This is the next Vermilion column, written in a single setting under immense time pressure, and timed badly to appear the day after the election. Be gentle...
Yesterday, we held what was perhaps the most important and critical election of our lives. We stand at a turning point in history, and the repercussions of this election will be felt for decades to come all over the world. I hope we did the right thing.
But because I’m writing this at exactly midnight on Oct. 30, I can’t comment on what a debacle this election surely turned out to be, nor can I write about the rampant election fraud that has voters boiling. So I’ll just revert to that old standby, The List of Irritating People:
1) People who take pride in not taking a stand. Nothing unnerves me more than people who say they have no opinion. I’m not saying that everyone must have an opinion on everything; for instance, I couldn’t care less what dress Ashlee Simpson wears to the Made-Up Music Awards. But if you’re going to address a hot-button issue in an editorial or other forum, say what you really feel. I can’t be the only one who found this paper’s declaration in 2002 that “The Vermilion takes no stand on the Vermilion-Advertiser debate” to be totally absurd. Yeah right! If something inspires, bugs you or threatens your very existence, then say so! Who knows, someone else might love you for speaking out. Save neutrality for the news and family reunions.
2) People who just HAVE to get where they’re going. Does a day go by when some idiot in an SUV doesn’t careen between lanes as if the very balance of humanity rested on their getting to the stockholder’s meeting in time? Listen, Top Gun, studies show that the average hurried driver gets where they’re going only 83 SECONDS faster than those who drive more carefully. If where you’re going is really worth the risk of driving dangerously, than maybe we should all go! Or perhaps you’re worried about getting to your children. Let the little brats wait a few more minutes! It might be the best lesson you’ve ever given them in how the world works. Also, hang up the phone, turn down the radio and use your turn signals. And fix that damn muffler! Some of us like our lungs.
3) People who rush into lifelong commitments. This is a huge problem in Louisiana. Who decided that we must instill a sense of failure into anyone who isn’t married with a kid, home and hunting rifle by the time they’re 23? If any of you reading this are feeling the pressure to drop out of college in order to make money and satisfy your “parrain” by marrying the first guy you ever kissed, don’t, okay? Live life a little bit! Get an education. Travel. Meet people who haven’t lived their entire lives in Peauxdunk Parish. Who knows, you might find that the life your parents wrote for you 20 years ago just doesn’t do it for you anymore.
4) People who don’t respect other people’s opinions. No one ever changed a mind or earned the high ground by ridiculing someone’s core values. Sure, people often hold what can only be called extreme views; but the key to getting along and pondering other views is to debate the stance factually, without personal attacks. Discourse these days is so full of hatred, and that’s sad—especially when satire and comedy are so much more fun. All name-calling does is start pointless conflict. There’re many better ways to start fights!
5) Newspaper editors. The worst kind of Nazis, editors are real fond of taking the polished thoughts of their writers and butchering any content they think makes them look bad. Editors can kiss