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I do, I do, I do 

Call the priest and throw the rice, it's New Times' annual Brides issue. Whoop-de-do. Every year this paper trots out some ladies in white dresses and paints a pretty picture of marriage. And every year I grit my teeth at the cake-and-lace assault on my senses.

It's not that I don't like the institution of marriage. I do. In fact, if practice makes perfect, I should be the best person around at getting married by now. Sixth time's the charm, right?

I just have a low tolerance threshold for old, new, and borrowed things. Blue stuff I'm fine with. You know how it goes. A cutesy overload makes me wince. Yes, I wince and blanch. I'm a blancher and a wincer. A blincher, as I like to say.

And speaking of blinching (which, come to think of it, sounds fairly painful), on Jan. 23, Congresswoman Lois Capps released a statement in anticipation of President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address. To be honest, I had forgotten all about it, but that darn Lois she's always on the ball. Anticipating this, anticipating that. I anticipate that she'll go far. Yes indeed, that lady's going places.

In her remarks, she noted that she was "more disappointed than surprised" by the president's words to the nation. But isn't that just life? I'm more disappointed than surprised by just about everything I encounter: the time it takes for my pizza to be delivered, how many courtesy calls asking me to consolidate my student loans I receive in a single evening, the way traffic sometimes backs up for miles for no apparent reason on Highway 101. Worse is when there is an apparent reason: A car parked innocently by the side of the road. All that rubbernecking and gawking was just for a vehicle that probably ran out of gas and isn't blocking anybody's way in the slightest? Sheesh!

Most of Lois' surprise and I can perfectly see that shocked look of indignation on her face, can you visualize it? apparently stemmed from her impression that Central Coast voters (and maybe some other voters, too) "clearly indicated in November that they wanted to move America in a new direction," pretty strongly implying that it's certainly not moving in that direction now. Maybe the country is craning its neck to see what's up with that truck parked on the median. Dude, its hazard lights are on! Slow up, slow up!

Well, all that may be true, but America's a pretty big vehicle itself. Getting it to move in a new direction is going to take a lot of work. After all, it's been heading in its current direction straight down the crapper for so long, muscle memory alone would probably be enough to keep it on course for decades to come. If we really wanted to get it moving toward some other goal on the horizon, we'll have to get everybody in New England to stand on a chair and jump off at the same time. That should send us packing along some new and interesting tectonic paths.

As for a metaphoric change in direction, which, upon further examination, seems to be exactly what Lois was talking about, I've got nothing.

In her anticipatory release which, I hear, they have a pill for now the Congresswoman firmly stated that she's completely against escalating our involvement in Iraq, and is worried that the president's stance on healthcare will jeopardize "good health insurance for those lucky enough to have it now."

For the two of you that last statement applies to, you have my sympathy. Seriously, if there's such a thing as "good health insurance," I haven't seen it. Then again, I've never looked at my policy too closely. Let's see ooh, I can get acupuncture! See ya, suckers!

But seriously, I considered drafting my own State of the Union Address to present to my readers here, but if I ever seriously decide to run for office, I don't want to be pegged down by anything I foolishly entered into the record. Maybe I could be vague: "I support life, in the sense that people who are alive generally deserve to remain alive." Of course, I can already hear bells and whistles going off around death-penalty debaters and folks on both sides of the abortion issue.

I could say that I want our troops to come home safely, but then I might sound like I'm calling for an end to the war, which I'm not necessarily not. Or am I? Opposing the war is more than just fashionable now, right? I mean, I know there've been Women in Black and CodePink events and all sorts of color-related movements around the county recently, but if I'm going to take a positive stance on a particular issue like war I want to make sure I'm not backing a fad. Either way.

This is too confusing for me. The more I talk, the more I open my mouth for easy insertion of my foot. Right now, I'm probably about as popular as a no-spanking bill. Or as unpopular as a no-spanking bill. Which is cooler?

How about this one: Right now, I'm about as popular as a big-box store trying to set up shop in Atascadero. Wait. That's up in the air now, too.

Just forget it.

Ultimately, in her eager anticipation of the State of the Union, Lois ever-plucky Lois expressed faith in the future, which is something I never do.

That's a point I can stay firm on. Staying negative makes the bitter pill of life easier to swallow. Most of the time. Anyway, the good Congresswoman is still hopeful that the two big parties can get together and "address our country's problems." More power to you, boys and girls. More power to you. When you get us going in a new direction, let me know. I'll just be dozing in the backseat.

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