As much as I like exotic foods, preparing them can be hard. Take mangos, for example. They’re not particularly unusual, but they’re also not part of my regular diet. So when I bought two of the beautifully shaded fruits at the grocery store last week, I turned to the Internet for advice. One website recommended slicing the mangos like avocados, then cubing the fruit and removing the skin using a few simple strokes. This website, I’m sorry to say, was wrong. I ended up mushing the innards as I tried to pull the fruit apart, resulting in a huge mess. Pretty soon, I was salvaging whatever bits I could before chucking the soggy remainder in the garbage.
For me, the question is not whether I can make ethical decisions, but whether I can make ethical decisions under duress. Any of us can display courage and moral integrity while sitting on our sofas, but what would we do if an ethical problem presented itself in the real world? What would we do if there was an element of danger, or if we witnessed a mugging? If the mugger didn’t seem like he posed much of a threat, I might intervene. If he had a weapon, I might call the cops. And if there were two or more muggers, I might scream for help from my fellow Samaritans. I might do any of those things, but in reality I’d be just as likely to stop dead in my tracks, unable to process the moral implications until the threat of physical harm had passed.
I like pizza, especially veggie pizza, and since I like fresh vegetables best, the prospect of “planting” a pizza seems like it would appeal to me. It doesn’t. Here’s the thing: toppings are only part of the pizza equation. Mushrooms, onions, and peppers aside, there are other, more basic concerns such as cheese and tomato sauce. But the most basic building block is the crust. If you start with good dough, you’ll have a strong foundation and, probably, one heck of a pie. What kind of dough could one expect to emerge from a vegetable garden? My guess is something suffused with rocks, roots, and soil. In other words…no thank you.
Last week, I learned that the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois rides her bike to work; a fact that undermines all my excuses for not doing the same. I have a busy schedule? Without a doubt, her schedule is busier. I haven’t been on the road in a while? She told a reporter she had just taken her first ride of the spring. I can’t afford to sully my work clothes? She uses rubber bands to protect her pant legs. There are other excuses I could think of (my bike needs a tune-up, my route doesn’t have protected lanes) but when it comes down to it, I need to stop riding to the train station and start riding to the office. I see Chicago has scheduled its annual Bike to Work Day for Friday, June 17. Hmmm…looks like it’s time for me to start pedaling.
At first glance, it would seem that the amateur accountant in this strip can’t do math. If she earned a quarter every time she balanced her checkbook, her total would be something like $1.25 or $1.50, right? Yes, but only if she didn’t earn interest on those quarters. Let’s say she balanced her checkbook once a month, then placed her 25-cent reward in a savings account that awarded 5 percent interest at the end of each month. By the end of April, her cumulative deposits and interest payments for the year would have totaled 113 cents. If she balanced her checkbook again in May, then deposited her quarter in the account (remember, interest does not accrue until the end of the month), her total would jump to 138 cents. (Actually, it would be 138.14078125 cents, but I think she can be forgiven for rounding down.)
To recap this strip: a pup is baptized in the name of the master, the dog, and the holy biscuit; he chases a mailman across a darkened field; he juggles three squirrels; and finally, he begs for pizza. What I’m wondering is whether panels two and three represent some kind of surreal religious experience. When this mutt is submerged in water, is he overcome by some kind of trippy canine spirituality? Or does he emerge from the water with such a high that he chases a pack of squirrels, catches three of them by their bushy tails, and commences juggling? I’m partial to the trippy visions scenario, but either option would be awesome.
It’s possible (maybe even likely) that watching sports is a giant waste of time. What’s the point of sitting lazily on a couch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon watching basketball? Wouldn’t it be healthier (and more enjoyable) to grab a ball and head to the park yourself? Sure it would, but every spring I nevertheless find myself tuned in to the NBA playoffs. This year’s tournament is especially exciting since my hometown Chicago Bulls have made it to the conference finals where they’re playing the Miami Heat. The series is currently tied at one game apiece; a tie that will be broken Sunday evening; an evening I’ll spend sitting on the couch.