My sister Margaret was a towering soul holstered in a tiny body. She was easy to see over, but impossible to overlook. Until she got old.
“Old women are invisible,” she complained.
I’m beginning to see what she meant, but I’m not complaining. It’s a mixed bag, being ignored. It’s not so good when you’re trying to get a clerk’s attention in a store. But it can work to your advantage if you’re, say, trying to assemble some bomb-making materials with a mind toward civic engagement.
But a girl does feel dismissed if she can’t even get any action from airport security. If they won’t even wave a wand at you when you flash your postal I.D., leak spittle, and bring up Dick Cheney, you can pretty much figure your value as a searchable object of desire has plummeted. You might as well not exist. It can be dispiriting.
But trust the U.S. Supreme Court to hitch the buckboard up to old Dobbin and ride to the rescue! They’re coming through for the little guy at last. Some of us had been a little dubious about this group. The Democrats had spent two years trying to crowbar a little daylight between the insurance companies and their profits, and finally cobbled together a bit of improvement for us all, with a not-nearly-socialist-enough piece of legislation called the Affordable Care Act. Or Obamacare, as it is derisively referred to by people who view Obama and Care with equal disdain. And now many of us suspect that the Court is about to knock the whole thing sideways on the grounds that it tramples on the American credo (“You Can’t Make Me”). Because if we are lucky enough to get any health insurance, given the shape we’re in, we would rather pay a boatload for it, by God. We’re not cheap. The Court just heard the case and various lines of questioning have put the outcome in doubt, with some of the justices playing things pretty cagey. Except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who, as always, just said exactly what was on his mind.
Well, it will be a bit before we find out whether the insurance industry will get its money’s worth out of this court, but in the meantime, as I suggested, SCOTUS really came through for the little people. Thanks to a recent ruling, the police can throw in a free rectal examination whenever we get hauled in for any little thing. Even minor infractions, like looking all wrong for the neighborhood, can win you a complimentary probe. This court decision only restores the rights of the state. If this sort of thing wasn’t a proper role of law enforcement, it would never have been called “copping a feel.” And the average American can scarcely whine about being refused insurance for a rectal exam and then turn around and whine about getting a freebie.
The Supreme Court is only plugging a hole in the system. Torrents of contraband are flowing in a direct pipeline from America’s buttholes to its jails. And the police have a legitimate interest in stemming that flow. Which means such a procedure couldn’t possibly be used as a tool of humiliation. And that’s good news! Because even an ignorable, innocent-looking woman of advanced middle age like myself might still have an act of civil disobedience left in her, or get a little mouthy during a public demonstration. And this ruling means I still have the chance one day of hearing that snap of latex gloves behind me. The snapping sound that means someone still wants to know how I really feel, deep inside.
And we thought they didn’t care. Thank you, Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas–take a bow! No, the other way.