Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Race of the Lemmings

Apropos of nothing, is the Republican Party so out of viable candidates for national office in this country that out of history's dust heap it has plucked Newt Gingrich?  Damn shame Strom Thurmond is dead; eh?  Actually, juxtaposed against the rest of the Republican candidates (real or presumed), Gingrich actually looms large.  I am a registered Republican and I have yet to decide whether that terrifies me or simply depresses me. 

Anyway, I digress.  If you have ever popped by this space prior to today's unfortunate visit, then you are well-versed at this juncture just how many things and people irritate the living snot out of me on a day in, day out basis.  Experience has taught me that two things help prevent me from exploding at arbitrary and most assuredly ill-timed intervals throughout the day:  running and writing.  Wow, a reflection upon just how far Newt and I have traveled since he became - for a brief moment anyway - America's Contractor.  Back then, the magic elixir for me was vodka and orange juice.  Now?  Running and writing.  Who, twenty years ago, would have thought that such a transition was possible?  Not me.  I assure you.

Yesterday morning as I was speeding along on Route 280 towards the Essex County Courthouse (I know sarcasm is sometimes difficult to appreciate in its spoken form.  To help you out here, let me say that the traffic was so onerous getting to Newark yesterday morning that Captain Crazy's Late-Night Hike seemed to present a palatable commuting alternative) I spent several quality moments directly behind a woman driving a mini-van, which is comfortably ensconced beside the Prius and the Smart Car as my least favorite four-wheeled conveyance, upon which she could not have affixed more ribbons and bumper stickers if she tried.  And judging by the amount of crap festooned to the ass end of her vehicle, she sure as hell appeared to be the trying type.  I gleaned from the quality time I spent behind her that she (a) supports our troops; (b) is aware of autism; and (c) favors a cure for breast cancer.  All of those are wonderful causes to support.  No argument from this guy on that issue.

Had those three been the sum and substance of the ribbons, then I would have been willing to overlook her violation of my "two ribbon limit".  In my view - and since I believe it you best believe that I know it to be true - no right-thinking person should have more than two ribbons on his/her car.  No one possesses the time, energy and resources necessary to vigorously and passionately support more than two causes simultaneously.  Pick those two and do all you can for them.  Once you add a third and beyond, you have deluded yourself into believing that the slapping on of the magnetic ribbon is its own reward.  You have become a ribbon whore. 

This woman had not three but six!  And the remaining three did not appear to be ribbon-worthy endeavors.  Since she was the type of nit who also affixes little magnetic figures of activities in which her children participate to her vehicle, I know that her son (or perhaps sons) is a baseball player while her daughter is a cheerleader.  Just in case the little baseball men on the rear door of the mini-van (one pitcher and one batter of course) did not alert other motorists to Junior's activity and Mom's support of it, she actually was sporting a ribbon that announced its support of his team.  Similarly, presuming that the little cheerleader figure AND the separate pom-poms were insufficient indicia of little Gretel's passion for rhythmic clapping and spelling, Mom had a multi-colored ribbon that announced its support of "CHEER!"  I am mortified to admit that I cannot recall what cause her sixth ribbon championed. 

Not only did she greatly exceed the recommended/if and when I am King for the Day will be required limit of ribbons on her vehicle, she cheapened them by having really cheesy ones in addition to the three cool, worthy ones.  Ribbons on cars have popped up like ragweed.  If we are not going to declare a moratorium on their existence, then the least we should do is regulate their presence.  No ribbons should be manufactured that - in lieu of an actual cause - endorse baseball or cheerleading or Papa John's Pizza or any other such nonsense.  Enough already. 

The cherry on top of my highway neighbor's rolling hot fudge sundae of fun was the frame around her rear license plate.  Across the top was enscribed, "GAME OVER!".  Across the bottom, "Final Score:  Boys 2, Girls 1".  Just when I thought we had reached the logical tipping point in the sharing of too much information with complete strangers, I was delighted to learn that her uterus is now closed for business....which metaphorically at least loops me back to the guy walking through the PATH tubes from Manhattan to Jersey City. 

Contestants in a suicidal race?  Perhaps that is all we are.  I wonder if they make a ribbon for it?  Actually, I need not wonder.  If they did, little Ms. Mini-Van would have had it crammed into the last remaining bit of available space on her rear.....

....and while I am confident that there is a ready-made joke in there when played against the frame around the rear license plate, I am equally confident that you can reach that destination without me holding your hand.  


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