Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Flaming Cats of Inequality

Most people do not understand much about how equal rights work in the American system, but I do. It is kind of easy, really.

Here, I will explain it to you.

If you look closely, you will see that I’ve got nothing in my hands except a flag and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nothing up my sleeves, no hidden assistant in the wings, no strings. 

If you can pay me some attention for just the next couple of minutes, I can show how YOU might have the right to receive a FLAMING CAT free of charge from your government. I can show how, if you do NOT receive a flaming cat free of charge from your government, you might be able to sue for discrimination against left-handed people.

This would probably be a good time for me to mention that I am not a licensed attorney.

Now, back to the flaming cats!
Sure, we all want one, or two, or maybe even three, but how can any of us be guaranteed even a single flaming cat in this cold, cruel world of ours?

After all, flaming cats are nowhere mentioned in the United States Constitution. I checked three times.
What this means is that (as unbelievable as it sounds!) our government can choose to give a flaming cat to absolutely NOBODY.
On the other hand, it also means our government can choose to give a flaming cat to absolutely EVERYBODY .**
But what about this? What if the government decides to do something in between those two extremes? What if the government decides to give flaming cats to SOME people, but decides NOT to give flaming cats to OTHER people?

Get ready, because this is the part where equal rights come in. This is the part where we start asking, “Why? Why these people but not those?”

Let’s say that on the day they start handing out flaming cats, I am the first one in line. I get my flaming cat and I go home. I mean, I got mine, right? As you would expect, I name my flaming cat “Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan”  and she is wonderful and makes me very happy. 

But as soon as I leave the Department of Flaming Cats, the unthinkable happens. Bob – who is my gay, black, transgender, Jewish disabled Vet friend – goes up to get his flaming cat, and the bastards tell him no!

Bob sues the bastards. Bob loses his suit. They say the reason Bob loses his suit is because the bastards had acceptable REASONS for treating him different than they treated me.

Next, it is time for my friend, Billy, to go up and get his flaming cat. Now, Billy is a great guy: No criminal record. Not made out of hydrogen. We all figure he’s good to go.

But the bastards tell him no, too!

Billy sues the bastards. Billy loses his suit. They tell Billy the reason he loses his suit is because, sure enough, he is pure goat. Goats do not have equal rights. The bastards can treat goats different than they treat me.

This surprises us a lot, because our conservative friends have been saying that if all PEOPLE get equal rights, then GOATS will have to get equal rights, too. 

Next, my friend, Belloq, goes up to the counter at the Department of Flaming Cats to get her flaming cat. Belloq is not a criminal. Belloq is not made out of hydrogen. Belloq is not pure goat. 

Of course, the bastards tell Belloq no.

Belloq sues the bastards, claiming discrimination based on her being left-handed.

Belloq wins!

When Belloq wins, half of the country freaks out. The State of Alabama secedes from the Union. Rush Limbaugh says this: “Activist judges just gave left-handed people special rights!”

Governor Rick Perry says this: “The Court just made up a constitutional right to a free flaming cat!”

I love Rick Perry like a father, but in this case, he is wrong. So is Rush Limbaugh. (Alabama, on the other hand, is probably right to secede...)

It’s as simple as this. Repeat after me: If the government treats two people differently, it needs an acceptable reason for doing so.

If the government treats two people differently, it needs an acceptable reason for doing so. 

If the government treats two people differently, it needs an acceptable reason for doing so. That is just the way it works. 

I hope this clears a few things up.

If you need me, I will be with Belloq, playing with our flaming cats.
**As we all know, flaming cats were responsible for 37.61% of GDP in 2009, meaning that they affect interstate commerce a great deal. Therefore, Congress has the power to enact the Flaming Cats Act of 2013 under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) of the United States Constitution. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

I’m a Creep

It is beginning to dawn on me that I might be a little bit creepy.

But only a little bit.

Not the “Hey, Maude, let’s go grab some pitchforks and torches and drive this freak out of town on a rail”  kind of creepy. Not even the “I think I’m going to cross the street right here to try and avoid having to talk to this weirdo”  kind of creepy.

Just, you know… a little bit off.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Have a Date!

I have a date on Friday night. An actual date with a real, live, breathing human being who probably ought to know better.

This Friday, I have my first first date in nearly nine years.

I should end this blog post right here, you know? I am not going to be able to top that intro.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Nostradamus 2013

I remember Great-Great-Grandma Moses was ninety years older than my brother and me.

Ninety years older, down to the very day, in fact.

I remember she’d been born the same year as J. Edgar Hoover, as Buster Keaton, as Jack Dempsey and as Babe Ruth, and although she did not know any of those people (so far as I know she didn’t, anyway), it made me feel somehow connected to them to know her.

Connected to the past. To history.

I introduced my Great-Great-Grandma Moses, born in the same year that Friedrich Engels died, to the music of Nirvana, and we went to see Jurassic Park together and then made jokes all the way home about how she had seen real dinosaurs in her day.

I remember that when I knew Great-Great-Grandma Moses, she was living at my great-grandparents’ house. When I say “living,”  I mean that she kept her stuff there and occasionally stopped by for a few hours to eat or to sleep.

I remember she would disappear for weeks on end and then pop up completely unannounced, sauntering in the door like some Time Lord back from exploring all space and time. Even then, you did not know whether she planned to stay for dinner until she took off her wig and shook it out.

The wig-shaking. This would be the sign that she was going to stay for a little while.

I remember that my Great-Great-Grandma Moses’ room was notable for only two reasons. First, she had three enormous console televisions – you know, the old kind that were like real wooden furniture but took five minutes to warm up? – and at 11 am, when she was home, she’d switch on all three at the same time so she could catch up on her “stories.”

Her “stories,” of course, were soap operas, and they aired on all three networks all day long back in those days. I remember that Great-Great-Grandma Moses did not have TV remotes for any of her televisions, and that she’d stand there in front of the three enormous consoles, turning the volume of each up or down by hand as she detected something important happening on the screen.

I remember that Great-Great-Grandma Moses would do this for four hours a day.

The second notable thing about Great-Great-Grandma Moses’ room was the newspapers. And no, it’s not what you might think, these were not newspapers with some historical value, not items from her childhood or from places she visited in her mysterious intermittent travels. No, these were “Weekly World News”  and other junk rags from the check-out aisle of the local grocery store, announcing Satan’s return to Earth or the capture of Bigfoot (again).

I never saw my great-great grandma reading any of these papers, but there were always piles of them in her room and they were always the very latest issues.

“Demon Boy Found in Cave in Brazil!”

“Earth Caught in Crossfire of Thousand-Year Intergalactic War!”

“Marilyn Monroe Alive and Well and in Indonesia!”

These were incredibly exciting stories to a nine-year old. Or to a ninety-nine-year old, apparently, as the case might be.

I remember these newspapers were always best right around New Year’s, because that’s when they’d publish their predictions for the upcoming year. Prophesies of Jesus Christ’s return in April. Of Armageddon in May. Of Nostradamus proved correct yet again in June and of Madonna giving birth to Josef Stalin’s love child in July. (I know: That timeline seems off to me, too. I mean, Madonna is still around two months after Armageddon?)

I remember I always wanted to keep track of these newspaper predictions to see what their accuracy rate was, but… I was only nine when Great-Great-Grandma Moses disappeared, and nine-year olds don’t plan that far ahead.

We never knew what had happened to Great-Great-Grandma Moses. One day, she simply stopped coming back to my great-grandparents’ house. We left her room just the way it was when she disappeared, changed the sheets on the bed every week and kept the latest issue of “Weekly World News”  on the nightstand.

But she never came back and we never heard from her again.

We never heard from her again, that is, until this past Sunday night.

That’s the night Great-Great-Grandma Moses – one hundred and seventeen years old by my calculations and not looking a day over one-oh-five – came bounding in the door of the flophouse where I currently stay.

She walked in.

She looked around.

She took off her wig and she shook it out.

Then she dropped the latest issue of “Weekly World News”  on a coffee table, grabbed a remote control, and flipped over to something called the Soap Opera Channel, which I had not previously even known existed.

This past Sunday night, my Great-Great-Grandma Moses caught up on her stories.

Then she left.

But here is the thing, and it’s the only reason I am bothering to tell you about all of this Great-Great-Grandma Moses business at all: When she left the flophouse this past Sunday night, Great-Great-Grandma Moses forgot left behind her latest issue of “Weekly World News.” 

It was the special year-end issue with predictions and prophesies for the next twelve months, and this is what the big headline across the top read:


Yes, you heard it here first, folks, and if you doubt that headline, well, then you might as well kick my one hundred seventeen year old great-great-grandma in the gut.

2013 will be the year I get my kids back.

2013 will be the year I get my kids back.

I feel it is only right that I give them the opportunity to remember their own Great-Great-Great-Grandma Moses stories someday. So let’s get going on this thing, shall we? We’re already fourteen hours in and I am growing impatient…