Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Half-Mast Bullshit

Okay, recently while driving past the local firehall I couldn't help but notice that the Canadian flag was only flying at half-mast. For simps who have no fucking clue what flying a flag at half-mast means it is usually done to honor the recent passing of somebody significant. A prominent politician dies? The flag goes to half-mast. A national civil rights hero dies? The flag goes to half-mast. I guess you could say that it signifies mourning.

But I digress. Back to the point of this whole little rant of mine.

So there I was, noticing, albeit briefly, that the flag was flying at half-mast. And you know what? I had no fucking clue whose life was being honored. Not a single clue. There were no huge news stories recently about a celebrity or sports legend dying. There had been no recent genocides, regicides, uxoricides, or fraticides. So what the fuck?

For a second I thought that maybe the flagpole outside the firehall was defective and, had I been so inclined, I would have parked my car, marched right into the establishment, and complain to the firefighters therein to get their fucking shit together with the whole flagpole situation. Then I decided that a flagpole is a pretty simple object. That is to say it's pretty difficult to wind up with a defective flagpole or a malfunctioning flagpole as there are remarkably few moving parts on the fucking things. I'm no flagpole mechanic, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly a pole, some string or chain, a pulley, some other shit, and something to fasten the flag to. Then people stand around and sing national anthems and salute it. So, giving the firefighters the benefit of the doubt I decided that, indeed, somebody must have died who had been of significance somewhere, maybe only to the firefighters in the hall. But it was somebody who mattered.

And then the thought hit me. I pondered for a bit and decided that most days, if not all of them, somebody, somewhere dies. There are 6 billion people in the world and chances are that somebody in the world dies every day. The chances of a day passing in which nobody dies are slim to none. Now, not all of those people are the kind of people who go out and try to cure cancer or win dwarf tossing competitions, but there are people who do some pretty cool shit once in a while and are probably significant to somebody, somewhere. People like that die all the time.

Knowing that, then, why the fuck do we even raise our flags to full-mast? It stops making sense. Just keep the fuckers at half-mast because somebody just died. I guarantee it. Yeah, sure, many of the people who are dying any given moment could be a bunch of shitheads, assholes, and serial rapists, but maybe one or two them made blueberry pancakes for Fred Astaire one morning long ago. Maybe one of them served tea to JFK. Besides that, with all the fucking dying going on all over the place why even expend the effort it takes to raise the flag to full-mast if you're only going to have to lower it to half-mast again as soon as somebody else dies?

But Michael, couldn't you say that about Christmas trees too? Why bother even taking them down in June if you're only going to have to put them up again in November?

Exactly. That's why the entire year is the holiday season around my house. It's not because I'm some sort of gung-ho Christian guy. I'm just a pragmatist when it comes to the effort it's going to take me to disassemble and reassemble a Christmas tree each year. Happy fucking holidays!

So, everybody, I beseech you, just leave the fucking flags down. Like I said there's somebody dying somewhere right now and you should honor them the way you would honor anybody else.

Or, better yet, flagpole manufacturers of the world, why not just make your poles only half as tall? That way even when the flags are flying at full-mast, they can still kind of be half-mast and everybody on either side of this age-old argument wins.

No comments: