Monday, February 18, 2008

Is that for here or to go?

Do you wonder, as you read your daily newspaper, why nations don’t seem to be able to get along better than they do? Perhaps because all of them are filled with millions, and ten and hundreds of millions of us, who can spend what seems like eternity NOT getting along with one another for amazingly bizarre reasons.

Not far from Norwich (when you live, as I do in the naval of the universe, you compute all locations and distances from your own hearth and home. Don’t laugh-how else do you suppose we reckoned GMT from a small village in the United Kingdom at a moment in time when the sun never set on the British Empire, or did you think that was accidental?) there was an incident yesterday at a fast-food restaurant that helps me place the Kosovan declaration of Independence, and Russia’s unhappiness about it, in a better context.

According to the published police report, someone had stopped a car in the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant (no reason for the stop was given. Police blotters are models of laconic language-don’t the cops know we love speculation?) and had blocked the car behind it from leaving. Words were exchanged and, says the newspaper, a passenger in the second car, punched the driver of the first car, ‘a couple of times in the face’ and then the passenger left the restaurant. I am assuming he was walking/running as mythically the car in which he was a passenger was still blocked in, right?
The punchee, says the account, refused medical treatment (and is finding out, even as I type this, from a lawyer, what a poor decision that was) and the puncher was arrested. No mention was made of what anyone ordered or what became of the food. If one of these involved had been Britney or Lindsay (or had even known them), we’d have this kind of detail and pictures. As it is, the fast-food chain, who insists on using the kicker “I’m Loving It” in all their commercials should immediately switch to “Fast Food Worth Fighting For”.


And then we have the Governor of CT, not the one who had the hot tub, the next one, suggesting the DMV equivalent of Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter for sex offenders and their driver’s license. Some states already mark the licenses—I’m surprised more don’t also mark the license plates. If we’re going to do this right, how about a mark on the person-not like Hester Prynne’s marking but a brand or a tattoo? Of course, if the offenders looked more like Demi Moore than Dinty Moore, I could be persuaded to reconsider.

It’s news stories like these that make me nervous as I imagine visitors from another planet coming here, drawn by the lights of the world’s two largest casinos and the Parade of the Ten Tall Ships at the Norwich Semiseptennial Celebration, wondering where the Starbucks is and why we in New England treat each other in such a manner.
And all I can think to ask is ‘did you want fries with that?’
-bill kenny

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