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"I Don't Like Leaving Meat in a Car." A Search for Controversy.

Updated on August 19, 2011

The obligatory back story…

The Lake Tahoe trip had ended. It was also the ending of another beautiful summer weekend in Northern Nevada. Hot? Oh, certainly. I don’t complain though. I would never think to spit into the eyes of the Sun God and imply he was working too hard.

Sun-burnt, slightly dehydrated, moving towards nap mode, the four of us sat sluggishly in my living room. Beach paraphernalia had been redistributed to their proper owners: The book covered in sand and lotion was returned to its’ reader, the trash had been tossed, and wet towels were pulled from soggy duffle bags and left to dry in the sun. Indeed, the hard part of the trip was over.

I was in the process of slipping into my typical, post-beach, melanoma-induced coma when one of our numbers shook off his lethargy to ask, “Did anyone see a bag of meat?”

“Meat?” I mumbled.

“Yeah. Those left over brats and hamburgers? They were in a white plastic bag?” We all searched our collective memory banks in vain for an errant bag of animal protein and we only did this because it was easier than actually getting up and searching the house.

“No,” was all I could manage.

“Uh-uh,” answered another.

“Splurp.” Replied the third, not even pretending to try.

Neither impressed with our responses or confident that we were taking heroic measures to solve the mystery, the questioner got up and announced he was going to check his vehicle saying, “I don’t like leaving meat in a car.”

As he went through the door I ruminated on his comment. It was a petition I was willing to sign. Unlike the bevy of Republican presidential hopefuls who happily sign any pledge put before them, I tend to apply my moniker, a bit more sparingly. But…no. This was something I could get behind. I also, do not like leaving meat in a car.

As I mentally congratulated myself for having taken a stand, it occurred to me that my new position was, quite possibly, the least controversial topic ever. I idly wondered if this was how Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle came to pass. That being said…the thought served as a dopamine drip for a problem that had been previously plaguing my every waking thought…what should my next controversial Hub be about?

The Search for Controversy…

The sheer volume of printed words stretching from papyrus to iPads would suggest that all written topics that can be done…are indeed, done. Some have been done quite well, while others---not so much--and, still others, have been done to death. I myself have contributed to all three forms of the genre. Is controversy necessary? Not at all. Is it fun? Oh, yeah. So from whence comes the next good idea?



Like a homeless person pushing a purloined grocery cart through the ending stages of a large wedding reception, I haunt various Forums for ideas left on the table or which may have fallen under overturned chairs. These stomping grounds are seething with ideas that are often eloquently articulated but, more frequently, presented with the grace of a Mongolian warrior at a southern cotillion.

Both are entertaining and informative.

To understand the visceral response engendered by a lively forum dialogue (and the accompanying extraction of story ideas), I shall paraphrase the great Otto Von Bismarck (in keeping with our meat theme), “To retain respect for sausages and Hub articles, one must not watch them in the making.”

Obviously, the Forum title should serve to gird your sensibilities prior to entering the fray. In general you can expect that a Forum entitled, “Best Caramel Custard Recipe” will, in all likelihood, be a more staid affair than a forum advocating “Sterilize Everyone in Alabama.” Unless, of course, I have seriously overestimated the fighting spirit of Alabamans or, conversely, underestimated the passions fired up by good caramel custard.

I don’t typically post to the forum but, rather, use the interchange to tickle thoughts at the back of my mind. Your level of participation should be your own.


In a nation so divided between Red and Blue there seems little hope that a tinge of purple will ever emerge. This lack of blurring of the color scheme, however, provides a never ending source of potential controversies:

Clean air is good. Dirty air is good for the economy. Women have the right to choose. Churches have the right to choose for women. Pets have the right to self expression. Self expression has the rights to pets. Global warming is a farce. Global warming is hot. Sterilization is good for Alabama. Alabama is good for sterilization. Michelle Bachman is a reasonable person. Wait…Michelle Bachman is a reasonable person? Guns don’t kill people, Republicans kill people. The Environmental Protection Agency is actually named Satan. Dick Cheney is suing the EPA for using his name…Satan.

I believe you see my point.


Regardless of the topic, there are typically two sides to an issue. Your job (should you feel the need to spread controversy) is to pick the position you hold most dear and annoy the other side with your ideas.

With so many potential topics serving as grist for the enterprising scribe, it is typically a case of too many topics, rather than a dearth of them, that stays the writer’s hand.

That being said, perhaps we should return to MY problem. What am I supposed to do with a lost, white, plastic, bag of meat?

Hmmm…I wonder what Sarah Palin is up to?


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