Several new rules for our times

Although we live in very divisive times, there are certain things on which we all can agree, things which every right-thinking person believe: gas prices are too high, black licorice tastes horrible and Celine Dion should never be allowed to sing that goddamn Titanic song again.

The Black Eyed Peas were a better group before Fergie joined it, Lindsay Lohan is a no-talent skank and the lap dance is always better when the stripper is crying. These are all things we learned, or should have learned, in kindergarten.

Similarly, I’ve come up with a list of other things that I think all people can agree upon no matter what their background. These new rules should be immediately adopted under the principle known in Congress as “unanimous consent.”

Starbucks coffee is not worth $10 a pound. Before Starbucks, people bought coffee at the grocery store in bright blue Maxwell House cans for $2.99 and survived. Paying $10 for a bag of Starbucks Sumatra beans is like paying $12.95 for a chili dog. The coffee I make at home using a variety of Great Value and Kroger beans tastes as good as anything a barista hands me at Starbucks. And if you need a frothy, cinnamon-laced iced mocha, you don’t need coffee; you need a white miniature poodle and a fake British accent, because you’re a pretentious fool.

There should be an age limit or a competency test required to use the self-service line at the grocery store. Self-serve checkout lanes at grocery stores are wonderful things. They allow you to get in and out of the store with a minimum of fuss and absolutely no human contact. I don’t want to stand in line behind someone with a full basket of groceries when I’m just buying a can of Beef-A-Roni, some cat food and a tube of Astroglide. But the self-serve lanes are being subverted by the elderly and the technically challenged. It seems like I’ve spent countless hours watching 80-year-old women stare helplessly at the checkout screen like it’s the cockpit of a 767 after being unable to scan their items correctly.

I don’t blame them. They grew up in an age when friendly cashiers named Madge rang up their groceries by hand, chatting amiably about Milton Berle’s TV program while doing so. They’re not used to the concept of scanning a bar code, swiping their debit card and then getting the hell out of the store.

Other people don’t have the excuse of age. They’re just idiots who are unable to follow simple instructions such as “Please place your item in the bag.” Old people and morons who can’t follow instructions are the people who screwed up their ballots in Florida in 2000 and gave us eight years of misery under George Bush, so I have no sympathy for them.

Before being allowed to use the self-serve lane, people should be forced to take a competency test so that they don’t slow down the rest of us. I’m not in great health and I don’t know how many years I have left. I don’t want to spend 15 percent of the rest of my life waiting for Grandma to figure out how to scan a bag of Fritos.

The Filet-O-Fish should be designated as our national sandwich. McDonald’s is a wonderful place, full of delicious food-like items. As a child, I remember reading in sci-fi magazines how, in the future, all food would be comprised of artificial ingredients. McDonald’s has made that prediction a reality. And there’s no better example of this than the delicious Filet-O-Fish sandwich. From the second you open its aqua-blue box, one is struck with the realization that there is nothing natural about this sandwich. No bread is as soft as the Filet-O-Fish bun, no cheese is as orange, no tartar sauce is as thick. And no living creature on this planet could have produced the fish-like patty contained within.

For all I know, the Filet-O-Fish could have been grown in an alien’s lab as a mixture of chicken, fish and human flesh. Nevertheless, it’s the tastiest item on McDonald’s menu and a testament to artificiality.

In a country where elections are rigged, the rich steal from the poor and our politicians invent wars in order to make their wealthy friends even wealthier, the Filet-O-Fish is a perfect metaphor for our condition. It should be recognized officially as such.

There are many other self-evident truths: the Republicans should forfeit the 2008 elections, AM radio should be abolished and that watching Deal or No Deal should be a death-penalty offense, but I’m out of space.

I’m just glad that there are things on which we can all agree. Feel free to e-mail me your suggestions. And God bless America.