Wednesday, June 27, 2007


You've seen the story everywhere: Bill Barnes, 72, of Walker, Michigan, is standing there scratching-off a scratch-off when a punk kid tries to snatch his money. Bill grabs the offending fingers with one hand and, with the other, starts wailing on the kid like Mel Gibson. Money quote: "There was blood everywhere." If you're going to have a conflict, that's the way to end it, with blood dripping from the ceiling.

Not that I'm violent, or even advocate violence in others, unless Scientologists are involved. But sometimes it's called for. Anyway, I was standing in the frustration line today, that's the line that starts out looking the shortest, but then because of one thing or another (price check! etc.) becomes the slowest line in the store. OK so I'm standing there watching the scratch-off register and I started day-dreaming about getting a card, leaving the corners of some bills hanging out of my pocket, and spending a few hours just scratching and rescratching....

Not a serious daydream, just passing the time. But that started me thinking. I wonder if, across America, while I stand here dying of old age in this line, I wonder if Alan Alda is standing in a similar line, daydreaming about some punk trying to pick his pocket... Whereupon Alan immobilizes him with the Gaze of Understanding, and proceeds to pummel him with reason, empathy, and a bottle of herbal hair conditioner. Money quote: "There was karma everywhere..." No, I know that could never happen. Alan has people he sends out for conditioner.