Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Fightin' Side of Me

With my apologies for borrowing so wantonly from Merle Haggard, an occurrence during my daily morning walk with Greta set my morning ablaze with indignation. We've arrived at that time of year when families unceremoniously dump their tinder-dry Christmas Trees at the curb. The sight fills many people with regret, rooted mostly out of some lost childhood memory, but in New Orleans these trees end up fighting coastal erosion - at least in some small way. Besides, that's not the source of my indignation. There, heaped among the old wrapping paper and overstuffed trash bags of clutter begat of inane New Year's resolutions to "get organized" stood a tattered and abused American flag. 

it's old bones laid out to fold after getting it home and freeing it from the pole.

The shiny new black-and-gold "Who Dat?" pennant swaying gently from the house's flag escutcheon only reinforced the already sound impression that to the offender an American flag was no more than a seasonal decoration to be disposed of in the fashion of holiday gift wrap. It was disgusting and I need not go into the "men and women who died for this" routine. That should be obvious and cliché in any event. I offer no quarter here.

I am probably fighting against the tide in a country where Guy Fieri and Justin Bieber occupy a position of cultural importance to suggest one reconnect with any ritual of our forefathers. Still, I carried the flag for the remainder of our walk and brought it home for a respectful end. To the person who placed this flag at the curb with the morning trash, I know that I can safely address you like an idiot, so let me point you to something called "Google," an amazing invention that allows you to key in questions like "how do I properly dispose of an American Flag?" It will find useful sites like this one with the right answer.

The soiled and tattered condition of the flag was the former owner's first offense. For those who need an immediate answer or have not mastered hot links, the proper disposal method is a respectful burning. (Yes, Virginia, there were some jingoistic morons not long ago who proposed making this a crime.)You see, I respect, however I might disagree with, the right to burn a flag as a matter of free speech - but to dispose of it in a toweringly distasteful demonstration of one's ignorance? I think not.

a tip: if it is a nylon flag, make sure it is well-ventilated!
Thus, off it went. And, as an added bonus, it was nice to finally smoke out the Burger King on an early morning instead of the other way around.

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