Finally Next Year

Oct. 28 - My father called me a few moments ago. He didn't even say hello. He just said, "It's finally next year!"

Pigs are soaring through the icy vaults of hell.

Long-suffering men and women of all ages basked in a moment of childish ecstasy. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are still in the land of make-believe, but the Red Sox have won the World Series.

* * *

Defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, holders of the longest winning streak in MLB postseason history. Defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, holders of the longest winning streak in NFL history.

And I'm in Denmark.

* * *

For obvious reasons I've been swapping a lot of email with friends and family in the Boston area this week. Yesterday one of my friends happened to mention his bewilderment at having just stumbled across an ad in the Boston Herald for "Metrosexual Movers." I assumed he was joking, but wondered why he'd make such a thing up out of the blue. So I harnassed the wonderful power of Google.

Sure enough, such an enterprise does exist. I'd assume it was a parody, except that the Herald doesn't give ad space out for free, so you're either dealing with a profligate satirist or the most offensive start-up I've heard of in recent years.

Why offensive? Consider this quote from their website:

Not sure you want to entrust your carefully crafted environment to a hastily assembled batch of students, illegals, and ex-cons? (I KNOW!!! Believe me, we're all too familiar with the "giants" in this business.)

You'll notice they also brag about their courtesy, charm, and "highly refined sensibilities."

Ah, yes. The kind of charming, refined people that sell their charm by dismissing the lower orders of "students, illegals, and ex-cons." Charming, refined, and diplomatic! ...and whose grammar and punctuation would be at home in a 12-year-old girl's diary.

But if we're going to play the stereotype game, who would I rather have hauling my heavy stuff: a bunch of big, strong morons, or a bunch of flitty little girlie men? (It's purely a rhetorical question, because in the 17 moves of my adult life I've always relied upon the same strong, masculine, slightly clumsy mover: myself.)

Maybe it's unfair to assume the good folks at Metrosexual Movers are "flitty little girlie men." Probably it is. Probably the assumption is about as unfair as the assumption that non-metrosexual movers are dumb immigrant thugs.

No, I take that back. Only a flitty little girlie man could possibly think it was a clever marketing angle to advertise himself as effeminate for a job whose primary prerequisite is sheer animal strength. Do you really the want the guys who are lugging your stuff around to be worried about breaking a nail—or a sweat?

I don't really understand the whole "metrosexual" thing. Isn't this just the "sensitive guy" bit from the 70s all over again? Back then it was all about guys sharing their feelings and being able to cry and be honest and vulnerable and all that crap, whereas today it seems to be a little more superficial—spend a fortune on upscale grooming products, spend some time at the spa, and learn a few exotic recipes. If you ask me—and if you're smart, you won't—the "metrosexual" movement is just a very smooth effort by the grooming and skin care pimps to double the size of their market.

But in a couple of years someone's going to make a mint with a book like "Real Men Don't Do Facial Scrubs."

* * *

On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated at Liberty Island, New York, by President Grover Cleveland. Lady Liberty, as she came to be called, quickly become a symbol of America, partly because she was such a striking visual symbol of our national reverence for liberty, partly because of the five-dollar hot dogs and ten-dollar plastic replicas sold at her feet.

The statue's inscription was written by poet Emma Lazarus, and attributes the following exhortation to Lady Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(Cynics like to point out that construction of the golden door was never completed.)

Exactly thirty-three years later, in 1919, Congress passed a law prohibiting alcohol.

With alcohol outlawed, only outlaws had drinks. Fortunately there were an awful goddam lot of them and they overturned the law as soon as they were sober enough to vote.

Meanwhile, on this date in 1793, Eli Whitney had applied for a patent on the cotton gin.

A few years ago I stumbled across the following student report online. I couldn't improve on it, so I present it in its entirety—as written by a Mr Jeffrey P. of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Eli Whitney was born on December 8, 1765. When Eli was a child, the American Revolutionary War had started. America was at war with England. Eli worked very well with tools when he was growing up.

Eli's family would not support the idea of Eli going to college because they did not have enough money, but he went to college anyway. While he was in college, Eli wanted to be a lawyer after he graduated. He wanted to be a lawyer because he thought America had no use for a handyman.

After completing college, Eli went down south to Phineas Miller's plantation in Mulberry Grove to teach his children but he never did. Instead of teaching the children, he was asked to invent a cotton gin. Phineas and Eli became partners, and Phineas paid for all expenses. Eli gave up studying law so he could build a cotton gin.

After six months he finally completed making a cotton gin. The cotton gin separated the seeds from the cotton. Then he left the plantation to go to Philadelphia to get a patent so he could privately make cotton gin in New Haven, but he couldn't.

There was an outbreak of yellow fever in both Philadelphia and New Haven, therefore he couldn't get the patent or make the cotton gins. To make matters even worse, his cotton gin was stolen, but things did get better.

Years later, Eli became rich and famous throughout the world. It turns out there was a future in America for a handyman.

Indeed there was. Thank you, Jeffrey P.

* * *

October 25 is National Retrospection Day in Taiwan, the most looked-forward-to holiday in that nation.

Happy, happy, happy Thursday!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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