The Land of the Free

I have said it before, and I want to reiterate it, free is a four-letter word… never to be used in polite company.

This word has been so overused and exploited that whenever I hear it, particularly on television, I feel like a wolf howling at the moon.

“Free this, free that” — we’re drowning in a sea of freebies, or so it seems. Third World asylum seekers must feel like they’ve hit the jackpot the first time they watch TV in America. No down payment, no interest, nothing. It is free, it’s all free! This is probably why America is known as the Land of the Free.

If I had my way though, I would decree that on the first day of school, the teacher would have to solemnly declare “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH!!!”
This sentence would have to be memorized and repeated like a catechism until all the children would truly grasp this basic principle of life on Earth.

Now seriously, why would anyone, especially total strangers, want to give you something gratis? It is utterly absurd! I’d rather pay full price for everything than succumb to the lure of the “free” myth. Any telemarketer who would dare to mention this foolish word on the phone should be hung up on immediately. “But it’s free,” they would stammer with disbelief. Yeah, and my girlfriend is Barbara Streisand!

I can’t recall who said, “There’s nothing more expensive than a woman who gives herself to you,” but here’s a man who’s been around the block a few times and knows the true value of free.

Never utter this four-letter word before me if you want to remain in my good graces. I’m violently allergic to utopian fantasies and might do something I might regret.

Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve. For free.

Alain

Cats have no newspapers

Are cats smart or wicked? As the custodian/butler of several of them over the years, I believe that they are neither; they are just shamelessly being themselves. We are cats, and you must take us as we are.  But yes, we can be a little neurotic and entitled.

When I woke up this morning, the sky was grey and overcast, and this persistent dull weather did not particularly help my mood. We are in mid-April for crying out loud and the sun ought to be on duty every single day! This is what we are paying taxes for…

But I tried to put on a brave face, got up, and proceeded downstairs. When you cohabit with a cat, you must be willing to tolerate some of its fancies, but you expect the animal to show some common sense. For instance, if you are driving on a country road and come across a cow napping on the roadway, you assume that the beast will get up and let you go. However, a cat is not like a cow and seldom behaves like a cow.

 It has been known for a long time that “Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause the most inconvenience”.

When I went down the stairs, Lola was indeed lounging on one of the steps and showed no intention of moving. So, I tried to negotiate my way through without disturbing her, and I inadvertently stepped on her tail (an action that she protested loudly) and I unfortunately twisted my left ankle.

I am now partially incapacitated and can barely move, even with the help of a cane. A very painful and distressing situation. Lola might hire a lawyer and sue me for negligence, but fairly, ladies and gentlemen, is it entirely my fault? Should I have stopped and patiently waited for her to move, or was I legally entitled to proceed?

So, here is what I want. First, some sincere apologies. I know that a stepped-on tail can be painful, but so is a twisted ankle. And I don’t believe that a stepped-on tail is as distressing and as disabling as my injury. So yes, I want sincere apologies and a semblance of contrition… But I also realize that both things will probably be difficult to obtain.

Reflecting upon this incident, I think that cats are usually happier than humans.
“One reason cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.” Gwendolyn Brooks and they wisely shun television. Being oblivious to bad news keeps them more serene and relaxed than informed news junkies.

The lesson to be learned from this story is that to live a happy life, one should try to emulate a cat’s lifestyle. This includes finding a way to obtain free shelter and food, getting enough sleep, engaging in moderate physical activity such as yoga, and most importantly, enticing a preferably naive and devoted butler to work for you.

Alain

The power of wit

Winston Churchill and cigar at his Chartwell home in 1947
Hans Wild The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

What makes some plain-looking people likable? For me, it is wit a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor.”

 Regrettably, wit seems to be a scarce commodity among many of today’s world leaders. Instead of wit, some resort to hurling crude insults in response to critical comments.

But insults are a poor substitute for wit and are used primarily by people of limited intelligence and imagination. As I once read, perhaps there should be a licensing system for politicians, akin to that of doctors, lawyers, or pilots. After all, why should politicos not be subjected to some critical tests before leading the nation?

Now, if I had to choose between a beautiful woman and a witty one, I would probably go for the witty one. Beauty fades with time, while wit endures and provides lasting enjoyment.

Wit seduces by signaling intelligence without nerdiness.” ― Nassim Nicholas

Indeed, wit demands intelligence and quick thinking. A physical blow may leave a temporary mark, but a witty quip can leave a lasting impact, by permanently disabling a politico’s showboat.

“Mr. Attlee is a very modest man. Indeed, he has a lot to be modest about. “ Winston Churchill

I have always been seduced by wit, and especially by Winston Churchill’s oratory skills.

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”― Winston S. Churchill

 “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend … if you have one.”George Bernard Shaw(to Winston Churchill)
“Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one. Winston S. Churchill

 “Nancy Astor: “Winston, you are a drunk!”
Winston Churchill: “And you, madam, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning.”

 The Middle East, Ukraine, Yemen…. All these terrible conflicts could be easily resolved by some leaders’ public debates, hosted by luminaries such as Simon Cowell or Sharon Osbourne.

 So, what do you say? Should we give it a go? Well, maybe… Putin sounds like a sourpuss to me and would be no match for amusing people like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Ta Ta For Now

Alain