A Vacation and a News Story

I really didn’t want to be the 9,765,482nd blogger writing about Terri Schiavo. I barely know anything about the case, but what I know about it tells me that half her problem is that 9,765,482 people are interested, and a couple hundred of them have elected posts in the federal government. (The other half of her problem is that she’s a vegetable.) So I was going to write about my vacation to the Bahamas instead.

But the thing is, the Bahamas is lovely to go to, but not very interesting to talk about. Want to know what happened? There was sunshine. Lots of it. There was lolling about poolside. The combination of these two factors led to the copious application of sunscreen, which was, for the most part, successful. There was the eating of much shellfish. There were the endless security lines. But mostly there was the sun and the water and the sunscreen. Not very thrilling for you my readers (all two of you).

The Terri Schiavo case, on the other hand, has meat. Lots of meat. I’m just going to take a little bite. And it is to say this: Monsieur le Presidente, this “culture of life” of which you and your cronies cannot stop speaking – will it be arriving in Afghanistan or Iraq any time soon? What about your old state of Texas, responsible for so many of the death penalty executions in this country?

What’s that you say, Mr. President? That’s different? There are situations in which life must be sacrificed for some other purpose? Especially if that life belongs to someone darker than us? Huh. Interesting. A person’s own better interest, a person’s own request, to die instead of being kept alive by life support, is not a good enough purpose?

No, you say, Senor el Presidente? (In case you can’t tell, I don’t speak Spanish.) Would I be in support of suicide in general, you ask? Well, not exactly, no. I do find suicide understandable and lamentable at times. But “supporting” or not “supporting” suicide is a bit beside the point. The problem with people committing suicide is not in the act itself. It’s the despair that leads them to the act that’s a problem. Sometimes, that despair is relatively personal and psychological, and therefore, what we, as a society, must do to demonstrate our lack of support for suicide is ensure that access to psychological and psychiatric care is easy and affordable, that there are no stigmas attached to seeking such care, and that there is widespread knowledge about the access to such care. Sometimes, that despair is a bit more societal, say, when gay teenagers feel despair at the way society will discriminate against them (aHEM, President Bush) and thus commit suicide in record numbers. That’s also something we need to work on. (AHEM! Geez, I hate it when I have this big a frog in my throat, Mr. President.) My stance on suicide is similar to my stance on teen pregnancy and STI transmissions – I’m not “in favor” of those things; but mostly what I’m not in favor of is the things that lead to those things – lack of education and access to contraception. But I already know you and I don’t see eye to eye on this one, Mr. President & Co.

In Terri Schiavo’s case, the (presumed and supported by her husband) desire for suicide has roots in the despair over her medical condition. Her medical condition cannot be helped. Medical science, as a rule, makes advances everyday, so we’re already working on preventing as many future Terris as possible, but Terri herself can no longer be helped. So why are we forcing her to live with the despair? Why isn’t that just as good a cause as anything you use to justify mass killings, Mr. Bush?

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

If I Had a Million Dollars

So I am now addicted to VH1. Not all of it. I have a Tivo so I can pick and choose, instead of just putting it on. Mostly what I choose is the Fabulous Life of . . . series. I think it’s, well, fabulous. You know what’s especially hilarious about it? That the VH1 commentators can constantly react with such shock; that they can so very consistently apply their own salaries to the celebrities’ lifestyles. I was watching one about celebrity kids, and they were oohing and aahing over some family – the Travoltas, perhaps? – going on an around-the-world vacation over the summer. Imagining these kids going back to school that fall, they were gushing, “Oh, what did you do this summer? I worked at camp, I went to Disney World, I went . . . around the world?!!! How many kids can say that? They’re just going to be the coolest kids at school.” Well . . . not at the Travolta’s kids’ school. Or whoever. At the Travolta’s kids’ school, lots of kids probably take extravagant vacations over the summer. I mean, they probably do go to Disney World, but they probably get to rent the park out, you know?

Or yesterday, I was watching Fantabulous Homes. They were all on top of Jerry Seinfeld for putting a baseball field on his bajillion dollar property in Long Island. “What a waste!” they cried. “The land under that field is probably worth $15 million!” So what? A baseball field sounds like a perfectly good use of space to me. I mean, this isn’t public property. He bought it as part of his home. So he’s not going to, I don’t know, put a homeless shelter there. Not that these people would have cared; they talk about Angelina Jolie’s house in Cambodia and they don’t even mention her charitable work. But a baseball field would be great at your house! Your friends could come over. Your kids’ friends could come over. I mean, he didn’t build a stadium. It’s just the diamond. I didn’t even see bleachers or anything.

Then again, I also thought that Aaron Spelling using two of his 128 rooms in his mansion as gift-wrapping rooms sounded totally reasonable. I mean, if you’re Aaron Spelling, you have a lot of gifts to give. And wrapping them actually takes up a lot of space. When I was working as a receptionist last year, I was helping the head secretary wrap the Christmas gifts the company was sending out, and they weren’t really big presents – just candies and cookies and nuts – but we needed to completely transform the space between our cubicles, plus use an empty room in the back, plus use part of the warehouse, and the wrapping, etc., was all stored in a closet. Gift-wrapping is space-consuming! And I’m sure Aaron Spelling is not just sending out gifts with drugstore wrapping and $0.99 ribbon, either.

Maybe I was just meant to be ridiculously wealthy, so this all makes perfect sense to me.