WED., JUNE 28, 2006
If you’re lucky, Friday begins a five-day weekend. That’s a mess of slack time for the average American. Unlike our 35-hours-a-week French counterparts, Americans get antsy when we don’t have anything to do. We’re not especially good at leisure time. We tend to work even when we’re not working. This Fourth of July, millions of red-blooded Americans will spend hours toiling over a hot grill – making barbecue they’ll wolf down in a few minutes. You can’t really blame them. Properly masticating meat is a lot of work. When was the last time you chewed your meat 40 times? In fact, when was the last time you did anything 40 times … unless you were at work? If you’re like most Americans, you’ll probably bounce it off your molars for a couple of seconds then wash it down with a light beer … all the while screaming at your kids to quit trying to put ladyfingers up the cat’s butt. The result is that your intestines look a lot like the sausage you’re grilling. Hey, nobody said freedom and democracy was going to be pretty. In fact, it could be argued that freedom itself is a cruel farce perpetrated on us by the French … or at least in part by their philosophers. The reality for most Americans is a lifetime of toil, both paid and un, punctuated by intermittent stretches of freedom, which the French call “liberté” (only because they have the free time to enunciate the extra syllable and put the stress mark above the “e”). Americans might as well call freedom “sleep,” because that’s about the only time we get any. In waking life we’re always working for the man or paying the man or both. It’s enough to give you the blues, but sometimes you even have to pay for the blues, like this weekend down at Waterloo Park when Nuno’s on Sixth presents the Heart of Texas Red White & Blues Festival. For $24 you get acts like Big Head Todd, Charlie Sexton, Bob Schneider, Hubert Sumlin, and G.E. Smith of Saturday Night Live. It ain’t free, but in America, what is?