Laundry Day in America


Sunday, January 08, 2012


          Today is laundry and cleaning day.

          Each Sunday, I take up a trip up to the Bubbles Laundromat on Kennedy Boulevard, dump my clothing in a washer, go get coffee, bagel, the New York Times, and settle in my car to write a little.

          I finished the page of the fairy tale I’m writing and so took a walk around the neighborhood, catching sight of people standing at the curb smoking cigarettes.

          America was founded on tobacco. But now people have to stand out in the cold to ingest it – just the opposite of what we had to do when we smoked pot. Instead of hiding the bad habit, we have to broadcast it.

          This is part of a vast social engineering project to humiliate people into giving up a habit they might not be able to give up otherwise.

          Instead of a vast prohibition, the way the masters of society tried with alcohol a century ago, the new masters have decided to cut us off a little at a time, narrowing where and when we can ingest so that eventually, we will get assigned numbered spots like parking and will be charged a fee for doing what Americans have been free to do since before white men settled on these shores.

          Since I haven’t smoked since 1976 – discouraged by the masters raising the price on my drug of choice worse than any pusher I knew from the 1960s, this new social engineering bothers me less than it does the poor fools standing on the curbs of our cities.

          It is the idea that bothers me. The fact that some master in some remote part of our nation can curtail people’s lives, doing it in such dastardly ways as to make it seem acceptable, and doing it in such small doses that we hardly notice the slow eroding of our rights.

          In Hoboken, we see a similar social engineering going on with regards to parking, making it so expensive and so odious to do what the state gives us license to do that we give it up entirely, becoming one of those rude people who ride pedestrians down on the sidewalks instead.

          Most recently, President Obama proposed outlawing 100 watt incandescent light bulbs – well, stopping their manufacture anyway, part of that social engineering that slowly erodes our right to choose.

          We need to be more green, and buy those other light bulbs that look like corkscrews – the folly of which is similar to the belief the computer reading pads are some how green and books or not. While the ordinary light bulb might waste energy, the corkscrew light bulb is actually a poison to the environment, suggesting that we’re better off with the 100 watt bulb, provided some genius in Washington doesn’t force us to only light them at the curb while we’re smoking our cigarettes and bemoaning the lack of parking spaces.

          Steve Jobs and his crew did a real mind meld on the rest of us in selling computers to replace books, suggesting somehow the we are serving the environment better if we exploit African slaves to dig out irreplaceable metals to make computers so we can read books, when we could very well plant new trees to make paper for books.

          Social engineers do lie a lot.

          But let’s not get too angry at them. Maybe we can join them out at the curb and we call all smoke a peace pipe together.

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