Friday, September 30, 2011

A Piece of My Mind... Or My Toe?

Last night, my family watched, “127 Hours” in the family room while I hid out in the office.  This is the movie that recounts the experience of that solo hiker who got his arm trapped under a rock while hiking alone in Utah and had to cut his arm free so he could survive the ordeal.  The movie apparently shows, in explicit visual (and auditory) detail, just how the hiker carved off his limb. 

I sat at my desk, trying to pay my bills online and working to update my Facebook status while my family screamed and groaned for what seemed an hour.  This was all accompanied by the “sclorch” and “crunch” of special effects dismemberment.  Just recounting it for you is making me queasy.  Bleh.  The family finally proclaimed victory when, by the end of the movie, they had managed to avoid barfing.  It’s the little things, I guess.

Now, I’m a fan of movies, as you likely already know.  I’ve written screenplays, read screenplays, and watched a zillion movies, including many bad ones (1986’s, “Howard the Duck” or 2000’s Battlefield Earth come to mind—mostly because they made me want to barf, too).  And, though I understand “127 Hours” was critically acclaimed and allegedly well-acted, I don’t really enjoy the whole injury-porn thing.

The real guy who cut off his arm has nothing but sympathy from me, and a huge truckload of respect for being able to do the deed by himself.  But a little part of me—the shameful part that I’m told to keep to myself—thinks that guy should’ve had a hiking buddy with him and that, on some level, he was just asking for trouble.  Note to self:  don’t criticize the premise of a real-life biographic movie immediately after others have watched it.  They won’t be happy.

My point:  there are just things you shouldn’t do alone.  Hiking in an avalanche zone is probably one of those things.  It seems, therefore, incorrectly celebratory to make a film about the whole ordeal—unless the film is used to scare people into recruiting a hiking buddy.  I guess that’s the second note to self.  Hiking buddy.

I recall a North Dakota teenager in 1992, alone on the family farm when he slipped next to the family auger (an auger is a giant drill bit on a tractor used to till the soil.  Thank you Wikipedia!).  Both the boy’s arms got yanked under the auger, which ripped them out, leaving him with bloody stumps and no one around to help.  This kid kept his wits enough to run home, dial for help using a pen he picked up with his mouth, and then jump in the bathtub to keep his stumps from bleeding out.  The kid not only survived, they reattached his arms!  Well done.  They make those farm kids hearty, don’t they?  I’m switching from Coco-Puffs to bacon and eggs.  Third note to self.

Again, though I’m happy and respectful for his bravery (incidentally, the accident would’ve killed a suburban wuss like me!), I humbly suggest that farming with giant drills might be another one of those things you shouldn’t do alone. 

Last month, a dude in Colorado went to cut some wood in the forest.  He was—you guessed it—alone!  The trailer on his truck slipped and landed on his foot.  He screamed for help, but no one was around.  Of course, his phone was back in the truck and he was pinned twenty feet away by the foot with no one to help.  And, though he forgot his phone, he remembered his pocket knife.  How lucky!  He lasted 30 minutes before deciding the toes had to go.  Unlike his North Dakotan predecessor, reattachment was not an option.

I’m sure you know I’m the last guy to criticize (okay, maybe second to last).  But 30 minutes?  It may just be in my nature, but it would’ve taken me at least 3 hours before I gave up on moving the truck with my bare hands or before I stopped screaming my lungs out.  I can’t say how long I would’ve waited before deciding these little piggies had to go wee-wee-wee all the way cut off.  Come to think of it, my little piggies would’ve stayed home, gone to market, or had roast beef before taking me into the woods alone.  Nevertheless, I do feel bad for the guy.  I guess it’s an abject lesson in why you should keep your phone on you at all times.  Note to self, Number Four. Man, I gotta lot of those notes.

Of course, now that I’ve recounted these dramatic incidents for you, I sorta see the draw for an audience to the near-tragedies.  They are loaded with excitement, the stakes are certainly high, and there’s an element of heroism in braving the pain and horror.  As far as I know, though, they never made a movie out of that auger kid’s story or that toe guy’s.

Maybe all those SAW movies cover the self-mutilation/injury-porn genre enough.  How many of those have they made?  Six?  Can’t say I watched any of them.  Not really interested.  For me, they’re NOT SAW.  NOT SEE?  NOT SEEN?   Oh, you get it.

In truth, I’m beginning to think they’re running out of movie ideas.  Some recent flicks have seemed so bad they make me ponder my own self-mutilation.  “Smurfs” made me consider scooping out my own eyes with a spoon.  “The Chimpmunks’ Squeakuel” made me want to cut off my own ears, and someone has to explain why “Yogi Bear” had to be made.  I nearly stuffed my hand through the TV screen when I saw the ad for that one!  Really?  Yogi Bear?

A quick note to movie studios (since I’m running out of notes to myself)—you don’t have to make every old cartoon into a live action/animated feature film.  For that matter, you don’t need to entertain people with self-injury flicks, either.

Here’s my soapbox moment.  In truth, I think I get the attraction.  It’s the same reason tattoos and body piercings are so popular these days.  It’s the new generation.  Parents of this generation—the so-called “helicopter parents” who drop in on every moment of their kids’ lives and never let their kids get injured, take risks, feel bad or inadequate—these parents have forgotten that risk and danger lead to learning, and that kids will forever be fascinated by the things they are denied.  You take away the risks, they seek them out.  You keep them from getting hurt, they want to hurt themselves.  The “Emo” kids, the self-proclaimed “cutters”—they slice themselves not just to get attention, it’s fascination.... it’s their need for risk.  It’s to taste their mortality.  I know it’s not all that simple.  But it surely is part of the big picture.

I’m not suggesting we neglect our kids or intentionally put them in danger (although when they mouth off, I can’t say I’m not tempted to offer a little “inflicted danger”).  I’m just saying, let loose the reigns a little.  Let the kids take chances.  Park your helicopter.  Let the kids do things without you.  It’s good for them.  Builds character.  Kinda like barfing at movies.

When it’s time to get your kids a birthday gift, consider a pocket phone instead of a pocket knife.  Or, if you do give them a pocket knife, make sure they know when to use it on arms and toes and when to use it on other things, and then let them go with it. When they wanna go hiking, be a buddy. 

And if they fall down on the path, congratulate them.  You both just learned something.

© 2012, Herb Williams-Dalgart

Here are a few kid challenges that will drive parents crazy, but see what happens if you allow the kids to:

·        Play in the mud
·        Collect bugs
·        Try a sip of beer
·        Cross the street WITHOUT holding hands
·        See a scary movie before bed
·        Say a bad word
·        Do math homework in PEN
·        Eat dessert first
·        Call someone on the phone without a parent’s help
·        Ask for directions even when a parent has GPS
·        Order what they actually want from the menu, even if it’s breakfast for dinner
·        Skip brushing teeth one night
·        Camp out in the backyard
·        Take the dog for a walk down the street... alone
·        Have a burping contest
·        Stay up WAY past bed time
·        Go to a midnight movie premier and eat candy (so long as the movie isn’t SAW 7, Smurfs 2, or Yogi Bear.  Let’s not get carried away).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Adventures at "The Con"

When you tell a 12 year-old boy you’re taking him to Comic-Con, it just feels right.  For those of you newbies that don’t know what Comic-Con is, go Google it and come back.  I’ll wait.

Okay, now that you know it’s a huge media extravaganza in San Diego with movies, comic books, celebrities, sci-fi memorabilia, and everything remotely related, you get the picture.  This year’s Comic-Con boasted over 126,000 attendees, most of whom arrived in some form of costume, super-hero t-shirt, hat, makeup, or hairdo.  It was a combination of Halloween, Mardi Gras, the last day of 7th grade, and the Bellevue Mental Hospital family picnic day.  Seriously, I think I saw more cosmetics, hair extensions, and outfits than in “Sex in the City 2.” (Ok, I’ll be honest.  I didn’t see Sex in the City 2, but you get my point.)

Once there, you realize quickly that anyone that goes to Comic-con has to be nuts, or a huge sucker for his 12 year-old son, or maybe just a 12 year-old trapped in an nearly-adult sized body himself.  You can figure out which is me.

Whatever your reason for going, once you get there you see it’s a feast for the senses, complete with sights that push your understanding of human nature.  Most people’s costumes were quickly identifiable—Spider-man (red/blue and black costume), Superman, The Dark Knight, Green Lantern....  Others were a little harder to pin down, even for the seasoned cartoon-o-phile.

One dude, for example, had no shirt, a fake mustache (at least it looked fake), combat boots, and carried around a giant stuffed shark.  Um.  Which hero was he?  I can’t claim to know them ALL, but I’m pretty sure Aquaman didn’t have a black mustache and boots.  Was it Aquaman’s lesser known cousin, G-I-Joke?  Was it a long lost ocean-bound Mario Brother?  I honestly have no idea.

To give you a sense of the hilarity of the human (and super human) spectacle, I will list for you a few of my sightings, a couple favorite overheard phrases, and some interesting moments (isn’t that nice of me?).  Think of this as time travel back to the event.  Come to think of it, if you embrace that idea, maybe you’re ready for “The Con” yourself....

First, the sightings:
  • A man dressed as “the Flash” whizzing by on a Segway (funny, yet sensible, no?)
  • A pug dressed as Spider-Man being walked by a lady dressed as Electro-Woman (I couldn’t help but wonder who chose the outfits).
  • A man dressed as Electro-Woman (totally unrelated to the prior Spidey-on-a-leash Electro Woman; his costume was better, though he didn’t quite fill out the bustier portion.)
  • A dude in underwear that can best be described as a “banana hammock” holding a sign with an arrow pointing at his crotch that said, “The Real Thor’s Hammer.” (Editor’s note: that hammer couldn’t pound a nail or summon thunder.  Sorry dude.)
  • Justin Timberlake!! (No, he didn’t ask me to join him for the N’Sync reunion.  But he did forgive me for choosing not to tour with the guys in the first place.  Peace out, J.T.).
  • A t-shirt with a picture of Ricardo Montalban from his role in Star Trek II with the caption “Comic-Khan” (if you don’t get this joke, Comic-Con was not for you.  Live long and prosper).

Now some overheard conversations

While in any number of 3 hour lines waiting for a celebrity panel or advanced screening, I heard a few conversations that made me wonder, “Do any kids play outside anymore?”

In line for the “Futurama” panel:

Nerd 1:           “I think you just fall in love with your first Dr. Who and every other Dr. Who just isn’t your Dr. Who.”

Nerd 2:           “Yeah, totally.  But Tom Baker was the best ‘Who’.”

Nerd 1:           “Didn’t you hear what I said?”

In line for the Sony Pictures panel:

Geek 1:          “I love your kilt!”

Geek 2:          “Yours too!”

Geek 1:          “I made mine.”

Geek 2:          “Awesome.  I kinda figured.  Where else would you find camouflage kilt fabric?”

At the bootleg DVD booth:

Dork 1:           “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters!”

Dork 2:           “Sid and Marty Krofft must’ve been on drugs, dude.”

Dork 1:           “Duh.  Puff n’ Stuff?”

Dork 2:           “Oh, right.”

Interesting moments:

Really, too many to list, but here are a few that still stick with me...

1.    A lady dressed as one of the Mario Brothers (from the video games) taking a picture of a Star Wars Storm Trooper drinking a Starbucks coffee through a straw poking into his helmet.  She thought he looked ridiculous.  Her outfit was rubber.  Comic irony?

2.    A very attractive woman wearing a cog on a necklace guiding open-mouthed teenagers to a booth where they could try the “Gears of War 3” video game BEFORE its “official release.”  I think a few of those boys “unofficially released.”

3.    Pizza for breakfast (it’s amazing what Dad finds acceptable for the most important meal of the day when you’ve got somewhere to be and Mom’s not in the picture!)

4.    My son meeting his hero, Matt Groening (creator of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”).  I think he almost wet himself.  Maybe that was me.

5.    A full grown man in sweatpants pulled to his mid-chest, waiting in line for a movie screening, picking his nose..... then eating it.  And that was during the first hour of a three hour wait.  We named him “Picker” (his super power was making us throw up in our mouths).

6.    My son meeting actor Aziz Ansari who literally bumped into him while in line for my soda refill.  Serves me right for sending the boy – he had the Hollywood encounter (again!).

7.    Stan Lee... in the Marvel Comics booth!  Stan!!  The Man!!  The real super hero.  Excelsior!! (okay, now I’m the nerd!)  I love Stan Lee!

All said, it was worth the lack of sleep, the failing nutrition, the gawking, the waiting in lines, the 3-D glasses-induced dementia, and the occasional fearing for my life.  Comic-con is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Now the question is, am I up for it again next year?

© 2011, Herb Williams-Dalgart

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weiners and wieners

It’s almost too easy.  New York Congressman Anthony Weiner takes a picture of... well... his wiener, and then posts the photo on Twitter.   Before long, everyone in the world saw the picture of the congressman in his undies.  We knew he was a Democrat—now we knew just how far left he leaned (sorry, even I couldn’t resist that one!) 

At first the congressman lied, said his Twitter account was hacked.  Someone was playing a joke on him.  Then he came clean—the wiener was Weiner’s.

The jokes, particularly the unintended ones were hilarious.  For instance, Nancy Pelosi promised there would be a “probe.”  Couldn’t she have called it an investigation?  Ouch.  The congressman himself said he “had people looking into it.”  Um.  Yep.  People were looking into it.  And onto it.  And over it.  And under it.  Jeepers, see how easy this is?  The jokes write themselves!

I just have to marvel at the arrogance of the congressman—did he really think he could get away with it?

The Weiner-man is sort of like my wiener dog—my dachshund, “Mr. B.”  This dog is 15 years old, which in human years is dead.  Like Weiner the congressman, wiener dog Mr. B thinks he can get away with anything.  He urinates everywhere, poops where he likes, and even barfs in front of me while I’m watching TV.  Right there on the rug, with the convulsing and retching and heaving.  It’s gross.  It’s like someone’s given The Exorcist’s Linda Blair some syrup of ipecac and let the hurl flow.  Yuck.  I’m just waiting for the dog’s head to spin.

The dog has no shame.  Blow and go.  Poop and go.  Pee and go.  He’s too old to care, or perhaps too old to control his bodily functions.  His only defense against expulsion from our house—he’s cute, has big wet eyes, and the kids are crazy about him.  Now, I just watch where I step.

What’s Congressman Weiner’s defense?  I suppose he thinks he’s cute, too, but didn’t he think he’d get caught?  I mean, think about all those political figures that came before him who should have been a warning to the Congressman:

·        “The Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger was caught.  A Latino love child is hard to blame on a hacker.  Hasta la vista, baby.

·        Congressman Chris Lee posted a shirtless photo of himself on Craigslist while soliciting a male-to-female transsexual.  Really?  On Craigslist?  I posted a picture of my patio table on Craigslist and it took a week to get any attention.  Clearly, I don’t understand Craigslist.

·        Congressman Mark Foley got caught sending inappropriate AOL instant messages to teenage male congressional pages.  Oopsy daisy.   The dude was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.  Maybe he was just doing research.  “You’ve got male.”  Ahem.

·        Senator Larry Craig from Idaho was caught tapping his foot in the Minneapolis Airport bathroom stall, hoping for sex.  Turns out the tappee was an undercover cop.  Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places!  I had to giggle when critics said it was time for Craig to give up his seat.  Uh.  Yeah.  And don’t forget to flush the wax paper seat sheet when you do give it up.

·        President Bill Clinton got caught with Monica Lewinsky (don’t mess the dress)—and Bill had a whole entourage of secret service men to help with the secret servicing.  Really Bill?  Really?  

·        Senator Eric Massa got busted for inappropriate tickling of male staff members.  Some people are just too “handsy” for political office.  I just loved Massa’s CNN interviews when he explained it was no big deal and that he used to be known for his massages when serving in the Navy.  Dude, not the right defense.  Don’t ask.  Don’t tell. Come on now!

·        Senator John Edwards had a love child, even as his wife Elizabeth struggled with cancer.  He was accused of using campaign finances to take care of his baby-mama.   Bye-bye political aspirations; hello criminal investigation.  Talk about reaching out to your constituents.  Let’s just call it a welfare-to-work program and let him off the hook.  Or not.

Now, Congressman Weiner joins a long, sad list of men who seem to think they can work under the radar while simultaneously working in the public eye.  When you’re a public figure, secrets get out, Weiner-boy!  Therein lays the “public” part.

At least Mr. B doesn’t pretend he’s serving anyone but himself.  No alter ego there.  He’s gross and proud of it.  Or, at the very least, he’s indifferent.  I think he suffers a little from doggy-dementia.  He stares a lot at walls and jumps at unseen ghosts.  It would be sad if he wasn’t so happy or blissfully clueless—haven’t yet figured him out.  But at 105, he's just happy to be here.

When you think about it, Weiner’s name seemed to predestine him for scandal, like Eric Massa and his famous Massa Massages.  Shoulda seen it coming!  Please, don’t anyone elect Congressman Buttcrack or Senator Wang. 

I don’t think I could handle the photos.

© 2011, Herb Williams-Dalgart

Friday, April 29, 2011

In Consideration of Cobras

A bit of “true confessions”—I’ve never been a big fan of zoos. Yes, I know this point of view puts me at odds with the views of most people, sorta like my aversion to parades or my general discomfort with magicians. Yes, people, I have my quirks. Perhaps no surprise there...

It’s just that zoos challenge my view of how wildlife should exist. It truly makes me depressed to see elephants fenced in and sedentary, or to see spider monkeys trapped in cages. Even the macaws got nowhere to fly in a zoo. Just sad to me. Is it any wonder gorillas throw their poo? I get it, my silverback friend. Be angry. Toss your mess! Just say no! Cages are for Mel Gibson or Lady Gaga back-up dancers, but not for you!

My aversion to cruelty extends further. I don’t even like riding horses. From my point of view, it’s like a squirrel jumping on YOUR back and poking you in your ribs with his squirrel feet and expecting you to take him somewhere. Crazy squirrel, you’d say. But why less crazy when we do it to a horse? That’s just how I think. Squirrels and horses. I’m kind of a cartoonish visionary.

I understand the philosophical value of a zoo; how it makes kids excited about animals so that they care more about nature when they become adults, or the philanthropic mission of zoos to protect endangered species in the comfort of captivity, away from predators. I get it. I really do. But still. Squirrels and horses and apes throwing poo. Sorta sounds like a party at Charlie Sheen’s when I put it that way!

Now, snakes are a different story. Ask me about keeping snakes in tanks or cages... That, I’m okay with. Get the snakes out of circulation. Somehow, my aversion to caging animals disappears when it’s about caging the scary ones. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. I wear leather and eat meat (or like Gaga maybe I eat leather and wear meat...) But we’re talking about snakes, people. Put ‘em in a parade or pair a snake with a magician and I’m out.

As far as dangerous reptiles are concerned, I think of zoos as the Guantanamo prison of the animal kingdom. Baddies gotta go somewhere, and I’m pretty okay with that.

That’s why I found it shocking, perplexing, and a little unnerving that, last month, a cobra escaped the New York City Zoo. If you don’t believe me, Google it for yourself. I kid you not! Cobra on the loose in NYC.

Not exactly a comforting thought. I’m sure you agree. I’m not singing “Born Free”—I’m just thinking people should consider closed toe shoes this season (that’s a shout out to my gay friends. Hey-ya! Fashion first, kids.)

A snake free to roam, or slither, or hang, or strike somewhere in the city ain’t exactly a good thing. These critters have “hoods” for a reason—they’re the world’s first gangsters, and they know how to use their poison. Ug. And fangs. Double-ug.

Now, a cobra on the loose may live a happy life, feasting on New York rats and staying under the cover of NYC’s underground tunnels. I'm reminded of the legend of New York alligators in the sewers, who they say also live off the rats (rats never get a break, do they?). I can envision a little convention of reptiles in the sewers. Maybe Ann Coulter will be their queen (I know that was catty, but it’s Ann Coulter, people!)—I see Ann dislodging her jaw, licking the air with her forked tongue, and inciting her reptile minions to mischief.

These reptiles, if they can get organized, would really pose a threat. They’d become a cold-blooded union even the Wisconsin governor couldn’t thwart. No collective bargaining there. Humans despair! Bow to the Coulter and her scaly cronies! Where the hell am I going with this...?

Oh, cobras. Right. It was the “scary” part that got me on to Coulter. Either way, I don’t trust ‘em (cobras or Coulter). I can’t figure snakes out. Don’t understand their demands. They’re not as obvious to me as, say, the guy in the truck in front of me this morning on my work commute.

Here’s how obvious he was with his point of view... The dude had 3 bumper stickers:

STICKER #1: The Confederate Flag
STICKER #2: “This truck stops at HOOTERS”
STICKER #3: “Border Patrol – They put the ‘panic’ in ‘Hispanic’”

Kinda obvious how that guy thought. Was it Mel Gibson again? Or maybe it was Ann Coulter. Either way, the driver was no cobra. I knew what s/he thought about and what s/he was after (or at least I could guess). Not sure if I like my racism and sexism so blatant, but at least it’s out there and not something anyone has to stumble across. That was one snake who was out in the open, venom and all.

Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan nut job (that is his official title, right?), is another snake who’s found his way out into the open. Not sure if he has a HOOTERS bumper sticker, but we know what he thinks, too (is it me, or does that guy look like a Halloween costume? Yeek).

The good news is, they caught the New York cobra. Put him back in the zoo. I guess I kinda hope that’s where they put Gaddafi, too. I’d pay to see him there. Maybe he and the cobra could do a show! So long as it’s not a parade or a magic show, I’m buying a ticket.

Whether it’s Coulter, Gadaffi, Gibson, or a racist, sexist, truck driver, I’d rather see my snakes coming than to stumble on them by accident. Then again, maybe they just belong in a zoo.

© 2011, Herb Williams-Dalgart

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Change Comes in Shopping Bags

In June of 1989, hundreds of Chinese men, women and children took to Tiananmen Square, publicly protesting the oppression and murder that had been wrought upon them by their communist government. Talk about a bummer. It had taken three thousand years, but they’d finally had enough. Very tolerant, the Chinese.

In response to the protest, dozens of government tanks (proudly built in Russia), rolled into the square to squelch further demonstrations by these students and professional Chinese who had thrown caution to the wind. As the tanks rolled, so did the cameras, capturing for the world to see, a single Chinese man with shopping bags as he stood in front of the line of tanks, daring them to squash him, expressing by his obstruction, his objection to their mission and to his government. He was serious enough to interrupt his day at the grocery store... he just had to get home before his pepperoni hot pockets thawed.

“Tiananmen,” ironically translates to “Gate of Heavenly Peace.” But it was hardly peaceful that June day as the square became a place of conflict, and the anonymous man in front of the tanks became a Chinese hero—a symbol of freedom and, arguably, a symbol of guerrilla shopping... and hot pockets. Yes, people. I’m writing hungry and you get to hear about it.

But before shopping man could be identified and named by his oppressors, the crowd drew him back, away from the tanks and into their breast to his presumed safety. Whether or not he was later found and killed for his actions remains a mystery, as does the man’s true identity. But everyone with a television in 1989 came to know the image of the tanks and that man with the shopping bags—that is, everyone except for the Chinese themselves, who were not permitted to see the footage or to even know about the protest, since the government carefully controlled all media and images. This was one reason they protested in the first place.

However, word traveled around China—but it was only word—that people in the city had been killed and that one man, armed only with shopping bags, had stood in front of the tanks that had invaded the gate of heavenly peace and for a short time became the symbol of the power of the people.

Sudan has been cranky with itself for over 50 years, and still hasn't found their own shopping bag hero. Now, after a so-called peace treaty between the north and south, put in place back in 2005, they’ve decided to call the whole thing off. There’ve been battles and protests, immigration to and fro and, in the end, they figured it wouldn’t work.

The North wanted religion to rule and the South just wanted hot pockets (I may have that last part wrong.) Nevertheless, the divorce is nearly final and on or around Valentine’s day (ironically), the word will likely be given—there will be two Sudans. No doubt just like Korea, the U.S. will pick one we like and one we don’t. It’s like every divorce; it’s hard to stay friends with both the husband and wife. Nevertheless, good for Sudan. They made a go of it. Didn’t work out. Moving on.

Now, I look to Egypt when people are again, crowding into a square to demand things must change. They’re sleeping there, dodging and throwing rocks, hoping for change to be swift and complete. This time, they all have shopping bags. I hope they also have some hot pockets with them, on account of how yummy they are, especially when you’re asserting your freedom. Pairs nicely with a Pinot Noir, don’tcha know? Also, if they have to throw one at someone, it doesn’t hurt as much as a rock and, maybe, the gesture could be happily misconstrued by their enemy as presenting them with a wonderful snack. Kill ‘em with kindness, I say. Maybe the Egyptians do need a shopping man of their own... Any volunteers?

What made me sad this week, watching the footage from Cairo, was that some folks in Egypt are using the unrest to loot and damage antiquities--someone busted a sarcophagus or two. Not cool. Aside from the fact that these are rare and valuable, they’re people! Am I the only one that saw “The Mummy” (or the “Mummy Returns,” or “The Scorpion King,” or that dragon one where the wife was some other actress)? The lessons were clear in those flicks: you disturb the slumber of Imhotep and you get dusted or liquefied or otherwise dismembered and not even Brendan Frasier can save you. Even if he had a hot pocket.

Let’s just make a rule right now—when looking to make social change, when protesting for your inalienable rights, let’s just all agree to leave the treasures and Wal-marts out of it. No stealing, no desecrating, no damaging unnecessarily (okay, you can topple a dictator’s statue, just please don’t let it fall on anyone). Make your posters, march ‘til your feet hurt, scream your head off, and sleep in a Volkswagen. I’m all about the peaceful resistance, the civil disobedience, the love-in (or love-out).

And while we’re contemplating new rules for social unrest, let’s trade guns for pillows and make it a big pillow fight. When it’s all over and the feathers have flown, you’ve replaced your leaders or split in two and everyone’s feeling groovy, we can pick up our shopping bags and go home (and please depart in an orderly fashion, don’t forget to recycle your bottles and cans).

When we get home, we’ll pick the feathers out of our hair, turn on the tube and watch it all happen, microwave our hot pockets and tell our kids we were there when the change was made.

And it smelled like pepperoni.

© 2011, Herb Williams-Dalgart