Maybe it's the heat, the abnormally early onset of sticky summertime lassitude; anyhow a vast indifference has settled impenetrably over the ol' moi sphere exactly like the high-pressure ridge that for a torpid fortnight has held the region against the entrada of anything of meterological interest.

President Carter called the phenomenon a malaise, and President Clinton called it a funk, and it isn't known who first called it “the blahs,” but then again, who cares who called it that?  The comedian Kevin Meaney had a theme song titled “I Don't Care” and most of the words in it were “I don't care” and most of the rest of the words in it were all the things he didn't care about, which sounds just about right to me.

 For instance, I don't care what the greeting cow at the Billy Graham museum thinks about Jesus. I doubt that these alleged cow thoughts on Jesus were really thought by a cow in the first place, even in cow language that was subsequently translated, but I don't care about that either, and see no use in wasting any more time on the topic.

 I don't care if it's true, as the plethora of TV commercials would have us believe, that after a certain age men spend just about all their time looking for a place to go pee. I don't care, either, that I'm a fully-qualified dues-paying member of that age group — because, whatever it takes, on my sacred honor, this particular existence having turned out to be inconsequential enough already, pee locations just aren't going to become one of its determining twilight considerations.

 I don't care which countries the secretary of state, the vice president, or the First Lady might make their next “surprise” visits to. I'd care even less if they had the good character or the public-spiritedness to pay their own way, or just a token amount of it. Laura Bush, for example, could throw in a few bucks for the Paris leg of her trip to investigate progress in the war in Afghanistan.

 I don't care what's wrong with Bill Clinton, if anything is, or what his problem is, if he has one, or why, unless it's his growing latter-day physical resemblance to Bela Lugosi, they think they have to keep driving pointless stakes into his burnt-out and used-up old thumper, as if he were someone who still somehow someway needed to be reckoned with.

 “I don't care what they say, I won't stay in a world without love” — stupid line from the stupidest song of all time.

 I don't care why Big Brown flopped, although I have a theory. Has nothing to do with his being too big or too brown.

 I don't care if fountain pens are gone from my life forever. Sons-a-bitches were never good for anything but heartache anyway.

 I don't care who either presidential candidate picks for a running mate. How long has it been since it mattered who was vice president? You can argue that we were lucky to have Ford ascending instead of Agnew, but that gets back to the old unresolved question of whether the country does better with a dunce or a crook as president. Are we hurt worse by White House haplessness or White House sleaze? I guess in the current instance, you could make a case either way.

 I don't care how old creationists think the Earth is, and I suspect the 5-billion-year-old boulders out here at the Home Place don't give much of a rat's ass about it either.

 I don't care how high gas prices go. We shouldn't ever have got in this position anyway, letting a bunch of gougers define who we are by how we get around, and whatever it takes to get them off our necks, and to get our old proud self-reliance back, is what we'll do. If that means a return to bicycles, trains, and horse-drawn vehicles, well, then, that's just how it'll have to be. Lots of new jobs shoveling coal and sweeping manure, if you want to look on the bright side. Enough hot air on TV news to fuel a national blimp fleet.

 Same with cigarette prices. Whatever it takes to conquer these old ruinous addictions.

 I don't care who wins the big golf tournament this week, as long as it's not one of the two that all the TV announcers will be openly rooting for: Tiger Woods, the billionaire who ought to let some of the other deserving players who need the money win it; or sanctimonious Phil Mickelson, whom those same announcers always chummily refer to “Lefty.”

 I don't care which team wins the big basketball championship this week — and can't imagine that anyone else does who's not related to one of the players or part of his blingy retinue. I'm afraid the presidential election this year will follow the same dreary NBA route: the prelims so long and numbing that nobody hangs around for the finals.

 I don't care if it's tomato time again or not, once such a delight, so eagerly anticipated. It's only a time for nostalgia now, and for vaguely resenting that it didn't have to turn out this way — tasteless, mushy, cellophane for skin. The zucchini's in too — and a roar goes up from the crowd.







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