July 16, 2012: I noticed something odd the other day. (And why should we be surprised to find odd things, what with Washington airports being named after Iran-Contra Scandal principals, and Watergate perpetrators being put on stamps?! ... No, nothing surprises me anymore. I don't even surprise myself, except when I come out of the shower, and then it's more shock than anything ...)
Still, this was -- and is -- always odd to me these days. Flags, I mean -- public flags, and the fact that they always seem to be at half-mast. Yes, once again, just last week, I walked (or perhaps skulked is the right word) past a public flagpole -- you know the kind, all straight and white and tall and public -- and there, once again, was a flag left hanging halfway up the pole, and for some reason I still can't quite grasp.
Once upon a time -- it seems so long ago now, when people were people, and not robots, and stamps were 10 cents, or 13 cents, and people licked them for the sheer pleasure of it, and not just to "send" ... Well, back then flags were almost always at the tops of flagpoles where they belonged. It was a rare occasion -- a dark, shared-public-consciousness kind of day -- when some serious death occurred in America that brought the flag back to mid-strife -- presidents or Miss America finalists -- and we walked around for a couple of solid numb days going "ooh" and respectfully mooing "moo," all sublime in our solemnity, like a bunch of sterile coconuts.
But now -- or so it seems to me -- that stupid flag is always fluttering halfway up the flagpole, and I really can't figure out why. After last week's afternoon of inspired contemplation, I finally concluded it had to do with the untimely death of Ernest Borgnine, and then for a few minutes it all made sense ...
But then I began to wonder why was it always at half-mast so often times before his dying. I mean, what am I to conclude? (And by the way, what are you to conclude? What are any of us to conclude, except that these Blah-ugh! entries get worse and worse, and our money would be better spent on fresh copies of "Space Case" by Jarret Liotta (meaning me) (available through Amazon).(Yes, yes. It's all true!))
Anyway, I don't remember what my point was, except you can't trust anything these days, even our founding father flag. I suspect that eventually we'll learn certain corporations are paying significant amounts of money to keep the flags half-masted in the hopes of marketing something. Flags perhaps. It may simply be that Wal-Mart can sell more flags in the summertime if they're kept closer to the crowd so the rabble can grasp them quicker and find motivation to get out and buy more ...
I don't know. It's just one theory, good as another ... Peace out! R.I.P. Ernie!