Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's A Safety Dance

Siobhan is so selfish!

Tata: When do you want to go shopping?
Siobhan: I don't. Since 6:30 this morning, I've been to the gym, the bookstore, the manicurist, the tire place and picked up take-out Chinese. Now I'm going to the hair salon.
Tata: Since 9:30 this morning, I've cleaned the catbox, changed my sheets, done two loads of laundry, made yogurt, had a long talk with Mom and opened all my windows for a good breeze. Yes, I've done a lot for Me. But you haven't. What are you doing for Me?
Siobhan: Hanging up before I kill myself from shame?

You can tell she really cares. This cleaning spree in my tiny apartment means I have vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, scouring and some folding left to do. Thus, the shopping so I can mop and scour with mopping and scouring tools and cleaning fluids. Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do but doing my favorite things to do in a clean apartment really is.

Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, is not so sure. He fought me for the black and gold foil bedspread, while I complained, "Do not - do not bite Mama! Do not!" which I assure you I never said to the toothsome Miss Sasha. You just have to trust me on that. Later, a small glass bowl fell out of the dish drain and shattered on the floor in a foreseeable bit of dumb bad luck that's really bad because the cat is always barefoot. Damn it. So then I spent half an hour on my hands and knees picking almost invisible pieces of shattered glass out of my kitchen rug and off the floor. My apartment is imperfectly clean, and usually that's the best a person can do.

In comments for the previous post, where I - of course - brilliantly describe the situation in terms so effusive you've told your friends you can never adore Me with sufficient numbers of shinyshiny gifts, Mimus Pauly says something startling:
Haven't sent anything yet. I will in the coming days, it's just that I'm still floored by the stupidity of this whole thing. These lands belong to everyone, including those yet to be born -- how disconnected from common decency, common sense, and simple, basic respect do you have to be to not see that?

And in my case, it doesn't help that my two Senators and one Rep in D.C. are Republicans -- all of whom usually toe the party line. But they'll hear from me soon. I just have to figure out how to say what I want to say. This is harder for me than it appears...

If you've never visited Mimus Pauly's totally worthy blog A Mockingbird's Medley or read his posts on the uber-source Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, you might not know how startling it is to hear him say he's at a loss for words. Mimus Pauly's seldom at a loss for words. Hmm.

Okay, baby. Take a seat. Even the cat's quit fighting. Mama's gonna show it to you.

Perfection is not the issue. You can write a letter in crayon to your senator, if that's all you have. You can call your town council and promise to stand on Main Street whistling Dixie until they pay attention. Your government in all its forms doesn't have to listen to any one person's protest, so what you say individually isn't all that important. A letter to the National Forest Service doesn't have to perfectly articulate your problem with the land sale because what matters is you the citizen, not that silly letter. For instance, get out your crayon, an envelope and a $.39 stamp. On construction paper, have your youngest child pen an opus:
Dear NFS,
Your land sale is full of poop. I'll remember and run for president and you'll remember me when I fire your sorry ass, too.
Aretha, age 7

Done, and done, my darling. Your child is on her way to a career of righteous activism and barely legal threats. That's practically vocational training here in New Jersey. You are Parent of the Year!

Suppose your child already wrote letters because she's not afflicted with your perfectionist tendencies. You don't want to feel left out!
What she said!
Aretha's Dad

My pet, your inadequacies don't matter a whit in this case. To paraphrase a colorful storybook: Make a joyful noise unto the Forest Service. I mean, unless you can't sing. Here's the letter I wrote. You can pick and choose and steal freely from what you see:
To Whom It Concerns:

The list of parcels of land is impressive. I've gone over it half a dozen times, knowing there's probably not much I can do to stop you from selling the land to developers. After all: America needs more condos and WalMarts. I don't know how you will sleep at night.

This land does not belong to us. It is in trust for our children and grandchildren. We may have the legal right to fiddle while Rome burns but that doesn't mean we have the moral luxury to applaud the arsonist: the ill-conceived plan to finance the rural schools program with the land sales will not pay for them. It's not a secret. You can repeat this story as often as you wish, and it will still be a lie.

Yes, our children deserve a genuine commitment from the administration. Our forests are not a nuisance; they are a resource we should safeguard and treasure, possibly from the National Forest Service, if the newspapers have been quoting this guy correctly:

"Is selling off Bitterroot National Forest or the Sierra National Forest or Yellowstone National Park a good idea? No, not in general," said Under Secretary Mark Rey. "But I challenge these people who are engaging in this flowery rhetoric ... to take a hard look at these specific parcels and tell me they belong in national forest ownership."

The answer is still: we don't own them. We are their caretakers and their guardians. It is our duty to protect them from craven attempts to turn them into strip malls.

Go back to the drawing board. If schools need funding let's restructure our budget so children's needs are paid for, not the Pentagon's.

Sincerely yours,

Princess Tata
Highland Park, NJ

...Only where it says "Princess Tata" I typed the name I vote with and you should too because if you vote with my name that's a felony.

Lots of times, daily life piles - excuse me - crap on us up to our swan-like or rugged necks and we feel weighted down with the import of what we don't do or don't know or can't figure out. This is simple. See? Our imaginary seven-year-old figured out how to avoid a harassment charge - you can figure out how to plagiarize my letter and email it to the NFS. You can do it. And when you're done, call your senator. Who cares if he's - as Mimus Pauly's are - doing the Locomotion with Karl Rove? Sing along: call up. Call back. Yes, I think you've got the knack.

Now, I've got a second verse, same as the first, for later but now I'm going shopping.


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