Sunday, June 26, 2005

Freedom Takes Balls

I just read an essay by Roger Angell (stepson of E.B. White) all about driving around the U.S. before the advent of high-speed SUVs and air-conditioning in which he talks about how the sights and sounds that once distracted and entertained the American driver are almost no more.

To Angell I respond: when you were cruising with your mom and E.B. in the family sedan did you ever encounter a large, red, rubber ball-sack dangling from the back of the vehicle in front of you?

I think you’ll agree that the existence of such a spectacular car accessory surely weakens Angell’s thesis. I can vouch that the sight of said rubber balls on a recent road trip prompted disbelief, excitement and fear of the sudden appearance of packs of dogs on the highway.

But the swinging sack did more than just distract and entertain; it inspired some deep philosophical musing. My companions and I decided that a country in which any citizen who wants to can hang his rubber ball-sack out on display is a country whose people are truly free. Perhaps, someone posited, the rubber ball-sack should replace the flag as the highest symbol of American values--we should be shipping these things to Iraq! So it was that in a mini-van on Interstate 80 campaign “Sacks for Iraq: Let Freedom Swing” was born. Donations accepted--please give generously.