The Detroit Domino


Thursday July 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m ashamed to admit it, but being an active card carrying member of the human race thrills me less and less by the day. It’s supposed to be my job to find the funny in this world, but with every passing day I’m feeling that desire slip away like virginity in the prison shower. Life disturbs me, and I don’t know where to start. Every direction I look there’s a fire burning out of control. Help!

   The Trayvon Martin case is polarizing the nation. I can’t turn on my TV or radio without being subjected to two alleged ‘experts’ on either side of the argument throwing vicious verbal darts at each other, and I’m completely sick of it. There’s going to be a race war sooner than later in this country, and it’s going to get uglier than it already is. The tension level is rising to a fever pitch.

   In most normal scenarios, this is where humor should ride in like the Lone Ranger and save the day. Humor by its very nature eases tension – or at least it’s supposed to. Try slipping in a joke at the water cooler at work or a party of mixed company and see how it flies. You’ll be barbecued.

   I’m not saying this is a comedic situation, but unless some tension gets released there’s trouble on the horizon. Nobody I talk to is without a strong opinion in this case, and ALL of it has to boil down to race. Try as we might, there’s still a giant gap between races and it’s not just whites and blacks. Hispanics are in it too, and we’re going to eventually clash with China sooner than later.

   And if that weren’t enough – even though for me it’s more than plenty – the city of Detroit has declared bankruptcy. It’s been coming for a while, but today was the day. I’m sure there will be a tidal wave of jokes all over the place about it, and I’m sure there will be many that are hilarious.

   I’m all for a well constructed joke, but there’s a lot deeper significance here and I’m concerned too much to laugh. Detroit was once the symbol of the American manufacturing empire, but now it’s been relegated to laughing stock status. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of our fading land.

   You can’t tell me this will be the last major American city where this will occur. Detroit started the trend of severe urban decay in the ‘60s and other cities followed. I remember Detroit as a butt of jokes as a kid along with Cleveland, aka “The mistake on the lake.” Is it funny? Not anymore.

   Sadly, I don’t see a bright future for my home town of Milwaukee either. I sure wish I did, but I don’t. They’re following the same troubling trend most Midwest rust belt cities are, and people with any financial means whatsoever are moving out in droves. The only ones who stay are poor and can’t go anywhere else. Pretty soon, the Detroit domino will start pushing over many more.

   I hate to be such a gloom slinger, but it’s just how I see it. How the hell can I be funny if these intense problems are flaming out of control? I find it hard – especially since a bad economy kills the entertainment business. If people have no money to spend, they can’t come out and see me.

   Never have I claimed to have any, all or some of the answers. Hell, I don’t even have a single one. But what I do have like everyone else is a need to earn a legitimate living. I’m not looking for handouts or special treatment, I just want to be able to practice my craft and earn my keep.

   That has always been a challenge, but now it’s getting to be downright brutal. This is not what I planned on when I started, and it’s not the same country I grew up in. Change? I didn’t want it in ’08, and I don’t want it now. I thought the America I was born into was working rather well.

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