Has Time For Patience?
by Mad Dog
It's not just holidays that bring out a lack of
patience, its politics too. The presidential election is a year and a half away and
we already have more candidates than Larry King has suspenders.
|| Patience is a
virtue. So is bravery, fidelity, and putting the cap back on the toothpaste tube,
especially if you're a man. But patience is in a category all its own, for unlike other
virtues, our patience has run out. Gone are the days of leisurely strolls, lingering
dinners, and curling up with a good book. Nowadays we run for exercise, bypass any
restaurant without a drive-through window, and listen to the Cliff Notes Booklets-On-Tape
of "Monicas Story" because the full-length version is just too damned
long. And boring.
Face it, we just don't have time for patience
anymore. That's why Christmas merchandise is out before the Halloween costumes are pulled
off the shelves, Santa Claus arrives before Veteran's Day, and come to think of it, last
year's Christmas decorations never did come down, they just weren't turned on again until
It's not just holidays that bring out a lack of patience,
its politics too. The presidential election is a year and a half away and we already
have more candidates than Larry King has suspenders. The media, which has a bottomless
amount of time and space to fill, cant wait until someone announces their candidacy,
so they spend months conjecturing about whether the person will run or not. The potential
candidates, fearful of being labeled as more patient than the media, have taken to issuing
press releases announcing upcoming press conferences at which theyll announce
whether theyll be announcing the announcement of their candidacy or not.
Ken Starr has patience. Bob Saget's wife has patience. And anyone who's ever listened to
one of President Clinton's speeches has lots of patience.
|| There is bona
fide scientific proof that we're losing patience faster than ever. Way back in
1905which would be 1972 were people as impatient back then as they are
nowAlbert Einstein postulated his special theory of relativity. Among other things,
it predicted that moving clocks appear to run slower than stationary ones. That's why the
more impatient we becomeand the faster we move and do thingsthe slower our
watches seem to go. This causes us to think we're not getting anywhere, which in turn
causes us to lose patience, go faster, and, well, I think you can see where all this will
ultimately lead. That's right, we'll end up with 27 hours a day and 8 days a week, which
means not only were the Beatles the best band in history with a drummer named Ringo, they
were actually the Nostradamuses of their day. Or maybe thats Nostradami. Id
look it up in the dictionary but I dont have time right now..
Either way, we should be happy that there are still people with
patience. Ken Starr has patience. Bob Saget's wife has patience. And anyone who's ever
listened to one of President Clinton's speeches has lots of patience. But Donna Graybeal
of Billerica, Massachusetts probably has more patience than anyone. A couple of years ago,
over a period of six months, her telephone rang every 90 minutes like clockwork. Actually
it rang like a telephone, but the point is she got somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,920
phone calls over a six-month period.
Lest you think Donna just has a lot of friends and we
shouldn't be praising her, keep in mind that each of those 2,920 times she answered the
phone there was no one on the line, not even an aluminum siding salesman. It turned out
there was an empty oil tank in a basement in Maryland that had a direct dialer to let the
oil company know it was empty. The family had stopped using the tank, Donna had gotten the
oil company's old phone number, and why she waited six months to call the phone company is
a closely guarded secret known only by her and her Prozac prescription
Does it bother you that
Minute Rice takes five minutes to cook?
|| This could be a
harbinger of the beginning of a major trial of our patience, since theres talk now
about putting out appliances with computers built into them that are connected to the
Internet. Thats right, Sun Microsystems is pushing a technology that would,
according to them, let your washing machine order soap when youre running low, your
car notify your microwave that youre almost home so it can start warming up the
gourmet burritos, and your wallet automatically have more condoms delivered because the
old ones are dry-rotted. All in the name of saving time, of course.
In case you're not sure whether you've lost your patience yet,
here's a little test you can take. Answer the following questions:
1. Does it bother you that Minute Rice takes five minutes to cook?
2. Did you think the Postal Services move to peel-and-stick stamps was a
time-saving one until it dawned on you that you still have to peel the backing off?
3. Do adjectives get on your nerves because they clutter up sentences, making them take
too long to read?
4. Have you ever wished Reader's Digest would put out a condensed version of the Utne
5. Did you skip to the last question in this quiz because you "just didn't have
much time and wanted to find out how it ends? "
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions then
you probably have a patience problem. Next week I'll be announcing when it is I'll be
making the announcement telling you what you can do to cure this problem. Until then, be
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
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