Complain, Complain,


Leonard Zwelling

         When Brother John joined the monastery, he knew it was going
to be a very simple life. He also knew that the vow of silence he took was
almost absolute. Once a year he would be allowed to say just three words to the
Head Abbott. He also knew that after three years, the Head Abbott would decide
if he would be raised to the next level of the fraternity of friars thus
ensuring the lifetime commitment of the church to his monastic existence of
study and scholarship. Ah, tenure!

         After a year, Brother John stood before the Head Abbott.

         “Bed too hard,” he said.

         A year went by and another meeting took place.  Brother John said, “Food too cold.”

         At the end of the third year he said to the Head Abbott,
“Room too drafty.”

         A month later he was called into the Head Abbott’s office
and given his walking papers of release from the brotherhood and was forced to
turn in his robe.

         Without thinking he said, “But why me?”

         The Head Abbott said, “All I have heard is complain,
complain, complain for three years.”

         Sometimes I wonder if this applies to me. All this blog
seems to do is identify problems in the world and suggest fixes that never seem
to occur. But, in essence, many of the problems are insoluble, and the blog
sounds like a litany of complaints. I have even had a reader tell me to “smile
once in a while.” I assured the reader that I smile all the time since
retiring, just not in print. Nonetheless, the accusation that I complain too
much is legitimate.

         So what’s right with the world?

         In politics, have we ever had a more amusing silly season?
The second leading candidate for President of the United States on the
Republican side believes that a Muslim cannot be President by dint of his
religion. And this is the man who says he will protect and defend the
Constitution. Are you kidding?

         We have The Donald bad-mouthing everyone else’s looks and politics,
which is itself amusing, given his hair and his lack of any discernible
policies or politics.

         Carly Fiorina is lying about what was really on the Planned
Parenthood videos, but the people at Planned Parenthood ought to be very
concerned that the videos could even have been made. Clearly their personnel
were a little lax in considering their words and deeds and in doing so may have
undermined all the good their organization does.

         We have an 11-person “debate” which looks more like a tag
team WWF wrestling match or the most recent session of the Japanese Diet (that’s
their legislature, not sushi) where a food fight could break out at any time.

         And on the Democratic side, the presumptive nominee may have
screwed up again by ignoring the common rules every staffer in the Congress
knows govern the use of official email and Joe Biden may find out that the sympathy
he engenders evaporates as soon as he announces his candidacy. Then there’s the
Bern (”feel the Bern”) who has to get major props as a Jewish socialist going
to predominantly evangelical Liberty University to speak on Rosh Hashanah. No,
I can’t make this stuff up. After all, the Pope landed in Washington on Yom Kippur.

         Closer to home the leaders of the Texas Medical Center and
MD Anderson are selling off chunks of landscape and intellectual property to
enhance their revenue streams and undermine their integrity. How smart is that?
It may not be smart, but it is fun to watch and wait, but it will no longer be
amusing when a patient dies on a trial being sponsored by one of the companies
in which MD Anderson has equity and the powers at Anderson keep the fatality
covered up and off the IRB’s radar screen until they can dump their stock. Can
you say “insider trading?”

         Wait. I thought I was supposed to stop complaining and all I
have done for the entire blog is identify problems, even though they are
amusing ones. Well, at least so far.

         Oh well, I guess I will have to give up my vow of silence.


         “People too funny.”

Leonard Zwelling