I’ll be perfectly honest with you, as opposed to imperfectly honest I guess, it was almost 5:00 PM Saturday before I realized it was September 11th… Day. And I was kicking myself because I do this every year. And I can never remember if 9/11 is one of those holidays where you get drunk and cook food or get drunk and curse your enemies. I think there’s a parade too. Or something. I don’t know.

I don’t “get” 9/11. I mean I know what happened and it was horrible but frankly, I stopped thinking about it a long time ago. Probably around the same time I had to start using change to buy gas because we gave all of our money to the Iraqis.

At any rate, 9/11 was like 40 or 50 years ago this past Saturday. Liberals mark this occasion to argue that nobody should ever go to war ever and wouldn’t it be great if people everywhere could just, ya’ know, smoke a bowl and chill out. And they’re not entirely wrong. Conservatives, on the other hand, use this day to express their belief that we should kill everyone on the planet earth and then go to Walmart and buy stuff because it’s good for Jesus and the economy. And I suppose they’re not totally wrong either.

I mark this day (when I remember it) to say that I believe there are still lessons left to be learned. And we haven’t learned them yet.


We should know by now that to call something “the biggest in the world” or “unsinkable” usually means that thousands of people are going to die. Nature hates that shit. And I understand that the Twin Towers were brought down by crazy people. But, I count religious nuts as natural disasters. So, whether it was a freak hurricane or a bunch of sexually frustrated guys from Saudi Arabia, those towers were coming down at some point. The heart of America’s financial might should be a three-story building with a statue of the guy from Monopoly out front.


I’m going to get a lot of flak for this one. Of course if I didn’t then nobody would pay attention to me. Anyway, consider that our rampant post-9/11 patriotism ended up digging us a hole from which we probably won’t emerge for centuries. Patriotism got George W. Bush re-elected when by all rights he should have joined the other one-term Presidents in the tampon disposal bin of history. And while we were all waving American flags and screaming about puce-colored terror alerts Social Security was being raided to fund the invasion of Iraq. And why did we invade Iraq? I don’t know either. The point is that patriotism is history’s most toxic cocktail: one part angry mob, one part rich people in power and three parts self-deception. Serve with a twist of unilateral self-righteousness. I remember getting shitfaced on those during the first Gulf War.


It seems just like yesterday that people in fucking Kansas were shrink-wrapping their houses and stockpiling canned food. Fox news got people in the most obscure, irrelevant parts of America convinced that Osama Bin Laden had a map of their hometown in his cave. Terrorists strike at huge cities like New York precisely because they represent the highest levels to which a society can aspire. That’s why people in rural Indiana or Texas are pretty safe. Then again I’m sure the people of Fallujah or Tikrit felt the same way and yet we flew halfway around the world just to bomb the shit out of them. So who’s stupid now? Seriously, who?


People should fend for themselves. Period. Whenever America tries to help anyone in this world it ends badly. Somalia. Haiti. Vietnam. Now we can add Afghanistan to that lovely bouquet of failure. We show up with food, medicine and an unbending foreign policy and people start shooting at us. Fine. Go to bed hungry, world. Die of the common cold or Polio. You’re going to bitch and moan at us either way so fuck you. People in America aren’t treated half as well as people in America treat you. I don’t see the Army Corps of Engineers fixing bridges or building schools in my hometown. Ungrateful bastards.


This is the real bitch of the bunch if you ask me (and you inevitably will). People don’t become suicide bombers or invade other countries because they read about Einstein or Galileo. Science teaches us to think. Religion teaches us not to. And the last thing we should be teaching hateful, uneducated people (here or anywhere else) is that god thinks they’re special. That’s like handing a loaded gun to a five-year-old and telling him that he’s the most unique person on earth and god will forgive whatever he does. I think the possibility exists that god doesn’t like this planet or the people who live on it.

So, another September 11thmas has come and gone. Was I wrong to put up a tree this year? I don’t know. They say it’s just another cliché. But the kids liked it and I guess that’s all that matters. So now I’m going to put on that sweater I got last year, drink some eggnog and sing “The Twelve Days of September 11th” with my family. And, I bet that’s a Yule Log under the tree with my name on it. Happy Holidays!



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