humbug: something designed to deceive or mislead; nonsense or drivel
On the second day of 2010, the pressure is on: "Did you make a resolution? Are you keeping it? What's yours?" Such questions fade as the month passes, but for the moment, it's tradition to find one more thing to stress about. As if we needed something else!
This isn't going to be about my resolutions that you could care less about: you've got enough crosses and crutches of your own to bear. What it's about is resolutions that should be tossed into history's trash bin because they're less important than we think or we need to instead find something more meaningful. To begin with--humbug to New Year's resolutions!
Humbug to losing weight
If you're obese or overweight, make out your will. But first find a BMI calculator that understands Chicanos are mostly shorter and stockier than Anglos. Don't go here, because whether I enter I'm Hispanic or Caucasian, it still gives me the same message: "Your BMI is 30.5 - obese."
If you want to lose weight, go here for another book that would be good to read but that you'll forget as soon as you smell the queso-grasa-carne homemade enchiladas Abuela's cooking.
Humbug! If you want to lose weight, stop eating all the good stuff. But remember losing too much will eliminate love handles and, well, you know what those are good for.
Humbug to smoking being addictive
Cigarette companies want us to believe smoking is worse than a habit--that it's addictive. All a smoker's got to do to realize this is humbug is to take a cross-country flight. Sure, when you get to your destination the first thing you do is run to the tarmac or curb to light up. But, fact is, you made it there, and the nicotine DTs were tolerable. Try doing that to a heroin addict and see whether his is "just" a habit.
If you do want to quit, don't follow Lisa's advice on a quit-smoking commercial: "You're not my crutch. I don't need a crutch." I don't know what planet Lisa lives on, but it's not Earth. Lisa must not have been pink-slipped or downsized, never did a subprime on her house, doesn't have a kid condemned to 20 years of college loan payments, never tried that cross-country flight that a terrorist might also take, doesn't have sobrinos in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nextistan, and her home must be on Pluto (if you still consider that a planet).
Smoking's not healthy, but it might be less dangerous than Lisa's medicine that carries this Most important safety information:
"If you notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood atypical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking it. Also depression or other mental health problems may worsen while taking." Humbug! Those symptoms are all reasons to start smoking!
If you want to quit smoking, then just quit. Maybe you've met the guy who says he just stopped one day. No medicine. No resolution. No nada. He just quit. It's easy. We smokers've done it hundreds of times.
Humbug to getting my finances in order
I can do this if I'm a bank, finance, or car company or the government of some other country that doesn't practice democracy. But, as an American citizen, I'm on my own. I need to get used to that and find a way to force my government to realize I won't live with that.
In the meantime, if I want my finances in order, I need to stop buying. Stop spending. Stop thinking I'm an American in the 20th Century. It's later than that. It's almost past time to save ourselves. Humbug to believing in the usual Recovery; it's Retrenchment time!
Humbug to being safe from terrorism
According to one estimate: "If there were one hijacked plane per month, the odds would be about 540,000 to 1" of dying. "Odds of dying from complications from medical and surgical care are only 1 in 1,313 and from hospital infections, 1 in 38." If Homeland guarded our healthcare, doctors and nurses would be drug-tested, given breathalyzers and maybe cavity-searched, just for good measure.
Want more odds to compare? "Heart Disease 1 in 5, Cancer 1 in 7, Stroke 1 in 23 [see smoking above]; suicide 1 in 121 [see crutches above]."
Safe from terrorism? This kind of 1984 thinking is passé. Terrorists will only get a few of us. Yes, maybe me, but the odds are slim, even for that. In the meantime, why should the rest of America undergo humiliating cavity searches, just to try to try to give me the illusion that Homeland can keep me safer?
A recent headline read: "White House vows to close intelligence gaps in wake of failed plane bombing." Hey, Obama, guess what? The intelligence gap that needs closing is thinking I'm going to believe that more wasted tax money will change my odds. Humbug to being humiliatingly safe! On my next flight, I'll let my body speak for me: I'm mooning the scanner by wearing no underwear.
Humbug to "Saving the Planet"
We're so full of ourselves--even the liberal and some radical enviro-activists--when it comes to global warming. We humans haven't eliminated poverty, war, feudal thinking, drug abuse in the U.S., the flu, nor cramped airline seats on flights with or w/o terrorists on board. Besides, it's not the Earth that needs saving.
An approximately six-miles wide meteor likely hit Earth 65 million years ago, giving a trancaso that wiped out the dinosaurs. But you didn't see any stegosauri walking around with picket signs that said, "Save the Planet!" Earth survived that impact. It didn't need saving. The dinos did. We do. From ourselves, our governments, our economy, our traditional leaders and ways of thinking and living.
So, the signs should be changed to "Save ourselves." Much simpler and closer to the selfish truth. We need to stop, change, move differently so our species is still here, thriving. Yes, it will make the Earth more conducive to other life forms, but that's just extra mole on the enchilada that our species could be around to get to share. Thus, humbug to earth-saving humbug slogans!
Next time I carry a picket sign--how long ago was the last one?--I'm putting some of Paul Hawken's words on them:
"When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. . . Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider.
"The living world is not “out there” somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. . .
"At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich. "
[Commencement Address by Paul Hawken to the Class of 2009, Univ. of Portland, 5/3/09]
Humbug to voting for another Obama
I saved the worst for last because hardly anyone may like this part. These aren't my words. But, should you need 1, uno, just one blastingly revealing analysis of why the following applies, check out Matt Taibbi's (yes, he's Black) Rolling Stone article. If you never thought Malcolm X mattered, skip this section. However, if you did, maybe you'll see how it might relate. In any case, humbug on my voting anything less than REAL progressive in future elections!
"There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker than their master would. The house negro, if the master said "we got a good house here" the house negro say "yeah, we got a good house here".
"Whenever the master would say we, he'd say we. That's how you can tell a house negro. If the master's house caught on fire, the house negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house negro would say, "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than the master identified with himself.
"There was that house negro. In those days, he was called a house nigger. And that's what we call him today, because we still got some house niggers running around here. This modern house negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He'll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about "I'm the only negro out here. I'm the only one on my job. I'm the only one in this school."
"On that same plantation, there was the field negro. The field negro, those were the masses. There was always more negros in the field as there were negros in the house. The negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house, they ate high up on the hog. The negro in the field didn't get nothing but what was left in the insides of the hog. They call them chit'lins nowadays. In those days, they called them what they were, guts! That's what you were, a gut-eater. And some of you are still gut-eaters. The field negro was beaten, from morning till night. He lived in a shack, in a hut. He wore cast-off clothes. He hated his master. I say, he hated his master.
"He was intelligent. That house negro loved his master. But that field negro, remember, they were in the majority, and they hated their master. When the house caught on fire, he didn't try to put it out, that field negro prayed for a wind. For a breeze. When the master got sick, the field negro prayed that he died. If someone come to the field negro and said "Let's separate, let's run." He didn't say "Where we going?" he said "Any place is better than here". We got field negros in America today. I'm a field negro. The masses are the field negros. When they see this man's house on fire, we don't hear these little negros talking bout "Our Government is in trouble. They say the Government is in trouble." Imagine a negro, "Our Government".
"I even heard one say "Our astronauts." They won't even let him near the plant, and "Our astronauts". "Our neighbors" That's a negro that's out of his mind. That's a negro that's out of his mind! Just cause the slave master in that day, used Tom, to keep the field negros in check. The same old slavemaster today has negros who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms. 20th century Uncle Toms to keep you and me in check. Keep us under control. Keep us passive and peaceful. And nonviolent. That's Tom making you nonviolent. It's like when you go to the dentist and the man is going to take your tooth. You're going to fight him when he start pulling. So they squirt some stuff in your jaw called Novocain, to make you think their not doing anything to you. So you sit there and because you got all that Novocain in your jaw, you suffer peacefully.
[from the Autobiography of Malcolm X]
Malcolm could just as well have said, "Humbug!"
Felíz año nuevo and keep reading mis La Bloga compadres (of both sexes), even if you're saying "humbug" to this posting right now.
© 2010 Rudy Ch. Garcia