Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Serve Somebody

I have heard it said that women, for reasons going back to the Stone Age, are better than men at that oh-so-hip skill we call "multitasking". All I know is, I was observing the Mrs. a few nights ago. In her left hand was one of those fruity drinks, from which she would occasionally sip while she employed her right hand in a game of computer solitaire. At the same time she listened to a prerecorded book through an ear plug. If that weren't enough, classical music was coming through the computer speakers. Romantic piano, I think it was. And no, she didn't seem stressed at all. No wonder they like her so much at work, where she has now rolled up five years of service.

Today's title is taken from a Bob Dylan song. Let's look at a couple of examples of just who is serving whom. You might have seen or read about Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who, we have to say, bungled his fifteen minutes of fame last week. At a congressional hearing Mr. Barton apologized to BP for the "shakedown" by the government on the company (setting aside $20 billion for damages to people and businesses in or near the Gulf) as it tries to stop the big oil leak continuing there. It's true that the company has been one of Mr. Barton's biggest campaign donors, but technically he represents ALL the people of his district, not BP itself. His lame attempt to apologize for the apology fell flat. We see here a congressman for who he really is - someone bought and paid for by a rich and powerful entity whose corporate mission statement could be summed up in the words "Can we do it cheaper?" The answer is "Perhaps, but buying a congressman is so ridiculously cheap now, why even try?"

Then there's the story of Manute Bol, the tallest man to ever play in the NBA, at 7'7". The onetime "Sudanese Swatter", another of those awful made up nicknames, passed away at age 47 from complications of a skin disease.
At this point we should pause and try to get a little perspective on just what it's like to be over seven feet tall. I'm sure it's often unpleasant to try to fold up your body into a space meant for someone two feet shorter. And it's not as though you can pass in a crowd unnoticed, which I'm sure can get annoying. Wilt Chamberlain, normally a friendly enough guy, heard someone ask "How's the weather up there?" once too often and answered by leaning over and spitting on the questioner with the reply "It's raining."
Sudan has more than its share of tall people, but Bol had no choice to be anything but famous there. In the last few years he became a humanitarian, using his celebrity to bring things like schools to a country with little or no natural assets. All this the big guy took on with a smile. He enjoyed the good life as much as anyone, I'm sure, but not so much that he forgot what it was like to have nothing. I don't know about his religious background, but I salute him for following the advice of Jesus - "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."


Post a Comment

<< Home