Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Annoying Questions from Cashiers and Other Things On My Mind

I can relate to what C. Dale Young wrote on his blog recently that his blog is not about "hard-core lit or poetry-talk." Mine isn't either. Yes, I am a poet. And yes, I (used to) edit a literary magazine. Yes, I teach composition, literature, and poetry. But the last thing I want to do is engage (at least on a regular basis) in weighty (or pseudo-intellectual) theory or a showdown of egos over whose readings into Baudelaire or Charles Olson run deeper. Anonymity (and/or at least the non- face to face aspect of blogs) invites beligerence. Yes, I like to post the occasional poem, and yes, I will post the occasional rant about the sorry state of our government, but sometimes things like this (a la the "fat free offerings") have to be said:

I'm tired of certain questions from cashiers. The other day I was checking out, having bought about fifty dollars worth of home goods. The young woman said, "would you like to donate a dollar to help end domestic violence and child abuse?"

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Why is McPhee singing a song she already performed? (And I disagree, Randy, the first time was better.)
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Freak out. Taylor's in purple. He may win it all.
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Anybody have any theories to explain so many Americans' pathetic grasp of Asian geography?
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11 comments:

Lyle Daggett said...

Idea for a new T.V. show: American Geographer.

Each week three has-been celebrity judges ask contestants geography questions, and laugh at them and insult them when they get the answers wrong. At the end of each show, one of the contestants would be voted off. The T.V. audience at home is allowed to play along and vote.

Invariably there would be one total geeky contestant who would somehow survive the cut each week, until they finally get bumped off a week or two before the final show.

I wonder if that would improve people's knowledge of Asian geography? Maybe about if the contestants all wore low-cut dresses and tight pants?

Lee Herrick said...

(nearly) anything is possible!

Neil Aitken said...

The geeky contestant that would survive to the end would turn out to be a Canadian. As soon as his citizenship was revealed, he would kicked off (and deported).

A. D. said...

well, ask most americans where arkansas is located.

i don't think geographical ignorance has any bounds—i'm reminded of a jay leno segment.

i'm a name, date, geography idiot.

Lee Herrick said...

no doubt, neil. it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

a.d., you're right about arkansas. but at least most americans would know the general area. i'm reminded of one person i met who thought cambodia was in africa.

but maybe i'm being too harsh. after all, long division throws me for a loop.

mudeng said...

Ooooo, I hate those crafily worded, guilt-inducing questions asked by the cashier. I purchased cat food last month and the cashier asked if I wanted to save homeless dogs and cats from abuse and neglect by donating a dollar. How could I say no? Arghhhh....

Yeah, and what's up with Idol? Worse singing every year when it gets down to the last few.

You are funny, Lee. I, too, get huffy when people think say, Sri Lanka, is right next to Japan. Hello! People!

Lee Herrick said...

Yeah, mudeng, it drives me crazy. But I think these are often the same folks who lump all Asians together or think that anyone who speaks Spanish must be from Mexico.

When the young woman asked me if I would like to donate a dollar to help end domestic violence, I kind of hesitated and then said "no, thank you" because a) I had just come from another store where they asked me for me home phone number, and b) I already do a heck of a lot of work in the community on various social issues, and c) I'm tired of such guilt-inducing arrangements.

I did, however, feel guilty and told her "not that I support domestic violence or child abuse, you know." She just looked at me and smiled and "I know."

soon-young said...

where is arkansas?

(kidding, kidding...it's friday...i'm entitlted...)

Lee Herrick said...

actually, US geography can get tough for most people too (including me!)...but i think most people at least know the general regions...

amy said...

I'm with you on the purposes of blogging. There is no "official standard" for poet bloggers, ergo I say blog about what interests you most. If it happens to interest me, I'll be back! That's how I feel about my own blog: you can't please all the people all the time~

And I just don't have the energy for intellectual debate on poetics ... I barely have enough time to do my own poetry writing. Blog about the tedious; blog about the personal & political; most of all, blog about nothing at all, if you can~

Cheers!

Lee Herrick said...

yes!!