By the time this appears in your vendor’s hands, there will be men hurtling themselves down ice chutes, feet first, flat on their backs, on top of each other on tiny sleds at 90 plus mph. And I’ll bet at least half of you won’t even think there’s anything strange about that. Talk about your slippery slopes.
I see it as one of my purposes in life to flag the strange. Try saying “luge” five times and see if it doesn’t start to sound weird.
I am probably not going to pay much attention to the goings on at the Olympics until my favorite competition gets underway.
Women’s single figure skating always has me transfixed in front of the TV set every four years during the Winter Olympics, and then I generally forget it exists the rest of the time.
Until then the obsession of my life will be food and food-related subjects. The reason I’m currently obsessed with food is I’m on a diet, and diets will do that to you.
I’ve been on a diet now since last August, about six months. It’s not a difficult diet because I get to eat a lot of food that I like. But even so, the fact that I’m on a diet at all is warping all my thoughts and everything I see looks like cheese to me. When I see someone walking a ridiculous small dog, instead of thinking, “Slay the abomination!” like I used to, now I think, “Mmm, cheese.”
I’ve become intensely aware of how fortunate I am to have such a diet as mine. The diet limits bready things, for instance. Back when I was homeless it would have been hard to go without bready things. They were so much of what there was to eat.
I also get to eat all the hard-boiled eggs, unbreaded fish, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables I want. At all the free community meals I attended when I was homeless, I can’t recall any, ever, that featured any of those foods. The meal was usually hot dogs cut up and served in beans with a side of fries or chips. Any leafy vegetable almost always consisted of iceberg lettuce, or what I call “light green water.”
The Trump administration made some noise this week concerning food. Reuters reported they want to make immigrants leave the country if they use any public assistance, including food assistance for their U.S.-born children.
The idea is we should let people stay in this country only if they aren’t using taxpayer money. They should be living within their own means.
I’m sure that the idea will get a lot of support from U.S. citizens across the country who resent immigrants using any tax-supported services, but I think everyone should be very careful and look out for what comes down the road after this.
The message is if you use any tax-supported service, you are leeching off the rest of the country.
But the tax-supported services were created by the people’s elected representatives for all of us to use when we need them. If you stigmatize immigrants for using them, you will also stigmatize all of us for using them, whether you intend to or not.
Consider how much you use tax-supported services. Have you driven on a road lately? The road was probably paid for with taxes. If you don’t drive you probably take buses, and the bus fare is heavily subsidized by taxes.
Is the Trump administration going to bar permanent residency for immigrants who use public roads? Will they evict immigrants who check books out from a public library? For taking ESL classes at a public college?
Speaking of flagging the strange, it’s extremely strange that vast numbers of people can hold these ideas simultaneously: That this is a Christian nation, and also that children born here to immigrant parents should suffer either malnutrition or have to be given up for adoption in order to stay in the country of their birth, because their parents did what they could to feed them right, and got sent away.
I can’t help but think that the rest of us will be next.
Anyone who uses food assistance will be blacklisted and denied other services, for not being self-supporting enough. n
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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