Friday, June 27, 2008

The Moral Minority

Am I the only person in America who hasn't gotten a stimulus check yet?

Apparently not. When I called the IRS hotline, a recorded voice told me that “due to extraordinarily high call volume,” I should not bother to hold.

No “your call is important to us,” or “thanks for your patience.” Nope. Just, “hang up, please. Now.”

I called again a few days later, and after I punched in my numbers, the voice told me, “there is a delay in processing your stimulus payment.” Gee, ya think?

How hard is it, in this age of databases and government surveillance, to send every taxpayer some money by a certain promised date? And then to anticipate that you might get some phone calls, and hire a few extra people at the IRS call center? This process has been bungled about as thoroughly as we could have expected the Bush Administration to bungle it.

More than 9.63 million taxpayers have still not received their refunds. Even though I have no way of knowing if that figure is remotely close to accurate, the mere fact that I would take the time to make up a number so huge shows that this is a very serious problem.

Fortunately, I've written a poem. I plan to read it to a live human being at the IRS, if I ever get through to one (it's possible the IRS now consists entirely of computers).

Would you like to see my poem? Tough. Here it is:

Late last winter, I sold
My armpit hairs, having told
The other ebay nerd
They belonged to Larry Bird.

All for one tank of oil
Did my grimacing barber toil.
Then you wrote to say
Relief is on the way!

Since my child is worth 300 clams,
That makes 900 back from Uncle Sam
By May 24, you did promise, so

Hm... I just realized something: Only in America would somebody bother to rhythmically complain because his free money isn't arriving fast enough. Spoiled much?

Time to shut up and move on to something more substantial.

A few weeks ago I wrote a column skewering the Christian Civic League of Maine for its petition drive to enact a senseless law that would allow discrimination against homosexuals.

First of all, they are hardly a “league,” since there's only one team, and if you don't belong to it, you're going to Hell.

I'll leave it to you to decide if the other words in their name are accurate.

Anyway, I criticized their annoying effort to bring us yet another referendumb on an issue voters have already decided maybe 75 times.

I was forced to acknowledge their persistence; after all, history's great triumphs were won only after years and years of sacrifice and frustration.

Not this one, apparently.

The CCL has now dropped its petition drive after collecting only a third of the signatures they hoped to get during the June 10 election, according to the Bangor Daily News.

They apparently had trouble getting volunteers because people feared being labeled bigots or homophobes.

Not surprisingly, there's not a word about any of this on the CCL's website.

That's the kind of tenacity that made America great. Run away because someone might call you names, then wave the white flag and hope nobody notices.

It might be time to declare the CCL irrelevant and dead, but if they manage to pull themselves together and pursue some positive activism for a change, I'd be glad to send along a donation.

Just as soon as I get that stimulus check.

1 comment:

Vaughan Woodruff said...


Got my Sebasticook Valley News and, per custom, skipped right through to your column. As always, good stuff. Laugh out loud good stuff.

Then, as all good Mainers do, I figured I should go back toward the beginning to see some of the important news - bean suppers, fireworks, pit parties, etc. and there it was - the prescient editorial letter criticizing the column printed on the following page.

Besides thinking, "Man, this is some Harry-Potter-type newspaper shit going on here," I laughed a bit at the serious tone of the letter. Your "league" paragraph was wicked hilarious, and I believe it holds up to the scrutiny. I mean, the Justice League would be pissed of to think that Mike Heath and his Merry Homophobes dare categorize themselves with Superman, Batman, et al.

Blah blah blah. I just thought you'd like to know that your column is great (although you lost some street... I mean, dirt road cred by swapping your "official Maine ear flap cap" photo for the "head shot of deranged terrorist seen fleeing Bangor International Airport" portrait). For much of the year I am exiled from my hometown of Pittsfield to Bozeman, Montana, yet still check on this blog periodically to get humor "the way it should be."

Keep on keepin' on...