Thursday, September 16, 2004

the fool on the train

Ugh. Everyone’s got a story, right? Well, not everyone. Only some people. But why do I have to listen to them? It’s pitiful, isn’t it? When a complete stranger starts spilling his life out to you, and you wonder, “do people feel this way when I talk to them?” God, I hope not. I mean, the things you hear. You don’t want to hear them. But you do. Things which, if you hear what’s being strongly implied, just about scream a confession, like: “I’m a complete fool. I do foolish things over and over. And look how I get screwed.” Then you hear the reason: “This girl I was supposed to marry…but that’s another loooooong story….” Remember, this is a person you’ve known for less than three minutes. You’ve only been allowed to say things like, “ummm-hmmm,” and “ahhhh. I see,” or “No, I didn’t realize that. I was always under the im---.”

These people, to hear them tell their own stories, are heroes, great thinkers, all around good folks, extraordinarily gifted, and usually victims of some ne’er do well. Usually these people are so eloquent that they have apparently talked themselves into believing whatever it is they are disciples of this year.

And then there are the people who’ve “discovered” a new, hot, unknown niche on eBay. And they want to tell you all about it. And everything about them is saying, “Yeah, baby. I’ve been looking for a way to rake in money without having to get out of bed all my life, and I’ve finally found it. AND, I get to look like I’m smart in the process! Life is gooo-oood. I’m gonna be on Oprah, someday. I can feel it.”

There used to be people who found the secret way to tap into government grants. Then they were into processing medical insurance claims from home in their spare time. Then they became stock market gurus buying dotcom IPO’s. Now they are into some “healthcare” thing; or perhaps are working for someone who has found a way to cut through all the red tape to get you your social-security disability benefit faster. You can hear all about it on some infomercial. They are like stationary gypsies. They stay still: new lands of opportunity come to them, at intervals.

These are people who have no time for mundane things like reality. Their heads are in the clouds; all we see are their feet dragging along the ground as the wind blows their helium filled heads to and fro, high above the rest of us. If you were wondering about liberal demographics, I’ve just given you the secret.

There is nothing like meeting someone with a sound mind. I don’t care what he does for a living. He might be the conductor (but not likely); a cab driver, a vendor, the guy behind the counter at the restaurant. But he’s not angling. He’s not buying into or selling the latest fad. He’s not a living, breathing bullshit-dwelling mole. I pray his tribe would increase, but I fear it won’t.

Perhaps the greatest fools of all are exemplified by those two behind me. Well educated, properly bred, well modulated voices, in agreement on things pertaining to the upcoming election. In his intelligent/eager/sensitive-male-voice, the man says, "they play the fear card. they play the religion card. It's amazing what people will fall for!" He's referring to the incumbent. He is apparently oblivious to the challenger's scare tactics (he'll cut your medicare benefit; he'll send your job to India; he's ruined the economy;he's only out for the rich; he's taking America down the drain, a vote for me saves you from him; etc.) or his recent visits to churches where he attempted to quote scripture and give a sermon -- hey, I thought you guys were the party of "separation of church and state." Oh well. Some pigs are more equal. And the fool who believes that is indeed the greatest fool of all. There is nothing he won't believe, and no Faustian bargain he won't make if it suits his beliefs.


Blogger Michelle said...

You are funny, i love it!

4:33 PM  
Blogger c said...

thank you. plenty more where that came from.

5:25 PM  

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