I try to not dwell on politics in this column. If there is one thing a columnist is not likely to achieve, it is changing a reader’s mind about his or her politics.
But I will comment on the prolonged brouhaha over Donald Trump’s banishing a crying baby from a Virginia rally.
Somebody’s baby kept crying and crying, loud enough to interrupt Mr. Trump’s concentration as he addressed the U.S. relationship with China.
At first he said good naturally that never mind, he loved babies.
“I love babies,” he vowed. “I hear that baby crying, I like it! What a baby! What a beautiful baby!”
But as the baby continued to wail, Trump finally gave the order: “Get that baby out of here!”
To forestall criticism, Trump aides quickly huddled with the mother, and soothed the impact of their boss’ banishment order.
Nevertheless, as Trump said he had predicted, media headlines read: “Trump throws baby out of rally.”
Crying infants at public events have always been a problem. I imagine that at the Sermon on the Mount, even Jesus had to put up with bawling babies.
At almost every public function, there are mothers who will go the last mile in trying to quieten their infants before finally removing their unhappy offspring.
When I was on the speech circuit as editor of The Raleigh Times, I never had to put up with crying babies. Sleeping adults are quieter, but more insulting.
Some years ago, I was well into my speech to a group of N.C. State University retirees one morning when I spotted the fellow on the second row from the back.
He was slumped in his chair, his head thrown back, eyes tightly closed and mouth wide open. Much to the man’s credit, he was not snoring.
I tried to ignore him. But every time I looked out over the audience, my eyes and my mind seemed only to rivet on Rip Van Winkle.
It was unnerving, the cruelest form of criticism, short of walking out of the room during a speech.
Finally, unable to proceed further, I paused and said, “Will someone please awaken the gentleman in the back. It’s not that he’s missing anything during his nap, but I’m afraid he’ll fall off his chair and injure himself.”
I noticed later that the napper was not among those who later came forward to greet me and comment that they had enjoyed the talk.
I, my wife and a friend once were waiting to be seated at a Raleigh restaurant. The line was long and so was the wait. A babe in arms nearby vociferously expressed its impatience in no uncertain terms.
As its wails grew louder and louder, our friend walked over and gently asked the mother to please take the baby outside. The mother calmly complied. Our friend received several smiles of commendation from other waiting patrons.
Nevertheless, everyone, especially candidates running for public office, needs to be careful not to denigrate babes in arms. Whether crying or cooing, today’s babies are the almost sacred seed corn for tomorrow’s culture.
Orange for a day
As a part of my annual checkup, I, of course, had to go by the lab and give blood.
The woman with the needle who does the “sticking” is cheerful. How can you be cheerful when you’re pulling blood from people’s arms all day?
Chanda has been doing it for 18 years. More important than “cheerful” is “skill.” And Chanda has that also.
After almost a lifetime in front of a typewriter or computer, my veins are not as prominent as those of a weightlifter or an Oregon lumberjack. So purloining my blood is more of a challenge.
I still remember a lab tech whose disposition as well as skill at drawing blood both left much to be desired.
She gouged. I winced. She gouged again, I squirmed. On the third gouge, I moaned. Still she had nothing to show for her efforts.
She slammed down the needle and syringe and yelled across the room to two other lab employees.
“Somebody come over here and help me. This man ain’t got no blood!”
It is said that laboratory technicians learn to draw blood by practicing on an orange.
When I give blood, I’m always grateful when I’m not the “orange of the day” for whoever is after my blood.
Snow: 919-836-5636; firstname.lastname@example.org