Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The National Football League (NFL). Justice. Ebola Fever. You. What have they in common, if anything?

“To accuse is to smear.”

Reality: American football is a violent sport, designed as a violent sport, played as a violent sport.

Reality: Violence attracts the violence-prone.

Reality: America, as a nation, is not violent. Yes, certain groups are violence-prone, among which, however, are not Caucasians — female or male.

Reality: Conversely, Negroes, as a group, are violence-prone, especially male Negroes. In fact, they are the most violence-prone racial or ethnic group in America.

Reality: Percentage of Negroid players in the National Football League = 65%.

Reality: Ray Rice is one of those players.

Reality: The NFL indefinitely suspended Ray Rice for a violent act allegedly perpetrated upon his then-girlfriend — now wife.

Reality: Using the passive voice, National Public Radio, among others in the Media, reported, “The NFL has been criticized for its handling of the case.” Criticized? By whom? Apparently not all the fans, as indicated by attendance and viewership. Right! Criticized by sponsors affrighted about losing customers if they continue to advertise while Ray Rice continues to play.

Has Ray Price been convicted of a crime? No.

Has Ray Price been tried for a crime? No.

The basic rule of American jurisprudence is that the status of an accused remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law with jurisdiction. Ray Rice doesn’t qualify for that status, not having been either tried nor convicted and never going to be.

Admittedly, that basic rule applies only within the legal system itself. The NFL doesn’t qualify for that status, not being a court of law. Moreover, there usually are clauses in players’ contracts addressing moral turpitude. Morals? What morals? Whose morals? Besides, when did America, as a nation, regain an interest in morality?

So, what to do? Should major, professional sports adopt a single, universal rule to cover behavior off the field of play? Should each major, professional sport adopt its own rule? Should each major, professional sport judge each case as it arises? If so, what would be the referent standard?

Context: The United States of America . . . a nation in decline beset by multiple standards of conduct demanded by multiple interests — each interest with its own agenda to gain power and wealth at the expense of the rest of the nation. Common to these competing agendas has been a common context — the progressive feminizing and de-masculinizing of America, in general (See Categories/ABC’s & Cultural Context/True Grit.).

Antecedent: A violent incident outside a violent sport, allegedly committed by a violence-prone player of that sport.

Behavior: A clamor for prompt punishment of the accused, lack of  judicial verdict notwithstanding. It is a clamor voiced most militantly by a particular female interest-group and its sympathizers — a group that might be called “Radical Maternalists”; namely, those infecting normal, healthy maternalism with radical, pathological feminism.

Consequence: Smearing the reputation of the accused as well as inflicting potential loss of income.

To accuse is to smear. Many remember the accusation. Few remember the exoneration.

The case of Ray Rice might seem a poor choice to use as a platform for inquiry in this matter. Perhaps, not.

A videotape strongly suggests that Mr. Rice, indeed, struck his then-girlfriend, causing a probable concussion with unconsciousness. Yet, subsequently the woman married him, nonetheless. Moreover, the case against him was dismissed because she refused to testify. If she forgives and forgets, should the rest of us?

Alright, abused women and men often protect their abusers and remain to be abused again. Such is their choice; psychosis, delirium, or dementia aside. Is it the duty of society to protect these so-called victims from themselves? If so, how? Despite propaganda on the sides of policing cars — “To serve and protect.” — the police, by law representing of society, have no duty to protect, at all. Legally, it’s the responsibility of the individual to protect himself and that of the parents to protect their children.

The videotape in question indicates that, prior to their entering the elevator alone, his girl friend and Mr. Rice were arguing. He spit at her. She then slapped him, striking the first blow. Her action legally gave him cause to strike her. Right! He’s a man; she’s a woman. Equality with chivalry, is it?

Then, after entering the elevator, Mr. Rice hit her. What was the antecedent for his blow? Was she about to strike him again? A person, man or woman, once attacked physically by another has a lawful right to defend himself by striking the attacker. Who knows what really happened? Was she threatening to tear out his eyes with claw-like nails? Despite the difference in physical size, was Mr. Rice afraid for his safety? Was he within his legal rights? Possibly.

If it’s not the responsibility of the law to protect anywhere, should it become the responsibility of employers to try to prevent such violence outside the workplace? Such protection can come only by punishing those accused. When? How?

Assuming an honest, impartial judge, the benefit of awaiting a formal, legal decision before jumping to judgement is that both sides in a controversy have the opportunity to present their respective cases. A videotape reveals a man hitting a woman in an elevator. What was the context? What was the antecedent? From the videotape alone, who knows? Answering those questions is the reason for judicial trials with due process.

An even more compelling and related issue today is rape. Rape — the easiest crime to claim; the most difficult to prove. A woman publicly accuses a man of having raped her. Should her accusation alone be sufficient for an employer to prompt punishment of the accused? Should the accused’s being smeared in the media be sufficient?

In days gone by when modesty was considered a virtue among women, if a woman voluntarily entered a private, closed setting such as his residence alone with a man, legally she no longer could claim rape. She willingly had placed herself into a compromising context. She said; he said. No longer. Today, men automatically are presumed guilty even after having proven themselves otherwise. After all, where there was smoke, wasn’t there fire?


Professional Sports
Are professional sports different? In professional sports, shouldn’t the players function as models for youth to imitate? Shouldn’t they avoid even the appearance of impropriety?

In an ideal world, even the less-than-ideal world of yesteryear — yes. In a religiously-oriented society with absolute, moral values — yes. In a secular society with fluid values — no, not possible in a way both just and fair.

With Ray Rice, the NFL has adopted the typical, cowardly corporate cringing and shifting. Of what are they affrighted? The sponsors responding to the National Organization of Women and their ilk? You bet. Yet, whence comes the opposition? After all, there’s no comparable National Organization of Men.

Is it too much in such cases to ask to allow the law run its course? Once a legal decision has been rendered, can’t the employers then act accordingly, pursuant to contract? In the case of Ray Rice, the law has run its course — end of story? Not for the Radical Maternalists.

Ray Rice legally may be guilty or not guilty. No court has heard the evidence. No court has rendered a verdict. No court ever will.

At the moment, Mr. Rice has become a poster-boy for attacking maleness with its inherent, biological predisposition towards aggression, in general; and for promoting the agenda of Radical Maternalism, a basic tenet of which is castration of all males — figuratively if not literally. Is Mr. Rice receiving justice? Oh, right! The videotape.

Yes, the videotape might be admissible as evidence in a court of law; however, it would be admitted accompanied by testimony under penalty of perjury, addressing the context in which the actions recorded occurred and the antecedents that prompted them. We have no such testimony.

Yes, Mr. Rice likely might be convicted. Even so, he hasn’t been convicted and won’t be; at least for the incident in question.

“So what?” you might say.

The rebuttal is, “Where do you draw the line? With compelling evidence such as the videotape? With accusation with witnesses? With accusation without witnesses?”

Is punishing an accused without legal conviction justice? Hey, Mister, what if it happens to you at work? Should your female accuser’s word be sufficient to have you suspended even temporarily and have you smeared for life no matter what the outcome?

Ebola Fever
“So, what does all this commotion have to do with Ebola Fever? What’s the common factor?” you might be asking.

Reality! Facing reality. Living in an ether of increasing electronic Virtual Reality, Americans progressively have become divorced from Actual Reality. We are a people that has inflicted upon ourselves steepening debt, serial defeats, shameful degradation, and sorrowful despair — all of which we discuss at length but operationally ignore at our peril. Now, we face the possibility of a pandemic from a deadly virus. It’s not Hollywood-conceived Virtual Reality starring Denzel Washington singlehandedly saving the world. It’s Actual Reality.

A pandemic of Ebola Fever, however, will be more difficult to ignore than debt, defeats, and self-degradation. There are 1,400,000 cases predicted in West Africa by January 2015. What about January 2016 — in all Africa? In Europe? In Asia? In our Western Hemisphere?

If the trend continues, Ebola Fever is going to make all of us but the most die-hard, anti-racial ideologues get really real really rapidly. Maybe, when it’s all over, it’ll have been all for the best for the species albeit not for most of its individuals. Why? There likely will be survivors, which won’t be the case with an increasingly likely nuclear war. Better worldwide Ebola Fever than worldwide nuclear war.

Plague or nuclear war. Are those our only two options?

Maybe not. Maybe, such a plague of Ebola Fever won’t happen; at least now. In that case, we can continue down our current path towards Perdition until it does happen.

We can pretend that American football isn’t violent — that it doesn’t attract violence-prone males such as Ray Rice — that we should judge and punish men based upon mere accusation by a female, any female will do.  Witness the case of the three, innocent, Caucasoid students at Duke University accused of rape by a Negroid prostitute and immediately judged guilty by the institution then persecuted by a self-aggrandizing, rogue prosecutor. Ironic, isn’t it, for men to have their reputations possibly ruined for life by a woman of ill-repute?

Maybe, however — just maybe, most American men and even some American women will face Actual Reality and deal with it honestly and effectively whether it be professional sports or human survival. Actual Reality is that men aren’t women, and women aren’t men. Accusation isn’t conviction. Justice isn’t idiosyncratic, invalid, anti-racial, anti-scientific ideology.

Unfortunately, without a calamity such as Ebola Fever facing us, the odds of such a renaissance seem slim. The consequences of Ray Rice’s affair portend an ominous future for him and for America. The consequences of Ebola Fever? Without prompt, decisive, and effective measures likely of draconian and abhorrent magnitude, a bleak future for all humanity (



Monday, September 8th, 2014

Note (15SEP2014): Last week marked the official announcement by Apple of the debut of its new so-called smart-phone, the iPhone6. Believe it or not, there are some who characterize the late-Steve Jobs as truly a social villain of commerce at the same as level as Alfred P. Sloan, who almost single-handedly destroyed safe, affordable, dependable, efficient urban mass-transit in favor of the unsafe, expensive, undependable, inefficient, highly polluting, but highly profitable automobile.

A Vignette

As usual, the spacious coffee-shop was crowded. A couple in late middle-age, carrying their own food and drinks from the counter at the front, found a table in the back as it was being vacated by a similar, older couple. After the departing customers had cleaned their own table, their successors seated themselves.

“You know, Alicia, despite the sheeple cleaning their own tables in a private establishment, there may be hope for America, yet.”

Having heard times too many to count her husband’s rant about customers in a “service-economy” servicing themselves, Alicia felt surprise at hearing a bit of optimism. Smiling, she replied, “Well, I think so, but what makes you think so, Mr. Cynic the Pessimist?”

“This restaurant is one of dozens . . . one link in a national chain.”


“So, in this geographical area over-populated by the elderly, it’s filled with younger people.”


“So, this unit, as all others in this chain and every other chain, continuously plays canned music. We’ve reached the point where we Americans can’t live without continuous stimulation.”


“Unlike its competitors, however, this chain plays classical music and only classical music.”

“Ah! I see what you mean.”

After finishing their snack, the husband began to glance continually towards a table nearby. Four, clean-cut adolescents, two boys and two girls, all about sixteen or seventeen, sat talking. Before each lay a small, electronic device . . . a so-called smart-phone.

As Alicia was departing, her husband paused to speak to the youngsters. Immediately, Alicia expected the worst . . . an interrogation of complete strangers by her marital gadfly.

“Say, would you folks permit me to be totally intrusive by asking a few questions?”

The four looked at each other, we humans taking our cues from one another. With some hesitation, one then another nodded in the affirmative.

“You’re in high school, right?”

“Yes,” answered the chorus.

“You each have before you an electronic device.”

Each nodded in the affirmative. One of the girls giggled, looking away from her elderly interrogator.

“Tell me, do you control those electronic devices, or do they control you?”

Again, the four looked at each other. Again with some hesitation, each admitted that the answer was in doubt but probably the latter.

“Okay. What carrier do you use?”

This time, simultaneously they all voiced the same answer. It was one of the largest with expensive plans but without the unlimited data-downloading offered in the past.

“How much do your plans cost?”

Again, simultaneously they all shrugged the same answer. None knew.

“Last question . . . who pays for the service?”

Once again, simultaneously they all voiced the same answer, “My parents.”


Ever the self-anointed sleuth, Cynic the Pessimist began his investigation of smart-phones and their servicing plans. He visited an always-appealing and always-busy, Apple-owned store. He even attended a free, orientating session there. Apple can afford such luxuries with a profit ranging from 40% to 70% on each item sold.

Then, he visited a store operated by a carrier selling one of the most popular services. To buy the iPhone5s that day would cost, with tax, approximately $775.00; no discount even though the iPhone6 would become available within a few weeks if not sooner. To buy the item at a discount meant obligating oneself to a contract for two years. In the end, the price of the item would be the same if not more. “Pay now . . . pay later . . . but pay!”

The servicing plan that seemed optimal through the major carrier would cost approximately $72.00/month . . . no contract but still limited data-downloading. That price included 20% in taxes, so he could contribute involuntarily to the government providing telephones and telephonic services to those who claimed that they could not afford these “necessities” . . . those who paid no income-taxes . . . those who were unproductive . . . the “needy” . . . the “vulnerable”.

“Alicia, the situation is financially insane.”

“Take it or leave it, but I suggest that you take it.” Admittedly, Alicia was biased. She was to be the recipient of the newly-purchased smart-phone, given that she truly was one of the needy; having only an ancient “clam-shell” operating 2G.

Feeling similar to a sheep about to be fleeced in the middle of an exceptionally cold winter, Cynic the Pessimist sought refuge. After searching the Internet, lo and behold! He discovered that he could buy a Virgin Awe N800 for approximately $55.00 total/total. Was there a catch? Of course, but one not too bad. The item was locked permanently to Virgin; he couldn’t use a different carrier.

Actually, Virgin uses Sprint, which offers a definite advantage . . . continued, unlimited data-downloading. Cost of the optimal plan without contract, activating fee, or cancelling fee? $35.00/month plus sales-tax. Best of all, he need not use a credit-card. He could buy a “top-off”-card at a Best Buy nearby.

There was a downside, however; apparently, a downside common to all smart-phones . . . a printed manual so skimpy, it left the unsophisticated buyer starving for information, “help on-line” notwithstanding. Three days later, he finally had configured the smart-phone; an exercise in enhancing cognition and building character. A week afterwards, he received an e-mail from Virgin belatedly welcoming him to its “family” and providing a set on instructions.

Dutifully, he, in turn, instructed Alicia in its use then yielded its possession to her. Consequences? A kiss on the cheek and a question, “How much money did you put into its account?”


Believe it or not, Mr. Jobs did not invent the telephone, nor the computer, nor recorded music, nor moving pictures. That which he did invent was a way to bring the waking behavior of hundreds of millions under the almost-constant control of electronic devices by making those devices portable and relatively inexpensive compared to their predecessors although woefully expensive in terms of physical and mental dulling; an example of the price being right but the cost being wrong.

The best-selling author, Stephen King, reportedly remarked that modern devices such as Jobs’s are the equivalent of ancient slave-bracelets. Access to the devices today still is controlled mainly by private companies. Imagine governmental snoops expanding their access to your personal information and communications with each use. Imagine governmental enforcers controlling the consequences of each use. Can’t happen? It already is.

Hello, NSA? Are you listening? Are you tracking? Of course, you are. How’s the weather at your data-facility in Utah? Oh, I see that you’re accompanied by Google and others of its kind.

Anyway . . . . Oh, Oh! Here comes another of those unmarked drones spying on us again. The police? If so, surprisingly, they make us feel more afraid than safe. If not, unsurprisingly, they make us feel more enraged than flattered. By the way, why’s that military-styled, armored vehicle with police-markings still cruising our neighborhood?

Anyway, imagine carrying a seemingly indispensable, behaviorally-addictive, electronic device containing a non-removable battery that, even when turned off, continues to broadcast its own whereabouts and, thereby, yours. No need to imagine. It’s already here. Name? Apple iPhone.1 Amazingly, Steve Jobs and his imitators have convinced us to use our own money voluntarily to buy electronic devices that spy on us, never mind destroying our hearing and our brains; the latter functionally if not anatomically . . . hey, at least buying ObamaCare is involuntary. You can blame him not yourself.

What’s the reason for our obliging the late Mr. Jobs? Convenience, you say?

Yes, convenience is convenient. Convenience also has its consequences, not all of them favorable . . . a concern to those who still bother to care.

Care? Care? Come on. New Yorkers say, “Fuggedaboutit!” Alfred P. Newman said, “What, me worry?”


Alicia sat sulking on the couch in the living room, watching DeGeneris’s show on her new smart-phone. Her husband and she just had been arguing about the point at which to set the thermostat; a marital conflict over a single degree Fahrenheit. He approached her with that which passed for a smile, given his usual, dour countenance. Apparently, he had dismissed the unpleasant incident even though having lost it. Another small victory for “women’s lib”.

“So, Alicia, how’s the smart-phone functioning for you?”

“Okay, sort of.”

“Sort of?”

“Well, to tell the truth . . .”

“Go ahead . . . tell the truth. You’re neither a lawyer nor a politician.”

“Funny man! To tell the truth, I’m still trying to figure out how all its features work. I managed to connect to this televised garbage, and I’m waiting to see if the ‘phone will puke, electronically speaking, before I do.”

“Time will tell. Anyway, speaking of telling the truth, I’m trying to figure out whether I believe that which I said at the coffee-shop.”

“Which of the many things you said?”

“Whether I believe that there really might be hope for America (”

“Personally, I believe there is. Knowing you, I can guess what you believe, Mr. Cynic the Pessimist.”

“Really? You could be wrong.”

“Yes, and it could snow in July.”

“It does . . . in the Southern Hemisphere.”

1. Supposedly, by placing the device into “Airplane mode”, it neither will transmit nor receive; a feature not presented on several occasions at any Apple-owned stores. Whether that supposition holds for governmental snooping remains problematic. Removing batteries from its competitors’ devices definitely renders those devices completely inoperative.

-The End-

FROM ASHES TO . . . . ?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

“As for man, his days are as grass;/As a flower in the field, so he flourisheth.” -Psalms 103:15.

The label on the returned envelope read, “Zurück/Retour/Ritorno/Return”. Subsequent telephonic calls to the land-line and to the cellular were met only by recorded messages in a language unfamiliar to the caller. Although incomprehensible, the implication of each message, nevertheless, was ominous.

Days then weeks passed with the caller’s making no further attempts at inquiry. His concern . . . nay, his dread . . . waxed then waned.

He had many contacts abroad. Two or three were acquainted with the object of his concern. Even so, he could not force himself to approach any of them . . . especially not to chance actually hearing another human voice say words so feared.

More than a quarter-century previous, while abroad . . . while taking a few days of holiday from the business that had brought him there, he had met his friend. Sometimes, when two people meet, they take an almost instantaneous dislike . . . even loathing . . . to each other; whereas, other times, they find themselves experiencing the opposite.

So it was with his friend and him. An instantaneous rapport? No, something even more meaningful . . . more intense. Friendship. Yes, they had become friends, real friends, true friends within the first few hours.

What is a friend, after all? Is it not someone for whom rewarding you rewards him? If so, the caller’s friend was, indeed, a true friend.

As years passed, they retained that friendship despite the distance . . . despite the infrequent visits . . . the caller’s visits always. His friend long had suffered illness, serious illness, more recently compounded by a post-surgical disaster. It was as though God . . . or the Fates or Destiny, if one prefers . . . was challenging his friend, who successfully had mastered one trial, to master a second.

Firstly had come a severe, genetically-transmitted, chronic, auto-immunological disease suffered since young adulthood . . . a disease that had obviated marrying for fear of transmitting the curse. Secondly came a loss of all peripheral vision following removal of a benign but odious tumor of the pituitary gland at the base of his brain . . . a surgery that necessarily left him requiring daily injections of hormones simply to remain alive but unnecessarily robbed him of almost all peripheral vision.

Despite these challenges . . . challenges that might have led a man of lesser mettle to make the final escape from his wretched condition . . . to his quietus make whether by shuffling off his mortal coil with a bare bodkin or a shotgun . . . his friend maintained an active life and a cheerful attitude. Yet, to continue paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Who would such fardels bear?”

To some observers, it may have seemed inconceivable that a man bearing such burdens would wish to live, let alone to be able to enjoy life in many ways at many times. Yet, this man did.

When, on occasion, the caller contemplated his friend’s will to survive . . . his ability to adapt and prosper, he would remark to himself, “A better man than I ever shall be.”

Over the preceding weeks, the thought of pursuing inquiry had paralyzed any attempt to do so. As time passed, the urge for inquiry slowly began diminishing.

Then, one day while checking e-mails, unexpectedly he encountered an old item from his friend. It contained the e-mailing address of his friend’s nephew. What to do?

“Therefore, send not to know/For whom the bell tolls./It tolls for thee.” – John Donne (1572-1631)

Truly, his reticence reflected his fear for his friend. Yet, did it reflect not also his fear for himself? Perhaps, even more?

As he clicked “Send”, he screamed silently, “Let the bell toll!”

A few minutes later, he scrolled to the top of the items filling his “Inbox”. There . . . there it was. The reply . . . so soon. A part of him had hoped that it would be delayed . . . indefinitely, perhaps?

Unable to chance the truth, he finished deleting unwanted items. To his short-lived relief, there were many. Then, inevitably, the moment of final decision.

So, a deep breath. Then, a click . . . click.

In a flash, it opened. He read its content, sighed, closed the program, then closed his eyes. The track of a tear lay on his cheek while the ultimate, age-old question sat on his lips. “From ashes . . . to ashes . . . to . . . . ?”

©LifeMAX® (2013)


Monday, May 20th, 2013

Note (20MAY2012): The past few postings have addressed the context and consequences of events on the Korean Peninsula. Context and consequences form the basis of biobehavioral science and, ultimately, govern all our actions. This posting also addresses context and consequences but in a different venue and in a different format.

The trim redhead of a certain age with a sharp tongue and an empty stomach arrived three minutes prior to the opening. The several, silver-colored, metal tables on the sidewalk outside were filled with enthusiastic customers-in-waiting; all but one, that is. The woman took a seat, motioning her husband, a self-described “fatty-in-disguise”, to place his slightly overweight body on the remaining, empty chair.

The springtime-sun shone brightly. The sky was blue. The air was clear. The temperature was temperate. A perfect day to partake of ice-cream at Leopold’s even though the hour barely was eleven o’clock. After all, the woman had partaken of no breakfast, whatsoever.

She sat silently, considering her program for the day. It was Sunday.

Previously that morning, she had arrived fifteen minutes early for the first of the two services at the Episcopal church founded in 1733 and currently billing itself as “The Mother Church of Georgia”. She found all doors locked. Bewildered, she backtracked to a nearby hotel.

Approaching the desk-clerk, a large chocolate-colored woman with processed, curly hair, she inquired about services at the nearby church. Initially puzzled by the question, the clerk then rolled her big, brown eyes and gave her pale-faced, freckled questioner a huge grin.

“Honey, yo’ be from up Nort’, ain’t yo’?”


“Well, yo’ in de South now. We here operate on Suhdern time. Dey be op’nin’ de doors ‘bout five minutes befo’ de service.”

The self-admitted Northerner smiled and thanked her colorful fountain of information. Departing the lobby, she returned to the church.

As predicted, five minutes before eight o’clock, the doors opened. The woman entered, and, at eight o’clock precisely, the service began with a total of six worshipers in attendance. Times had changed theologically since 1733 . . . even in Savannah . . . even for “The Mother Church of Georgia”. The later religious service likely would be attended better although not as well as the concurrent service of ice-cream at Leopold’s.

Yes, times had changed . . . souls might be starving, but bellies were bulging. Besides, for this particular woman, the past was the past, even if the past was only three hours before. At the moment, it was the present, and the present was the time for ice-cream. She may not have found a throng celebrating the old-time religion of its choice at the church of its choice, but she would find a throng consuming the ice-cream of its choice at the ice-cream shop of its choice.

“Well, I went to church. Now, chocolate, here I come!” she whispered to herself as she guided her reluctant, weight-obsessed husband into the building. It had been re-styled into an old-time, ice-cream shop by a set-designer from Hollywood.

As events transpired, ice-cream for her became only an appetizer. With its customer having consumed its former contents in a flash, the fluted glass, once filled with “chocolate chocolate-chip”, sat empty. Before her dispirited, self-deprived husband sat a half-cup of coffee with skimmed milk, not cream.

As her husband was about to lift the cup from the saucer, a young man wearing a white apron with the now-archaic, white cap of a “soda-jerk” from bygone years, pranced towards the table. In the affected voice of those who indulge in that which Oscar Wilde once called the love that dare not speak its name but now is screaming its presence ubiquitously, he asked, “Who has the pimento-cheese sandwich and chocolate milkshake?”

Made speechless by the sight of the sandwich and milkshake, the self-described fatty-in-disguise, usually a man of many words with a ready answer, pointed towards his wife, who returned his feeble gesture with a look of spirited triumph. “Are you planning to eat all this now?” her husband whined weakly in disbelief.

“What do you think?” his wife fired back, licking her lips. “You know, the sandwich is an old-fashioned, Southern delicacy . . . and the milkshake? You know, like the old-fashioned ones . . . not too thick . . . not too creamy . . . just right.”

“No, I don’t know,” he mumbled to himself.

Feeling contrite, not from his wife’s dismissive retort but from the envy elicited by his self-imposed reluctance to imitate her ordering such an inviting repast, he merely stared blankly at the line of other customers rapidly forming to partake of the various flavors of ice-cream that he himself had forsworn. Several minutes passed in silence. His wife ate. He sulked.

Finally, he opined, “What I do know is that this really is a great table . . . right next to the line of enthusiastic customers. If Mad Magazine ever makes another movie, the opening scene should be shot here. What a conglomeration of the fit and unfit! The producers could recruit the actors right here as though they were from Central Casting in a Fellini-movie.”

With that observation and without an invitation, he reached for his wife’s milkshake. She shot him a second look of triumph.

“As Mark Twain said, the only thing I can’t resist is temptation.”

“I believe that it was said by Oscar Wilde,” his wife replied.  “Look, Dimples, I want you to enjoy whatever you want . . . no matter how fattening, but, frankly, don’t you think you’ve been putting on a little weight lately?”

Literarily corrected, physically maligned, but gustatorily unchastened, he returned to staring at the other customers lined before him, now stretching out the door, down the block. Then, undaunted by his wife’s observation, he sputtered, “I’ve . . . I’ve an . . . uh, an idea.”

“Can’t you keep it to yourself, Pericles . . . I’m eating?”

Never one to keep his opinions and ideas to himself, he ignored her request. “You know how Mayor Bloomberg . . . the guy who made a billion, so he’s decided that he should dictate everyone else’s lifestyle . . . has been trying to pass laws about dietary behaviors?”

“You mean the rich hypocrite who promotes ‘gun-control’ in New York City while his bodyguards carry firearms in Bermuda, where doing so is illegal for everyone else and even forbidden to the police? What about him?”

“Yeah, that’s the guy. Well, the City of Savannah could take a page from his book.”


“Here’s the idea. Look around you. What do you see? Some fit, thin people amidst a sea of unfit fat ones.”


“So, let’s say Savannah imposes a new, Bloomberg-type law. Before every customer gets served, he . . . or she . . . gets measured for obesity. The greater the obesity, the higher the price of the ice-cream.”

His wife looked at him as a loving mother would look at her retarded child. “Ignoring the astronomical odds against such a law ever being passed,” she asked, “wouldn’t the consequence be Leopold’s prodding its customers to get fatter . . . not that most of them seem to need much prodding? The fatter the customer, the fatter Stratton Leopold’s wallet.”

“Not necessarily. Leopold’s . . . or other similar shops . . . could keep only the basic price for the product. The remainder would be taken by the City to fund programs in public health. That way, instead of the thin subsidizing the medical care of the fat as they do now, the fat would subsidize the medical care of the thin and even might overeat less. Context and consequences, you understand (”

It was his wife’s turn to shake her head in disbelief. “Do me a favor, Mr. Willpower. Give me back my milkshake then quietly eat the rest of the sandwich you stole from my plate. By the way, after we leave, I’m stopping at the cupcake-shop around the corner. Think you might like one . . . or two?”