Friday, June 14, 43 A.B.

A Beginning - Not An End

My resident ambassador from Planet Feline - Jester by name - had four teeth removed yesterday.

Today, President Bush came to town and delivered the commencement address at Ohio State University.

Just more random noise in the universe - until you remember there are no coincidences.

Especially not when you're doped up on antibiotics and pain killers.

"Just think, if I'd had five teeth removed, maybe Dana Scully would have showed up!" Jester has told me now - more than once.

Dana Scully is a fictional character, I've had to remind him - more than once.

"And you think President Bush is for real?!"

Sober or high, I still haven't come up with a good reply to that one.

Instead, I'll just say this:  There's actually more in common between having four teeth yanked out and a commencement address delivered by the President of the United States than you might think.

For one thing, Jester's ordeal lasted from 8:40 a.m. (his official check-in time) until 5:10 p.m. (the time we picked him up) - or about 8.5 hours.  The ordeal OSU graduates had to endure lasted almost as long.  Although the President himself was only in town for a couple hours - and his speech itself lasted only about 15 minutes (10-10:15 a.m.) - all non-presidents attending the event had to start lining up at 5 a.m. - and diplomas were still being handed out at noon when I tuned in the local news.  For all I know, they're still being handed out.  (Over 5000 in all - collect them all!)  In any case, the difference between Jester's time at the vet and the time graduates had to sit in the stands of OSU's stadium seems negligible.  Kinda the way  I imagine the difference between 566 and 568 kicks to the head must feel negligible.

For another thing, Jester had his teeth removed under heavy anesthesia.  The snippet of Bush's speech that I caught on the news nearly put me to sleep.

For a third thing, the vet told us that Jester's procedure would go much better if he didn't have anything to eat or drink after midnight.  I bet you've been to one or two commencement addresses in your own life - feel free to draw your own parallel here.

For a fourth thing, OSU's stadium is famously known as the Horseshoe.  Jester's vet almost certainly had to treat horses at some point in his career.

It's starting to get spooky, isn't it?

Well, enough of that.  I promised myself when I started this journal that the one thing I'd never do is spook people, and I'm not going to start breaking that promise now.  After all, spooked people might run out of control, step in a hole, and send the wagon they're pulling down a hill or over a cliff or something and I sure don't want that on my conscience - not when I can let my inner sophomore take a few more cheap shots at our august president, anyway.

Ahh, on second thought, the hell with that, too.  It's not nice.  It's not polite.  And I'm finding it nearly impossible to do, thanks to a single, lingering image the noon news coverage of his visit slipped into my head.

There was this mother.  Or maybe young grandmother.  Anyway, she was standing in line early this morning, waiting to get through all the security checkpoints so she could ignore Bush's speech in person instead of in absentia like the rest of us.  And in her arms she had a child.  A young child.  A child I'm not sure could even speak yet.  And the woman said she was bringing the child to see the president because it might be the only opportunity the child might have in her life to see the president and she thought she'd be remiss to let an opportunity like that pass her by.

And the more she talked and explained herself, the more I found myself wondering why blatant child abusers like this woman are allowed to walk the streets.

Seriously, of all the resentment you feel towards your parents and grandparents, is any of it based on their neglecting to take you to see something as inedible and unpettable as a president when you were three or four?

Now, how much of that resentment is based on their confusing their needs with yours by, for example, taking you to boring, adult functions and making you sit quietly for hours in the heat with a bunch of strangers when all you really want to do is scream and pee?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

I honestly don't understand people who think seeing someone in person whom they don't intend to have sex with is somehow better than seeing them on TV.

And I really don't understand people who think seeing a person in the flesh is somehow better than reading their thoughts on paper.

There was a woman on the news today who was actually in tears because she got to kiss Bush at the airport after he stopped and talked with her a bit while she stood there with a bunch of other people on the peon-side of the velvet ropes.  I'm in tears because Bush got fewer votes than Gore and yet he's the one in the White House.  Forgive me for feeling a tad superior....

There's a lot going on here - and I can't begin to summarize it all now - but I think the human mind is overly impressed with the physical and the here and the now.

And I think we're all victims of what I call the Cult of Big Daddy, which basically grants more attention to the most minor comments of a president or a pope or a rock star than tends to be granted to the deepest insights of our leading scientists, artists, engineers, and philosophers.  It's as if part of us has never outgrown the ancient awe accorded The King - you know, "God on earth," the man whose mere touch can alleviate our fleshly woes and save our souls.  For all I know, it's a vestigial version of the respect monkeys and apes and wolves accord the pack's Alpha Male - an appendix of the mind, and susceptible to appendicitis attacks of Hitlerian scale....

In any event, it creeps me out regardless of who the president happens to be - and even when I haven't been snorting my pet's pain medication just to see if getting him to snort it, too, might not be the best way to kill the soreness in his gums.

You say you were there at OSU today?  You say it's great that the Leader of the Free World takes the time to come see our college graduates and tell them how important they are with his presence as well as his words?  Well, I say it would mean a helluva lot more if he used his own money to get his ass here instead of in effect sticking the graduates and their parents with the bill.  And it would mean a helluva lot more, too, if Ohio didn't just happen to be crucial to his re-election, or if he'd respected the graduates' newly-minted status as Educated Adults enough to give them an Educated Address instead of merely reading a list of tired old clichés and bromides someone had thrown together for him.

On the plus side:  It's good to know that that multi-million-dollar stadium is being used for something besides those 6 or 7 football games they play in it every year.

Even if it isn't free dental care for cats....


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(©Now by DJ Birtcher after having to suction away
the froth from his mouth all by himself)