No, I am not referring to someone who knows all about bugs. I am referring to an amusing metaphor coined by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Insect Authority, in this context, refers to the perplexing and exceedingly annoying propensity of individuals (and institutions) to exert extreme effort to make a small amount of authority feel much bigger. It is an ego soothing mechanism. I wrote about this before in On the Road – America – Some Observations on Culture.
One can think of thousands of examples of Insect Authority: the waitress who will not allow you to get your onions on the side instead of on your burger, the petty bureaucrat who insists that you have filled out the form incorrectly . . . I won’t waste your time with more.
This brings us, somewhat circuitously, to the image below:
The Madang Town Council, or whatever they are calling themselves these days, probably decided, as they usually do, to pave over a perfectly good road instead of fixing the many roads that are rapidly becoming dirt trails. There is nothing unusual about this. It is the modus operandi of the MTC when it comes to roads. It’s much easier to fix perfectly good roads than it is to fix roads that are bagarap. (Literrally means in Tok Pisin “Buggard up.” Please excuse the minor vulgarity.)
Okay, that’s business as usual. The reasonably good roads get better, and the bad roads — well, they aren’t really roads any more are they, so who cares?
But wait, what about Insect Authority?
Well the Water Board, another Machiavellian entity which works in mysterious ways, dug a ditch (at least I’m blaming them for it) over a year ago and never fixed it. Never mind if I’m wrong about who did it or why. Someone will correct me. This also is not uncommon, I mean about the ditches, not the corrections. We have big unfixed ditches across the roads all over the place. They are probably the source of more foul language than any other single cause.
So, why the gap in the road? I stopped and asked someone who looked as if he might be in charge. He wore a bright orange safety jacket – another common accoutrement of wielders of Insect Authority. He said that his company would not pave over the spot where the Water Board dug the ditch until the Water Board fixed it. There’s wicked logic at work there.
Well, let me tell you when that is going to happen. It will happen when Hell freezes over. That’s when it will happen! (Whoops, another minor profanity.)
Apparently, the Water Board, the Town Council, and the contractors all are having a grand old time luxuriating in the rush of endorphins released by the exercise of their massive and awesome Insect Authority. I would find it funny if I didn’t have to drive over that ditch twice a day. It is making it very difficult to stay faithful to my New Year’s Resolution.
Okay, I feel better now.
Here are a couple of images of the airport road as I see it each morning on the way to work. This one with angry clouds:
And, just to show that I’ve recovered from my pique, here are some pretty flowers:
I’ve shown these before and I still don’t know what they are. Maybe some kind reader will tell me. All stages of flowering are shown in this one photo. I’ve been waiting a while for this one.Tags: airport road, american culture, insect authority