ERROL CASTENS: If Roger ruled the world …

Roger seemed unusually brooding as we worked the Florida weave on six short rows of SunCherry plants that he planned to sell to a few of his chef contacts. The vines desperately needed support, so I held them up while he laced baler twine between the rebar supports.
“You know what our problem is?” Roger asked.
“Too much rain?” I guessed.
“No, I mean this nation, this society, this civilization,” he harrumphed.
I didn’t have to think long to offer some theories.
“Imported tomatoes, drugged-up major-leaguers and a dearth of kudzu in Washington, D.C.,” I said.
“No,” Roger sighed. “As a people, we want adult-level rights and privileges with child-level responsibilities.”
It wasn’t an original thought, of course, but I couldn’t think of any good reason to disagree.
Roger said, “Too many of us copulate indiscriminately and then demand that someone else pay to raise the baby – or kill it – and treat the disease and get the divorce and tell us not to be ashamed for exercising our rights. We demand more services than our taxes will afford, and our federal nannies put it all on a credit card so we’ll hush squalling.”
I nodded.
“We demand ‘free’ health care while we dope, smoke and eat ourselves to death,” he said, giving me a Pillsbury-Doughboy poke. “We expect the government to protect us from terrorists but without any temporary unpleasantness that might make the dying societies of Europe call us names.
“We want to be safe from crime, but we label those who lawfully oppose criminals ‘snitches’ or ‘vigilantes,’” Roger said. “We forward malicious lies because they ‘sound true’ and then congratulate ourselves as the guardians of civilization.”
I held up another vine for the twine, but Roger was too engrossed in his rant to notice.
“We treat drug dealers as victims and children as nuisances. We make a mantra of ‘Do not judge’ but reject ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’
“We want reward but not risk, religion but not rules, friendship but not fidelity and the security of socialism but not the stigma of stupidity,” Roger said.
Feeling he was taking himself much too seriously – not to mention alliteratively – I couldn’t help adding one last item to his litany of license before I urged us both back to work on the SunCherry rows.
“But most of all,” I told Roger, “we want cookies without calories.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

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