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January 20th, 2005

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12:11 pm - Not One Damn Whatever.
I had a friend in high school, M. Dave, who was Mormon. Great guy, twisted sense of humor, and upholder of the various rules and regulations that govern the daily Mormon life. He abstained from alcohol, caffeine, and other "hot" beverages, he refrained from using profanity and blasphemy (which meant that when he wanted to cuss you out, it was done so with hilarious euphemisms such as "Go to BED, you JERKY!") and, in a nod to other orthodox religions, he refrained from working on the Sabbath.

There was one Sunday when a gang of us were all hanging out downtown and decided to go for some Dunkin Donuts. When we got to the store M. Dave announced that he wouldn't be able to get a donut, but wouldn't mind hanging around with us while we ate ours.

"Why can't you get a donut?" someone asked. M. Dave replied "Because I can't work on the Sabbath, and I can't make someone else work for me either. So I can't buy a donut because I'd be making the guy behind the counter work." (The guy behind the counter seemed to be grateful, the slacker.)

"Well, what happens if your car breaks down and you need a mechanic?"

"That's okay. It's a case of the Ox Falling In The Ditch. If your ox falls in the ditch on Sunday and you have to get him out, well, you have to get him out."

"But you're hungry, right? Your ox is in the ditch and it wants a donut."

"Nah, I'm okay. I can wait til dinner. And oxen don't eat donuts anyway."

With that flippant remark, the gauntlet had been hurled and the challenge begun. We all began throwing out scenarios and examples, anything to get around these religious guidelines and let M. Dave have a donut. It became a grand blasphemy crusade and he deftly worked around all our ideas with a combination of Mormon dogma and good ol' American knowhow.

Finally I asked if I could buy the donut myself, then give it to him as a gift. He shook his head.

"That'd mean that you made someone work for me, and I couldn't in good conscience accept the donut that way." So then I threw a donut down on the table and stared at it.

"DAVE! There's a DONUT HERE on the table! I have NO IDEA where it CAME FROM or WHO MADE IT! I bet NOBODY WOULD MIND if you took it while we ALL LOOKED AWAY!" M. Dave then raised his voice as well in a wacky parody (this ended many fine conversations around the lunch table or outside yard.)

"GREAT! Let it ROT! I don't WANT that STINKY donut!"

The time for rational discourse having ended, I picked up the donut and began to chase him around the place with it, hollering "YOU WILL EAT THE DONUT! YOU WILL EAT THE DONUT!" while he hollered "YOU FOOL! GO TO BED! GO TO BED!" in return, and that's when the slacker dude behind the counter asked us to leave.

So I hear today there's been planned a protest, on the occasion of Emperor George II's second ascension to the throne of the Holy American Empire, to not spend "one damn dime" and see exactly how messed up the American economy will get (honestly, kids? Not very.) It's one of those perfect non-committal protests, as it sure is real easy to "protest" by sitting at home, not spending any money, and then writing self-satisfied messages on LiveJournal about how you sure socked it to those fat cats in Washington today (Current mood: SMUG! Current music: STUFF I DIDN'T PAY FOR!) The arguments have already been made on how this kind of blanket protest can negatively affect the small local businesses that we should work to protect and keep solvent because George II doesn't care for them in the first place. So the discussion on one intelligent and well-reasoned LJ community turned to the ox in the ditch (when they were finished expounding the same "If you ain't fer us you're agin us" mentality that is despised when it comes from the other side.)

One poster asked about buying T tokens, since she was going to work. She was told that while it was discretionary (ox-in-the-ditch), some people were avoiding this all together by not going to work today.

So hey, it's a double-punch of slacker goodness right there sock in the jaw of Mr. and Mrs. Red State USA, and all you have to do... is nothing. When I doubted (and I admit doing so with profanity and a "rock on, little rocker!" at the end) the usefulness of this move, our dogmatic little friend advised me that the time not working and earning pay could be well spent "doing volunteer work, organizing a protest, writing your congressman, or spending the time in other politically active ways."

Which is great, only I hope you don't mind walking to the outreach center or wherever it is you're needed. I hope they don't need anything from the store while you're around, and I hope you reminded any utility companies that may auto-bill you that today might not be such a good day to do so. I hope you procured all your food well in advance, and I hope nothing unexpected comes up that doesn't involve oxen getting stuck in a ditch, and and and and...

And I guess what I mean to say is that I think most of the knee-jerk participants in this protest, the ones who aren't thinking this through all the way, would make really lousy Mormons.

Some forms of individual protest are subtle yet effective -- turning webpages black to protest the Exon Bill, remember that? A nice way of showing your support. But to do something so insular as to just not spend any money -- with no outward way of showing this short of, again, smug LJ posts, especially when it could very well come at the expense of people who really do need the business, well, I just don't like it. There's gotta be a better way to do this.

But now is not the time for me to think, unfortunately. I have to go drop NINE DAMN DIMES into a MBTA bus and go riding to my job. And maybe get a donut while I'm at it.

(15 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:January 20th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
Spread the word! On April 25th we'll have a gas-out! No one buy gas that day to SEND A MESSAGE TO THE OIL CARTELS! If three hundred million Americans each don't fill up their tank which will cost on average twenty dollars per that's $6,000,000,000 that the cartels lose! They can't afford to lose SIX BILLION DOLLARS per day! They'll HAVE to lower oil prices!

...what? Oh, sure, you can gas up on the 24th. Or the 26th. And you don't have to change your driving habits at all. No, no need to carpool or buy a hybrid vehicle or walk to the store.


ps send this message to all ur frends k thx bye
Date:January 20th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
I call today the "Republicans buy a new pair of shoes, oh and a plasma screen TV while they're at it day"
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)
Put that way, it doesn't make much sense, does it? Feel like I have to do *something* though... :-/
Here are a couple Web sites that circulated awhile back. They list so-called red and blue corporations (how much they donated to which campaign) so you can decide for youself where to shop.
Not that I would ever shop at Walmart anyway, for a myriad of reasons.... (I went in one once, found it junky and chaotic, and never have to go again.)
A better way to affect the economy. Imagine if 50 million people stopped shopping at Walmart. Or would that not work either.
Buying "blue" gas is hard though, as all the gas companies are very, very red....
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
I wonder if the 'not one damn dime' people are all trying anorexia today.

A protest like this seems targeted to the pro-ana crowd.
[User Picture]
Date:January 21st, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
I believe you're looking for the "Not One Damn Calorie" protest.
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
Where did you grow up, man? I know all the Mormons our age in western mass. Was Dave from Amherst? Because I know Mormon Dave from Amherst and he was totally that strict, but I don't remember him telling people to go to bed. In fact, I've never heard that before and will be incorporating it into my own Mormon psuedo swearing vocabulary from now on.

I think Mormons and crazy anti-government-own-their-own-militia types would be good at this, 'cause we're the only major groups I know of who tell people to have a stockpile of supplies on hand incase of emergency.

After a nuclear war, all that will be left are Mormons, crazy militia dudes and cockroaches. Which means one of the gangs in Beyond Thunderdome should have been wearing suits and dresses.
[User Picture]
Date:January 21st, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)
If Mormon Dave from Amherst's last name was Roth, then indeed, that was the Dave I knew, I knew, that was the Dave I knew.

Among his other favorite pseudo-vulgarities, if I remember correctly, were "flippin" and "scumbum." I always dug his style.
[User Picture]
Date:January 21st, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)
That would be the Dave. He was part of the group I hung out with at Church. I heard they (he and wife Julie and kids) have moved back to Amherst from Maryland.

"Flippin'" is one of the more popular cuss words of the Mormons, indeed.
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
My favorite Mormon thing is Joseph Smith's 1832 prophesy that Independence, MO would become "the New Jerusalem" (where Jesus would return to). According to my brother, recently returned from a cross country journey, this is patently not the case.
Date:January 20th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
A comment and a question. I swear I'm not trying to start anything.

The versions of "not one damn dime" that I've received don't say anything about trying to hurt the economy or anything like that.

Second, would you consider going on strike just another form of slacker activism, since it just means not going to work?
[User Picture]
Date:January 21st, 2005 04:47 am (UTC)
Strikes are different. They target a specific company or workplace and attempt to hamper said workplace's productivity and, eventually, profits. Not working is a fringe benefit of NOT A DAMN DIME DAY and definitely wouldn't have the same impact -- thirty people, employed at thirty different companies, who are not working is not going to make the same impact as thirty people working at the same company but not working. I just don't think the motives are the same there.

[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
Damn, I've been protesting something all day without even knowing it!

Actually, I go through most weekdays not spending any money. I usually bring my lunch to work and cook dinner at home and I don't do much fun-type shopping during the week. So I guess I'm a protestin' hippie liberal almost every day!

[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
What a great post. Damn. Some rich hoo-hah somewhere really needs to find you and make you a kept blogger. If Wonkette is worth it, you certainly are.

(And I know, "if-you-had-a-dime-for-every-time-someone-said-that" and all.)
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC)
I do believe that "Your ox is in the ditch and it wants a donut" ought to become the next TV sitcom catchphrase. If it doesn't, it's still going to become my personal motto.
[User Picture]
Date:January 22nd, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)


Most donut places (that are not Krispy Kreme) keep a stash of Donuts From History (history being yesterday) for people who don't want Sabbath Donuts. Or because they didn't sell them yesterday.

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