I’ve been on a news-watching sabbatical the past couple of months and haven’t had that much to rant about because a good friend of mine — a poet, philosopher and connoisseur of cheap cigars — pointed out to me that focusing on what the babbling, orange buffoon in the White House and his supporters are doing to destroy this great country of ours is akin to watching your dog die as a form of entertainment.
No one else has ever even come close to putting words to the depths of my despair since November 2016, and I couldn’t agree with him more.
I haven’t fully escaped knowledge of all current events, though, because I have continued to selfishly hate-watch the smarmy, morning weather guy on WKRN-Channel 2 just so I can feel better about my own personal life choices the rest of the day.
Yeah, I know that’s a pretty mean thing to say, and I’m sure I’ll find out through emails or whatever from his fans and defenders that the guy is actually the nicest person in the world and make me feel bad by pointing out that he, single-handedly — through diligent research, tireless effort and the depletion of his own personal wealth — eradicated Type 2 diabetes among rare and endangered marmosets, or maybe invented a free phone app that helps people over the age of 60 figure out how to use phone apps, or probably something else equally altruistic.
But, please, don’t judge me. We all have our weird, irrational reactions to certain people, places or things. That’s not one of the nicest traits of humanity, I agree, but that’s just the way it is.
Anyway, even during my sabbatical from what is laughingly called “news reporting” these days, I couldn’t help but, peripherally, pick up on — and was actually a little cheered up by — a few things that filtered into my brain as I’d wait each morning, cup of coffee in hand, for the Channel 2 weather to start and for the appearance of that shiny-haired, marmoset-savior on my TV screen.
One of those news items, and I won’t dwell on it too much, is the sweet, self-inflicted humiliation of former Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada, and maybe, just maybe, the glimmer of hope that all future displays of such arrogance and self-righteousness and disregard for the public trust in the state house will be met with the same efforts by the same people who demanded that he step down.
Casada is only one of many poster boys for what all true patriotic American voters despise about politics, and we can hope this is only the beginning of what will be a nationwide purge of all of the other smug, ego-driven bastards in positions of power who are concerned only with building their own power bases while making life miserable for the rest of us.
In my opinion, there’s really only one rule you need to follow if you think you have what it takes to lead, and that rule is: Don’t be a scummy human being. It’s obvious to everyone by now that Casada missed day one of leadership orientation, or maybe he was just not paying attention and instead texting “locker room talk.”
Another good piece of news is that, finally, there is some penalty for people who text or play around with their phones while driving. Why it took this long, I’ll never know, but at least we’re now making an effort to do something about the self-absorbed idiots who think it’s OK to endanger the rest of us because they can’t wait to put their cars in park before Googling the words to the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island” or texting someone to let them know that unless they run over a Cub Scout while texting and driving they’ll “be there in five minutes.”
My only issue with the new law is that I don’t think the penalty of $50 for the first offense is harsh enough to end the behavior for some people. I personally believe a charge of attempted murder for texting and driving perfectly fits the crime, but I know that’ll never happen. Maybe we can start with something simple, like a $5,000 fine and the permanent loss of their driver’s license.
We already know that people who text and drive are partially insane, oblivious to the safety and well-being of rest of us and obviously not intelligent enough to operate a moving vehicle. Getting them off the road before they kill someone is the only thing that makes any sense at all.
Finally, I was very happy to hear that, albeit only recently, the powers that be in Nashville have admitted that rental scooters are stupid and dangerous, and steps are now being taken to, hopefully, rid us of this silliness.
Here’s some truth: The only people who think adult-size scooters are a good thing are people who own scooter-rental companies, and drunk millennials who feel the world owes them a way to get from one bar to the next other than using their own two legs.
Another thing is that no one over the age of 11 looks cool riding a scooter. You just don’t. It’s a universal truth and, therefore, inescapable. Try walking, drunk millennials, it’s been a “thing” since way before artisanal beers were invented.
That’s my rant — and I’m sticking to it.
Sabbatical over, I guess.
William Carter is a retired longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at