“Don’t you have a blog entry or something to do?” asks Husband, somewhat crossly. So here I am.
We are looking out the patio door at the wonderful jungle of an Eden Husband has created in our small stark square suburban backyard. When he first started digging up the sod five years ago, I was very alarmed. It looked like a moonscape out there – one hard flat brown desert rectangle, with a 1960s chain-link fence and a solitary locust tree.
I’m from New England – I want thick ferns springing forth from the foundation of my house. I want dense greenery you take for granted and don’t have to water. I want rich black soil, not this hard red clay. I can’t even get a fern to grow inside my house, much less outside it.
Husband has managed to make me a lush and beautiful secret garden. But one of the pottery fountains isn’t working very well. “Looks like that one needs more water,” I say, with what I hope is a casual tone. “I just put water in it yesterday,” says Husband, immediately on the defensive. Do I bite my tongue? Do I shut up and say nothing? Do I content myself with knowing that since I’ve mentioned it, he will be sure to follow up?
Of course not. I repeat myself, because I know I am Right. And the tone of the evening changes. Not for the better.
This past week was full of tongues that should have been bitten instead of being stuck out at the public and the press. Makes me feel better about my own lingual looseness.
In Texas, we have 5th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge Edith Jones saying, “certain racial groups are prone to violence.” Suppose she means Caucasians?
Asked to explain her remarks, she states that “there is no arguing that Blacks and Hispanics outnumber Anglos on death row and that, sadly, it is a statistical fact that people from these racial groups get involved in more violent crime.” By way of example, she cites “the fact that a lot of Hispanic people are involved in drug trafficking, which itself involves a lot of violent crime.”
Jones, a Reagan appointee, also defends the use of the death penalty because “a killer is only likely to make peace with God and the victim’s family in that moment when the killer faces imminent execution, recognizing that he or she is about to face God’s judgment.”
Is this the wisdom of Solomon we’re after in our judges? Cut that baby in half! It’s just another godless minority bastard out to defraud the welfare system! You may rely upon our judicial system – as long as you’re an affluent white self-righteous Christian zealot.
My own tongue needs biting again. Husband just left a pan of bacon sizzling on the stove while he went outside for a minute (read, “4 or 5”) to start the grill. What if I hadn’t been sitting in the next room, ever-alert and hyper-vigilant and ready, like a self-righteous Christian zealot, to show the way? What if I hadn’t trotted out there immediately to mind his business? My house would be in flames right now. And it’s no doubt under-insured, or I’d be inclined risk it so that I’d never have to deal with that broken faucet in the kitchen (no, I haven’t fixed that yet).
Husband finds me stirring his pot when he returns. “Is there a problem?” he asks, that dry-fountain hostile edge still sharp in his voice. This is my moment. I should shut up, knowing that he does know better than to walk away from hot grease on the stove. Instead, I say (rather primly and probably with my lips pursed), “Well, you did just go outside and leave that bacon unattended.”
I should just paint my tongue black.
But so should the senior US senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss (could even William Faulkner have come up with such a name?), who blames military rapes on “the hormone level created by nature.” Here’s the full quote, from a hearing on the sexual assault crisis in the armed forces:
“The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”
Aw shucks, I just couldn’t help it. My penis told me to do it.
Even the military, predicated upon indoctrinating absolute obedience to following the rules, cannot seem to enforce rules against the ruling sentiment that boys will be boys – gee whiz, warriors shouldn’t have to bother with the niceties of basic human decency. Yet what about all the honorable ones who take such things seriously? Doesn’t this sort of thing just chap their hides?
Perhaps basic human decency shouldn’t be extended to those who grotesquely violate it.
Ha! You didn’t expect me to get all an-eye-for-an-eye on you – a bleeding heart liberal with a secret fondness for Hammurabi harshness. I read about the likes of Jodi Arias and Ariel Castro and become as foaming-at-the-mouth self-righteously zealous and vindictive as anyone I ever criticize here.
Mother always told me to keep them guessing. “Do I contradict myself?” asks Whitman. “Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” 
And, really, “Gee, whiz?” Talk about further denigrating something: Gee whiz, that bomb went off in Boston. Gee whiz, those kids got shot in Newtown. Gee, whiz, that guy suffered thirty stab wounds, a slit thoat, and a bullet in his forehead. Gee whiz, those women lost ten years in that Cleveland cellar.
It’s like calling extra-sharp organic aged artisan Vermont cheddar Cheez Whiz.
Not that I haven’t happily eaten more than my share of tasty salty bright orange over-processed viscous artificial cheese food products. Whitman rules.
 Walt Whitman (1819-1892) “Song of Myself”