State Woebegone's Silly Hills and Danika, the Goddess of Indy 500
edited: Thursday, June 02, 2005
By Lisa Adams
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, June 02, 2005
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When common sense hits the road, better hope nothing worse comes in its place to make your life a living hell.
As you may have suspected, I am a smartass. I enjoy it. Not to hurt people, but because there should be at least one of us in a crowd to stir things up a bit; get you all riled up. This missive will begin, as so many have, with, "I was watching the news last night when..."
So, I was watching the news last night when the anchor gravely announced, "In Laguna Beach, hills continue to slide, destroying multi-million dollar homes. At least 1000 people have been evacuated..."
Dramatic footage of a cliff giving way, and houses tumbling into oblivion while terrified residents recounted their ordeal soon followed. Then came blithe statements that such slides had happened in 1978 and 1998. As one resident said, "Yeah, it happens; but, you know, good view. You deal with it."
Immediately after that, clips began running about the "special" insurance policy a person has to have to get insurance to cover "earthquakes and land movement;" followed by the reasons people cannot obtain such insurance in, say, Laguna Beach.
This, in turn, was followed by a new series of interviews with neighborhood "old-timers" blasting the "nouveau riche" crowd that had infiltrated the hillsides with their ostentatiously WEIGHTY displays of wealth and privilege; and further suppositions that the residents will blame it on the city for failing to properly construct retaining walls. If that is not fodder for the soon-to-be-pending lawsuits, I do not know what is. Negligence, bad acts of city officials - we cry "foul!" Oh, Sophie, the horror of it all.
Don't get me wrong. I feel for the people who had the bejeez scared out of them early in the morning. Nobody would want to awaken to sounds of beams cracking and houses...moving. No, that would not set well with anyone. And I was glad nobody was hurt.
And yes, the rains in So.Cal. this year left much devastation in their wake. But...but...but...people, can common sense ever gain a foothold over a great view? Because to me, that seems to be the root of the problem altogether: lack of common sense by the people who bought the places to begin with.
I expect that last evening's fingerpointing fiesta will soon get uglier. Lawsuits will be filed. And still, I kept asking myself, "Who the hell came up with the brilliant idea to place ANY home at the edge of a cliff where (a) the soil is sandy; and (b) gee, it's at the edge of a CLIFF."
What bright developer rode in on his/her horse full of promises and suckered a whole neighborhood of people into purchasing homes for which they could not obtain relevant insurance; and where what had happened was completely predictable? The "smart as a fox" variety would be my guess.
Face it, the silly hills of California will not rest until every last house perched precariously on the edge...collapses.
Common sense had nothing to do with the decision to build homes on such unstable areas. Pure greed did. And the fact people spent, God, millions upon millions of dollars to live there - not a lot of common sense going on in that arena either.
Shoot, I take it back, SPENDING millions on a home to begin with is bizarre to me. Not because I lack the money - that is a given - but because I can think of SO many other things to do with the money. Do you really need 10,000 square feet of living space? Ok, if you shoot hoops and prefer to do so at home, cool. But everyone else - no way. Ok, ok, we'll make the exception for someone with, like, a thousand kids or an in-house animal shelter.
I hate to say it, but the residents of Laguna Beach really had it coming. And now that common sense has finally kicked in - to a degree - the fingerpointing and blame-saying begins. Millions will be spent on litigation with the same result: "Hey, client, did you ever wonder WHY the insurance guy said, 'we don't insure homes there for earth movement incidents?' " I don't know, color me stupid, but that might have dampened my enthusiasm for a home on a cliff, view or no.
And in a roundabout way, that leads me to the Indy 500 race. Common sense this time focused on the announcer's statements as Danika - who is beyond cool in my book - was leading the pack. The crowd was going wild. Her mother was biting her nails and praying. A woman about to nail the Indy 500, and the moment was golden. What a neat thing. That is definitely something you don't see every day. So I stopped to watch.
The announcer says something to the effect of, "Danika is about to become immortal. She is going to make history." Phew, "immortal" you say? Pretty powerful stuff. I agree with the whole "make history" thing, but immortal? Color me Illiad and Odyssey, but them's strong words, buddy.
As you may, or may not, know, with - I think - seven laps to go, some bagwan biffs a tire against the wall and a yellow caution light is illuminated. Some guy who will not be immortal - impliedly because he is a guy I suppose...if we follow announcer logic - passes Danika.
My thoughts are screaming, "DRAFT, GIRL! Conserve fuel. You can at least take second." Hell, she might have even been able to take first again.
But now the announcer is on a roll. "Danika's in second place. Still an historic moment and one she won't soon forget." Ok, she is no longer immortal. But making history is good. Second and making history is good.
The race carries on and soon, Danika is lagging further behind.
Needless to say, by the time she winds up in fourth place, the announcer has deflated her status in the history books to: "Maybe some people will remember this day. She sure will." Ouch. What a schmuck.
I think more people will remember the announcer's idiotic comments and complete failing in the common sense category. After all, what if her grandfather had been watching? Hyped up by announcer jerkus' commentary, he keels over with a coronary because of the "maybe someone will remember her" line. Brilliant.
As a close friend once said, "Now that don't make no kinda sense." Hallelujah, brother. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits. Oh yeah, and God, could ya save us from ourselves every now and again while you're at it? Ya see, we ain't got no kind of sense most of the time. We could use the help. Much obliged.