Mankind Overboard!

If there's one thing we need, it's better governors. Not the type that sit in state mansions trying to get laws passed we don't need, plotting how to become President when their brother and father have already had the job, and basking in their glory days when it was okay to wear a pink boa and kick ass without having to apologize. No, what we need are better governors for our behavior. We're officially living in the Age of Going Overboard and there doesn't seem to be a life preserver in sight. Food portions are larger, movies are longer, and phone conversations are a 24-7 thing. Everything in life has been supersized.

Take cars, for example. Not only do we want them bigger, faster, and able to travel fewer miles while using more gas, we want more of them than we can even use. A report by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (motto: "We do one thing and we do it well. Eighty-five percent of the time.") disclosed that the average American family now has more cars than licensed drivers. The report didn't mention what all the extra cars are actually being used for, though the most likely possibilities are as spares in case one has a flat, as guest houses for visiting relatives who are too cheap to stay at Motel 6, and as rusting lawn ornaments in front of double-wide trailers. Think: "Redneck Eye For The Clueless Guy."

A couple in Lancashire, a county in northwest England best known for having four thousand holes -- at least if you can believe the Beatles -- went very overboard. When the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stopped by to visit, it took two days to remove the 244 dogs, 16 birds, five cats, one rabbit, and chinchilla they found in the three-bedroom house. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the company of pets, but people need to realize they're not like Beanie Babies -- you have to feed them, clean up after them, and can't sell them on eBay, though come to think of it you probably can't unload your Beanie Babies there anymore either. Well, not unless you have the limited edition Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Beanie Baby which you won at the state fair a couple of years ago.

Even thieves are going overboard. In California a family arrived at their vacation house to discover that it had been stolen. Yes, the whole house. Not just the wood from the deck, the TV from the living room, or their prized collection of Nevada highway rest area thimbles, the entire thing had been lifted off the foundation and carted away. What's the world coming to when robbers get greedy?

Speaking of thieves going overboard, after years of putting out overpriced CDs with way too few good songs on them, the major record companies are now alarmed that people are downloading songs they like for free. Instead of doing something reasonable, like giving people an inexpensive and legal way to download those songs, they decided instead to obtain subpoenas against 12-year-old girls, threaten the rest of us with criminal charges, and put out CDs that use a copy protection system which limits the number of copies you can make, allows you to play it on your computer as long as you like Windows Media Player, and lets you email songs to your friends that will expire after 10 days. That's the song, not the friends. At that point the record company will email your friends a subpoena. Just kidding. Actually they'll be referred to a web site where they can buy the entire CD. You know, if record companies don't want people to listen to their music they should save themselves a lot of trouble and not bother putting it out.

Howard Stern recently went overboard when he asked the Federal Communications Commission (motto: "More radio stations, fewer choices.") to rule that his show is a news show. This was so he could interview Arnold Schwarzenegger without having to invite 134 other California gubernatorial candidates along. The FCC went overboard and agreed. Meanwhile the Los Angeles City Council went overboard by passing an ordinance requiring dancers to stay at least six feet away from customers, a measure which obviously wasn't aimed at the ballet crowd. Couldn't they have just made it illegal to put money in a G-string or tutu and left it at that?

Even the average person is going overboard. In Heloise, the syndicated column that used to have "hints" in the title and will have an exclamation point placed after it when it becomes a Broadway musical, a woman wrote to say she ties dental floss around her driver's license before she puts it in her wallet, leaving the ends hanging loose so she can easily slide it out. Anyone who takes the time to wrap their driver's license with dental floss is definitely going overboard. At the very least they need a hobby. Or should seriously consider increasing their meds.

If this makes you think the world is going down the toilet, well, even they've gone overboard. A Japanese toiletmaker named Toto (motto: "And Number Two, too?") has introduced a toilet-bidet combination with a lid that raises when someone enters the bathroom; has a pre-warmed seat; comes with a remote control to adjust the water volume, temperature and direction of the spray on its automatic butt washer; blows warm air to dry you afterwards; and even has a digital clock so when someone accuses you of being in the bathroom too long, you have proof of exactly how long it was. Oh yeah, there's also an air deodorizer and a button to play a fake flushing sound so no one can hear that you're doing what everyone does in the bathroom. Just in case the features aren't overboard enough for you, the $5,200 price tag certainly will be.

It's true that moderation may be overrated, and is definitely not as much fun, but it does leave you able to enjoy lower highs. Each time you go overboard, in order to top it you have to go even more overboard. If that sounds a little over the top, well I just can't help it. It's the age we live in, you know.


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