Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Middle-Muddle

If you live in Kansas and are the second of three children it’s safe to say you are a middle child in mid-America. You also qualify for a middle name but nothing else is so certain. Sarah Palin’s idea of Middle America is probably a trailer park in Wyoming with more guns than books and the books all Bibles from which the kids are home-schooled. My idea of Middle America is an apartment in Chicago or St. Louis where the children go to public school and have library cards.
Middle age keeps drifting further from zero.  It is now anywhere from 40 to 60. Feel free to have your mid-life crises anywhere in that slot. If it happens before it might just be a seven-year itch.  For people who live a self-examined life any moment of existential dread or epiphany warrants a crisis.

One would think that the middle can be defined as that which lies between the near and the far. However the Middle East is also called the Near East. Maybe it all depends how close you are to it. If you’re standing in Istanbul it’s already near. It’s a decidedly Eurocentric designation. The Chinese must think of it as far-West. It seems to be the name given to the region which is always in oil or turmoil. No wonder the Middle East Peace Process is going nowhere. We can’t even agree where it is.

Mid-field in a football game and mid-court in basketball are pretty well agreed-upon terms but the middle of a batting order varies from number 3, and 4 hitters to 3, 4, 5, and 6.  A middle-distance runner usually means 800 meters but when you include the 5K, 10K and marathon it hardly seems mathematically accurate. In boxing a Middleweight weighs between 154-160 pounds except he can go over that and become a Super Middleweight whereas if he weighs below 154 he is a Super Welterweight. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. A left jab to the mid-section by any of them would have me doubled up on the canvas for a full count.
Politicians of both parties talk a lot about the Middle Class. That is the only acceptable reference to class in America. Ruling class and working class are tacitly forbidden terms. When Republicans speak of the Middle Class they have in mind their golf buddies who shower in the morning. The Democrats mean people who sweat at their desk or in a factory and shower when they get home. The working poor aspire to be middle while the almost rich get richer and also count themselves as middle but never have enough.

Those designated as poor now stand at 46 million including 20 million added to that class in the past six years. As the rich get Romneyer the bottom has fallen out of the middle class swelling the rolls of the destitute...better known among Repugnants as shiftless, lazy grubbers. In dysfunctional Washington with its broken compass drifting to the right one could get run over standing in the middle of the road. It's enough to wake me in the muddle of the night which is, in fact, early morning.

I was tempted to end this in mid-sentence however......


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