Saturday, May 5, 2012

Odd Week

What a strange week. There are times in life when, like the pretty nurse in Penny Lane, you feel as if you're in a play. It's as if you're the central character in a production of some importance, but you don't know your lines. That was me this week. It wasn't all bad. I wrote a very nice piece of profitable business, on which I will no doubt pay my fair share of taxes, confirming my reputation as a prodigious provider for my family. But the rest of the week was odd.

For reasons not entirely clear to me I have been in charge of telephones and Internet service at my business. When we built the place I drew the short straw and was assigned the job of finding a phone system, and then arranging for Internet and phone service. It isn't possible for anyone to be more ill-suited for such a task. I'm a creative thinker, a writer. My intelligence has always been limited to literature, music and history. Mathematics and the hard sciences leave me cold. I can't fix anything mechanical, never have cared a whit about what's under the hood of my car, that sort of thing. Anyway, in my roll as "the phone guy", I have been looking to consolidate all three services ( phone, Internet, and cable) with one provider, which, I was assured, would save us nearly $400 per month. Yesterday was "installation day". I knew I was in trouble withing 5 minutes of their arrival when the technician took one look into the phone closet, then asked me.."Who's your IT guy?"

ME:  Um..we don't have an IT guy. But if we did he would probably be me.

TECH GUY: Well, who do you get your data feeds from?

ME: Data feeds?..Wha..?

TECH GUY: You've got some sort of hybrid analog/ electrical system here and I need to have someone who can wire your router, and coordinate the transfer of your IP address into this new interface, so your network will work properly.

ME:.....but I just wanted a new phone service so I could save $400 a month. what?

It went on like this for ten minutes or so, me speaking halting English, he speaking very confident and rapid-fire Klingon. Ultimately I had to call the whole thing off because the girl who gave me the money saving quote failed to pick up on the fact that we needed 12 lines, not 5. So, all was for naught.Four hours of my life that I will never get back were spent feeling like a complete moron.

Then I stumble upon the "Life Of Julia" web slide show put out by the Obama campaign which illustrates in cartoon form the wondrous benevolence of Barack Obama's policies on the life of a composite woman named Julia from age 3 all the way to age 67...or as Clement Atllee would say, from "cradle to grave". It was an astonishing thing to watch. Julia enters Kindergarten fully prepared only because of the existence of "Head Start". She then does well in school and doesn't get fat only because of new nutritional requirements on school lunches mandated by government. When Julia becomes of a sexually active age she gets free birth control from her government health care plan so she can "concentrate on her life without worry". When Julia graduates from college her minimal student loans have a low affordable interest rate only because of the moderating hand of government price controls. When Julia decides to "have a child" ( no husband appears in this narrative ) she has prenatal tests performed and receives quality medical care only because of the wonders of Obamacare. etc.. etc.. No mention is made of how much any of this costs or who is paying for it. The striking thing about Julia is the fact that she doesn't resemble any of the women I have known in my life. This child seems totally bereft of Independence. Every accomplishment in her life is presented as a consequence of the existence of a paternalistic, caring government. The one thing Julia does that shows even the slightest bit of initiative..starting a web-based business, was only possible because she got a loan from the Small Business Administration. As I watched the slide show this disturbing thought came to me. The very fact that someone at team Obama thought that this was a good and persuasive  thing, that this would attract voters rather than repulse them gave me a chill. Fifty years ago, no self respecting Democrat would portray women in this way, as helpless, fragile flowers who without the lifelong intervention of a compassionate and all-knowing government, would wither on the vine of life. But, today, I live in a country where this kind of government is celebrated and promoted in slick graphics on the website of the President of the United States for all the world to see.

To top off my week I went to the doctor for a check-up. The news wasn't the greatest I've ever had at a doctor's office. On the way home I turn on the radio to hear that Elizabeth Warren, democratic candidate for the senate from Massachusetts, had listed her race as American Indian on her application to Harvard to improve her chances of acceptance and promotion at that fine institution. Evidence of her racial heritage consisted of the fact that her great grandfather had "high cheek-bones", and that her great, great, great, great grandfather married a woman who put Cherokee on a marriage license application in the 1800's making Ms. Warren 1/32nd American Indian. Ms. Warren,  meet Julia.

I believe that cloud that descended over my mood this week is what the Psychiatrists call.."alienation".