Friday, December 10, 2004
Where were you on Monday night?
Last Monday night, Dave Letterman drew up the top ten reasons why he did not attend the Special Town Meeting in the Corey Auditorium:
10. It's December.
9. It was dark.
8. It was cold.
7. He had just watched the tree-lighting on the Town Green and he went home for dinner.
6. Fund transfers are boring.
5. All the baby sitters were Christmas shopping.
4. He didn't remember.
3. The school's wastewater treatment plant would not be voted.
2. It had just started to snow.
1. The Warrant Articles would not affect his taxes.
Dave was right. All sane people think that December is an insane month for a Town Meeting. Probably the only reason the first wave arrived — the first 115 people who showed up voluntarily for Town Meeting — is that they had forgotten to flip their calendars. The only reason the second wave showed up — the 50 who arrived at 8 p.m. — is that the first wave, who used to be their friends, called them on their cell phones and threatened to publish their names in the Mosquito if they didn't come.
Thank goodness peer pressure is alive and well in Carlisle. The first wave wishes to thank the second wave for responding so promptly. If the quorum had not been reached last Monday, the first-wave people would be trudging back to the Auditorium next Monday night instead of partying elsewhere. And Town Moderator Tom Raftery deserves a Survivor Award for outlasting those who suggested an early call for postponement.
It was definitely a boring Town Meeting, but the financial housekeeping had to be done. And now it's done.
Dr. Strangelove in the kitchen
Food and our relationship to food has become a critical issue. Food represents so much of what is wonderful about our humanity, but increasingly it represents what we are losing in our human relationships.
The problem started around the end of WWII with the insecurity that evolved from the detonation of the atomic bombs and fears that the world would not be able to feed itself. So-called "nutritional science" came into vogue and with it the development of non-foods and the resultant eruption of "fast food." America's food scientists in their lab coats developed such non—nutritional wonders as Velveeta "cheese" (the yellow color is added), faux ice cream (read "Dari-Joy") and, to beef up the caloric content, started adding sugars to everything. This antithetical trend continues to the present when even livestock feed is not really food.
We have all read about the results of such insanity in the daily press: our livestock base has sickened; our children are suffering from malnutrition; we are increasingly obese and, collectively, we are ignorant of what food self-sufficiency really means. Dr. Strangelove has become our nutritional guru as we diet indiscriminately and seem blissfully unwilling to make the necessary lifestyle changes that would improve the health of our citizenry.
Food, and all that the term might imply, is so much more than life-sustaining calories, proteins and carbohydrates. Food, food production (for man and beast) and food-sharing represent the ultimate communion bond between mankind, hope for the future and a life-sustaining environment. Food production and food producers are the principal saviors of our open space. Food and food sharing are the ultimate form of community-building and communication through the ages. We do not sit down to "break bread" simply to satisfy a raging hunger!
Instead of food security in America, we are now faced with food insecurity — which we too easily brush off as a mere inconvenience. I mean, what is wrong with getting an un-"Happy Meal" at McDonald's if it allows us to have a few extra innings of T-ball (or minutes at the gym)? The government says the place is "clean;" there is nutritional labeling on some of the stuff, and we are out of there in a few minutes. (And, the kids get to play with nifty little plastic creatures marketed to them to sell DVDs). Really, shame on us! Ketchup and pizza are not vegetables and sustainable agriculture should not be left to economists. Eating to live is not the same as living to eat.
Food in America is already too cheap and few producers can afford to keep our store shelves stocked with fruits and vegetables. Why should we cheapen ourselves and endanger the health of our children by pandering to our collective desire to hurry up and get the meal over with? Lunch should be an academic subject in all our schools, we should grow lettuce in our flower beds and family dinner should be de rigueur. And we certainly should not be exporting our junk foods and junk lifestyles around the world in the guise of economic globalization. We get nothing for doing so aside from the knowledge that misery loves company and indigestion will soon become a global condition.
© 2004 The