So, I started sneezing last night. I haven't had allergies in years, so I fluffed it off as some random anomaly. Then, this morning it started again. I feel like someone has held my head underwater and when people speak, only bubbly words come out. As I'm getting my coffee this morning, however, I find out it is all China's fault. Talk around the "water cooler" was how everyone is suffering more from allergies because of all the excess rain lately. Apparently all that rain was caused by the Chinese firing anti-aircraft missiles into the sky trying to get rid of the clouds and rain for the Olympic games, and it is causing a global ruckus in the weather patterns. Thus, all our rain. Thus, all the mosquitoes. Thus, all the mold, pollen and other allergens reeking havoc with my formerly clear sinuses. And let's not even mention Chris's pain in his knees....
Well, all this talk about the Olympic games got me thinking. I remember when I was a kid it was a big deal at our house to watch the Olympics. Part of that was because we got one channel - WZZM TV 13, an ABC channel. What came on ABC, we watched. What was on other channels went unwatched by us (oh, the pain of not having seen the latest "Cosby Show" or "Charles in Charge" episode at the lunch table each week...) Plus, my mom loved watching the ice skating and gymnastics, so she kinda got all of us excited about it.
Having said all that, I have not watched the Olympics in like 12 years. I just do not care. So what happened? I guess the answer to that question lies in why we watch the Olympics in the first place. Sure, when we're kids we watch what channels we have (and if we only have 1 channel, we watch what our parents want to watch.) But now we are adults, so there must be new reasons since we have ultimate control over the other two variables mentioned here. There come to mind two main reasons why adults would watch the Olympics:
1. they love the sport, or at least have some interest in it
2. watching the Olympics and seeing Americans win is an exercise in patriotism; it just makes you proud to be an American.
Ok, well nix reason 1 for me right off the bat. No interest, at least not enough to push one of the multitudes of other urgent items off my plate.
Reason 2? Sorry, folks, but that holds no water with me either. I guess I'm not really a patriot. Have I had moments of feeling proud to be an American? Yes, there have been fleeting moments of pride before the feeling was wiped out by the memory of what a bunch of jack asses we are to the rest of the world. On every major issue, we are either hypocrites (rules apply to THEM, not us) or we just disregard completely what the rest of the world says and do what we want anyway. We consume more energy than the rest of the world while spouting off about green house gasses and what do we do? Throw the kids in the conversion van or the RV or the SUV and head on down the road on nice, hot, ozone-danger days. Or crank up the AC.
Oh, that reminds me of something funny ol' W said yesterday. He was speechifying about the economy when the subject of energy consumption came up and someone asked why he isn't telling Americans to drive less and turn the AC down. His response? "They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not. I mean, you know, it's interesting what the price of gasoline has done, is it caused people to drive less." Later, when pressed on the issue, he began to get a little hot about it, "One way to correct the imbalance is to save, is to conserve. And as you notice my statement yesterday, I talked about good conservation. And people can figure out whether they need to drive more or less; they can balance their own checkbooks." and then he went on, "But my point to you, Mark, is that, you know, it's a little presumptuous on my part to dictate to consumers how they live their lives."
Uh, is that the real issue, Mr Bush, or is it that our consumerism is what makes you and all your cronies rich? Wouldn't want to lose any market share by telling Americans to cut back, why noooooooo..... And that's exactly my point. Why NOT tell people to cut back, why not put our money where our mouth is? Sure, we want to talk about conserving energy as the way out of this mess but is anyone actually doing it?
I heard a report on NPR about a guy in CA that had a little "Green Earth Summit" in his community where there were presenters on how to go green and face painting with kids (soy paint, of course, not that evil petroleum-based paint) and that kind of stuff. His comment (I paraphrase here), "Well, I just wish that people who came were actually doing something about conserving energy instead of all driving their SUVs. I did see one Prius hybrid, though."
Pride? Did anyone say anything about American pride? I'm sorry....I must have been mistaken.