Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A Hybrid of Ideas

I used to draw on my clothes in high school.
Dumb stuff, like my boyfriend's name or Shakespeare quotes. On one pair
of pants I painted a giant green peace sign.

The first day I wore them, I heard this voice calling out behind me: "Have you ever even smoked dope?"

I turned around, shocked to find School Pothead talking to me. He was cute. And he never talked to me.

"What?" (Yeah. I have a way with words.)

"Pot. Have you ever smoked it?" Pothead said, half talking, half barking.

"No," I said, confused.

"Then why are you wearing that fucking peace sign, you fucking poser?"

Apparently marijuana not only kills brain cells, it dampens an appreciation for irony.

"What does pot have to do with peace?"

"If you're not a hippie," Pothead said, "don't dress like one."

conversation was bizarre in the way that those conversations between
Bert and Ernie were bizarre. Remember those? Bert would walk into the
bedroom to find Ernie covered in duct tape. When Bert would ask, in his
uptight Muppet way, about the tape, Ernie would always have some weird
Rube Goldberg-esque explanation about how the tape would remind him of
being stuck, which would remind him about a hard homework question he
had, which would in turn remind him about the housework he had to do;
which would then remind him to take Rubber Duckie out of the dishwasher
– or something like that, it's been awhile since I've watched.

you want to take a duck out of a dishwasher, there's no need to bind
yourself up in a lot of tape. One has nothing to do with the other. But
it seems like all around me people make these odd Bert/Ernie
connections all the time – connections between two disparate ideas that
put weird strangleholds on the brain.

It's like how Mom buys
cantaloupe in bulk because, per melon, it's cheaper than buying just
one – but then she throws out all but one of them because the rest go

Just recently, on Rosh Hashana, our rabbi talked about the
importance of buying fuel-efficient cars. It might seem like an odd
thing to sermonize about, but he had a really good point about the need
to stop filling the coffers of our enemies every time we fill up our
tanks. He was hardly preaching to the choir on this one: The parking
lot was full to bursting with giant SUVs.

I drove home (in my
fuel-efficient Honda, thank you) thinking that as persuasive as his
sermon was, it's doubtful that he changed any minds that afternoon.
Southern Californians bathe in petroleum. For every Prius you see on
the road, there'll be five Escalades right behind it.

But I was
heartened the following morning to talk to a mom in my son, Zev's,
Mommy and Me class who had also heard the sermon. She said her husband
thinks that as soon as his lease expires this year, "He's really going
to consider looking into a hybrid car."

"That's really great!" I said.

"Yeah. What's bad for me is that I can't."

"What do you mean?"

"I have three kids. I need a big car."

chose to ignore, for the moment, that this was a complete fallacy –
people the world over have even more kids and even smaller cars – and
instead said, "They make hybrid SUVs now."

"I know, but not the kind with three rows. I need three rows."

was about to ask just how big her children were that each one needed
his own row, but I held my tongue. When I came home, I relayed the
story to Hubby, who laughed it off as Bert/Ernie lunacy.

"What does having three kids have to do with a hybrid?" he asked.

"Exactly!" I said.

was going to leave it at that, but – in classic Bert/Ernie style, it
reminded me of Pothead's statement from all those years ago. I probably
should have set Pothead straight back then – and I think I should
definitely challenge Large Mom now. Maybe it won't earn me any friends,
but her strange thinking is keeping her stuck in the duct tape of bad
ideas. If people aren't challenged, they'll never change their thinking
– and they certainly won't change their actions.

It's a zillion
years later, and I still don't know what pot has to do with peace. But
I know I can't keep my peace on inanity any longer.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to keeping your tongue waggin, sister. Not enough of you (us) out there. I've been much more "green" since moving back to Lexington, KY (having lived in Brooklyn & San Francisco). I never gave it much thought living in big cities since our lifestyles automatically made us produce smaller global footprints. Within days of being back in KY (which I'm sure is like 90% of this country), I began to realize that if I just "went w/ the flow," I'd quickly become a huge part of the problem. 6 months later, I'm a canvas-bag-toting, farmers-market-frequenting, honda-civic-driving (1 car for a family of 3 by the way), twice-a-day-walking, compulsively-recycling, organic-food-touting, chain-restaurant-avoiding dude. And I never miss an opportunity to needle someone for eating McD's, driving .5 miles to the store or owning more cars than people in the household. I never thought I'd be crunchy but I'm definitely green. Keep fighting the good fight!