what class of extinguisher is best for a hair fire?

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this morning i pause to appreciate Funniness. i haven’t watched the news in weeks. i read some online news and headlines, and the rest i get, when i catch it, from Comedy Central. i don’t know how i could survive this political climate without John Stewart or Stephen Colbert to get me to the laughing part. it’s too easy for me to get caught up in huffy-puffy indignation about plans and problems, imbeciles and arguments when the best i can really do is vote, or i suppose write a letter to my congressman or woman. talk about delayed gratification. if ever. they are probably tweeting their breakfast menus to each other right now and joking about thursdays that feel like fridays. and the rest of us will never get elected because we aren’t loaded with cash and have probably gotten loaded at some point in our lives on something we’d prefer not to discuss with Fox News or the AP.

once i start laughing at “them” and “us,” and that whole concept, i remember that i’ve heard most all of this before, expressed in some fashion that was highly fashionable at the time. i remember that for my entire life, my country has been on the edge of doom and disaster. in the few instances where we were economically “ok,” our moral decline had already booked the tickets, freshened our passports and packed all our handbaskets for the short trip straight to hell. now we are on our way to the poorhouse (again) with our smartphone navigators gently talking us turn-by-turn down the yellow brick road to Perdition. i see our country as the equivalent of what i like to call in the the working world, “the people with their hair on fire.” have you ever worked with them? everything is an emergency, everything is the end of the world and everyone fits tidily into “wrong” and “right” boxes, except that the “right” box almost always contains only one or two sycophantic packers plus the beholder, the one with the stinky hair fire that i can’t actually see burning. hmmm….it kind of makes sense, actually, burning hair is a very unpleasant odor….perhaps that is the repellent pheromone of the righteous, bossy blamer.

i grew up with moral fires burning all around me, ready to consume my hair, my soul, my future and the entire “pinko” world. i also remember my family being “steps away” from some “poorhouse” that only existed in dickens novels and 19th century photographs. i’m beginning to understand that the urgency and hyperbole used to describe the issues is the biggest problem we have…er…create. i don’t even see it happening sometimes since it is part of my “normal,” and Lord  knows i LOVE a big bowl of hyperbole. but all of these conversations about the loss of polite and effective discourse in politics as though it’s a new problem is one of the big jokes, the big scams. our congressmen used to duel it out and duke it out, right on federal property. now they do it from airplane seats and insulting campaign ads, weilding loaded cyberbully accounts in their blackberry holsters.

so today and tomorrow and the next day, just like i used to do as a kid…i have to push back from the table, a table full of chiefs clamoring to be the biggest voice of the biggest tribe, plus a couple of chickens screaming something about falling skies…and walk outside to breathe, hear some crickets, and laugh my lovable, Loving ass off. we’ll get through this, people, or else. our congressmen and women can’t do it all themselves…no matter how (in)capable…and we won’t do it by being “right.” we will do it ourselves, by being ourselves with kindness and (open)mindfulness and by pressing on. it will never be fast, it will never satisfy everyone, but if you are lucky and smart, you’ll have an impact, whether you feel it or not, and a nice ab work out laughing at our absurdity.

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