Columns » Bob Lancaster

All starting with I

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I noticed a columnist for the local daily is concerned about restraints on the “legitimate press,” and I wondered what it is that makes the legitimate press legitimate. Or who it is. It's possible that press legitimacy requires a publisher who goes around shouting, “Great Caesar's Ghost!”

I suppose this press outlet, the rascal you're examining with such delight and satisfaction this very minute, is one of the illegitimate ones. I sure hope so. It would explain much of the constant muttering about what a bunch of bastards we are.

I'm about to celebrate — OK, yes, poor word choice — one of those milestone birthdays. This one has the buzzards coming every morning to perch impatiently in the bare maple branches outside my bedroom window, like in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Licking their chops before. I didn't even know buzzards had chops.

I took the blunderbuss out this a.m., intent on scattering them, it having slipped my mind that they were mere symbols or omens and thus wouldn't care whether I shot in their direction or not. Same thing that always happened to me with deer.

I dropped in to see what condition my condition is in, enumerated all my geezerly disorders and system failures, and after a politic mull the doc diagnosed me as apparently having lost my sense of purpose. That's what he said. And this is not one of those New Age docs, either.

I guess that happens. Neglect your sense of purpose long enough and it absquatulates on you. It's hard to keep a sense of purpose with those buzzards leering. It's hard to keep a sense of purpose with the legitimate press regarding you as a bastard no matter how hard you try.

I noticed that another columnist for the local daily is concerned that a bunch of people who voted for Obama, interviewed afterward, couldn't answer some really easy questions about American history and government. How durst such imbeciles bring such ignorance to bear on one of our presidential elections by voting in it? The columnist was not only concerned about this, he was also appalled, aghast, alarmed and perhaps some more hyperbolic words starting with a. 

I got the feeling he would've been less all of those things if the imbeciles had voted for McCain.

I also wondered if numskulls who don't know diddly about the Bill of Rights or the Gettysburg Address ever lose their sense of purpose. And if so, does the loss manifest in this same lumbago?

I told the doc I couldn't remember ever having had a sense of purpose in the first place. On reflection, though, I remembered when I was imbued with the intense and single-minded purpose of pursuing a little ol' girl who called people gnu-gnus. I never knew what she meant by that but I didn't really care.

I was as smitten with her as Greta Van Susteren is with the governor of Alaska. Still am.

I thought all the people being thrown under the bus these days would qualify for inclusion on this year's list of the most annoying and overused words and expressions, but they didn't. This bus is insubstantial like those buzzards, which gives me to wonder why, for a change of pace, or to give the bus a well-deserved holiday, more people don't ask, if they have to be thrown under a vehicle of some kind, that it be a taxi or a trolley or an 18-wheeler with Dave Dudley at the wheel.

I thought the promiscuous use of “basically” would be on the list, too, and high on the list, but it wasn't. Used so, “basically” is just filler, a Styrofoam peanut, meaning, if anything, that the speaker wants his hearers, presuming any have stuck around, unlike my sense of purpose, to think he's intent on cutting to the chase from the gitgo. And no, neither cutting to the chase nor from the gitgo is on the list, either.

I read “The Purpose-Driven Life” but find it unacceptable that being driven by a purpose makes a life worth more than one that is driven by something else. Dogtrack handicapping expertise, for example, or the love for playing ball. Or merely sitting in indolent appreciation of sunsets or your grandchild's latest refrigerator artwork.

I don't quite trust the purpose-driven as it's usually them who head up lynching bees and preside over autos-de-fe. A purposelessness-driven life is more my speed. I told the doc I sometimes think I'd rather have lived my one life as an owl or a bobcat — that is, a complex but compact critter that doesn't squander its being obscenely or scandalously as humans do. An owl with a beer belly is unthinkable, as is an ideology-driven lynx that's had elective cosmetic surgery.

 I might note in closing that the legitimate press frowns on excessive use of the nominative first-person pronoun in its columns. Witness the storied grammatical squirmings of the Old Graybeard, yet another of the local-daily stalwarts, to avoid the offending I-word. It's considered especially uncouth to start more than one or two of your paragraphs with the naked I. I don't know why. Revealing of too much of a sense of purpose perhaps. Like those buzzards. But that's legitimate-press etiquette, not operative here among the bastardry, and thus today's motif.

 

 

 

 

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