Thursday, May 25, 2006


Several times a month I cross the impossibly high suspension bridge separating our two countries and go visit my old stomping grounds in the States.

The conversation at the INS booth follows the predictable pattern it's taken for the last twenty-eight years:
"Where are you going today?"
"Lawrenceville" (or West Stockholm--neither of which pops up on the radar screens of the INS very often.)
So as not to ask the question: "Where the hell is Lawrenceville?" which puts him at a disadvantage, he asks me what's going on there today. If he knew the place he'd know that nothing happens in Lawrenceville, and hasn't since Flossy's father found the family dog hung from a tree, stone dead, when she was a little girl.

Today Corby, Flossy's brother, comes home from hospital after surgery, and I'm along to help get him settled back home. In no time at all he's back in his favourite recliner in front of the TV. After a brief hiatus his life has resumed its normal pattern.

Being constrained to sit and watch along with him brought home to me sharply how so many Americans live in this make-believe world shaped and influenced by the box, oblivious to reality and to the rest of the world--like living in a huge gated community.
I was startled to see how many ads there are on US TV for drugs, too--both over-the-counter and prescription-only. Viewers are being coached to self-diagnose and push their doc for the drug to fix whatever it is they've got. Everything's medicalized, and a pill will fix it all.

Americans' health is going to hell in a handbasket.

"We've become spoiled," Flossy remarks.

But there's a glimmer of hope; today Lay and Skilling, of Enron infamy, were found guilty. There will be an appeal, of course. But for just one day it was good to see Big Money get its comeuppance.

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