Friday, June 25, 2004

Freeform on a Friday By AH.

The man himself Sir Rantalot asked me to post something for his website. Lately I haven‚t had a strong focus to act like a microscope/telescope/magnifying glass bringing verbal order to the more or less random events of our lives. Mostly been just been kicking stuff around.

Enjoying being a parent. It helps having, objectively speaking, the cutest kid in the Milky Way. It's hard to imagine how much you will enjoy your kids until you have some of your own; and damn near impossible to convey in a meaningful way the beauty and delight of their Tabula Rasa perception of the world, their ever shifting behavior patterns, the satisfaction of comforting them when they are sad and joy in watching them take hours of delight in playing with something as simple as a cardboard box. So I won‚t try.

Note to Broadway: "The Princess Bride" is dying for a musical makeover. Just a little FYI. Oh, quick rave: „Avenue Q‰ is awesome. Log off, go run to your local music store and buy it, log back on, and continue reading.

Is it just me, or is our generation (I'm 29 FYI) the biggest bunch of flakes ever? Tossing it out there. I‚m sure are some standards to apply to quantify this relative lack of consideration/inability to make plans/lack of calling to cancel/etc. to other generations. Just answer me this: have you tried throwing together 8 20-something people for a dinner/movie/whatever? Wow.

At the risk of making myself sound pretentious, has anyone checked out "My Dinner with Andre?" There is a part in there where Andre is talking about why everyone talks about leaving New York, but no one ever does (which isn't true. I left NY. But then I didn't grow up there). He says it is because New York is the model for the new prison, where everyone is both a prisoner and a guard, and this schizophrenia has people walking around in a confused haze.

This may sound abstract, but let's put it in another context. Say you are an employee and shareholder of a company. The company wants to freeze wages and cut staff, leaving those left over double the workload. This will make the share price rise. Are you for it or against? Is it a moral judgment, or are your leanings in proportion to how much share you have and if you are the one getting the ax? (Quick note to job seekers: get a job with a private company if at all possible).

Someone once asked me what I think the biggest problem our country faces right now. I think it is the continued stratification of our society and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. It’s already epidemic and has already created an informal class system, which runs against the grain of what this country is about.

Not saying we can do anything about it. It just kinda sucks, that’s all.

I think the attitude of the ruling class was best summed up in the Mel Brooks movie "A History of the World Part One" when one Senator begs: "But what about the poor?" and the entire assembly in unison yells back "Fuck the poor!" Truth is beauty and beauty truth.

Living in the bay area and not remotely being in the neighborhood of even imagining I could buy a house kinda brings this divide into focus for me. The divide between homeowners and renters is another focal point of this class thing. The fact that I won‚t own till I move or win the lottery is just another concrete reminder that our generation will be the first American one to be materially poorer than the one that preceded it.

My friend once said that he wasn't rich like my parents. I was aghast because my parents aren't rich. My dad teaches at a community college and, without disclosing too much, is definitely within the five-figure range. I worked at restaurants until I graduated college to augment the bare minimum I was given to live. I guess my friend thought my folks had dough because of where they lived.

My parents were lucky enough to buy a 4 bedroom/2 bath house in North Berkeley a few blocks from campus for around $25,000. Now it's true that this investment has returned probably 50-fold (damn Bay Area real estate is a good investment). But it means nothing until they actually sell it. In the 6th grade I had three pairs of identical blue jeans, of which one I duct taped together because the button came off. People at Longfellow elementary thought I was the poorest kid in the class.

My point is this: my definition of wealth is not numerically oriented but is held up to this standard: are you working for your money or is your money working for you? To this my parents and myself definitely fall into the former.

Quick aside: what is with this week of mourning‚ for Reagan? Perhaps the public has a shorter-term memory than even Reagan had himself. I guess growing up in the Bay Area gave me a somewhat skewed and not so mainstream perception. Let me put it this way: I was SHOCKED that Reagan beat Mondale (I was 9 at the time). I mean, the promise of higher taxes, a choice of a woman as a running mate-what‚s not to like? I’m glad Mondale’s home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia agreed with me. Every other state was enjoying their “Morning in America.” And now they seem to be enjoying their mourning in America.

Since the only other president to die in my lifetime was Nixon, a disgraced president whose death was more or less swept under the rug, I had no real basis of comparison for this event. I was like “What the hell? An entire week of mourning?”

Am I the only one who recalls a line from Evita "When they are bringing your curtain down-demand to be buried like Eva Peron"?

In fact the whole song is strangely poignant:
O what a circus
O what a show

America has gone to town, over the death of an actor named Ronald Reagan.

We've all gone crazy
Mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to get all of the misery right

Oh what an exit, that's how to go
When they're ringing your curtain down
Demand to be buried like Ronald Reagan
It's quite a sunset
And good for the country in a roundabout way
We've made the front page of all the world's papers today

Oops. I just admitted I could paraphrase portions of Evita by heart. I'll just check my heterosexual credentials at the door. At least I got a small assist by the internet.

Though those who work for the federal government got Friday off to mourn, those of us working in the private sector still had to go to work. I mildly resented that, as I wanted to mourn in my own private way. Does a day at the beach and a movie count as mourning?

Anyways, that‚s what I got right now.


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