"Sorry, I'm slow."

After waiting weeks for my Washington license plates, someone called, and left a message when I didn't answer. "Mr Holland," said some lady's voice, "your plates are ready," and then she mumbled something long and indecipherable. I called the number she left, to make sure I wasn't required to bring my mother's birth certificate or something.

July 16, 2022

They put me on hold, of course. "Strangers in Paradise" started playing, and immediately my brain amazed me. An ad from TV recited itself very vividly in my head, and if you were alive and watching TV in the 1970s and '80s you'll hear it, too.

After a few bars of the music, the British actor who'd played the butler on Family Affair said, "I'm sure you recognize this lovely melody as 'Stranger in Paradise', but did you know that the original theme is from blah-blah-blah..." He was selling an extensive collection of classical music, allegedly familiar even to listeners who didn't have symphony season tickets, because each tune (on your choice of LP or cassette tapes) had been adapted into a pop radio hit.

This is the power of advertising. I'd accidentally memorized that commercial so thoroughly that even decades later, the first few lines of blather came back verbatim, every word matching the ad as found on YouTube in 2022.

Advertising isn't merely brainwashing. It's a brain tattoo.

"Illegal dumping prohibited," says a sign screwed onto a metal garbage can at the corner. It means, please don't cram a month of burger wrappers and pop cans from the back of your car into this public trash can. The sign's phrasing seems redundant, though.

If it's illegal, it's prohibited. If it's prohibited, it's illegal. "Illegal dumping prohibited" is basically saying "Don't dump don't."

Sometimes I like ketchup on my hash browns. Sometimes I don't. I'm a complicated man, that way.

My first several times eating at Mrs Rigby's Diner, when the waitress asked, "Do you want ketchup or hot sauce?" I answered 'no'. Then I started saying 'yes' sometimes, 'no' other times. After a few dozen breakfasts there, they've stopped asking. At least four different waitresses have taken my orders, but they all bring me ketchup now, every time, never hot sauce. Exactly right.

Another simple pleasure of being a regular at a very good diner.

A moment on the #60 bus, northbound: We've pulled over at a stop where a homeless-looking guy is standing. The bus door opened, and the man moved, but barely, leaning over and picking up each of several bags, one bag at a time.

"Are you getting on, sir?" the driver asked, loudly but politely.

"Yes, but I'm slow," said the man, and indeed he was. He looked about 30 years old, but moved like 90 — very slow, uncertain, like a man with bad ankles and a trick knee standing on ice, and with no cane, no walker. The driver lowered the bus to make it easier for him, but still it took half a minute for the man to get aboard, and another half minute as he walked to a seat and bent himself into it. This was a fragile man indeed, but the driver waited, and then we rolled.

Fifteen minutes later, the same man reached up, rang the bell, and the bus pulled over to let him off in the International District (Chinatown). A couple of other people stepped off, and the fragile man stayed in his seat until the aisle was clear. Then he said to the driver, "I'm getting off here, but I'm slow." The driver said nothing, but he waited, and the guy very slowly stood, then started his long day's journey toward the door. The driver kneeled the bus again, and as he painfully passed the driver, the man said again, "Sorry, I'm slow."

"No worries," the driver said with no mood I could ascertain. "It's a bus. Slow is what we do." The guy stepped off, and it took a while, and then the driver said, "You have a good day," and he un-kneeled the bus, and we rolled away.

A nice-guy driver. There are more of them in Seattle than in San Francisco, the last big city where I lived. In Frisco, some Muni drivers were nice, the majority indifferent, and a steady 5% or so were big fat assholes, on purpose. They'd go out of their way to be rude to people, and would've hit the gas and left the fragile guy behind, instead of waiting for him to slowly climb up.

Seattle has some asshole bus drivers, yup, but fewer than San Francisco, fewer indifferent too, and a noticeably higher percentage of nice-guy and nice-lady drivers. It makes riding here a more pleasant experience than riding there, for me, and definitely for that old man in a young man's body.

I worry about that guy, though. Why doesn't he have a walker, when he so plainly seems to need one? Probably it's money, but a cheap walker isn't even very expensive. That is so screwed up and so wrong — demanding payment and profits for such absolute essentials of health care. How very American.

And now, the news you need, whether you know it or not… 

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Cylinder homes by Guy Dessauges, 1966 

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Catholic Church spending big on anti-abortion constitutional amendment in Kansas 

Texas Medical Association says hospitals are refusing to treat women with pregnancy complications 

Leak reveals corporate donors at anti-abortion GOP event: Tik Tok, Comcast, 3M, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser-Busch, Juul, Koch Industries, Lowe's and Walmart 

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Albuquerque to get statue of TV's favorite meth lord, Walter White 

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Go Ask Alice: Pure bullshit 

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Walgreens allows employees to pick and choose who gets birth control 

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Secret Service deleted texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, says investigator 

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Facebook report produced by Facebook says Facebook did nothing wrong 

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Amazon gave Ring doorbell videos to US police 11 times without permission 

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The screams of the children have been edited out. 

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Museum exhibition explores links between Chicago Police and Guantanamo Bay torture 

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A bored Chinese housewife spent years falsifying Russian history on Wikipedia 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

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The End
Yves Coppens
Robert Curl
Willie Lee Morrow
Monty Norman

Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...

1 comment:

  1. >An ad from TV recited itself very vividly in my head, and if you were alive and watching TV in the 1970s and '80s you'll hear it, too.

    To this day, I remember the precise song snippets used in the "Freedom Rock" commercial, and which clips lead into which other clip :



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