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Quiet Desperation

If you’re cloying or annoying, it’s our culture you’re destroying


The jails and prisons are overcrowded as it is, but there has to be room for a few more.

There’s no excuse. Maybe there’s a story, but there’s no excuse.

Anyone who leaves a shopping cart at a bus stop should spend time in the slammer.

I used to see it in Denver, but not out here.

I’m certain it’s symptomatic of other behavioral oversights and indifferences.

I know these people. You know these people.

They clip their nails at the office, and change their pants in their cubicle.

They litter. They hum in elevators.

They say, “At the end of the day,” and “With all due respect.”

They say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

What’s the reason for leaving a shopping cart at a bus stop?

If you have to take a cart to the bus stop, how are you going to get your groceries on and off the bus?

“Just a minute, driver. This will take a while.”

Send them to Cañon City. Or at least make them watch an Adam Sandler marathon.

Have them learn the words to “Dust in the Wind” and sing it to some Hells Angels.

There are still a few of us left. The ones who say, “Yes, please,” and “No, thank you.” Who say “Liberace and I,” not “Me and Liberace.”

All around, I see small failures to follow the written and unwritten codes of good form and polite behavior.

Which way does the blade face when you set your knife on your plate?

Do you walk on the inside or on the outside of a woman?

The answer is simple. You don’t walk on a woman at all.

But it reminds me of a Groucho Marx joke.

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know.”

This is an example of a misplaced modifier.

I’ll bet that anyone who would leave a shopping cart at a bus stop uses misplaced modifiers all over the place.

“Bus Stop” is a not-very-good film that stars Marilyn Monroe. She had just graduated from the Actors Studio. They should have kept her for another semester.

I took a cross-country bus once. I was 16 and alone. I could tell you stories. I rode from San Francisco to Cincinnati, and met a few characters along the way.

We must have made a hundreds stops, but I never saw a single shopping cart at any of them.

Times have changed. People have changed. Things that are said and done today would have been unacceptable back then.

No one dared to use the word “vibe.”

I’d send anyone who uses it now into the same cell as someone who has left a shopping cart at a bus stop.

The same goes for anyone who says, “We need the moisture.”

“Bus Stop” was a 1966 hit for the Hollies. Graham Nash, later a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash did not sing lead. It reached No. 5 in the United States.

We all have moments of cultural delinquency. Blame it on age or the Sudafed.

However, wheeling a cart a long piece from the store, and abandoning it, is not a momentary lapse, like a belch on Sunday.

It should be punishable. Sing Sing.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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