Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Quarterback Sneak and Other Signs We've Lost Our Moral Compass

Dear Friends,

The Hard Taco song for this month is called, "Drain the Pool," and it is heavy on the synth. If you don't like synth, it might make you wynth, but you'll dance so hard you'll get shin splynth.

People, I feel sick today. Sick from the immortality and deception that blankets our society like icing on a Cinnabon. When I was watching the sports last Sunday, I saw something that registered a bad angle on my moral protractor... a quarterback pump fake. The signal caller extended his arm as if to throw the ball, but didn't let go of it. He didn't throw the ball at all!

I know how linebackers must feel when subjected this kind of footbally subterfuge. I experience the same sense of betrayal whenever I discover regular-sized crackers in a box, even though the picture on the box has been enlarged to show texture.  Both the quarterback and that cracker box make my moral litmus paper turn Pink. As. Hell.

Every culture has its own approach to the philosophy of ethics. Our moral thermostat has three settings, corresponding to the categories in 20 Questions. All ethical issues are Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral.

Should our furry, 12-teated step-cousins enjoy the same rights as humans? I think they should, but it wouldn't hurt their case if they asserted themselves a little more. The last animal that I interacted with (who, granted, was a lamb chop) was pleasantly docile and did not stand up for itself when I tried to smear it with mint jelly.

I've heard religious justifications to support our subjugation of animals. If God didn't want us to wipe our bums with real archaeopteryx feathers he wouldn't have put nature's most luxurious toilet paper on the napes of the prehistoric birds.

But if you are a more of a secular omnivore, and aren't swayed by all this God talk, think about this. Animals have it way better than us in lot of important ways.  I heard a cockroach can go seven days without sweating, and that's utterly bad ass. And I don't know about you, but I can't beat my wings 90 times per second, or fit a whole bunch of acorns in my cheeks. Also, have you ever noticed that other than the snail and the turtle, every animal on Earth is faster than us? There are literally billions of animals that can outrun people, and only two that can't. My moral astrolabe tells me that we must eat those billions of animals in the interest of fairness. And heck, if a turtle attempted to eat me, I'd let it! Snap away, my slimy little friends, you deserve to catch a break.

Grandpa had indicated in his Living Will that he does not want life sustaining interventions. Now that he's in a coma, do we have to disconnect him from life support or should we wait around a few weeks to see if someone at Mayo Clinic discovers a treatment for malignant throat worms? More importantly, does honoring Grandpa's autonomy trump the preferences of the worms? (See "Animal" above.)

This decision would be much easier if we follow the European model, which takes all control out of the hands of the family. All European patients are put on a ventilator after cardiac arrest,  and all of them die within 10 minutes. It has something to do with the fact that the outlets look weird in Europe. If you can't insert the plug in the first place, you don't have to worry about pulling it!

Conflict Minerals. They're so darn tempting.
Like most people, when I hear about a bargain on imported bauxite or talc, I break out the debit card and start swiping it back and forth in anything that has a slit. But what if I told me that buying those minerals was funding machete parts for Congolese ethnic cleansers? What if I proved to myself that half the cost of my wife's gypsum necklace was funneled to a Liberian slave insurrection and the other half went to the forces that put down that insurrection?

Honey, my moral Geiger counter is crackling when I point it at your neck, because you're wearing blood gypsum. 

With warmest regards,

P.S. Conflict vegetables: Not a healthy part of anyone's food pyramid.