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Friday, June 13, 2003

 

Dept. of Job



There are children starving in Africa.

Somewhere in Israel, buses are exploding and armies are retaliating and innocent people are getting blown to bits. Bereaved families are ululating.

I would trade places with any of them in a red hot minute.

My toilet is broken, my garbage disposal is not properly disposing of garbage.

What's the point of living an American life of luxury if these very conveniences afforded me by my citizenship in the world's lone hyperpower abandon me in my everyday existence? What am I supposed to do while I wait for the handyman to fix my disposal, discard half-eaten Big Macs and pasta remainders in the dry garbage?

Is it fair that I have to remove the top of my toilet tank and yank on the little plastic arm inside to flush away my human waste? I might as well have to slice myself open and squeeze my bladder to each time I feel like I need to evacuate the urine building up from a night of drinking sour apple martinis on the Sunset Strip.

Restless from my ordeal and utterly bored by the third consecutive Eddie Murphy movie on my digital HBO 5, I flipped back to a program on channels available to anyone with a television. I do this from time to time to keep up with the salt of the earth. The first commercial break featured an ad for one of those Christian charities where you can sponsor a Nicaraguan child for something like fifteen dollars a month, or two days' worth of frappuccinos. I wrote a check on the spot. The charity encourages you to write a personal note to the child. Normally you would wait until you receive your adopted child's profile to send a personalized missive, but I figured I have a knack for universal communication. The nuns could easily translate my elegant English into whatever devil tongue the adopt-an-urchins speak in Nicaragua.

In my note, I explained that Miguelito or Esperanza should use my sponsorship fee to learn a trade, like toilet or garbage disposal repair. Jobs for this sort of semiskilled labor are surely plentiful in America; I can't be the only one suffering the indignity of not being able to flush my commode with the silver handle or listening to the deafening silence of my disposal as I flip the switch that should send unseen blades whirring into what would have been leftovers if I believed in that sort of thing. Their acquisition of a trade would provide a twofold benefit: a career path for them in the Land of Opportunity and the alleviation of my suffering from being suddenly and tragically deprived of luxuries that make my extremely complicated lifestyle possible.

I sealed the envelope knowing that I had made some small corner of the world better while I silently suffered among the ruins of my American Dream.

Maybe their Dream would be better realized.

Charity really does give you a healthy dose of perspective.

But I still can't sleep because the channel guide on my cable box seems to have taken the night off, and I can't risk flipping to Nutty Professor 2. There's only so much one man can weather.



About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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