sporadically produced odds, ends, and essaylets on any number of topics from programming to politics, paramecia to puff pastries.
Friday, December 13, 2002
Being a lazy bum, I'm migrating all of my book reviews from my older site to this one and basically just blogging them. Maybe this way I'll keep up doing them easier. I do *like* writing book reviews...it's just...the time.
When you drop them, you're dropping them on yourself. There is nowhere on this planet you can go to escape the effect of a nuclear weapon.
Let that sink in for a minute.
You're dropping them on yourself.
When I was in school, we were introduced to the horrifying yet vaguely elegant concept of Mutually Assured Destruction. They nuke us, we nuke them, everybody dies. The underlying idea expressed, intentionally or not, was that both sides always toss nukes at each other. Both sides.
The thing is, you don't need "The Evil Empire" to nuke the US for the US to feel the effects of a nuclear weapon. All you need is for anyone, anywhere to lob 'the bomb', and everyone, everywhere gets to pay the price.
Contaminated water. Contaminated air. That means contaminated livestock, grain, and soil. Radiation sickness for those close enough -- and cancer for you. Fallout is no respecter of political boundaries.
Doesn't have to be mutual, but it's always assured.
So, let me offer up a dismayed raspberry at defense strategies that involve the phrase "nuke 'em".
1. Another viewing of Harry Potter. You realize, once LOTR:TT comes out, we're screwed.
2. Amused security guard at mall....check. (Or at least, bemused. See previous littering rant)
3. Sent "The Sacred Wine" off to Realms of Fantasy to join all the other hopefuls on their slushpile.
4. Practiced guitar. Beg pardon, my parent's families are from Tennessee and Kentucky, that's "practiced gi-tar". Thank yew. I bought a guitar and how-to book recently. It's been fun. The brand? "Cheap". Surely you've heard of it.
5. Final edit on "My Daughter, The Martian", my submission to the current quarter's Writers of the Future contest. Need stamps.
6. Tatted Christmas doily for brother's family...check.
7. Got address(es) for fruitcake order...check.
8. Watched 8 episodes of Babylon 5: S1, the new DVD set that came out recently. (Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, bay-bee.)
9. Finished Dicken's Dombey and Son. I have an urge to write a screen adaptation. I'm going to suppress it, at least for a while.
10. Fooled ya. No #10. Oh, wait!! Watched last ten minutes of the film "The Prophecy" and yelled "Good god, that's Viggo Mortensen" at the screen, once I recognized him. Wouldn't have made any sense if I'd done it before, now would it?
So, last night, aside from helping Janis buy a copy of "Hard Day's Night", I almost got securitified, under the not-unreasonable-given-the-available-data conclusion that I might be about to get in my car, and drive off drunk. I was not, of course.
[This friends and neighbors, is an example of the start-in-middle writing technique, whereby I pique your interest, and then back up to the beginning of our tale.]
Let me back up. (See? Did you see how that worked? Go over it again if you like. I'll wait. It's no trouble.)
It pisses me off to no end when a complete stranger decides to use the bed of my truck as a trash receptacle. Why, you ask?
First, it demonstrates a complete lack of consideration for other people's property. Namely, mine. Second, if you dump your trash in my truck, you have no way of knowing whether I will dispose of it properly, which means you've just littered, and thus demonstrated a complete lack of consideration for the environment as a whole, which is all our property, where "our" means every member of every species on this planet. Amazingly enough, that includes the Litterbugus Ignoramus. (Tell me, just as an aside, what is so damn attractive about shitting where you sleep?)
Now, my reaction is colored somewhat by the fact that my back is killing me and I'm upset about my work, and I can only talk about being upset about my work for SO long before it gets terribly boring for all concerned, including me. I've said what I have to say, endless repetition isn't making me feel any better.
So the opportunity to rant about the lack of consideration for others seemingly prevalent in modern American society by virtue of some asshole dumping a soda can in the bed of my truck was the perfect thing. Thus, I picked up the can in question, and proceeded to rant, more or less to the open air of the parking lot as whole. (Janis, wisely, just got in the goddamn car.)
Mostly done with my rant, which involved the realization that there were no trashcans nearby and I was going to have to
a: put this refuse in the front of the truck (to make sure it doesn't get blown away), and toss it out later;
b: walk back over to one of stores, or the dumpster behind the movie theatre, and throw it away immediately;
I turned back to the open door of my truck, CAN STILL IN HAND, and realized I'd attracted the attention of some chap in a windbreaker walking past. Naturally, being a fucking Good Samaritan myself, I thought he was worried I was having some kind of car trouble, and told him "Don't mind me, I'm just --"
pissed off at a seeming triviality
"About to get in your car and drive drunk?" He supplied.
At this point the clue brick hit. Say, this is a beer can, and that's a security person from the mall. Well, how do you like them apples?
The rest of the story doesn't even proceed as you'd expect. By the time we're at the edge of the parking lot, heading for the dumpster, the conversation shifted abruptly from a discussion of my wishful thinking regarding the consideration of others to the lack of leadership ability evidenced in President Bush's past history, particularly regarding his ability or lack thereof to keep his daughter's (underage) drinking under control.
Hey, how's that for a segue? And it wasn't even mine.
It was, in fact, even fortunate that I was trailed by a mall security officer to the dumpster to throw away this tiny piece of aluminum offal, because the dumpster turned out to be about 8 feet high and...well....I'm not. I'm not exaggerating, my fingertips didn't reach up to the underside of the dumpster cover.
By this point, or hopefully well before, said security officer realized I was quite serious about this not being my can, and hadn't been drinking myself. Now that I was safely labelled as "weird, but only dangerous to litterers", we parted company and I headed back to my truck.
Now, at about this point, this is where you say, "Sidra, isn't that a lot of energy for one little can someone dumped in the bed of your truck? Aren't you overreacting?"
Yes, I am. Happily and deliberately. But not as much as you think.
There is in fact a third statement to make regarding the seemingly trivial act of tossing some small piece of trash in someone's vehicle. It has two parts.
1. You may do it once, as a very rare occasion. But as the owner of the truck, I am treated as a trash can a minimum of 4 times a year, easy. Usually much more.
2. It is in the little things that we define our character, as individuals and as a culture. You say, with such a tiny act, that others do not matter to you, whether they are strangers in a line somewhere, or peoples of neighboring nations who share the same water supply as you. You say to posterity and to the whole world around you, a big fat "Fuck You". How self-centered can you get?
Please, don't answer the question with a demonstration.
Securitified: origin Sidra Vitale, meaning unknown, but related to the realization that you have no clear idea what legal obligations a security officer employed by a mall labors under. And that, for better or worse, said officer's undivided attention has now been directed at you.