I’m gone. I have been gone long before Spring Break even started. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten back from the Winter Break or maybe even sophomore year. But for once my physical will catch up with my mental as I start my pillage of the West Coast sometime today. The temperature should reach around the mid-70s, decent weather for our strategically placed spring break. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do over this week. I’m leaning toward organizing a strong anti-Kobe Bryant rally/parade at the Staples Center. It depends on which permit I can get. Perhaps I will be able to schmooze in a Los Angeles coffee shop with waiters/actors and reach new levels of pretension often dreamt of but rarely achieved in Ann Arbor. Or maybe I’ll even invade a gated community in Beverly Hills or crash a Hollywood premiere.
However I definitely know what I won’t be doing. I won’t be following politics or engaging in anything resembling intellectual discourse. I’m a little tired of caring about the world when the people who actually control it don’t know what the hell they are doing. All week throughout The New York Times (and other news outlets I guess) opined ad nauseam about Iraq, Korea, homeland security and every other problem in the world. Well the purpose of the news is to build awareness and inform, correct? Right I know this but now it s just annoying. I feel as mentally retarded listening to the speeches by the Senate majority leader and the secretary of homeland defense as I do if I were to watch “Joe Millionaire” or “Are You Hot?” For those a little behind on the brilliance behind our country, Bill Frist, Senate majority leader, recently said that “Americans should not be obsessing about emergency supplies.” Or “The real cause for concern is if you are by a major risk site.” Meanwhile, almost every major facility was put on terrorist notice and no one is giving up the locations of targeted sites. Instead we should, “Exercise regularly, eat well and get a good night’s rest.” Apparently we get free medical advice came with GOP rule. It should be fun managing my health while I add the government’s new toll-free (800) BE-READY number to my cell phone. I promise that’s a real number, although I am not really sure what it gets me ready for.
Essentially the government doesn’t know what going on. Because now Tom Ridge says to, “Stash away the duct tape. Don’t use it. Stash it away.” Of course a chorus of pressroom laughter was the gift for this comment. One can’t help to laugh because sometimes laughter can defuse the tension and confusion. Terrorism isn’t an easy thing to gauge or predict. Terrorism doesn’t involve visible planning but covert hostility and clandestine (not Palestine) operations. While I do not expect the government, especially this one, to know the exact times and solutions to these problems, I also don’t want their confusion. Leaders are supposed to lead, not disseminate chaos through color charts. The current method being used leads to the exact opposite direction of where our attention should be. At this rate, in true boy-who-cried-bomb fashion, the country will begin to ignore these warnings over time, or even worse, assuming the government issues these warnings intentionally to create fear and support for bringing down anyone connected to this ubiquitous feeling of terrorism and fear. This cynicism is already beginning to pervade through the nation’s consciousness already.
Seemingly every generation faces inane procedures for safety. Ducking under desks for safety from Commie nukes in the 50s and 60s will save my life as well as sealing myself in a masking tape sanctuary will from Sarin and anthrax today. The responsibility of poison gas staying far away from my skin falls squarely on the shoulders of the government. I can’t be any more ready than I am.
I’ll deal with Ann Arbor all over again and the rest of the world in March if my mind makes it back with me. But for now join me in a week of decadence, hedonism, egoism and disinterest. If you find yourself still in need of current events, rent “Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb” and you’ll be up to date. If anyone wants me, I’ll be color coordinating my duct tape with the color-coded security alert system. Is it yellow or orange tonight?
If you know how to match metallic gray with citrus orange or anything else that interesting Rahim can be reached at hrahim@umich.