Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Meet me in the big tent

Hooray! The Prime Beef Festival is upon us. I don’t plan to miss it, of course, so I’m taking time to write this piece well in advance -- it’s Tuesday evening, in fact. All day tomorrow I will be rearranging the stuff in my yard so that those who wish to park within a short hop of the parade route will not be able to block my driveway and trap my neighbors in their garage. As four o’clock rolls around, I plan to dig up a comfortable yet portable chair and make my way over near the college campus, to sit with my friends -- and a few strangers, no doubt -- waiting for the show to begin.

To me, the fair is all about forgetting the daily grind, forgetting politics, forgetting everything but friends and laughter... and funnel cakes. Maybe a lemon shake-up or two, as well. That’s about as far as I’m planning to go with Great Decisions.

It’s not on my weekend agenda to discuss the security measures (or lack of them) following 9/11/01. I don’t plan to argue the merits of somebody’s blindly anti-Semitic anti-Israeli diatribes, or discuss the fact that the President’s administration -- indeed, the President himself -- has been vindicated in the Wilson-Plame-yellowcake- “Bush Lied, People Died” special prosecutorial orgy. Ask me next week how I feel about the State Department and their seeming support for Armitage’s silence while Scooter Libby was subject to what amounts to legal assault. Ask me next week what I think of Pakistan’s surrendering a large chunk of its northern territory -- Waziristan -- to the Taleban in a “truce”. Ask me next week how I feel about Kofi Annan’s agreeing to allow Syria and Iran to police the Lebanon border against Syrian-supported and Syrian-financed Hizballah traffic. Right now, I have no plan to discuss the ramifications of Kofi’s gee-whiz approach to Ahmadinejead’s nuclear weapons maneuvering. This week, al Qaeda’s silly little American tool, Adam Gadahn, can invite us to join us in his brand of Islam or die, and I’ll reply with an invitation to ride the ferris wheel with us. You’ll get a whole lot closer to heaven my way than his, I’d bet. And it’s less harmful to children.

Have some cotton candy and a hot dog. Ignore the news for a day or two. Of course, if all you watch is CBS evening news, the “Today” show, or any one of the other network “news programs”, I reckon you haven’t actually been seeing genuine news since the early 1960s, so you won’t miss a thing. Come relax, join me in a little Tilt-a-Whirl ride (but not right after you’ve eaten). Have an Indian taco or two. Watch the guy carve a pelican out of a tree stump with his chain saw. Take in the Demolition Derby. Forget that they’re burning gasoline at nearly three dollars per gallon, and concentrate on the noise and the fun. Put thoughts of the news right out of your head.

The thing of it is, the world is a big and scary place. Some of our fears are sold to us by advertising agencies, agenda-driven groups and politicians seeking reelection, many we have are real. I’m not really going to forget about the troubles we all face. It’s just that I’m planning to put them on a back burner for a day or two. It’s good practice for getting through life, anyway. If we try, most of us can think about a number of different things at the same time, and we can place priorities on each issue, placing heavy concentration on a given topic only when its time has arrived. It’s often called multitasking. Better yet, it’s called perspective.

There are plenty of reasons to be angry, afraid, tense, or any of a thousand other degrees of negativity. We just don’t have to dwell upon them every breathing moment. For those who do, for those who can not release the anxiety, for those who clutch at angst or anger I have much pity. It must make the funnel cakes taste weird.

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