THE VOID – It is time for spring cleaning, time to get rid of all those shop-worn aspects of our lives, so they go into the Void. Let’s start with “protocol.” It was all the rage during the Ebola pandemic. Every news report that dealt with Ebola had to include the word “protocol.” We do have a U.S. Chief of Protocol, the glad hand who welcomes visiting heads of state, kings, queens and various potentates, and attends a lot of parties, but abolishing that post would be a good way to cut the federal budget. “Margin of error” is another one. Polls always include “margin of error,” which means the poll might be right, but might not. What if your surgeon said, “Well, I’m pretty good 100 percent of the time, given a 10 percent margin of error.”? Or: “This is your pilot. With a 4 to 6 percent margin of error, I think this 737 Max 8 will get us there safely.” Into the Void go the “Macarena,” “disco” and anything by a polka band. What ever happened to Johnny Mathis? Voided, or maybe he went back to his home town, Gilmer, Texas. Is Celine Dion still with us? How about Justin Bieber? Miley Cyrus is still around, but her father, Billy Ray “Achy Breaky Heart” Cyrus, fell into the Void some time ago. Do you still have any copies of Playboy? Hugh Hefner is dead, so toss them.
My closet needs some cleaning out, and I’ll bet your closet does, too. Long ago I pitched my bellbottoms, narrow ties and Nehru jacket, but now my kids tell me leisure suits are no longer fashionable. If they were good enough for Winston Churchill, they’re good enough for my kids. Fedoras are out ever since Mafia bosses were assassinated while wearing one. Actually, when was the last time you saw anyone wearing any hat? A week or so ago, when the rodeo was in town. That’s when everyone wore a big cowboy hat. My beautiful pearl gray Stetson stays, even if I don’t have a horse. I wear Lucchese boots year ‘round, so they stay, too. Raccoon coats may come back again. You never know.
Where did you go Johnny Football? Johnathan Paul Manziel, the Aggie Heisman Trophy winner, was last reported playing for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football, but it’s still early in the day. This self-destructed quarterback goes into the Void, along with hundreds of former NFL players. Remember, the average pro football player’s career lasts all of 3.3 years. Whatever, Wassup? and Whack-a-Mole, into the Void. Would someone please push Pokémon in, too? I shoved, “Have a nice day” into the pit last year, but it has been replaced with, “Have a good one.” My Betamax was getting worn out, so I bought a VCR then a CD only to find they were as out-of-date as my 45s. An Amber Alert has been issued for BlackBerry. Bluetooth is so 2000.
Speaking of 2000, Y2K had its 15 minutes of fame, then flamed out. I pulled out a new Dell X-J5 computer from its box, only to find everyone has something newer. Every time I open up my flip-top cellphone, people giggle. I guess it went into the Void and I didn’t know it. Does anyone’s office still have a pencil sharpener, Rolodex, carbon paper or a Telex? Even Fax machines are gathering dust. And when was the last time you wrote or received a hand-written letter? The Void must be getting crowded. Some say newspapers are done with, gone, dinosaurs. How do they know that? They read it in the newspaper. 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.
At this point we need to note that some may crawl out of the Void and come back to relevancy. I once dumped Our Man in Beijing into the Void, even got a nice letter, with a Chinese panda stamp on it, complaining that he didn’t know he was no longer relevant. But I was right, we never heard of George H.W. Bush again. I check my list. The Texas Legislature is still in session and our public schools still have boys and girls bathrooms. Maybe we could shove Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick into the Void, along with those Neanderthals in Austin who say they will allocate a few billion more to our schools while cutting property taxes. Ha! There is a bill before the lawmakers to abolish, state-wide, cameras that take pictures of red-light runners. Good. We don’t have enough collisions, T-boners and bodies littering our intersections. Get those cameras Voided.
Washington-on-the-Swamp has not been drained. Actually, our current administration is up to its rump in alligators. The White House is certainly a candidate for the Void, as are Republican members of Congress who refuse to stand up against demagoguery. Who needs those wimps? This includes Texas’ two U.S. Senators. Maybe they have already leaped into the Void. A former U.S. rep from Houston, John Culberson, is Voided. Did he get a lobbying job or just retire on his pension? On the other hand, I did see his picture on the side of milk cartons. OK, let’s permanently retire those Evangelical Christians who hypocritically tell us our sins will land us in everlasting fire and brimstone (meanwhile, pass the plate) while cozying up to and endorsing the nation’s First Adulterer. Yes, I guess you really can have it both ways. Before we leave the Swamp, where are sequestration, the promised balanced budget and John Boehner? Thank the Lord Mexico paid for that wall.
Does anyone miss Occupy Wall Street? Facebook is on life support, so is Tesla. But they may become MIA. Well, that about clears up some obsolete and now-meaningless parts of our lives.
Incidentally, a pandemic is the same as an epidemic, but sounds worse.
Ashby’s is voided at firstname.lastname@example.org