Would you have believed it?: “Why start now?”
If somebody told you on September 10th that this nation would very soon be indelibly changed, and offered forth a list of events and happenings which appeared impossible to believe, would you still have believed it? And I’m not just talking about mild changes that temporarily stun you, like when they switched Darin’s on “Bewitched” or catching Al Sharpton in a brief fit of coherency. I’m talking about major changes in mindset and behavior. Depends on what’s on the list, right?
My observations don’t include the obvious physical changes, the horror of our great buildings being attacked and lives senselessly lost. I’m talking about the major changes that have occurred within us, spiritually and emotionally. Lets take a few into account.
If somebody told you on September 10th that within a short time President Bush would have a 90% approval rating, would you have believed it? The controversial election in November left so many people questioning its legitimacy you would have thought we were talking about one of Jesse Jackson’s kids, and now the vast majority of the nation has rallied behind the president and fully trusts him to lead us into battle.
Even Al Gore, who lately looks as though he’s been auditioning for the role of Mr. French in the Broadway revival of “A Family Affair”, has referred to Bush as “our president.” A big step for the former V.P. He must have a chad lodged in his left brain or something. Bush’s 90% approval rating dwarfs Bill Clinton’s 64% back in ’98. The 64% still sounds pretty good, but not that great once you understand that the only people questioned in the poll were Chelsea, Hillary and Buddy.
If somebody told you on September 10th that within a short time the hottest selling item in the United States would be the American flag, would you have believed it? Before the terrorist attacks, only the staunchest of patriots flew the flag everyday at their homes and businesses. Now, since we realize we must band together, people are waving red, white and blue cotton like a University of Tennessee frat pledge after a panty raid.
The irony here is that most of the flags are made in…you guessed it, China. Hang on to those flags you have now, kids, because once our military is spread thin and is now more diluted than a scotch and water at TGI Friday’s, prompting China to move on Taiwan, there won’t be a thing we can do about it thanks to defense cuts years ago by short-sighted morons and brain dead do-gooders. Think about it. If we ever went to war with China, we’d be financing their war effort against us by the sheer act of trying to be patriotic to our own country. Screw drilling for oil in Alaska, first let’s start the common sense train rolling by making our own freakin’ flags!
I doubt we will though, because seamstress duties are fairly low wage sweatshop kind of jobs. In this patriotic atmosphere, can’t we find someone willing to donate some time to sew some flags? We’ve found people willing to do almost anything except that. Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson have answered phones during a telethon, why can’t somebody volunteer to sew flags? Somebody with a lot of free time? To me the answer is obvious. Arsenio Hall.
If somebody told you on September 10th that within a short time, the entire congress would be standing on the capital steps singing “God Bless America”, would you have believed it? Would you have even wanted to believe it? It was, however, a tremendous show of unity and an even more tremendous show of girth. When I first tuned in I couldn’t figure out if I was looking at congress or an ad for “Fat Freddie’s Big ‘N Tall Shop”. When I observed how much material went into the clothing of Dennis Hastert, Debbie Stabenow, Jerry Nadler, et al, I decided right then to join PETA’s gallant effort to help try to end the senseless slaughter of polyester.
Their performance sent a message to the perpetrators of those evil deeds. How could it not have, that group would have showed up on even the crudest of surveillance equipment. If terrorists want to track members of congress, they now know that all they have to do is get hold of a seismometer. Congress came together for a short time in a great display of bi-partisanship and unity, save for what key they were singing in. Luckily there was heavy security to help keep away the stray dogs. Overall, the performance was horrendous and tortured, like karaoke night at the Hades Bar & Grill. I honestly hope they don’t try that again…ever.
If somebody told you on September 10th that within a short time God would make a comeback not seen since Meatloaf released “Bat out of Hell II”, would you have believed it? God is everywhere now. I almost feel guilty for believing in him before this all happened because I can’t take part in all of the “reborn” festivities. Yeah, I knew Him before this tragedy. Where were you? It must frustrate God, having a ton of people try to get in touch with him all of a sudden, like a guy who hit all the Powerball numbers and now has a lot of loser cousins who he hasn’t spoken to in years calling him and asking “How are the wife and kids, buddy?”
All in all the return to spirituality is a good thing, but I’ll believe it when I see it lasting at least as long as a new sitcom on the WB network. Lucky for those new believers who have gone running to God because of these tragedies, Christianity is retroactive. In a lot of other religions, they’d be screwed.
The purpose of this column was to make a couple of subtle points, but more importantly to try and get back to what I do. I’m a humor writer, and there’s definitely been nothing funny happening lately. But I think at times like these we need humor as much as we need air. They’re both a part of us, and will help see us through. If you can at least manage a little smile through the tough times, imagine how much fun the good times will be.
Mayor Guiliani summed it up best on Saturday Night Live when producer Lorne Michaels asked him, “Is it okay to be funny?”
Guiliani deadpanned, “Why start now?”