Friday, November 11, 2005

Intelligent Decline

I found myself ironing a tablecloth this evening. You heard me right: ironing a tablecloth. A friend of ours is pregnant – yes, we know who the father is – and my wife is throwing a shower for her tomorrow morning. So, on Shower Eve, our home is aflutter with activity in anticipation of 30 or so women to parade through here and wonder, “What possessed these people to paint their living room that color? The husband is either a confirmed psychotic or the wife forgot to read Martha’s latest treatise on ‘the calming hues’.”

Amid that flurry, I am standing beside an ironing board with a Rowenta in hand trying to press out manufacturer-induced wrinkles. Mind you, the tablecloth is something like 75 feet long by 12 feet wide, and the ironing board is . . . well, it’s an ironing board, and I’m supposed to keep this tablecloth off the floor and in pristine shape while I perform this seemingly Sisyphean task. (For the uninitiated, Sisyphus was a Greek lad who lost a drinking game at a frat party and had to choose between playing the sixteenth hole at St. Andrews with his pants down around his ankles or pushing an enormous rock up a hill. He chose the latter because the bunkers around the sixteenth green at St. Andrews are bigger and more distracting than the beaches of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival – regardless of the position of your pants, for playing golf that is.)

As I spread the tablecloth, a warm chocolate pastel, over the table and evened it out on the sides and ends, I looked at my work and saw that I had done nothing more than really “soften” the wrinkles. After pointing this out to my wife, she confided in me that this was really the best I could do because the material was merely cotton and not linen. This is either the truth or it’s code for “I didn’t marry you for your ironing skills, honey.” Either way, I was ready to call it good and go to bed.

However, I stood there for another minute or so and reflected on the situation and began to think about the current debate of “Evolution versus Intelligent Design”. (Is it really that big of a jump?) Let me sum up both sides here, for comparison’s sake: the former wishes to “prove” that, basically, our ancestors at some point decided they were tired of living like their parents so they moved out of the jungle and into the suburbs to get better-paying jobs and join the Rotary Club; the latter wishes to “encourage” the general populace to release themselves from the strictures of cold science and accept a higher power that guides the universe – and I’m not talking about the IRS.

Fueling the debate is a mutually shared desire to wholly discredit the other side; in essence, the Evolutioners want the Designers to look like they have no intelligence at all, and the Designers want to make the Evolutioners look like utter monkeys. After carefully considering the merits of each party’s arguments, I’ve come to a profound conclusion: WHO CARES?!

Would the Unabomber have turned out to be a florist if Intelligent Design had been part of his biology curriculum his junior year in high school? Would the Pope be “soft on sin” if the nuns at his high school incorporated Evolution in their lesson plans? Is your accountant going to tell you she can no longer prepare your taxes for you because your opinions on the Origins of the Human Species conflict?

Following that line of reasoning, I’m confident that at the end of the shower tomorrow none of the women will say, “The quiche was heavenly, and the frozen beverage was delightful, but I couldn’t take my eyes off that @#$! softly wrinkled tablecloth.”

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