At the risk of being confused with Don Mills I am going to rant: whatever the fuck happened to being careful?
Actually, one of the most charming lines in all Stephen King’s work (and is he not, after all, known for his charm?) is spoken by the pubescent boy in It who scoffs at King’s self-portrait hero: “You can’t be careful on a skateboard, man.” The perspective is lifesaving at that point in the narrative, when a leap into heady recklessness is the only hope left, but I am getting yea sick of a world where everyone seems to be on a skateboard 24/7 and sporting the snotty juvenile attitude to go with it.
Exhibit: texting while driving. Exhibit: air traffic controllers trading places with their kids. Exhibit: the rapidly disappearing English sentence. (I think we musing bloggers may be the custodians of that little treasure, which in my opinion has been murdered not by Twitter and texting, but by two or three generations of lazy people responding to all corrections of grammar and vocabulary with some huffy variant of “It doesn’t matter! You know what I mean!”)
Exhibit: The Deepwater Horizon.
Am I wrong? Somewhere in this toxic stew of information overload, adrenalin addiction, resentment of criticism, “spontaneity,” distractions and do-you-want-it-Thursday, all hell has been waiting with a balance book. The simple stodgy virtues of paying attention, being careful, doing things right, communicating clearly and reading the instructions would have been much appreciated by dozens of species in the Gulf of Mexico who have never heard of such abstract concepts themselves.
I’ve spent my life being called fussy and obsessive-compulsive and anal-retentive because I wanted to pack the truck now so we could leave on time, or because steam comes out of my ears when people misuse words because the incorrect term has such a grand sound. I get the message loud and clear that it’s uncool to care about how things turn out, or to imagine that they might turn out badly. “You have to trust,” a woman once said to me after scaring me into next week by tailgating in the extreme left lane at eighty miles an hour. “No, I don’t,” I said, and never rode in her car again. She didn’t take it well. Asking people to be careful with your life is so mean and uptight, y’know?
I hear a lot about BP’s corporate greed, and oil addiction, and those are problems, but the news accounts that stay with me are the ones which reveal the absence of little bagatelles like sufficient Federal safety requirements, adequate communication, and clear chains of command. Bets that anyone who piped up to point that out was, or would have been, scoffed at as a stickler and a moaner?
I’d give good odds that Tailgate Lady has already texted a half-dozen messages in traffic today to the progressive homies she regards as fellow soldiers in the war against corporate greed. If memory serves me, they’d be misspelled.