Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day, By The Numbers





I love numbers and statistics, and this weekend, it seems, there a lot of numerical milestones. Most importantly, it has been 50 years since To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published. This Harper Lee classic, is home to my namesake, the unforgettable, and incomparable, Atticus Finch. Mr. Finch was beautifully portrayed by Gregory Peck in the movie version, which I believe to be one of the finest films ever produced.


The character of Atticus Finch is honorable, respectful, loyal, daring and a true individual. I strive to be all of these things, which is not that difficult, because, I believe, these traits parallel my congenital canine attributes. If Atticus Finch had been an over-eater, and a dog, we’d be identical.



Another interesting numerical tidbit this weekend, is that as of tomorrow, Memorial Day, we, as a country, have spent over one trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s twelve zeros, friends! And this trillion only accounts for the “on the books” costs. There is no number, or monetary amount, that can be tallied for the loss of American’s lives (over 5,000, and counting), and the interminably long list of wounded. Not to mention, the cost of destroying, and then rebuilding, sovereign nations that are not our own.


Another measurable factoid: This month marks the 7th anniversary of our previous president’s declaration of “mission accomplished”. Yet one more indicator that the former president may have been less astute than most dogs I know. Can anyone mispronounce nuclear?


And, since we’re talking a little politics, this week is also the week that gubernatorial candidate, Meg Shitman, passed the 80 million dollar mark in personal campaign spending. Eighty million dollars would certainly cover the cost of... teachers, parole officers, firemen, medical and elder support services, dogpark maintenance, etc., etc., etc.... But no. These eighty million dollars were, primarily, spent on derogatory and negative advertising.


What does she hope to gain out of possibly buying the Governor’s office? I really don’t understand how voters would be able to seriously consider a candidate who hasn’t even executed her most basic electoral right. The right to vote. Yes, I’m a dog, but I yearn for the privilege of casting my ballot, and would never belittle that right.


On a more personal note, tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. My grandpa Del was greatly loved and admired, and, now, greatly missed. Actually, he had many of the same qualities that distinguish Atticus Finch. Grandpa Del was unusually special in the eyes of all he knew. His warmth, intelligence, and goofy humor, was exemplified in his every smile, and twinkle in his eyes. He had an uncanny ability to make everyone he met, human and animal alike, feel special and important and loved.


As Memorial Day is upon us, I reflect upon not only the brave servicemen and women of our country, but also on the memory of my beloved grandpa. Wishing you, enchanting readers, a reverent and memorable holiday.



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