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)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ETIQUETTE AND THE WORLD OF MICROBES: I have cellulitis. I’m sorry, but as look at that first sentence I realize that I shouldn’t sound so sure of myself. I think I have cellulitis; that’s actually much closer to the truth. But whatever the actual truth of the matter is, I have some form of –itis and it doesn’t want to go away. If you’ve never heard of cellulitis then do not fear; from what I understand the conditions is not contagious and to be honest I’d never heard of cellulitis before this week either, assuming, of course, that cellulitis is what I have. Doctors are like computer technicians in that they think that because they understood what they just said, everyone else must understand what they just said too. This, as we all know, is not always the case, either with bacterial infections or fractious computers. Sometimes things are not as they seem, a condition that helps incumbents get re-elected on a fairly regular basis.

In any case, I disapprove of contracting diseases that I’ve never heard of. It seems more than a little rude to me for some microbe to take up residence in my left hand without so much as asking for an introduction or leaving a security deposit. I am not in the habit of imposing myself on others and I see no reason why I should permit others to impose on me. I am not running a hot sheets hotel for bacteria here. If I am going to be sick, then I prefer to give the job to local bacteria that I know and loathe, and whose death via antibiotic I can therefore savor with a clear conscience and maybe a small parade. Contracting cellulitis, and again, this is with the proviso that the condition afflicting my left hand at the moment is in fact cellulitis and not some other altogether disgusting and loathsome disease, seems the height of bacterial presumption, something on the order of my moving to Ulan Bator for my health and then demanding the Mongolian authorities conduct their official business in English for my convenience. I can see how my relatives can impose on me in this way…well, actually, I can’t see how my relatives can impose on me in this way, they just do impose on me in this way and with very little compunction, I might add, but I cannot see how a bacterium to whom I have no known familial or personal connection can demand the right to make an equal imposition. Charity, I think, only goes so far before it becomes onerous, if not actually socialistic, and then becomes physically painful, which are how things stand with me right at the moment.

I do not wish to point fingers here, especially not with my left hand, which is really not in any condition at the moment to point at anything except the floor, but there is something clearly lacking in the education of young bacteria these days. Once, here in this our Great Republic, the citizenry could count on the public schools to teach young microbes the basic etiquette required to infect the body politic on a truly epic scale, but those days are long gone, it would seem, leaving only the anomic young masses to wander in and out of the school buildings doing as they please.

I suppose that much of this bacterial anomie comes from their condition as bacteria in a world where everyone worries about viruses. After centuries of being the terror of the world, of affecting the course of history by simply appearing in one place or another and killing a million people here and a million people there, Nemesis struck; Sir Alexander Fleming and his orange molds reduced the common bacterium to just one more easily removed annoyance in a world full of easily removed annoyances, whereas viruses have, in their own truly stupid way, stumbled into the title of most feared killer. This must be galling in the extreme for your average microbe, who must wonder if viruses are really alive at all. This is a debatable question, I think, and I am sure of the position most bacterium would take: viruses are too dumb to be alive, as are most Red Sox fans. Frankly, I would prefer that this cellulitis, assuming that it is cellulitis, would infect those people instead of me; I have stuff to do this weekend.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

MILL STREET AND THE LETTER OF THE LAW: I am a great believer in the black letter approach to law. I think the law is what it says it is and that judges must base their interpretations of the law on what is actually in the law and not what they want to see in the law. I believe that the Constitution gives Congress certain enumerated powers and that if Congress want to make the case for an implied power then Congress must clearly show from what enumerated power that implied power flows, and that such a flow from one to the other had better resemble the water coming out of my faucet and landing in my bathroom sink and not the Mississippi River after it breaks a levee. What I do not believe is that respect for black letter law means that you can drive two miles below the speed limit when I am trying to get to work in the morning. And yes, if you’re reading this, I mean you, lady, the one in the blue Ford Taurus who insists on driving 28 in a 30mph zone.

Let me be brutally honest here: I hate getting up in the morning. Getting up in the morning is a royal pain in the gluteus maximus, which, if I haven’t told you already, and if I haven’t then I don’t know how I missed you, is something I can live without these days, given that I have pulled all sorts of muscles in my gluteus maximus and in my thighs and I would just as soon do without any more pain in that portion of my body if I can avoid it. So the psychic crunch of getting myself out the door and on my way to the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread is already bad enough without having a slowpoke, or worse, a gaggle of slowpokes—slowpokes never seem to travel alone; there’s always two or more of them on the highway at the same time—trying to figure out just how late for work they can make me be while raising my blood pressure to dangerously high levels. Apparently, there is a door prize for whoever can combine maximum lateness with my turning purple with rage. I don’t know what the prize might be, but if it’s a good one, I might try to win myself, unless I can’t enter the contest for legal reasons; that’s always a possibility, you know.

Today’s winner, the blue Ford Taurus lady, slowed to fifteen miles an hour as she passed the old high school and continued to do fifteen miles an hour until she was well past the end of the school zone. The more alert among you, and you know who you are, have no doubt noticed the adjective in front of the words high school. That word is old, the use of said word implying that somewhere in our happy little burg there is a new high school where tomorrow’s future leaders of this our Great Republic can take drugs and engage in gratuitous sex and violence while marinating in the usual bath of meaningless political correctness that passes for American education in our times.

Let me remove any doubt: there is, in fact, a new high school here in our happy little burg. This worthy and very expensive institution is located on Grand Street, which is not very grand, to be truthful, but does have a lovely view of the two prisons, one a medium and the other a maximum security prison, which the Vampire State operates here. The prisons are about a half a mile down the road from the new high school, which saves time when it comes to removing the more flagrant malefactors in the high school, as the state can simply ship the horrid little punks from seventh period gym class to the slammer without annoying everyone else in town.

By contrast, the old high school is on Mill Street, which runs right into Main Street, wherein lies my place of employment. Between Mill Street and Grand Street lies most of our happy little burg; the two streets are nowhere near each other, they do not intersect, and the old high school now contains nothing but the Ghost of Adolescent Angst Past and some fairly large roaches, whose civil rights all but the most fanatical Buddhists and Jains agree are moot when they are not actually pointless, so you can run the cockroaches over in any conveyance you choose— all things from Keds to Cadillacs are all perfectly acceptable bug squashers here in our happy little burg. Other than the fact that our local gendarmerie enjoys using that bit of Mill Street in front of the old high school as a speed trap in the wee small hours of the morning—they have to do something to justify all the overtime they get—there is no reason for anyone to be driving fifteen miles an hour on Mill Street. First, it is no longer a real school speed zone because there are no schools in the zone. Second, I do not look like a cop—uniformed police officers, for example, do not have beards, nor will they be screaming obscenities at you for doing the speed limit while trying to consume the morning caffeine, nor will they be turning purple as they scream at you. Third, I do not drive a cop car or any other type of automobile that undercover police officers favor. Fourth, there is no chance of your hitting a student in this vicinity; in fact, you could argue that with the test scores the local student body gets on a regular basis there is no real chance of your hitting a real student over at the new high school either, but I will leave that argument for another time and place. In short, my fair lady in the blue Ford Taurus, MOVE IT! I AM LATE FOR WORK! GET A MOVE ON! GET THE LEAD OUT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY TO WAIT FOR YOU! COME ON, YOU LOUSY……I should probably stop drinking so much caffeine in the morning; it clearly isn’t improving my mood on my way to work. It’s probably bad for my health too; most things are nowadays.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

Again, my apologies for the blogging drought, but the vacation came with assorted pulled muscles in my legs and in my groin [OUCH, DAMMIT!!!] and has finished off with prolonged pain in my knees and feet. As I've mentioned before, I find it next to impossible to write when I am only slightly uncomfortable; how much more impossible, if there are in fact degrees of impossibility--you would think not, that being impossible, like being unique, pregnant, or dead, is an absolute condition devoid of gradation; then it is for me to write when I am not slightly uncomfortable, but in more or less constant pain. I do, however, have something on the griddle and I will be posting the thing here just as soon as I finish it, which, as always, depends on how long the ibuprofen holds out. I trust that everyone is doing well today and that you and yours are in the very best of health.

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