You have to wonder if oil companies have a sales staff. And like any other large corporation, do they award their top performers prizes like a week in Santa Barbara or a wide screen TV or something? And you further have to wonder how you can get one of those jobs. The only easier gig for a sales person would be hawking insulin to diabetics. You could pretty much count on that golf outing to Santa Barbara every year with a job like that. What else are people going to buy to run their cars and heat their homes, wind? 

The world is full of puzzling questions. Here’s another: Is it possible yet in this world of A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) A.A.D.D. (the adult-strength version), Bipolar Disease and other newly minted syndromes, to get a custom-made disease diagnosed to explain away your own shortcomings? They could be called George’s Syndrome or Shiela’s Disorder (The dreaded G.S. and S.D.!) and have as their list of symptoms everything about you that rubs people the wrong way. That would be ideal. No need for self-improvemment there! “Hey, back off, people, I can’t help being a self-centered jerk! I have Jimmyitis, you know.” No longer would we need to waste valuable time working on our faults. 

Also looming large in the just wondering department are the disease-curing dynamos of science, as in “what-the-hell-ever-happened-to-those-people?” wondering. What, curing diseases turned out to be really brain busting activity so they decided to create phony new ones instead and “cure” them to pad the resume? Here’s a flash, Einsteins: you’re fooling nobody! Talk about your S.A.D.D. (Scientific Ability Deficit Disorder) situations.

Speaking of disappointing science, you also have to wonder what’s the deal with our space program, such as it is. What started out as an exciting adventure sure petered out pretty quick after we sent a few guys to the moon. Sent them almost forty years ago, that is! Was that the only goal, to visit what we already knew was basically a giant sterile boulder and bring back a few rocks? If memory serves, anybody who was paying attention at the time (that would be the entire world) recalls all sorts of exciting and daring plans on the drawing boards, from space stations to mining asteroids to colonizing the nearby planets as a stepping stone to the stars. 

Sorry, but was that boring anybody? And isn’t a whole lot of the world-transforming technology base that we use today the direct by-products of the space program? Things like micro-chips, ultra-miniaturization and fiber optics? (That would be a yes.) Before the space scientists got busy the average computer was the size of a post office and couldn’t do a tiny fraction of the things any laptop can do these days and the term “digital” referred to an unpleasant finger examination in the doctor’s office. You have to wonder if there’s some other fun and beneficial technology we might stumble across on our way to the great unknown, maybe find out that some of those asteroids are edible, delicious and cure cancer. You just never know. Who knew moon rocks would lead to iPods?

And finally, you kind of have to wonder about all the constant mention of the Middle East being “The Cradle of Civilization.” You know, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers chock full of Biblical history, which didn’t seem all that civil in the first place upon close examination. Seems like the civilized people left The Cradle a long time ago and got on with their lives, moving elsewhere where there are actual trees and fertile soil and the like. These days it seems more like The Tomb of Civilization. Those living there now don’t just seem to have the hang of civilized behavior, what with them slaughtering each other, chopping heads and hands off, enslaving their women and blaming the rest of the world for their enduring squalor.

And nobody ever accused the Middle East of being the Cradle of Comedy, that’s for sure. Check out the Bible and the Koran. Not too many distracting laughs get in the way of teaching us how to hate one another and slaughter our “enemies” (our fellow humans who look just like us) down to the last man, woman and child. And today? No stand up comics, no ensemble skit comedy, zero satire and no understanding of irony at all, with little but grim and bitter documentaries when it comes to movies. A real frown fest of a region. Yet another pressing reason for America to get out of the fix-the-Middle-East-with-yet-another-war business. It’s clearly only making these killjoys even more dour and hostile. They’ve already got no shortage of their own wars to fight between each other without our input.

Maybe sending over Dave Chappel and Larry the Cable guy would help (and just hope they don’t say anything that will get them lashed in a public square). One of these days somebody’s going to change the whole atmosphere over there by being really, really funny, one of their own. That will go a lot further towards making peace than a thousand treaties imposed by diplomats looking for Great Statesman points and big speaking fees and who don’t have to live there with the results of their fatal misreading of the situation. They really do have to lighten up over there. Let’s see… an Imam, a Rabbi and an Ayatollah walk into a bar, and the bartender says: “So, why the long faces?”  Hmmm… needs work…

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