American birthright

June 11, 1996|By G. Gaynor McTigue

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Make my life cake.

Throw money at me, regardless of effort expended. Give me holidays, vacations, bonuses, benefits, perks, promotions and pensions. But don't ride my butt too hard.

Make food happen. Let there be fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, booze, goodies and what-all . . . ever within my reach. Only hunting I want to do is in the supermarket, and don't make me look too hard.

Make my garbage go away. (I don't care what you do with it, long as it doesn't wind up on the beach I swim at.)

Clean my street, patrol my neighborhood, put out my fires. Pave the roads to make smooth my path, and fill up the damn potholes.

Don't ever make me wait for -anything: bank tellers, store clerks, meals, buses, babies, checks, success . . . even 5 seconds of dead air ticks me off.

Regale me with an endless of procession of technical wizardry -- TVs, CDs, PCs -- to distract me from the things that really matter.

If I screw up, pay my rent, feed my kids, cure my excesses, forgive my trespasses. You screw up, you're dead meat.

Educate my kids masterfully. Keep them occupied, entertained, stimulated and disciplined six hours a day so I don't have to deal with them. But don't enrich those money-sucking teachers on my tax money.

News I want to hear

Tell me news I want to hear. Stoke my moral righteousness with stories of corrupt politicians and greedy companies. Make my sins pale in comparison to the hapless human trash heap of daytime talk. Move me to compassion with reports of other people's misery. Leave me feeling lucky I'm even alive. But get it over with by 8 p.m. so I can watch ''Roseanne.''

Big priority: Cure any diseases I might get . . . before I get them.

Feed the hungry so they won't hit me up for cash. House the homeless so I don't trip over them in the street.

But understand, you'll have to turn yourself inside-out, upside-down to squeeze even one charitable penny out of me. (A chance to win a new Oldsmobile won't hurt.)

Solve Bosnia. solve the Middle East. Solve the whole bloody global mess. But leave my kids out of it.

Do more studies.

Keep tinkering around with those interest rates, like you've been doing, so stocks always go up and never come down.

Give me growth without inflation, entitlements without taxes, relationships without responsibilities.

Get everything right the first time, or incur my impatience, wrath and ridicule.

Place the most qualified, talented, intelligent, beautiful and charismatic people on pedestals before me. So I can knock them down.

Forever find new ways to interest, entertain, shock and humor me. Or watch your ratings plummet.

Make criminals, kooks, drug dealers, perverts and misfits disappear. At least, keep them the hell out of my neighborhood.

And be damned sure I don't ever get hurt. Or it's your fault.

In fact, anything goes wrong with my life, my community, my country, my world . . . it's your problem, not mine.

And you damn well better take care of it.

G. Gaynor McTigue is the author of ''Life's Little Frustration Book'' and ''You Know You're Middle Aged When . . .''

Pub Date: 6/11/96

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