“Most people don’t even
know pulleys have wheels in them.”
— made-up Trump quote
Trump has become a blustery variant of Don Quixote, literally attacking windmills. “They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard.”
His main strategy for distracting his base after the impeachment vote has been to condemn all the efforts to develop renewable energy and all the efforts to cut back on energy consumption. So, he’s done away with some regulations restricting incandescent lightbulbs that would have kicked in this month.
My favorite line in all this is the line that preceded the “They-kill-the-birds” bit:
“I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. ... They’re noisy.”
He’s directly appealing to people who don’t want to bother learning about new technology, at once giving them permission not to try to understand it and then turning around and telling them they can know more about it than the experts by just listening to him. Marvelous.
It’s designed for old geezers like me — people who, when they find themselves in a Target store, can’t stop thinking, “What happened to all the Piggly Wigglies? Wasn’t there a Sears here for a century or two? I want my Woolworth’s back. I want a grilled cheese sandwich, potato chips and a pickle for less than a dollar. It’s Obama’s fault I can’t have that.”
I’m in the prime demographic for Trump’s appeal. I’ve bought incandescent bulbs for the warmth. I’ve done the math. If I have 20 100-watt incandescent bulbs on in the living room, I won’t need to turn the electric heater on, ever.
Trump’s right about how dishwashers don’t work these days. In my day, dishwashers all had two legs and got the job done. Nowadays, you have a machine that you put a plate in, it gets it wet, there’s still food clinging to the plate, you scrub it off and you put it back in the dishwasher. In just an hour and a half, you can do dishes that used to get done in half an hour.
Until last month, I never used a cell phone. If a party line was good enough for Grandma, it should be good enough for me. I considered a touch-tone landline a sorry compromise.
Why would I want a phone that’s smarter than I am?
We didn’t need computers. We had paper and pencils and erasers and we knew how to use them.
Solar cells are a waste of money. Did you know the sun goes around under the Earth every night? So there you are, relying on solar power. Now what do you do, Mr. Modern? I guess the lights go off, the TV stops working, and you sit in the dark wishing you and your smarty-pants friends didn’t destroy all those coal plants, huh?
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with solar cells. At least they don’t kill birds. But people want choices. They want to be able to have electricity from coal plants, too. For reading at night, if they read. Or watching Fox News.
Like Trump, I want a real toilet. When I flush that jobby on the second floor, and someone is at the same time showering on the 12th floor, I want their shower to stop for the duration. Seattle engineers should be able to detect a drop in reservoir levels. OK, maybe not everyone wants that choice, but why should the government step in and take that choice away from me? Like I’m a bad guy or something. Oh, is it because I’m old? It’s “OK, boomer” time, isn’t it?
You know what? I’ve never understood wheels. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve studied wheels. In fact, I know more about wheels than anybody else. All kinds of wheels. Wheels on a bus. I even know the song. Wheels in watches that fall out when you open them up and then the watch never works again. Hamster wheels. Water wheels.
If there weren’t any wheels, there wouldn’t be any cars, and believe me, the world would be a safer place. A lot safer.
I’m not saying we should make a law getting rid of wheels. I’m just saying people should have the option of not using them. People should have that choice.
In particular, I want to live in a world without pulleys. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t lift things up with your own power, you should pack it up.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read the full Jan. 8-14 issue.
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