By Lynn Ashby 7 April 2014
THE VOID — It is spring cleaning time for obsolete and forgotten aspects of our lives in order to make room for the new and trendy items. Where is sequestration? It was all the rage when Congress took a meat cleaver to the federal budget. Vast cuts were made on almost every line of spending except for Congressional salaries, expense accounts and the Congressional gym. “Oh, there you are, sequestration,” I say, spotting it hiding behind another forgotten Washington project, the balanced budget. “When you were first trotted out in Congressional debates and newspaper editorials back in 2011 no one knew what you meant. You were like ‘rendition.’ Now you have slipped back into deserved obscurity. Into the void you go.”
I check my list. Whatever happened to biofuels? Another unneeded part of our society, especially when the American taxpayer realized it was nothing but a billion-dollar subsidy for the Corn Belt. Into the void. Cell phone, you are only a cell phone. You don’t take pictures or record sounds and forward them to1,000 of your closest friends. You are so 1990s. Today’s cell phones are like a Swiss Army knife with batteries. Join Betamax, BlackBerry and VCR, just disappear. Come to think of it, fax and land line, you are not far behind.
OK, what once-modern offices still have equipment that needs to be tossed into the void? Rolodex, out. Join carbon paper and telex. When was the last time anyone in any business used a pencil? I thought so. Go the way of the fountain pen, not to mention goose-quill pens, and you, pencil sharpener, go along, too. We don’t have to worry about typewriters, even electric typewriters, they are in museums. You’re safe, small floor heater. As long as there are secretaries freezing at their air conditioned desks year ’round, near them will still be a small floor heater, and a sweater hanging on the back of their chairs when the gal Fridays are at lunch. The boss could always make the offices a little warmer, but even on a July afternoon most business offices are as cold as a banker’s heart.
Remember that a.m. radio was on its death bed until conservative talk shows came along. So the a.m. part of the dial escaped our toss-out party. San Antonio has a public library with no books. It’s all Kindle and iPad and hieroglyphics and such. Could it be that books will soon be obsolete? Some say newspapers are done with, too, gone, dinosaurs. How do they know that? They read it in the newspaper.
So you are still here, Anthony Weiner. You were a regular on Rachel Maddow’s show and any other TV programs you could wedge in to. They all dropped you like a Texans’ pass when your scandal broke. Into the void to be with Al Gore, Dan Quayle and Grover Norquist, who has been MIA for months. That reminds me, has anyone seen Sam Donaldson, and is it too early to include Chris Christie?
Occupy Wall Street is unoccupied. You can’t live off the fad of the land forever, Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies. You’re next, Candy Crush Saga. The name, junior high school, has gone into our limbo, replaced by middle school for reasons no one understands. Where are the old titles of Bombay, Constantinople and Burma? Voided. When was the last time you heard “Dixie?” You risk tar and feathers playing that song in public. Soon anything named Lee, Jackson or Davis will be AWOL. The void has collected the South’s song and the flag, and gray uniforms are no longer de reguier. Texas has its unique share of has-beens who need to go. San Jacinto Day and Texas Independence Day have long gone into the void. Used to be those days were celebrated with parades and speeches, fireworks and feasts. Today it’s all about Cinco de Mayo. Remember the Longhorns’ wining football team and UH’s Phi Slama Jama?
Moving to the kitchen, is that a rolling pen? Out, can of lard drippings. Say goodbye to life and say hello to ice trays in the void. Next thing you know washboards, drying lines and clothes pens will no longer hang around, so to speak. The freezer and pantry are filled with sugar-free, calorie-free and nutrition-free food. So long South Beach Diet, make way for a gluten-free regimen and kale. Yes, that wimpy, tasteless veggie has taken over all the trendy kitchens, TV chefs’ recipes and cookbooks. If you ain’t got kale, you’re really stale. Talking about TV chefs, whatever happened to TV dinners? Nuke ’em for a minute and supper is ready. Does anyone still put them on TV tables to choke down some chicken mixed with mashed potatoes and 3-year-old peas while watching “Your Show of Shows?” Into the void and none too soon. The test pattern is long-voided. Out, Britney Spears and Hannah Montana. Hey, Justin Bieber, your 15 minutes of fame has expired. Valley Girl has joined AARP. Is Johnny Mathis still alive? How about Lauren Bacall and Maureen O’Hara?
Let me check my list of the vanquished and vanished. You know that the feds have ordered we get rid of incandescent bulbs. Same with the terrorism color alerts. And don’t forget the SSC — the Superconducting Super Collider, that billion-dollar boondoggle never did get finished. All we have today are a few big holes in the ground outside of Waxahachie. Now there are actual voids. Global warming has been replaced by climate change. Our children have tossed out please, thank you, sir and ma’m. When was the last time you saw someone smoking a pipe? Texas Democrats are poised on the sixth-story window ledge ready to jump into oblivion. All they need is a little push unless it’s Wendy. Pictures of full-service filling stations are on the side of milk cartons. Detroit is on life support, and you don’t look so good yourself.
Ashby is missing at firstname.lastname@example.org