I was downtown with Bonnie this afternoon, buying cheese we do not need* but just a little sample of Billy Blue and why not some sheep cheddar and heck SH likes the Melange and it looks like the price has gone down so why not and then also wasting my husband's hard-earned money on a new pair of shoes of all things because I hardly wear the shoes I have. Indeed, when I am at home, I wear flip flops so what's the point of even owning regular shoes? But these were at the fancy Goodwill store and they were these cute sandals that looked like they hadn't been worn and they were Italian, which is what cinched it for me. When you find cute Italian sandals at Goodwill prices, it's like God is slapping you and saying, "Don't be an idiot! Hire the handicapped and buy these shoes! That's a commandment, missy!"
The man wore two shoes, but he probably doesn't need the second fluffy sock in the winter.
I did not, however, buy the Italian knee-high white boots. They were $150, which makes me wonder what they cost retail. I did not not buy them because they cost $150; I didn't buy them because they were not in my size. Alas.
When I was downtown spending money I had not intended to spend, I saw a guy with an artificial leg. It was easy to tell: he was wearing shorts. I don't know why anyone would bother to own an item of clothing he gets to wear once a year, but maybe he was from out of town.
Anyhow, he had this very cool artificial leg. I was walking next to him and told him I admired the technology in his leg and he told me this was sha! old stuff! He was getting a new leg very soon. This one looked pretty advanced to me: the knee hinged in two places and looked like there could be some, but not too much, rotation and the foot flexed, but not enough that he didn't have to do that thing where he walks strictly from his thigh. There was still some awkwardness to his gait.
The new one will have a computer in the foot that will tell the knee what to do so he is not so likely to fall sideways and will cushion his stump better.
I was impressed with the whole shebang. Did it make me feel guilty for buying shoes when here was a guy without a leg? No! It did not! It made me proud to be an American and living in a country where we actually can do these things -- where men who have lost their legs don't have to hop around on one foot or beg but have this cool technology.
SH sometimes thinks that his work has no social utility and I have to tell him that in addition to working for a for-profit corporation, which is the kind of organization that creates wealth instead of just consuming it**, he helps companies design things that improve peoples' lives.
Really. Imagine what your life would be like without microchips. No cellphone. No home computers. No iPods. Do iPods use microchips? Probably. Let's all take a moment to be silent and reflect on how electrical engineers who design microchips or do technical marketing support for those who design microchips deserve our thanks.
* Although really, is there any such thing as "not need" for cheese?
**I am talking to you, Jim Doyle and your $5,000 ticket to Ireland because you couldn't be sick to meet with the SAB Miller guys who guess what? STILL moved Miller out of Milwaukee so I guess that wasn't a good investment after all, and your State of Wisconsin budget that is driving away industry and what's that I heard? Oh yes, Harley Davidson is laying off another 1,000 employees so who is going to pay the taxes to buy your plane tickets now?