I've always wondered why adults suddenly snap. Some guy in Atlanta last year killed his wife and kid because he'd had a bad day as a stock broker. Like there are good days as a stock broker?
For decades, people in Albania have been jumping off buildings when their soccer team loses (although these days they land on a crowd of Kosovar refugees). And John McCain has started comparing himself to Luke Skywalker. All those years in POW camp and he waits until now to go around the bend.
Maybe it's a function of age, but all of a sudden things are bothering me. Mostly it's the voices.
I was driving home from a basketball game one night and I punched the radio button for Hot 98 FM. They've got these nasal idiots on the radio, talking dirty and acting like 13-year-old boys whose daddies are in prison. One asks the other to pick a number between one and 100. The other quickly blurts out "69," and they both giggle, doing their best to keep the spirit of Beavis and Butthead alive.
But then, in joins a woman who starts ranting about the number that's been chosen. I thought she was going to chastise them for being so juvenile, but instead she pours napalm on the fire.
"I hate '69,' " she said. "I don't know why people like that. The position is just so uncomfortable. How am I supposed to concentrate on what I'm doing if I'm constantly trying to get comfortable?"
And on and on she went for at least three minutes. I'm screaming at the radio for her to shut up! Hey, I know being a disc jockey doesn't pay all that well, but I don't need to know what she does to supplement her income.
I got home and turned on CNN, hoping to upgrade the intellectual level of the noise somewhat. They were at Bob Jones University, the place where inbred white folk are taught to fear God and hate everybody else.
GOP presidential hopeful George W. Bush had (in my opinion, unnecessarily) apologized for having spoken at BJU. The CNN guy showed how in the bookstore, books on the Catholic Church are under the heading of "Cults." The reporter then approached a student and asked the future wifebeater/pederast/Klansman if he really thought that the Pope was the Antichrist.
The student proudly took off his hood (but left his robe on) and said, "I don't know if the Pope is the Antichrist, but he's an antichrist."
I stumbled to the bedroom and put the pillow over my head.
The next day I escorted my wife to her doctor's appointment. When she was called in, I began reading a magazine, as is my duty.
A woman walked in and sat right next to me. She hadn't been down in the chair five seconds before she's got her phone out and she's dialing like a junkie in need of a fix.
Within seconds she's talking in a rather loud voice about her uterus! I don't want to know about this woman's uterus! Oh God, any minute now, I'm going to hear the word "cervix" spoken out loud for the first time since I stopped watching Chicago Hope.
I've been around. I know that women have uteruses. Or uteri. It's a wonder of nature. But I don't need to hear about this woman's, especially with my being part of a captive audience.
I began reading my article out loud. The other people in the room, most of whom had been sitting in quiet annoyance at her rudeness, now looked up with bemused looks on their faces. The louder she talked, the louder I read.
Finally, she put her hand on the phone and said to me, "Do you mind?! I'm on the phone."
I said, "I know. When did it become okay to talk on the phone in a roomful of people? Ain't nobody wants to hear about your uterus."
"That's none of your business," she snapped.
"Then why are you talking about it right next to me? You need to go outside with the smokers and all the other people nobody likes."
Amazingly, the woman at the desk asked me to go outside. I did so, but not before I asked the woman with the phone if the person to whom she was talking would like to discuss my seminal vesicles.
I went out, got in the car and turned on the radio. I pushed the button for K-HIT 107.5, which is barely hanging on to its spot on FM, and then only due to a severe lack of competition coupled with the fact that the station broke its own self-imposed racial barrier the other day by playing Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."
The deejay said, "We'll be right back with seven songs in a row and we'll kick things off with the Rolling Stones." Oh goodie, I thought, maybe they'll play "Brown Sugar," which has the greatest opening licks of any song in rock history.
I patiently waited through the commercials and the weather and the traffic. Finally came the song. Sure enough, it was "Dunh!-Dunh!," the first two killer notes of "Brown Sugar." I cranked it up, knowing that suddenly all was well again with the world.
And then the deejay starts talking again. He talks through the entire musical opening, stopping only when interrupted by Mick Jagger. I was incensed. There are just some song openings a deejay should not talk over, including the aforementioned, as well as the Stones' "Honky-Tonk Women," "Satisfaction" and "Start Me Up." Others include AC/DC's "Back In Black," Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way."
I turned off the radio, ready to snap. Then I saw it, that which brought me back. The bumper sticker on a nearby car read, "If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?"