The headline proclaimed the wonderful news: “U.S. Traveler Who Vanished in Australia Five Years Ago Found ALIVE!”
He didn’t die in a kayaking accident after all, and he wasn’t kidnapped by a band of rogue kangaroos or Mad Max the Road Warrior, and he wasn’t held hostage on a kiwi farm, as many had speculated.
Kenneth Rodman apparently went into hiding so he could defect from America. But why would anyone want to leave America? We have everything — Apple products, Happy Meals and the World Cup Champion U.S. women’s soccer team. Even more exciting, we have a new crop of presidential candidates as large as the population of Cincinnati, with bold and frightening ideas about how to make this great country even greater, which is certainly something to anticipate or fear, depending upon your political views.
The only people who should leave are malcontents like that pop star Ariana Grande, who got caught on a security camera licking doughnuts on the counter of a California coffee shop while saying she hated America. What makes celebrities act like morons after all this country has given them, such as reality TV? Maybe she was suffering from sugar shock.
Rodman — who is no relation to Dennis Rodman, another celebrity who left America for greener pastures in North Korea, where he hung out with Kim Jong Un — disappeared and they discovered his kayak submerged off the coast. Everyone feared the worst, until the police found him during a burglary investigation in tropical Queensland, where he’d been hiding.
Now, immigration officials plan to ship him back to the United States, and he’ll probably seek asylum in some peaceful place like Las Vegas or West Hollywood. He just turned 60, so he can collect Social Security in two years, which means it will be worth it to return to the good old U.S.A. before the Social Security system collapses.
I’m always puzzled when someone drops off the face of the earth and leaves no forwarding address. It makes you wonder. Did he end up in concrete like Jimmy Hoffa? Did she enter a cloister? Did he embezzle company money? Was she behind on her gambling debts? Did he take off with his wife’s sister or his wife’s brother? There are many possibilities.
A lot of people want to escape the day-to-day grind. By bedtime, an estimated 98 percent of all parents are ready to pack it in, along with 91 percent of their children. Plus, a growing number of executives are always looking over their shoulders, expecting the SEC to be breathing down their backs. And let’s not forget scandal-plagued figures like Tom Brady, Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby and Subway spokesman Jared Fogle. The past is always trying to catch up with us.
On the other hand, some people aren’t running from anything but would still love to escape the so-called “real world.” In my personal fantasy, I’d change my name and sneak into the woods far from the madding crowd like Henry David Thoreau. I’d live in a cabin on a tranquil lake — at least until bikini-clad teenagers playing hip hop music arrived on tour buses and started storming the beach with cases of Sam Adams.
One advantage to the wilderness is there aren’t any telemarketers, although I’m convinced my college alumni association would find me anywhere I went and come calling for a donation. They would be followed, in short order, by the volunteer fire department, the Home for Wayward Republicans, the Clinton Foundation and/or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Grandparents.
Maybe I could go to the monastery (I recently saw a documentary about Benedictine monks living in the New Mexico desert.) My goal is simple: I want to live unencumbered by emails, salespeople, junk mail, junk food, spam, political pollsters, politicians, yard work, Mark Zuckerberg, Katy Perry, the ghost of Steve Jobs … I’m getting carried away.
If I took the monastic route, my family could still visit me, although we’d probably have to talk through a screen like they do in federal prison.
To be honest, even though I have an anti-social streak, I don’t think I could leave because I’m too attached to our decadent society. I couldn’t live without my daily fix of stories about Miley Cyrus, Donald Trump, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. Maybe I’ll hang around after all … or take them with me, for the betterment of humanity.
Contact Joe Pisani at joefpisani [at] yahoo.com.