Republicans, I know how you can fix your brand if you’re interested. It’s entirely possible that you don’t want to, because you may be able to raise more money from a small pool of paranoid conspiracy-minded tycoons than from a large group of normal people. Just in case you want to try tapping the normals, I have a suggestion for you.
I know you’ve probably already seen Caddyshack, because it has golf in it, and I know Republicans are all over anything that has anything to do with golf. So maybe you don’t need to watch it, so much as remember it, because it contains the key to reclaiming the hearts and minds of your fellow Americans.
Right now, you are this guy:
What you want to be is this guy:
Think about it. Judge Smails is a stingy, controlling jerk clinging to a bygone era and trying to use his influence as a club. He has a fear of and antagonistic attitude toward anyone different from himself. Whether you think it’s fair or not, that’s how people see you.
You could be Al Czervik. Still wildly wealthy and successful, he spreads his money around by spending it and tipping everybody. He invites minorities along for the ride. He’s fun at parties. People don’t even mind when he “steps on a duck.” He gets away with being obnoxious. Even when he cheats, people still root for his team.
If you ignore my advice and insist of being the Party of Smails instead of the Party of Czerviks, this is going to happen to you.
You can’t get away with being a Smails forever.
On many occasions, no one has asked me how I feel about this year’s election, or the current politics in general. Well, since no one asked, I will tell you.
Forget about the fact that all independent rational thought or critical thinking from the general public has evaporated into the atmosphere. Maybe some day it will coalesce into clouds and rain back down upon us one day, but I doubt that will happen before the 2012 election. I’m going to focus on the politicians.
Here is my detailed analysis: they have no new ideas. None of them. We have party A saying “Let’s use my party’s old ideas!” and party B saying, “No, let’s use MY party’s old ideas!” The political parties are both like a former high school football star who keeps reliving past glories, glossing over or even relishing the memories of when he gave people wedgies or got his teachers to give him passing grades for no work, keeping alive his former image of greatness to avoid facing the fact he’s now a paunchy divorced middle-aged manager of a tire shop.
But we voters are actually the leaders of this country, and our elected officials are supposed to be our SERVANTS putting OUR WILL into action. So, I ask you, are you happy being a paunchy divorced middle-aged manager of a tire shop? Or do you want to snap out of our doldrums, start exercising and eating more vegetables, take some classes at the community college and make life better for ourselves?
We are in the midst of a technological revolution. We have a global economy to face. We have bills to pay. Is dragging out the rotting corpses of Ronald Reagan or FDR really the way to go? Do you think our “forefathers” would want us to dig back into the 18th century to find out what to do in the 21st? Don’t you think they wanted better for us than that?
And if we’re looking for new ideas, innovation and inspiration, should we be looking for it from people who are desperately trying to maintain the status quo because they have benefited so richly from it?
I ask you, fellow paunchy tire store manager: who is a better person to follow, your drinking buddy who encourages you to talk about your old football glories while he conveniently gets you buy another round, or your sibling who encourages you to take some computer classes and go to the Y with her? Maybe one feels more comfortable and less stressful than the other, but where will you be in 10 years?
Of course, the problem is, we have two drinking buddies and no loving siblings. Personally, I believe one of those two drinking buddies will at least buy a round every so often and carpool with you, unlike the one who’s always scamming 5 bucks off of you even though he makes 40 times as much as you. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
I’m convinced we don’t have politics in this town, we have personality clashes. Ugly, pointless, useless personality clashes. Worst of all is the division of these people into camps and cliques, where they collectively nurture their real or imagined slights and demonize the “others.”
I have friends in just about all of these warring factions, although I may have fewer after I write this post. These groups include (but probably aren’t limited to) the DuPage Township political organizations (both Democratic and Republican) and the DGCA.
I was blissfully ignorant of the fighting until fairly recently, and am still wonderfully under-informed about the causes and the current whisper campaigns. I don’t need to hear any more. I would just like to issue this plea, as a Downers Grove resident: stop. Don’t sputter on about who started it or tell me how bad the other guy is. I don’t want to hear it anymore.
If you sign on to serve the residents of Downers Grove as an elected official or as a volunteer on a committee, your focus should be on fulfilling your duties. You aren’t there to hang out with your friends, you’re there to do a job. I don’t care who you want at your cocktail parties. I don’t care whose face you prefer to look at.
And that means you’re serving the whole town, not just people you like. You have to talk to and answer to everyone, not just your buddies. Especially members of the press. If you can’t grasp that concept, maybe you should just stay home or build a clubhouse where you and your friends can gossip and giggle to your heart’s content.
It may (but probably won’t) interest you to know that most people in this town neither know about nor care about your little dramas. We just want our kids educated, our roads maintained, our sewers working, our parks in good condition. Please, for all our sakes: make life as boring as possible.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but we’re all in the middle of a worldwide revolution. Arab Spring. The Occupy movement. Anonymous.
Garnering less media coverage in the United States is the fact our poorest citizens are becoming more and more violent. And to the shock and horror of consumers everywhere, they are becoming violent in shopping malls where regular white people shop. They must be stopped so we can shop!
Racists are having a field day with these stories (I won’t link to the ugliness). Despite plenty examples of despicable white people in the news doing unthinkably horrifying things, their polluted minds don’t conclude that all people of European descent are pedophiles or murderers or murderous pedophiles. But when people with an greater amount of melanin in their skin allow their rage and frustration to boil over, it downgrades everyone in their race and their socio-economic class into a subhuman category in some people’s opinion.
I’m not defending violent actions. They don’t solve anything and only make life harder for everyone. I condemn any flash mob that doesn’t involve dance steps or singing. However, I don’t think the current group of people living in poverty is any worse than my own great-grandparents, and when you say this group of people “shouldn’t breed,” you’re saying that I should never have been born.
Or yourself, even. If your ancestors came here hoping for a better life because Europe offered them little or no opportunity to build one there, you are the same as me. And it’s very likely that your great-grandparents were viewed with every bit of disdain or outright hatred and disgust that you’re showing the underclass right now. Don’t believe me? Your relatives were poor but honest, right? They were so much better than these low-lifes rampaging around you now?
Let me tell you about my Irish great-grandma. Her first husband was knifed and left in a ditch to die by someone who followed him out of the neighborhood pub so he could steal the paycheck he had just cashed there. What does that sound like to you?
Or my Polish great-grandma, who manufactured an illegal substance in her home (bathtub vodka) to help support herself and her five kids when they were left by a drunk husband/father who frequented whores? What does that sound like to you?
Yet a couple of generations later, here I am all middle-class and tax-paying and PTA-supporting. Are you honestly going to tell me that it’s because a lesser amount of pigmentation sits in my skin? That’s ridiculous.
When I see people in poverty, I see my great-grandparents. What do you see?
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
We have a lot of oddballs in our town. Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain to the outside world exactly what I mean.
For example, Berkeley has a certain brand of weirdo. People can picture what a Berkeley weirdo would wear, imagine the Berkeley weirdo protesting things like the cruelty of keeping cockatoos in cages, not eating honey because it represents bee oppression, things like that. Or there’s the militia-type weirdo stockpiling guns and cans of beans and believing Obama is the Antichrist as he fortifies his underground bunker.
There are hillbillies, Juggalos, gangsters, hipsters, people who watch Lifetime Movie Network, and comic book collectors. We probably have some people who qualify for one or more of those categories, but most of our many, many oddballs are in a class by themselves. They are weird, but in an undefined, unclassifiable way.
Take Twelve Pack, for example. (Ubermilf was my old blog, in case you didn’t know. Which of course you do. Especially now.) Twelve Pack still rides past my house every day, like clockwork. He’s not mean, or destructive, or dangerous, but still he’s… atypical.
A lot of things and people are atypical. A group of us (current and former) Patch writers met the other night, and we all had tales of things that were just kinda off about Downers Grove. It didn’t help that the two local happy ending massage parlors from the Downers Grove red light district had been shut down the day before…
(What’s that? You don’t believe a red light district can live in a town who’s Gingerbread Festival is recommended in Oaklee’s Guide for On-The-Go Families? Well, where do you think we put the tattoo parlors? The no-tell motels with the in-room jacuzzi tubs? The dirty book store with the copper-tinted windows and the peep-show booths in the back that existed next to the video arcade until its owner died of a heart attack? It’s called Ogden Avenue, people. Look it up. To be fair, no one calls it the Red Light district and it doesn’t have red lights. It does have a Bentley dealership, however. Where was I?)
Anyways, Downers Grove is full of people and attitudes that are just a little off, that make it more Twin Peaks than Mayberry, to paraphrase one of my tablemates from last night. I will make it my mission to talk about them as I experience them.
For now, we’ll call good old Twelve Pack case #1.
My Downers Grub column is in a coma through the end of the year. It could be dead in January.
I blame Nick.
This gives me more time to blog about other things, however. Since Downers Grove politics is as nutty as ever, this shouldn’t be too hard. Just sit back and wait, or whisper the words “Nepotism Policy” on the winds and see what happens…
I came up with the nom de blog “Ubermilf” when that whole “MILF” nonsense was coined. If I had started another blog a couple of years later, I would’ve called it “Cougar Droppings.” The whole concept makes me burst my Spanx laughing.
Unless you visit downtown Naperville. There, it seems, it is taken very, very seriously. So I wait until the packs (and they do travel in packs) of surgically-enhanced attention whores actually get inside Quigley’s before I start sniggering, lest they pummel me with their giant shiny purses. I’m just wondering, do they keep maps of their multiple injection points, like the ones acupuncturists use? Botox goes here, collagen goes there, silicone goes here…
But I digress. As one woman commented at a party where it was whispered we had swingers in our neighborhood, “I don’t have the energy to have sex with my OWN husband, let alone someone else’s.” Most moms I know have to keep 75 gajillion pieces of information in their heads at any one given moment — doctor’s appointments, shopping lists, tire rotation schedules, mother-in-law’s birthday date, endless school obligations — that basic grooming is challenge for us, let alone the amount of work required to package ourselves into “sexy.”
And exactly who would I be aiming to impress in the first place? The stock boy at Ultra Foods? The teenagers playing basketball at McCollum Park? The octogenarians earning their “silver sneakers” points at the YMCA? That’s about the extent of my excursions out of the house.
Inside the house is another story. I don’t have to do anything but breathe and brush my teeth, and I’m alluringly irresistible to the guy who lives here. He’s a sick man, people. Sick.
So, yeah, when the whole MILF thing happened all those years ago, I thought it was a joke. Alas, like Rainbow Cookie Sandwich Pop-Tarts and ketchup-flavored potato chips, they are all too real in the world of mass marketing. If I had that kind of time on my hands, I wouldn’t waste it reconfiguring myself into some aging porn star wannabe so I could preen around the preposterous suburban bar scene waiting for some North Central College D-average student to leer at or grope me.
I would start a blog.
After rejoining the workforce last year, my soul resembles freezer-burned ground beef, with patches of it drained of all life and color. Yeah, it’s still useable, but parts of it are tough and flavorless now.
Along with pieces of my soul, my blog also died when I started working again. However, I have been inspired by my friend Todd, whose soul has also been pulverized in the workplace, to start anew here on Tumblr.
I have to ask, though, because it feels like blogging is so 10 years ago: is blogging still a thing? Has it become an ironic hipster thing yet, like tube socks and rainbow suspenders?
Let’s set that aside for a moment, because I have another question: why are angry housewives still depicted with rollers in their hair while waving a rolling pin around when so few women use either of those things anymore? I’m not sure how I’d change it myself. Maybe that impotent rage boiling under the surface is just too difficult to capture in an image.
Oh, and by the way, I quit the soul-destroying job after 9 months. It’s taken me six and a half months to recover. So that impotent rage is more set at a slow simmer than a full boil.