Apathetic Display

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As a man of great sensitivity and compassion, there are a good many things about which I care deeply. For example, Southwest Airlines’ madcap seating policy concerns me, because it would seem to indicate that Southwest Airlines despises its passengers. And the fact that Uber-tool Ryan Seacrest is returning as host of “American Idol” has me greatly distressed, though it surely will not stop me from watching the show.

But despite my passion for life, there are some things that many people are very interested in that I cannot muster even one iota of concern for. In fact, sometimes it puzzles me just how worked up people can get. (Like the controversy about Deseret Book. Who would waste a newspaper column writing about that?)

Here are some things that I don’t care about, no matter how hard I try.

Trent Lott. He said America would be better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. This was a bad thing to say, because Strom Thurmond is a racist, lecherous old relic who recently turned 1,000 and who looks like a turtle. Would the nation be better off if a turtle had been elected president? I don’t know.

The point is, Lott made an unwise comment, apologized for it, insisted he didn’t mean anything racist by it, and then resigned anyway. I don’t know what the senate majority leader does — admit it, neither do you — but I’m pretty sure it’s not as high a position as president, and we consistently allow our presidents to say and do things that are far more offensive than endorsing a political campaign that occurred 54 years ago. And so the whole thing makes me shrug and go back to not caring who the senate majority leader is, or what he does, or why someone would name their child “Strom.”

Everything related to Jennifer Lopez. Here is a woman who worked her way up from the Bronx to become a triple-threat: a performer who is bad at singing, dancing AND acting. Somehow, perhaps using witchcraft, she has convinced a nation of straight men that an enormous rear end is a GOOD thing. And now she is engaged to bland actor Ben Affleck. I simply don’t care. I can’t even imagine caring. You show me a person who cares, and I will show you a person with whom I have nothing in common, not even cellular structure or evolutionary origins.

News stories about the change in gas prices. When gas prices go up, there is a story about it. When they go down, there is a story about it. What’s the point of this? The one group of people who care about gas prices — people who drive cars — already know that prices have fluctuated, because THEY DRIVE CARS! The same goes for stories about the weather. Don’t tell me it snowed yesterday. I KNOW it snowed yesterday. I was alive yesterday, remember? Tell me that gas prices are ABOUT to go up, or that it WILL snow. That, I care about. Especially if one event is causing the other, because that would be freaky.

Fluoridation. Some people think the government should put fluoride in the water because it promotes healthy teeth. Other people — crazy people — think the gubmint shouldn’t be puttin’ chemicals into the water supply no-how. I wouldn’t have thought the Eagle Forum, which normally concerns itself with matters of morality, would have an opinion on this, but sure enough, they are against it. (From now on, I’m going to assume the Eagle Forum espouses ALL paranoid or ridiculous notions. If there is anything absurd, preposterous or laughable, they seek after these things.)

Anyway, fluoride in the water or not, I’m unconcerned. I brush my teeth and I have some dental floss, I think, somewhere in my medicine cabinet. When I eat sugary food and cannot brush right away, I at least try to rinse out my mouth with Diet Coke. I didn’t visit the dentist at all between 1995 and 2002, and when I finally did have a check-up, there was no damage to repair. So I’m apparently doing OK, even without fluoride in the water. But if they want to put it in, and then I can wait 14 years instead of seven for my next check-up, hey, great. When it’s all over, maybe my teeth will be as blindingly white as Ryan Seacrest’s.

In the next-to-last paragraph we find this statement: "If there is anything absurd, preposterous or laughable, they seek after these things." This is a variation of the 13th Article of Faith of the LDS Church, which states that "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." It is part of the culture shared by a vast majority of Daily Herald readers, hence the inclusion here.

Inside joke alert: I wrote a newspaper column about the Deseret Book controversy. It was disliked by many readers for being too preachy and agenda-heavy, rather than entertaining and frivolous (though it did contain the fake book title "LaVonda Does LaVerkin").

I had to consult with my friend Randy on the end of the column. Previously, I had another reference to Southwest Airlines, which Randy felt was forced. He suggested a reference to "American Idol" instead, and came up with something very close to the Ryan Seacrest line I wound up using. He probably thinks he's special because I asked his opinion, but really it's because he was the only one on Instant Messenger when I needed help. (Take THAT, Randy's self-esteem!)

This is the third consecutive year in which my first column of the year refers to bad flying experiences. It is something of a tradition now.

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