Lileks goes to Target, Has Another 9/11 Flashback. The Police are Called. Gnat Vows Never to Shop With Him Again
Mrs. Lileks calls to say that after the play, she's going out to dinner with friends, and not to wait up. She is soooo having an affair. James goes shopping at Target, in an effort to distract himself with happy thoughts of patterned paper towels, neatly completed coloring books (he gets all agitated when Gnat goes outside the lines), and the Kool-Aid of Bushism. But Gnat wanders down the camping aisle, and it triggers a screed. He says you can skip it if you want, but lets's look as a little of it, okay? For Gnat's sake.
At Target today we went down the camping aisle; Gnat chattered about this and that as she paged through her new coloring book. I had a different emotion. I hate that row. I loathe it. After 9/11 I made the weekly Target run, and wondered whether it might not be prudent to get some camping stuff in case, well, we had to leave. What would we need if something awful happened, and we had to light out for the territories? If this seems like a ridiculous overreaction, then either you’ve forgotten what it felt like after 9/11, when no one knew what the hell was around the corner (besides anthrax). Or your primary reaction to 9/11 was to fight American overreaction to a regrettable but understandable act of karmic comeuppance.
Okay, it DOES seem like a ridiculous overreaction, and I will swear before a judge that my primary reaction to 9/11 wasn't to proclaim karmic comeuppance, nor have I forgotten what it felt like after that day (if felt like some terrorists had, through an act unlikely to be repeated once we knew to expect it, killed several thousand of our people). I never for a minute thought that I needed to light out for the territories. That's partially because I live so close to the territories that no terrorist would ever bother to crash a plane into our biggest building, Theurer's Drive-In (I also never had any fears for Minnesota, which isn't a big Terrorist target either). But mostly I wasn't ready to seal myself in the fallout shelter because I never believed that a small Islamic terrorist group would ever pull off an Invasion USA-style conquest of the mighty United States of America. I guess I just had more faith in America than James did. Or else, I'm just not a hysterical obsessive, like James (seriously, I think anti-anxiety medication might be in order).
Anyway, James has a hissy fit because some people are objecting to President 9/11's ad, which is very wrong of them, because WE HAVE TO REMEMBER! Remember what? Well, mostly that Arabs could kill Gnat at any moment, if Bush isn't there in his flight suit to protect her. But we should also remember that Clinton let this happen, because he had extramarital sex when he could have been nuking Afghanistan.
James proposes his own ad, to get back at all the snotty liberals who want Gnat to die when bin Laden crashes a plane full of anthrax into her preschool, all because the jerks didn't vote for Bush. It features Marcel Marceau. Apparently James spends a lot of time thinking of these mock ads, much like Meghan Gurdon spends a lot of time plotting stamp-related revenge on the liberal neighbors. Maybe some people just aren't cut out to be home with children all day.
And speaking of thought disorders and wishing death on the neighbors:
A few days before the Minnesota caucuses a flier was stuck in my door. It was from “Peace in the Precincts,” an organization that wanted five planks inserted into the laundry list of caucus resolutions. Number four caught my eye:
Be it resolved, that the US should renounce the doctrine of preemptive war and promote the rebuilding of the international community through the United Nations to track down and incapacitate international, terrorist organizations, and to intervene to stop genocides, tyrannical regimes, and international armed conflicts through diplomacy, the promotion of democracy, focused and forceful nonviolent intervention, and peaceful conflict resolution.
Okay. A simple quiz.
1. We should promote the rebuilding of the international community through the UN to stop tyrannical regimes through forceful nonviolent intervention.
2 "You’re either with us, or with the terrorists."Imagine a bomb just went off in your local mall. Choose one.
Around here (and around Minnesota too), if a bomb went off at the local mall, it was probably done by bratty high school kids. Or possibly one of those white supremacist/survivalist militia group. So, I wouldn't see the need to get all panicky and start accusing everybody who won't nuke Syria of being al Qaeda members. So, I'll have to go with choice 1 -- while rebuilding the international community through the UN won't do much about the juvenile delinquents or the domestic terrorist groups, it's better than going all Dr. Strangelovey and bombing countries some more countries that don't pose a threat to us.
But hey, maybe being Gnat-free gives me a different perspective on things (although I doubt any of this is really her fault).