and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Barbara's Column
August 2002 #3

Taking a vacation break from everyday menaces

by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Tuesday, August 13, 2002

When I was a child, I didn't realize that "Midsummer's Eve" was the night before the summer solstice in June. I thought that it meant, literally, the middle of the summer; so I counted forward from the summer solstice and backward from the autumnal equinox to arrive in the middle of August.

So here we are, in the middle of summer. The Legislature has gone home. The governor will sign or veto leftover last-minute things, one of which I have to admit I like: the telemarketing bill. Yes, I know all about free enterprise, which recently seems to be redefining itself from "the American Way" to "the worst economic system except for all the others." Yet let me be the first to put my name on that no-call-ever list. During the debate, legislators referred to people getting calls during dinner, but for those of us who work at home, the constant interruptions are enough to make you want to vandalize a statue of Alexander Graham Bell.

It's August: leave me alone, Big Business, Big Government, Big ... People. Someone is suing a fastfood franchise for making him fat.

Just for the rest of the summer, could we have a moratorium on absurdity? Probably not; some politicians are actually thinking about jumping on the bad food bandwagon and either taxing it or making it illegal like pot.

Of all the irrational things I see government do, preventing doctors from prescribing marijuana for medical purposes is the worst. They can prescribe morphine, speed, Prozac and Premarin, but a simple weed that helps cancer patients is forbidden because some people use it for recreation. Why these morons think it's fun to soak their brains in fog I don't know, but what does that have to do with someone who is sick and needs help?

I also want to know what food the food police will determine is bad for us, based on what conflicting research about fats, meat, eggs and coffee. I once read a book that recommended eating just vegetables, then just fruits, then just fruit juice, then just air. I shouldn't tell you this; you might try it, then your grieving family would sue me or the author of the book.

Actually, I think you'd have to sue her estate.

I like air, myself, especially when it's gently rocking my hammock. August, I love it! Working during the day near an air-conditioner, then moving out under the spreading maple tree at 5 p.m.

Reading thrillers by Dean Koontz, Randy Wayne White, John R. Maxim, and every now and then, something that Oprah recommends like Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes. Catching up on don't-miss movies like "15 Minutes" and "The Tao of Steve," then making an effort to experience "culchah" with live theatre.

Last week I saw a double feature starring Jill Clayburgh at the Gloucester Stage Company. Israel Horovitz' Speaking Well of the Dead was OK; The Crazy Girl by Frank Pugliese set a new standard from which to judge "awful." This girl kept screaming about all the pain in the world; I guess we were supposed to ask ourselves who is crazy someone like her or people like me who are enjoying our summer in our hammocks?

If this be crazy, hold the Prozac, and pass me a hotdog. It's the middle of summer, and I am going to enjoy every minute of it. Hope you do too.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

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