Ask Domesticat: life questions

Every few months, I feel compelled to turn the mailbag over, shake it out a bit, and blow out the crumbs. Every now and then, a letter actually falls out. Most of the time, I forget to answer it; those that I actually remember to answer are rarely answered in anything resembling a straightforward fashion.

I won't sport with your intelligence any more - let's get to the mailbag.

Jay, of parts unknown, writes in response to my rice-rice-baby entry "Turn down the stereotype; we can't hear you":

Hey I think that your lame attempt to disrespect peoples opinions is plainly pathetic!! Don't you realize how childish your sounding? I mean come on... get with the times man.... it's just a phase that people go through.. they'll eventually go back to the even more lame muscle cars which i think is absolutely stupid!! And no i ain't just some pissed of owner of a rice rocket! I own a 2003 Mazda B-3000 Dual Sport... i prefer the truck and offroading type.! But in all seriousness get a life, for fuck sakes man... How old are you anyway?? and what kind of awesome car do you own??
— Jay

Thanks for writing, Jay. I'm not sure if you got last week's memo, but despite Ashcroft's best intentions, I am still legally allowed to question the opinions of others. As I understand it, the government officials who get a serious wood out of erasing the free-speech rights of others have far more vicious satirists than me to deal with.

I truly doubt they'll shoot me before they shoot the head writers for the Onion and the Daily Show.

Were I desirous of your opinion, I would probably be crushed to learn that I haven't yet gained the devotion of all of the hotmail users of this world. As this is not a perfect world, I find it difficult to work up the energy to give a damn. Shall I call you when I do?

There are two kinds of stupidity in this world: unconscious and conscious stupidity. Unconscious stupidity can't be helped and shouldn't be laughed at. Conscious stupidity, which comes about through the lack of discretion, taste, or just good common sense, deserves careful satiric examination. Not only does it give those who are not consciously stupid a truly beatific sense of self-congratulation, it also serves as a learning tool for those who are contemplating a move into conscious stupidity.

The saddest thing about human stupidity is that, for the most part, it is invisible to the naked eye. Think of the benefit to humanity if all consciously stupid people emitted stupid rays. (Think of the benefits to bartenders, human resources directors, blind daters, and American voters.) Most acts of conscious stupidity are transitory things: horrible misstatements, blind dates, wedding toasts, karaoke. Few acts of conscious stupidity can be photographed while preserving the true nature of their stupidity even for the casual viewer.

Rice rockets, bless them, are one of those few things. Truthfully, I don't even have to write about the photos to generate laughter; the objects in the photograph provoke laughter just because they exist. As someone who likes to pretend on alternate Tuesdays that she's a satirist, this is just too juicy of a topic to pass on to less-gifted amateur satirists.

I must ask for your help on a scheduling issue, though. I am not exactly certain when this "life" is to be obtained. I've checked my calendar, and things are looking a little full at the moment. I opted to pass on the Dogwood Festival this coming weekend so that I could stay home for a while, but I've got to go to Nashville the next week for a concert. That weekend, we have friends coming in from out of state for a visit. The weekend after that, a local arts festival. The weekend after that I'll be in Nashville for more music and back home for a Japanese festival.

The weekend after that is free. Is your schedule compatible? The weekend after that I will be in Birmingham, the weekend after that I'll be in Atlanta, and the weekend after that I'll be in Mississippi attending a friend's wedding.

Frankly, sir, I'm not sure I have time to get a life. Can I get back with you in August?

You also asked how old I am. I'm afraid you don't have clearance to receive the answer to your question, but I can tell you this: I'm old enough to have gotten married and bought a house - both of which I did several years ago. I'm also too young to have buried a parent, but I've had to do it anyway, because life isn't something you "get," like a quart of milk from the store. Life is the sum total of a series of choices - some mundane, some earth-shattering, and sometimes not even yours.

I got mine quite some time ago. I think I forgot to send in the warranty card for it, but that's okay. I wouldn't return mine anyway.

As for my car - I'm so touched to know that you care! You'll be undoubtedly disappointed to learn that I buy my cars like I try to live my life: with sufficient power but without ostentation. I drive a well-equipped piece of German engineering. She's sleek, she's silver, and she confessed to me during our last road trip that she doesn't find rice rockets even remotely attractive.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think I raised her right.

Comments know it is responses like the one that prompted this post that make me shake my head and wonder about the youth of America and where we are going. These are the people that are going to be responsible for maintaining the country when our generation is old and retired? If that is indeed the case...I think I am going to have to move to Australia or something. Just a couple of brief notes to those of you who partake in ricing 1) It does NOT contribute to the resale value of your car...most people can't stand the look and those that can already have a ricer of their own 2) The chances of your little "work of questionable art" actually making it intact to the point where you CAN sell it are somewhere between the chances of Dubbya somehow getting a clue and the Red Sox winning a World Series (in other words about the same as a snowball's chance in hell) 3) Our laughter and derision is aimed at you solely because you don't "Get It". We were once at the age where disposable income was fettered away and we are now looking back thinking all of the things we could have done with the money that we wasted on frivilous crap. Yes...I am calling your vehicles frivilous crap. 4) Those that truly are into high performance automobiles scoff at your pathetic attempts to look like you have HP to spare under the hood. Our derisions are not aimed at the High Performance crowd....after all their aim is to NOT announce to the world that they are putting 600 BHP to the pavement. It's easier to take your money and your car that way. 5) You are NOT Vin Diesel and nothing that you can do to your car will make you turn into him...because admit it...that is where you got the idea in the first place isn't it. Okay...that's enough today children. Just remember...RICE is not your friend. RICE makes you makes you waste your money. It's an addiction (although one that I cannot comprehend) and it needs to be addressed. Oh...and for the record I drive a 2002 Nissan Xterra. No modifications other than an MP3 player in the dashboard. Yeah...that's my addiction....bad music. But at least mine is free and isn't forced upon the rest of the world like a bad case of herpes. Time to go take my Geritol

Oompa, pass some of that Geritol my way, please. Amy, when you find out where to get a life, can you tell me? My time these days is spent trying to weed out my collections (pins, magazines, books, etc.) in an attempt to reclaim space from my possessions.

Your response totally kicks ass, Amy, but I expect your sarcasm and wit (and big words) will fly over his head like so much 'adult' humour in a Warner Brothers' cartoon to a kid.

...I think I'm in love. ;)

So, what car do you drive, Amy?