May 23, 2006

Cynicism makes one predictable although when taken too far it makes you eccentrically interesting the way those who believe the government staged the moon landing are. But the lack of it exhibited in Ham o' Bone makes him a more interesting than your average man on the street. Long time readers (first time callers) will recall Ham's employment saga and his failure at detecting the difference between three month old beer and fresh beer in the famous Bobber Beer Test, both described on this blog. But one has to take chances to be spectacularly wrong, and I play so much closer to the vest that neither my successes nor failures have been dramatic. Ham, ala Donald Trump, played big time in stock options while I dabbled. He won big, he lost big.

Ham has paid a price for his lack of cynicism, believing (naively) that his job was safe due to the quality and quantity of his work. Instead he found himself unemployed for a year. Ever a prodigious saver, he lives on 50% of his income and so he was able to easily live for that year on his 20 weeks' severance. Bone's lack of cynicism was later expressed when he acquired a literary agent only to find that he had to beg the agent to actually read his stuff (I think it took two or three months). The agent was big on flowery words but didn't seem to be interested in seeking Bone's publication. In fairness, it's tough to crack the writing market.

Ham o' Bone, like Rod Dreher, always seems to be "on to something". Dreher flirts with novel foods and novel Christian denominations while Ham appreciates new health formulas, including ones espoused by the author of a book called "The PH Miracle". (Beware of any book with the word miracle in the title. Or am I being cynical?) Bone's explanation of the author's thesis screams quackery as loudly as an email that begins "I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret" screams Nigerian scammer skullduggery.

So Ham explains how the pH book suggests a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your morning water. And/or a lime too. I think this helps raise your blood/urine pH level. You can pee on test strips for a reading but blood is always the more effective measure. The author also suggests never drinking fluids with your food because it mixes and dilutes the acid in your stomach. (I guess this leaves out all soups?). Needless to say, cow's milk and meats are verboten, although something called "almond milk" is okay. After four days on the diet, Ham reports improved physical health, including the cure of a dry patch of skin.

Linguistics lessons: whenever Mike Wallace prefaces a question with "forgive me, but..." protect your jugular. And whenever the adjective "common" precedes another word, don't believe it. You can assume what follows is actually uncommon (i.e. 'common courtesy', 'common sense'). Common courtesy would suggest that you don't play a stereo in a residential neighborhood such that the whole neighborhood can hear it and common sense might suggest you erect a wall if you want to limit illegal immigration. Conventional wisdom, like common sense, may not always be right but it is what a democracy is predicated on.

Watched the season finale of 24 last night and felt too much of the imprecatory psalms with respect to Logan. Was I thirsting for revenge or justice? The difference seemed blurry. Also caught the end of one of those shows about missing children. Dateline I think it was. And there was a shot of a mother on the side of a street that didn't look too busy, holding a large sign depicting her long missing daughter. It was heartbreaking, like those pictures posted around Manhattan in the days following 9/11. Every day she holds the sign hoping that someone might have a lead for her. And I think that's what God is like too. Every day He holds a sign hoping to find his missing children, his many missing children. It can seem futile, but not to Him. With God, like Jack Bauer bruised and bloodied on a slow boat to China, there's always a means of escape.

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