Has The Earth Ever Fallen Away Under You...?

Ever watch a cartoon when the little character dashes off a cliff but remains in the air…? A classic bit which always has the same punchline. He suddenly looks down, realizes he’s in mid-air, and plummets.

There’s a lesson in the joke. We take certain things in life for granted. When suddenly they’re not there anymore, trauma. Say like today’s report by the US Census Bureau. For the first time in our history there were less White births recorded than non-White. America has reached the expected tipping point when it begins to become an increasingly multi-ethnic culture.

The consequences of this will be mixed. Minorities, college professors, bleeding-heart-liberals, and gays will approve. White evangelicals, gun-toting Rednecks, Skinheads, and Sarah Palin will gag. The halls of Congress, radio call-in programs, and Twitter will light up.

But leaving that blaze behind, I’m thinking here of some other and simpler examples of life without what we take for granted. Smaller moments which nevertheless will have real consequences. Imagine with me an America in which:

* There are no TV commercials >> When do we get a bathroom break?

* There are no campaign ads >> Who do we have to hate?

* There are no show business award ceremonies >> How can we live without celebrities?

* There are no more research teams studying coffee >> What can we panic about?

* There are no more UFO sightings >> What secret government conspiracies are left?

* The Chicago Cubs win the World Series >> What noble existential suffering can I still count on?

Just like that crazy cartoon character without anything beneath him to count on, earthlings like me dread the day. But then “dreading” is what earthlings are good at. I plan to plummet with dignity…!

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  • I had to laugh at the Cubs one. We always say, "hopefully it'll happen in MY lifetime!" but then I wonder if the glamour of liking a losing team would go away?

  • Your first two posit that the "commercial free" public television model will work. Considering that even Channel 11 has conventional commercials, the more likely one is:

    "There are only infomercials. 900 channels of the Sham Wow."

    Heck, most public TV programs are commercials for the magazine, food supplier, cooking utensil seller, paint purveyor, or woodworking tool maker "underwriting" it. They aren't even so careful about covering the labels these days.

    What can we panic about--until there is infinite life and so long as there is a health segment on every news program, something else. Even infinite life might have its complaints.

    I'm sure you don't have to worry about a lack of government conspiracies so long as there are politicians corrupted by power or greed.

    Also, going back to the cartoons, I thought that the point was "don't look down." Also, don't buy Acme Products (even in Philadelphia, where Jewel is known as Acme Markets).

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack ~ Thanks for trying to "solve" my bullet points. But I still kinda miss some of the "givens" under us.

  • Holly ~ As to our Cubbies, keep "laughing" it's better than crying

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