When I was in junior high, once a year we had a week where we were permitted to bring our cameras to school and take black-and-white pictures for the yearbook. Two of these pictures are from that. I no longer remember the people in them. There is a streetscape from near my house, and the grayness of the season, the dirty snow, the dried salt on the road, the bare trees in relief against the sunless sky return to me that feeling of endless winter that occurs in the North. And there is my younger sister, just a girl in elementary school at the time. I’ll throw out the pictures from school. I’ll keep that of my sister and the street near my house.
This was taken at the orphanage where we adopted our son. This picture, though, was taken in the ward where they kept children who tested positive for hepatitis B.The woman in the picture was the one who played with them every day.
I went to rent a car. Because I’m in the Reserves, I look for military discounts. I don’t feel entitled to them. I volunteered, I get paid for showing up for training, and best of all, I get TSA Pre-Check! so if no one offers me a discount, no big deal.
I would never think that a business that doesn’t give a military discount is against the troops. But conversely, I don’t think that just because a business says that they “support the troops” that it’s actually true. The phrase “I support the troops” has become an essentially meaningless trope, a sort of verbal lapel-pin (made in China by underpaid workers!) and proof of nothing real, except perhaps the desire to fit in with the ‘right’ folk and show that one adheres to the accepted orthodoxy.
But I get it. I understand the reflexive need for Americans to say they support the troops. Someone else–less then 1% of the families in the US have any skin in the game–is doing all the heavy lifting, and enormous amount of guilt can be assuaged and responsibility shirked merely by uttering the mantra, “I support the troops.”
We all know, of course, that except for those who actually do something —help their neighbors who have a deployed family member, or volunteer in VA hospitals, offer a discount, or engage their elected officials in meaningful discussion (fat chance), etc.– that no one’s really supporting the troops in any significant way. Not that they have to: no one has to support the troops. It is a volunteer army. Morevoer, in a country with a strong First Amendment like ours, it’s anyone’s right to say, Hey, I’m not supporting people who take part in a system whose basic function seems not to be defending ourselves, but pushing an American agenda on other parts of the world, and is willing to have our own children and the children of others die as a consequence. That doesn’t bother me. Hypocrisy does. It makes sense that if you don’t support war, you wouldn’t support the military-industrial complex. (It’s more complicated than that, but that’s not today’s discussion).
But my point–remember that I did start out this post with one–is that if you say that you support the troops, get off your fucking ass and support the troops. (NB: A discount does validate the claim.)
So when I click on Enterprise’s link to it’s we-love-the-military page,
and then click on the link to get my “military promo code”, please don’t have it be the same fucking price as I would have gotten anyway.
Epilogue: I called up Enterprise Customer Service, and I told them–politely–what I said here. I didn’t ask for any discount, upgrade, or special service. I just said that if they say they have a military promo then they should actually have a military promo.
When I went to get my rental, I got the ridiculously low weekend rate, which normally would have been useless, except they gave me unlimited miles, making the rental the best deal I’ve had in a long time.
I’m glad they did right by me. They should now do the same for everyone else.
Can you fall asleep like this? Were you ever able to?
I imagine that your mind is probably shattering at the moment, too. There are too many mental balls to juggle, and they are flying all over the place and getting dropped. Some of them have explosives in them, others are just paint balls, and others are just trite metaphors getting overworked on an unread blog.
That can only mean one thing: It’s time for our weekly break!
I’ll leave you with this thought: It’s my former wife’s weekend with the kids. They don’t hang out with me, y’know, being teenagers and all, but that sensation when I get back from dropping them at school, their presence still palpable (the humidity upstairs from the shower, the smell of whatever it is that my daughter put in her hair, the mug that I used to heat the milk for the hot chocolate my son drinks in the car), it is overwhelming and poignant, it fades all too fast.
And in other good news, it’s baseball season!!
Pinhole again. 7 seconds. My cat, Zoot, under a light. She’s almost all washed out. I did some manipulation with Mac Photos. See below for the cell phone picture.
I no longer need or want the new and the shiny.
Pinhole taken with PX 600 Impossible Project Film, Natural light, 10 second exposure, 0.5mm aperture.
I like fixing things, and if something is still usable, although damaged, I’ll hang on to it if I like it. (That’s kind of how I–and hope that those near to me–feel about myself at this point in my life. All of these items are broken, some partially repaired. The mug on the left was a father’s day gift from my daughter, with a crayon drawing of herself. I dropped it shortly after getting it, but I couldn’t bear to throw it out. The Bialetti Moka is probably 6 years old. I’ve changed the gasket a couple of times. but there’s no way to replace the handle that I melted off by ignoring the fact that it was over a flame too long. I’ve done this to more than one moka. More than two. In fact, by the time I melted this one off I said the hell with new ones and I just wrap a coffee-stained towel around it to pour it into my mug. That’s just as well, too, because the Bialettis tend to drip down the front. Next is a mug that states “Will Work for Slivovitz”, with a broken handle, and next to that is a mug that says, “It’s a Katy Thing” with the same problem. But they function. Next to it, a big mug (I like big mugs because you can use them for oatmeal and soup as well!) with this great logo and a broken handle, and in the foregound, an Army Strong mug that has been pieced together with cyanoacrylate (super glue). It still has a handle! None of the repaired mugs has ever come undone due to the heat of the liquid in it.
One of the saddest images in the world is that of the person who has thrown a party, yet no one has come. In fact, this fear is so great, so strong, so devastating, that even the #socalledpresident, the man commanding the world’s most powerful military, a man who truly believes that he is the pinnacle of human evolution, lives in such dread of it and its implications that he’s willing to drop everything else and obsess about it in front of the entire world. I guess the only thing sadder would be if he tried to throw a party every day, and the same Groundhog Day Fiesta Flop kept recurring.
But that’s not why we’re here today.
The editorial staff of the Meta-Bug was in crisis the other day. We were looking at our numbers for March, and while some of us were rejoicing over our biggest month ever, others were saying, Hey, look, bozos, you had a total of 900 views. One month, 900 views, which means even fewer visitors. And half of those were probably family. So big deal. If someone’s kid had his whole high school look at one single post on one single day (suggested post: kitten videos combined with pictures of a young Sophia Loren), that would have beaten the entire number for March by a more than double. To look at it another way, there were just 29 views per day in our busiest month ever. More people in just Framingham look at their Kleenex each to see if they have a sinus infection, and probably found analyzing their nasal discharge more interesting than reading our constant complaints about the country going to hell in a handbasket, occasionally interspersed with new and astounding revelations that divorce takes a toll.
We thought about this. We agonized about this. We pondered: Is all this writing and rewriting worth doing? Does the effort make any difference? Then, we all retired to the backyard to cry, while pretending to rake the leaves that we were too distracted to deal with last fall. Our answer: Of course it makes no difference!
But using logic here at the Meta-Bug is hardly our standing operating procedure. Nor, for that matter, is wise allocation of the limited amount of time we have on this earth. It appears that we do what we will, and let the buffalo chips fall where they may. (Generally, right next to the bowl of extra-picante bile salsa we are eating. Yum!)
Well, damn the torpedoes. We have decided to carry on. People practice their instruments for years and never get on stage. They have fun doing the practicing, and do not worry about people pointing to their accordion lessons and say, Aha! Evidence of a Crazed and Diseased Mind! And that’s the reason we wrote this post in the first place, right?
Happy Monday! We hope the weather, wherever you are, is suitable for turning grapes into raisins!