Does life seem weirder and crazier than normal these days? Do you feel like you've fallen down a rabbit hole or gotten sucked into the twilight zone? It's not you, I promise. It's because of August, a month no one takes seriously, yet quite possibly is the most dangerous month of the year.
In 2001, David Plotz, editor at Slate magazine, proposed banning the month of August because nothing good ever happens in it. I'm completely on board with this idea. His article reappears on Slate every year in August, just to remind us how much better off we'd be if we simply got rid of it.
This August is a prime candidate for the trash heap of history. I say we just cancel it now, and dive right into September before we wade any further into the waters of stupidity running rampant in the country right now.
I realize calling someone or something "stupid" is less than politically correct. President Obama touched off a whole racial broohaha when he characterized Cambridge police officer James Crowley's overblown response and arrest of Harvard professor Henry Gates in his own home as "acting stupidly". Obama had to step back from that comment and smooth things over with the White House Lawn Beer Summit. It's a good thing it was held on the last day of July. No telling how things would've turned out had they waiting another 24 hours. August's arrival might have changed everything. Instead of calming their jets with a few cool ones and talking like civilized adults, things could have escalated. August will do that to a person.
Perhaps we're in need of a national Beer Summit to replace what's left of the month of August this year. Ignorance has become a national sport and August has become a freak show.
Take, for example, the frenzied protests taking place over the health care "debate". Does anyone else feel like they've let the crazies out of the institution and bussed them en masse to these town hall meetings?
See, it's just gotta be August's fault. It must be the heat that turns people's brains into mush, rewires their neurons so they fire backwards, has them discard logic and reasoning and turns them into " intellectually incurious and willfully ignorant" mobs who carry signs comparing Obama's health care reform to Nazi Germany, all the while protesting the government's intention to take over Medicare. Say what? The government already runs Medicare!
What can one say to this level of nuttiness? Most of the protesters are seniors, white, American and Medicare recipients. They don't want the government meddling in their health care decisions, but don't take away their Medicare. Can you say "psycho talk"?
Can you see what August has done to their ability to reason? They've been rendered incapable of connecting the dots between the Social Security checks they receive and the role of government in providing a safety net for the elderly. "Just get government off our backs", they chant! "We don't want government deciding who lives and who dies" is their response to proposed legislation that provides voluntary counseling for seniors' end of life care.
Hello? Is anyone home? We're all gonna die someday. Wouldn't it be better to have a plan in place while you're still capable of making decisions, such as having a living will with advanced heathcare directives? I paid an estate attorney to draft such a will for me. Obamacare would provide this service for free.
My parents had a living will and thank God. My brothers and I knew exactly what they wanted when the end came. We weren't faced with having to make a decision about whether or not to pull the plug. They had already decided how they wanted to die. Too bad Terri Schiavo's family didn't have one. It would have saved them and the rest of the country a lot of heart and head aches.
It's August's fault. How else to explain Sarah Palin's "death panel" comment on Facebook:
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care," Palin wrote.
Just when we thought Sarah couldn't get any nuttier, August arrives and all bets are off.
Thank God she resigned as governor of Alaska in July! Her decision to step down "in order to spare the people of Alaska a lame duck governor" probably made much more sense than whatever lame excuse she might have tried to foist on the public had August settled in.
By the beginning of August, there were already rumors of a Palin divorce in the making. She'd moved on, he'd moved out. Once again, Sarah took to that fountain of media credibility, Facebook, to debunk those rumors. No Palin divorce in the offing, just Sarah staying home, frying fish and hunting wolves. Doesn't that make you feel better already?
David Plotz points out some pretty nasty things that have happened in the month of August and I've added a few to the list. Among them:
World War I started in August, 1914.
Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed on August 6 and August 9, 1945.
Anne Frank was arrested on August 4, 1944.
The first income tax was levied in August, 1913.
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.
Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962.
Nelson Mandela was arrested on August 5, 1962.
Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 BCE.
The Charles Manson murders happened on August 9, 1969.
Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005.
Princess Diana was killed on August 31, 1997.
Richard Nixon resigns on August 8, 1974.
The Berlin Wall was created on August 15, 1962
Adolph Hitler came to power in Germany on August 19, 1934
Cleopatra committed suicide on August 30, 30 B.C.E.
Bush ignores intelligence stating Al Quaeda's plan to strike inside U.S. - August 2001
Sarah Palin announces Obama "death panels" August 8, 2009
See what I mean? August is a pretty scary month. I say we're better off without it.
For all the buzz about it being all lazy and doldrumy in August, we've taken some pretty big hits in the eighth month. For that matter, in a calendar year based on 12 months, what's the significance of the eighth month anyway?
Nothing's due in August; no tax payments, no school assignments. People know better than to expect anything significant to be handled when the late summer heat rolls around. Maybe that's why there are no holidays in August. We're all basically AWOL anyway. Who needs to bother with a holiday when everyone has already left the building? Just turn off the lights on August and leave the key under the door.
I like David Plotz's idea for August Reform Catch this:
August was created by politics, and it can be undone by politics. For too long, bureaucrats in Washington have been telling you how you must divide up your calendar. But these are your months, and you should be able to do with them what you like. Genuine August Reform will be hard. It will require tough compromises to protect the special interests of September and July. (And who better to sponsor this revolution, incidentally, than Sen. John McCain--birthday Aug. 29?)
Cede the first 10 days of August back to July, thus extending holiday revelry for more than a week. September would claim the last 10 days of August, mollifying the folks who can't wait to get back to serious work. Labor Day would come 10 days earlier, the school year would run longer, and the rush of fall activity could get jump-started. August itself will keep 10 days. That is just enough: Every summer we'll be able to toot happily, "Gosh, August went by so quickly this year!"
And as for the 31st day, it will be designated a holiday independent from any month. It will fall after the 10th and last day of August, and it will celebrate the end of that most useless month.
According to this plan, we've already used up our 10 days of August and it's time to move on. Until the political process catches up and gets with the program however, I suggest we call a National Beer Summit for the next 19 days. Everybody chill out, take some deep breaths, have a few cool ones and wait for August to blow over before we try to accomplish anything serious.
And just one more thing, a note to the town hall "crazies"....... We get your point. It's not that you're suddenly concerned about the finer points of health care reform. Republicans were in office for eight years and we didn't hear a peep from the right about the subject. You're against any kind of change brought to us by the first African American president you claim isn't even a citizen of this country. It has not gone unnoticed that you waited until August to produce the blatantly fake and forged Obama Kenyan birth certificate.
Yes indeed! We have August to thank for this. Birthers, death panelists, and town hall "crazies," please get back on the bus and allow the rest of us to deal with the more serious business of getting rid of August. Trust me, you'll thank us for it.
What's your strategy for riding out the rest of August? Please stop by the comment section and weigh in on this most important subject. We need your input! And while you're at it, click the Become A Fan button to receive automatic updates of this post. Also visit my personal blog and website: Rx For The Soul, www.judithrich.com. You can leave personal messages for me there by clicking on the contact button.
Blessings on the path,