Fed up: some problems and 'solutions' I'm fed up and it's my turn to complain. Here's my modest barrage of return fire at nine common annoyances.
Bad drivers. I see them driving recklessly on our Peninsula roads, unencumbered by thought or any hint of civility. Solution? I'd find the $250,000 I need to purchase a new government concept car that features a rocket launcher on the roof. Then - when irritated by an idiotic, inconsiderate driver - I'd oh-so-slowly rotate the turret while ever so gently raising and lowering the fake weapon. That ought to slow them down, speed up, get them to yield the right of way or prompt them to think about their driving. Sweet revenge.
Corporate polluters. They're cashing in on much-lowered emission standards and regularly cheating on pollution data they give EPA. To counteract their fraud and greed, I'd require Congress to appropriate funds to construct a large, fancy home for each environmental scammer. Each mansion, however, must be located adjacent to the polluting facility. And the polluting exec must reside in it - as long as the facility poisons the neighborhood and kills people. Cost effective.
Litterbugs. I loathe the behavior of the uncaring and careless who - with casual abandon - bombard our beaches or toss trash from their car windows. We should arrest and prosecute them, sentencing them to stiff fines or imprisonment. But my personal punishment would require anyone caught littering to "deposit" the item in question in an appropriate orifice of his or her body - definitely decreasing the number of two-liter plastic bottles pitched from car windows. A painfully clear lesson.
"Support our troops" hypocrites. It's not a pretty picture - all those corporate, well-fed suits exhorting us ordinary folk to "support our troops," while their companies, Bechtel and Halliburton among them, profit from the war. Solution? When our weary, demoralized troops depart Iraq and Afghanistan, fat-cat execs from those profiteering corporations would be required to issue a generous supply of their own personal company shares to each combat-weary returnee. That should boost troop morale.
Celebrity hypocrites. My favorite is that queen of the talk shows and venerated dominatrix, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah's summer four-city "Live Your Best Life" women's empowerment tour was a good idea to help poor women. Problem is - Oprah and her entourage charged attendees $185 to get in. Solution? Since Oprah's staggering wealth would allow, she should be compelled to let everyone in - free. Appropriate.
Corporate tax scammers. All those corporate execs, reincorporating in Bermuda to avoid paying their fair share of taxes here in America, should be required to wear Bermuda shorts - preferably on their heads. Fashion statement.
Greedy Congress members. Recently proposed drug-benefit bills included provisions exempting retired Congress members from additional premiums or deduct-ibles. We "others" have to pay something like an extra $420 out-of-pocket annual premiums plus a $250 deductible. Let's stop that privileged self-treatment and make Congress give all Americans what Congress is getting. While they're at it, Congress should give retirees living on Social Security the same 3.1 percent raise they gave themselves - instead of a paltry 1.4 percent. Seems fair.
Gun nuts. I think all responsible gun owners have a right to own and use guns. Period. But the fanatics who demand access to high-powered weapons only the Army should use annoy me. Since the Second Amendment was written for an agrarian nation of five million living by candlelight in homes thatched by mud, I think we should keep to the spirit of the Amendment - which means everyone can still own a gun, but it must be a musket.
Let's replace those easy to use and abuse semi-automatics with the unwieldy musket. No more drive-bys and reflex shootings over pricey sneakers. It's one shot to a customer. Something needs to be done.
Zealots. Like Fudgsicles left out in the sun, respect for other people's attitudes and opinions is dissolving. Fanatics everywhere. UFO believers, cryogenics advocates, survivalists, animal rights extremists, and many others. They don't know when to quit, they're invariably wrong, and they persistently campaign to win us over with their absolute belief in some idiotic misconception.
Those wild-eyed fanatics - not harmful if they stay home - have no right to seize me by the elbow and harangue me. Solution? Round 'em up, corral 'em, make 'em wear clown suits, and force 'em to win each other over, while listening to nonstop music by Kenny G or Michael Bolton. That'll stop 'em.
I hope my solutions to those annoyances comfort some of you beleaguered, bothered forces of the fed-up.
Observer correspondent Robert Brake can be reached at email@example.com.