Georgia. It seems to me that you can’t turn on a television today without seeing some man who would obviously be more comfortable in blue jeans and a tee shirt wander across your television screen wearing a suit that is either too big or too small for him and looks like it was thrown together at the last minute at some Honduran sweatshop the day before whatever national holiday they celebrate in Honduras.

But before we get to this, I just want to bring up the whole gestalt, assuming that’s the word I want, behind the word closed and why it is that so many people seem to have such a problem grasping the very concept of the word. You would assume that for the vast majority of people reading the word CLOSED on a sign in front an august civic institution like the local public library would come immediately, if not inexorably, to the conclusion that the library was conducting no official business at that time, and that, in all probability, there would be no one inside the building with whom you could transact official business should you, by some miracle, manage to get the locked doors open and turn off the alarm system and thereby gain entry into the building. That all the lights are off is also a good sign that whatever you want to do at the library, buster, it ain’t happening today, no way, no how. This, however, does not stop some people from peering into the darkness and giving the doors a tentative pull just to make sure the librarians aren’t giving the public leg a collective pull. There may well be any number of reasons for this phenomenon; sheer stupidity comes immediately to mind, but it does seem to me that this argument, persuasive as it is in a country with five hundred television channels and only seven television channels worth of material to share between them doesn’t really cut to the quick, go to the nub, aim at the heart of the matter, depending on whatever body part cliché for the most important point in an argument you feel is appropriate in this setting. I think it’s the fault of Seven-11.

That’s right, Seven-11, the store that never closes, a place where, no matter how incredibly stoned you are at a quarter of four in the morning and how much your brain feels like it has just gone through an all expenses trip to the planet Mongo and all of its attendant seas of poisonous lemon marmalade, you will always find hot nachos and an ice cold slurpee with which to wash said hot nachos down with. Faced with this level of competition, other commercial establishments soon followed suit, and not the cheap ones I will be getting back to in just a minute, either. Sunday was once a day of rest, in accordance with the Scriptural commandment that we keep holy the Sabbath day, but this soon faded as stores needed to stay open in order to stay alive in this new economic environment. Soon stores everywhere were open seven days a week, and now there is an increasing demand that these very same stores stay open later and later in order to serve all segments of their customer base. This is now the way of the world.

So, when you have experienced this incredibly high level of customer service, it is difficult at best to settle for the pettifogging, and to the layman’s mind, somewhat silly, regulations of a public library, which decree that the public library is open for business only at specific times on specific days. How dare librarians, in this modern day and age, deny library patrons the use of a building that those very same patrons support with their tax dollars because of some quibbling adherence to some farcical time schedule that is going by the wayside in all other aspects of American life?

Actually, we can and we will, if for no other reason than we have the keys to the front door and the public doesn’t. If the public is so all-fired keen on having the library open more hours a day, then they can damn well stop voting down our budgets. You get what you pay for, and if you don’t want to pay for it, don’t complain that it’s not open. And stop tugging on the door; we’re not letting you in today. We may not let you in tomorrow, either, if we don’t feel like it. So take that, you whelps.

In any case, having gotten that off my chest, I fear that I have lost the whole train of thought about cheap suits and the threat they pose to the workings of a free and democratic government. I don’t usually lose whole trains of thought; I will lose the occasional caboose and sometimes a hopper car will get sidetracked on its way to Walla Walla, Washington with a cargo of powdered Spam, but losing an entire train is just a little unusual for me. I thought the idea was a pretty good one, on the whole; I’ve had better, of course, but when you’re in the middle of a dry spell you take ideas wherever you can get them and you don’t ask too many questions about whether the idea really works or whether it is suitable for children to read; you just go with the idea and hopes it turns into something. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, though; I’ll have to think of something else then. Ah well, such is life.


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