Opinion » Street Talk

Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes

comment

This world would be a whole lot easier to navigate if it was like one of the classic movies shown at the recent San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

I'm not talking about Patton or any such bloated nonsense. I'm talking about the classic classics. The ones that didn't have any color in them because it wasn't invented yet. No red. No green. No, uh did I say red already? I'm not very good with colors.

No, I'm talking about the black-and-whites. Plots were simpler in those films. Bad guys were obvious. So were the good guys. And just to make everything even more obvious, sometimes usually in Westerns, if I remember my genres correctly the heroes sported white hats and the bad guys donned chromatically opposite headwear. That's fancy talk for black hats. You instantly knew who was on your team in those films, and you could root or shoot accordingly.

Nowadays, we've got all this color around. Did you know that the sky is blue? I mean really blue? If you live in Cayucos, you might not be aware of that, but it's true. Grass is green, oranges are orange (usually), and cowards are yellow. You heard me. Yellow.

But despite all of these colorful developments since the monochrome years of yore, the world has seemed to simultaneously get a lot grayer. Bad guys wear whatever color hats they want these days, and get this! some of them don't even wear hats at all. The same goes for good guys. There's little that's black and white anymore.

Consider, if you will, Congresswoman Lois Capps. Is she good or is she evil? Either way, that's not the question I'm raising now. A few days ago, she and a bunch of other politically minded women visited the Walter Reed Hospital, that facility that's been making headlines recently for treating war-veteran patients with the sort of love and attention that doesn't come with a lollipop for good behavior, if you get my drift.

Wait, even I don't get my drift. I don't get many lollipops, though, either. Suffice to say that I've been hearing things about conditions at Walter Reed, and those things haven't exactly been glowing. They're so not glowing, they're burnt out.

Anyway, Lois reported that she saw excellent facilities for treating critical injuries, but "the day to day care for recovering soldiers is not what it should be." She speaks both as a nurse and a member of the Health Committee, so when she says she's concerned about these "tragic results" because of a "lack of funding," I guess we could all stand to furrow our brows a bit.

But it's not the staff's fault, she pointed out. They work hard and try hard and everything. Blame the bureaucratic mismanagement that keeps the hard work from accomplishing what it needs to accomplish, namely transitioning wounded soldiers back into society and the like.

So who's the bad guy here? Lois puts the blame on the Bush Administration and "some Congressional Republicans," which, now that I think about it, is the titular equivalent of wearing a black hat these days, so everything's not as confusing as I thought it would be after all.

Except, I've been pondering this new Apple Store coming to town for a while now, and it got me thinking. Our new managing editor here at New Times was doing the same thing, but he decided to more than just think and actually picked up the phone to call Steve Jobs or someone who worked for him anyway.

I guess I always figured working at Apple would be great, like there'd be ecstasy in the water cooler and everyone would be visible only in silhouette but all the backdrops would be painted electric colors and every once in a while some random person would just leap up and freeze in some rocked out iPose.

Apple is even based in a cool-sounding city: Cupertino. I'm thinking cappuccino. I'm thinking Al Pacino. I'm thinking, uh, Beano. And now you are too. Sorry.

I have a friend who worked at Apple who told me Steve Jobs actually dresses really cool in person, and he only wears those ugly mock turtlenecks for photo shoots. No, actually I made that up. I don't have any friends.

I also figured they'd start all their words in lowercase but have the second letter uppercase as in: "dEar aMy, i aM wRiting yOu tO lEt yOu kNow oF oUr pLan tO bE rUde tO rEporters eFfective iMmediately."

Funny that I figured that last bit, since it turns out Apple's spokeswoman was as friendly to our man on the phone as a salad of broken glass when she was asked about the Apple Store coming to San Luis Obispo.

For the record, Apple has made no announcement concerning any store in San Luis Obispo. That's the answer, no matter what the question. Never mind that it's just down the street. That it's being built right now. That a friendly construction guy showed off the plans with a big Apple logo on them. It hasn't been announced, therefore it doesn't yet exist, which is something like an apple falling in the forest but not making a sound until somebody shows up to hear it.

Nah, that doesn't work. But, apparently, neither do I. I just think and let other people do the actual work. No big deal. After all, I went to college hoping to get into public relations, but I failed situational ethics. Now I wear a gray hat.

Add a comment