Monday, July 5, 2010

Behold The Power Of NO!

I got back from Chicago on Thursday night. During my time in the City of Big Shoulders I was able to exercise my favorite superpower - the power of NO!

Here is the power of NO - Part One.

Chicago is an architectual geeks nirvana. The Architectual Society runs river tours and let me tell you they dont' suck. It's an hour and half of beautiful buildings and crunchy mental candy/trivia of the city. My wife and I got to the dock a half an hour early (as Chris Rock's father said, "You are either on time or late," implying there is no such thing as early). As we waited our tour guide handed out brochures. In front of us was a family of five. The guide handed out the pamplets to both the parents, the high school son, and two young kids. Hmmm, I wondered, those old growth forests are going to be cut down by someone - at least the wood is going to an important use (sarcasm). How long are those brochures going to be in the kids hands before ending up in the trash? The guide handed my wife one and stretched out his arm to hand me one.

"No thanks," I said, "we'll share."

I know as an American I'm supposed to consume as much as humanly possible.

F*ck it, I'm not a good American.

The guide was not used to this response. A flash of irritation swept across his face.

"What if you two are separated?"

"That won't happen - we're legally attached," I quipped.

He shrugged his shoulders and went on to pass out more of the tree corpses.

Here is the power of NO - Part Two

I did a bike tour of Chicago (with Bobby's Bike Hike) and it was really nice.  On the tour we stopped at St. Michael's Church. German immigrants (St. Michael is the patron saint of Germany)  had built the church just before the Great Fire of 1871. It burned to the ground (God's grace should not be confused with fire insurance) and then rebuilt. The tour guide recommended that we take our helmets off before going into the church. Fine, I'd look like an idiot walking around with a bike helmet on. Inside the church my wife reminded me that I still had my baseball cap on.

"So what?" I replied.

"You should take your hat off," she said with urgency.

"Pffffft!" (my sound of disgust) "The day the Church stops protecting kiddie f*ckers is the day I take my hat off in a Catholic church."

"You should respect the people in the church and take the hat off," she shot back.

"What? The worshippers who give money to an organization that campaigns against gay marriage? Uh-uh, my hat stays on."

She realized that arguing with me on this minor point was not worth it. We went on our way and finished off the bike tour.

What's my point? Both businesses and churches sell you their products based on the illusion of control. Take our brochure and look at all the advertisements! Maybe you can get some control over your life by purchasing one of their services. Buy our gas guzzling vehicle and you have control over everything but the price of gas! Buy into our religion and you can get a handle on your life and afterlife.

Do you know what makes me feel like I have control over my life?

Not being a dumbass.

Not consuming crap I don't need.

Not humbling myself to the Sky Fairy.

I don't want to sign-on to other people's idiocy.

That's my policy because whether I'm on vacation or at home...

it's always Purgatory.


  1. Yay for not consuming crap we don't need! Great post.

  2. I especially love that the guy ARGUED with you over it. WTF?

  3. I think he had some testosterone poisoning.

  4. Beautiful city, Chicago, pleasant people. I spent several years there in the late eighties working for the MSD and enjoyed almost every minute of it. The Museum of Science and Industry is a treasure, or was.

    I went to Chicago a few years back after a long absence to show my wife around. I was shocked and saddened at how much the place ahd been dumbed down. We went to the MOS&I and half of the intellignet exhibits were gone, replaced by a giant model railroad set. The "docents" were clueless, the remaining exhibits pandered to the weak of mind. The coal mine was "technology light" - they didn't even do the full davies lamp demo! I was very disheartened at the removal of all of the hands on exhibits in the stairwells. Later on, while having dinner at Navy Pier during a Bears game, I glanced up and noticed that at least one building had "Go Bears!" outlined in lights. The River Architecture tour, the one intellectuall bright spot, had two representatives from the US - Me and My Wife. I left Chicago very depressed. What happened to this country?


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