Culture vulture

Sam’s bored. Benny’s not.

Sam’s bored. Benny’s not.

Courtesy Of C. Owsley Rain

Nothing to do
Culture Vulture has become convinced that boredom, if it’s done right, is one of the pinnacles of human achievement. The concept of boredom is grasped easily by the young; what adult has not been confronted by a kid anywhere between 5 and 18 with the complaint, often expressed in a sort of whining sigh, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

And, when confronted with said complaint, what adult has not offered a list of possible activities, ranging from, “Why don’t you get out your crayons and make a picture,” to “Why don’t you think up random words or names and type them into the computer’s search engine and see what you find,” or, “Well, since you’re bored anyway, maybe you should clean up your room. It’ll be better than doing it when you’re not bored.”

More often than not, whatever suggestion is offered is met with further expressions of dissatisfaction, and we are left with the uneasy feeling that maybe life really is boring and that the majority of our activities are just distractions created to shield us from this dreadful conclusion.

So Culture Vulture, never one to sidestep difficult issues, has taken on a little research project. We will seek through the archives of cultural anthropology and see if there has ever been a culture that did not feature boredom as one of its common points. While not seeking to affirm a foredrawn conclusion, we admit that based on our current information it seems likely that only a society that provides a certain level of comfort and leisure could provide the necessary ingredients for genuine boredom.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of our research. In the meantime, why don’t you get out your crayons and make a picture?

Get along little dog days
So, the garden is in full swing, squash the size of baseball bats seemingly materialize overnight; tiny ears of corn are swelling to slightly less tiny fruition, and the strawberries in the sawed-off whiskey barrel offer up a small snack on a daily basis. The yard swing beckons, and afternoon naps are a rare but welcome treat. We have entered the dog days of summer.

A tall glass of iced tea, a good book and a couch with a pillow propped up against the arm can keep us satisfied with life for hours on end. Add a dish of homemade ice cream and the companionship of a beloved partner, and the concept of heaven on Earth seems slightly less absurd than it did while reading the morning paper. The antics of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on The Simple Life 2 seem genuinely humorous, instead of like the slap in the face to working people that it normally feels like to see them.

Even reading that the presidential election may be “postponed” due to increased levels of terror seems silly and insignificant. Oh, wait. No it doesn’t. I doubt very much that I will be either truly bored or relaxed until after the election is actually held and it is verified beyond a shadow of a doubt that the next person to take the office actually won the election fair and square.

I guess I should go clean my room now.