DAILY BRIEFING
Ode to the Ninth

Sept. 25 - I have to return a toilet seat today.

A little background. The toilet seat in this apartment sucks. Always has. First of all it's ugly—some kind of faux wood design—and second of all it won't sit still. It slips and slides around on top of the bowl.

Remember Spirograph? ("I can't believe it, I simply can't believe it—the things I can do with a Spirograph!") You had this big plastic circle that you'd pin down to a piece of paper. It had grooved tracks on the inside and outside that other shapes could be rotated around on, drawing all kinds of cool patterns. You'd use different colored pens with different shapes and come out with multicolored blobs of ink that were, I guess, pretty exciting if you were seven or eight or taking a lot of hallucinogens. Anyway, that's what our toilet seat was: a Spirograph for the ass.

So I bought a new one yesterday. Simple construction, solid color, stable plastic. It went on like a charm. No wobbling, so slip-slidin' away, just a sturdy and reliable toilet seat.

But it's about two inches two short. The porcelain of the bowl juts out from under the bottom of the seat. I didn't figure it was a big deal. Trine disagreed.

So I have to return a toilet seat today.

I've never done such a thing. I'm apprehensive. I'm imagining there'll be all these people around me and it'll come to my turn and the clerk will want an explanation why I'm returning it and he or she won't speak English so I'll have to use bad Danish and pantomime to convey the problem.

That's why I'm blogging it in advance: to preempt the possibility of any embarassment. Whatever happens now will just be part of the story. It won't have any actual impact on my feelings. I can be impersonal about it.

"Oh," I'll say, whatever happens, "so that's how it ends!"

My annual Ode to the Ninth follows.

Ode to the Ninth

On this day in 1789 Congress proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Habeas Corpus Christi and Freedom from Unreasonably Surging Seashores were ultimately rejected, but the other ten passed and have come to be known as the "Bill of Rights."

In honor of this important anniversary, I have chosen to celebrate my favorite amendment, in the hopes that it may also soon be yours. I am speaking of the Ninth.

Like that of Beethoven, the Constitution's Ninth is the standard against which all others must be measured. Unlike Beethoven's, it doesn't climax with a resounding choral tribute to Joy.

But that could be fixed.

Here is the complete and unabridged ninth amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This important amendment should not be neglected just because of some awkwardly placed commas.

Under the first amendment, for example, I have been given the right to say any stupid thing that pops into my head. (This should not be confused with the responsibility of doing so, which is reserved to journalists.) This is an enumerated right. My right not to have to listen to anyone else's idiotic opinion isn't enumerated, but it's just as important.

In the second amendment, in order to preserve peace and order in the state, I have been granted the right to stockpile dangerous weapons. Unenumerated but no less important is my right not to be caught in the crossfire while you knock off a couple of clips at a Sunday School picnic.

Under the eighth amendment, I have the right not to be drawn and quartered, boiled in pitch, burned at the stake, or belittled by a British producer on national television. But this does not overrule my right to be entertained.

Let us all take a moment to give thanks to the Ninth Amendment, which preserves us not only from the tyranny of government, but the far more dangerous tyranny of one another.

Today is the birthday of Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969), Will Smith (1968), Scottie Pippen (1965), Heather Locklear (1961), Christopher Reeve (1952), Mark Hamill (1951), Cheryl Tiegs (1947), Michael Douglas (1944), Glenn Gould (1932), Barbara Walters (1931), and William Faulkner (1897).

It's Flag Day in Cape Verde, Revolution Day in Mozambique, and Establishment of Republic Day in Rwanda.

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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