Thursday, October 22, 2009

Point Down

OK, so some things bother me:

-- In the wake of the economic meltdown, commercials vying for our trust in the investment firms at the heart of the crisis...

-- Commercials prominently featuring the words, "Ask your doctor." How can anyone who watches television not realize the need for health care reform when these pharmaceutical behemoths are spending millions promoting products that they are confident will earn them 100's of millions?

-- Car commercials that continue to boast power and speed, even though the market clearly turned away from US manufacturers that focused on such models. The next "cash for clunkers" program might well just invite GM, Ford and Chrysler to connect their production lines directly to the junkyard, giving them money for the crappy cars they make while cutting out our need to drive them first.

These are all minor irritations in light of the pain I feel every time some athlete or another scores a touchdown and points skyward. What do they think they're pointing at?
TV play by play guy: "Billy Bob may have spotted a menacing cumulonimbus on his way to the end zone, guys. We might want to get the blimp tied down."

The religious mumbo-jumbo that results in athletes (especially wide receivers... it's thought Moses was a wide receiver in the Egyptian developmental league) thinking that God is a Bengals, Dolphins, Wildcats, Banana Slugs (mascot for UC Santa Cruz) athletic supporter, and more to the point, that God is a Billy Bob fan, is obscene. The whole pointing thing is passed off as their deep faith, when it's really extraordinary self-centeredness. Geeesh! Get over yourself, Billy Bob.

Anyway, I've got a cool idea. I think we should model a different behavior, one that relates to reality, rather than some wide receiver's imaginary Friend in the sky. Whenever we accomplish something big, have a deep insight, or are simply overwhelmed with gratitude and joy in response to the blessedness of life, we should point down!

Why down? Because the source of life and blessing is beneath our feet. Even a cubic inch of topsoil contains millions of filamentous microbes, and up to a mile of their filaments, enriching the soil and making macrobiotic life possible. Going yet deeper, why not point out that plate tectonics, the movement of the Earth's crust in response to upwellings of warmth from the planet's radioactive core, is key to this planet being a "Goldilocks world" -- neither too hot nor too cold -- just right.

I realize that pointing down may confuse the sportscasters: "Uh, guys, I think Billy Bob might be a Satanist." or, "Guys, did I read that Billy Bob's grandfather is buried somewhere here in Tennessee, or is he just a Satanist?"

No matter their confusion, I'm kicking off a new movement. From now on, in moments of celebration and joy, I'm pointing down.

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