Today’s Few Sickening Things

Perhaps it’s just the time of year, those gray, cold, days that stretch to a timeless horizon, but there’s much that sickens me of late. For a start, all those people who flock to political rallies.

Who are they? Why do they do it? Are they so moribund it’s necessary to seek the rantings of an egotistical politician greedy for power, before they feel remotely alive?

Politicians sicken me today. In fact, politicians sicken me most days. No, that’s an understatement.

How dare Barack Obama advertise during the Superbowl, when the cost of thirty seconds is sufficient to provide a meal for all the homeless in America. The cash both he and Clinton have had showered upon them is obscene.

Do Americans never ask themselves where it comes from?

Like their Republican brothers, the Obamas and Clintons rant out their promises, sally forth with their lies, knowing them falsehoods even as they ejaculate the words.

How will Obama or Clinton provide the clueless and witless with universal healthcare, when their passage to power is financed by the pharmaceutical, insurance, and medical industries?

Does no-one in this country of three hundred million people have the guts to ask them that?

Apparently not.

They call it a “Presidential Race”, but it’s just another half-baked talent contest.

The next American Idol – will it be McCain, Obama, or Clinton?

The White House sickened me today.

Iran launched its first space rocket designed to carry satellites into orbit. They called it “Hope”.

The White House called it a “ballistic missile”.

Closer to home, today was a rare foggy day in central Illinois. So rare, many Illinois drivers, who seem happy to burn their headlights on the brightest of summer days, became confused, so switched them off. I was especially sickened by the man in the light gray, un-illuminated, Ford who barrowed down on me out of the murk, avoiding a collision due only to my excellent brakes.

If there was ever a company spawned for the sole purpose of sickening R J Adams, it’s United Airlines. Today, this most noxious of corporate creations announced its intention to charge its customers an additional $25 to check in a second bag on domestic flights. Unsurprisingly, United has discovered a quarter of its domestic passengers check in second bags. This will raise a tidy $100,000,000 additional annual income straight out of America’s pockets and into the corporate coffers.

In a statement, UA’s Chief Revenue Officer John Tague said that the new policy will allow customers with many bags to continue bringing them for a fee and “enables us to offer competitive fares to everyone”.

This is just the sort of “marketing speak” that sickens me. What Mister Tague meant was not that “the new policy will allow customers with many bags to continue bringing them for a fee”, but that ‘the new policy restricts customers to one piece of baggage – anything more will be classed as excess and charged for.”

Now, it seems we have to pay extra for providing United Airlines with the privilege of losing all our luggage, while we stand in long queues for hours waiting to be told our flight’s canceled and the next available is not until the weekend, and then only if “…there’s no weather in Santa Monica”.

Most of all, today, I sickened myself.

While I was preparing lunch a lone ladybug, awoken from its hibernation by warm temperatures, walked erratically across the kitchen work surface. In a fit of pique that it dared to soil my fresh-cleansed top, I resisted the urge to swill it down the disposal, shuffled it onto a napkin, opened the glass yard door and flung it out. Its half-baked attempt to fly was in vain, and it nose-dived unceremoniously into six inches of wet, cold, snow where it lay lifeless and inert.

Barely assuaging the underlying guilt by assuring myself it would have died anyway, and at least I hadn’t actually murdered it, I repaired to the living room to eat lunch.

On my return to the kitchen fifteen minutes later, a casual squint revealed the creature still prone in the snow. The guilt had surfaced good fashion over lunch, and muttering on the absurdity of caring for such a mite, I squelched in slippers through wet slush, retrieved the apparent corpse, and sloshed back into the house leaving dirty wet marks all over the kitchen floor.

I deposited the inert ladybug on a convenient shelf, determined to confine it to the trashcan if it failed to stir in ten minutes, and repaired to the bedroom and a pair of dry socks.

Needless to say, the ladybug was alive and well when I returned to the kitchen. Having harmed it enough for one day, I left it to its own devices and went off to work.

There was no sign of it when I came home tonight, but in the interim I’d mused on my thoughtless actions and realized that, if we can’t be caring of something so small and helpless as a ladybug, what chance do we have of caring about each other?

After all, ladybugs do us no harm whatever, but we constantly suffer from the self-centered vagaries of our own species. Perhaps my later actions had redeemed some karma, but I still sickened myself for not caring in the first place.

Mind you, if the ladybug had had “United Airlines” stamped on its back, it would definitely have been left for dead in the snowdrift.

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8 Replies to “Today’s Few Sickening Things”

  1. Great post, RJA, you had me laughing in the last paragraph.
    So much to make us sick, indeed.
    But a teensy ladybug can restore some faith in ourselves.
    And it got me to thinking that the boy in the bubble used to blow up helpless creatures. How well he expanded the original horizon.
    And don’t you just love the language of the marketers as they upsell just about everything. Maybe they’ll offer fries with the second piece of luggage?

  2. A good read, RJ – thank you!

    Part one had me tut-tut-ing a bit, by part two (ladybug) I was whispering “Awwww – what a sweetie RJ is!”

    Re part one, I understand how you feel about politicians, there’s ample evidence to support your views, yet I retain some confidence in many of them.

    This presidential race is such a gruelling affair that I doubt achieving power is the only incentive of those brave enough to enter the race. I wouldn’t argue that they enjoy the power, but …come on – somebody has to!

    I mean – would you relish the job that faces the next president of the USA? I’m a bit of an idealist myself, in theory, and I can’t argue with any of your views, in theory. But I’m realist enough to understand that Utopia ain’t going to happen this side of the next apocalypse. We have to play the game on offer with the cards available.

    I’m sure that getting it all off your chest blogwise made you feel much better – and it certainly entertains your readers. 🙂

  3. On behalf of the offices of Carapace Inc., i would like to inform you that Lady Freda Bug is currently processing charges for attempted murder and bodily harm against your person. She is seeking recompense in the form of a warm winter sanctuary with, of course, a restraining order against yourself and all other simian members of your household.

    Your act of remorse will be taken into consideration when we meet with our magistrates, for a possible reduction of your sentence.


    scritchety scratch scratch
    solicitors at law

  4. WWW – yes, Georgy Porgy has certainly come a long way from blowing up frogs, hasn’t he?

    Twilight – I promise I won’t mention Pollyanna – oops, sorry! I’m not sure if I’ve grown more cynical with age, or just wiser due to experience, but frankly I do now view all politicians with grave suspicion. The youngest are probably the best – hence Barack Obama – due to their lack of corruption and a plethora of enthusiasm. Sadly, with age the first increases, the latter deteriorates. No, I wouldn’t want the job under the present criteria. Neither, I believe, would anyone else who wasn’t in it for the glory and the egotism. The system needs to change before anyone truly humanitarian will take the job.

    Beetle, Weevil and assoc – Solicitors – Dear Scritchety Scratch Scratch, I am truly saddened that Lady Freda has chosen this course of action, given the inordinate lengths to which I committed myself in rescuing said lady from an icy grave. I would point out her name is not mentioned on the deed relating to said property, and as a consequence she was guilty of trespass with intent. However, as a gesture of good faith, I will refrain from issuing the summons, assuming of course you are prepared to reciprocate. Yours, etc….
    PS Please pass on my best regards to your secretary, my good friend, Sister Anan.

    TOB – I’m not sure why they don’t just take it in turns to wear the crown. After all, the Windsors have been doing it for years. Of course, they’d have to take an oath to stay out of politics…..Ah! That’s why!

    Flimsy – as I only fly in the heat of an Illinois summer, six layers would make me an ambulance case in no-time. Perhaps just one enormous suitcase? No, they’ve got you there – each bag can’t weigh-in at more than 35 pounds!

  5. Flimsy – it isn’t just this country, it’s everywhere. Only last year the British airline BMI reduced the maximum weight of carry-on from 26lbs to 13lbs. My laptop weighs 7lbs – add all the camera equipment, spare batteries, etc that no-one in their right mind would trust as check-in, and there’s no way that’s a realistic maximum. Big business is dictating to its customers. No longer is the customer ‘always right’. Now that the corporates reach out to the whole world as their customers, by banding together they are in a position where customer satisfaction need not be a factor in their marketing strategies. The outlook is bleak, yet we the people sit back and take it.

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