The Yankees are winning games, so I don’t care if the Celtics are. While oil keeps spilling into the Gulf, I can be patient with our super’s inability to staunch the water trickling through my toilet bowl. As long as people of all faiths respect what the Jewish people continue to contribute to the arts and sciences (and belt an occasional show tune), they can judge us all they want. Everything’s relative.
“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” goes the proverb. Maybe my new eyeglasses have something to do with it. Maybe it’s that my grandson has started losing his teeth and I’m not losing mine! I have perspective.
I know to eschew the Yankees v. Phillies and Celtics v. Lakers long enough to hear my president address the country about the oil spill. Setting myself apart from 51% of the country, I know I can listen, respectfully and objectively, to what he has to say.
I’m prepared for him to begin by stating “our nation faces a multitude of challenges,” and to enumerate, “At home… to recover and rebuild from a recession…” and “Abroad… taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists.” I do a perspective check for “wherever it exists.” I have it in my rear-view mirror.
We get to the big challenge: “Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology.” And the limitations of human beings!, I want to add, but there’s no time—the president is “multituding” the challenges: “…just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge.” I’m ready and waiting with perspective on this one. Much as I wouldn’t wish any ill spill on President Obama, far better it happened on his watch than his predecessor’s, so that W’s VP couldn’t assemble “a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers” from BP “to tackle this challenge.”
It didn’t take long for President Obama to provide the undeniable perspective, vividly. With one word: epidemic. “The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.”
I listen and learn that “30,000 personnel… are working across four states.” Jobs, I think. “Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding.” Heartening, I think, but am relieved that a flotilla from Turkey is not among them.
It’s nigh onto the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium, I’m guessing, when the president says, “…if something isn't working, we want to hear about it,” and I know he isn’t thinking of my toilet.