Sunday, June 24, 2007

It’s Amishtery to me

There are many things in this world that defy my comprehension; reality tv, republicans, nipples on men, religion, anime, vegans, and so on, (man, I could go on all day with that list, which means that either a lot of things defy comprehension, or I’m just really stupid) but the one thing that has most recently made that list is something that up until now has only been a minor curiosity. But after this past weekend, it has exploded into full-blown “Huh?” status.

The Amish.

Over the weekend, my family and I traveled to Lancaster, PA (for father’s day, I dunno, doesn’t make much sense to be either) the home of the always popular Pennsylvania Dutch. Allow me to preface the rest of this entry by saying that “they” are really making a killing out there in Lancaster. I’m not too sure who “they” are, but somebody’s getting crazy rich. There are dozens upon dozens of hotels and motels around the area, (almost as many as in Breezewood, PA, “The Town of Motels”), countless restaurants, a few water parks and all types of other tourist traps. The biggest trap of them all is the Amish themselves, but there’s only so much money you can get from setting up one person to go stare at another, so “they” came up with their most ingenious plan: Outlet Malls.

I think outlets are a gyp. I think that they have really high prices in the first place, so that when they “slash” prices and reduce stuff with their “sales” that they’re only selling stuff for a dollar or two less than they would at any regular store. But that’s just my own capitalistic paranoia. These outlets in Lancaster are great. There are a million of them and they’re more addictive than crack wrapped in chocolate. I dropped over $100 (oooh, big spender!) at a kitchen supply store alone, (that’s right ladies, I know my way around a kitchen, and I’ve been known to turn a culinary trick or two).

Anyway, back to the Amish. Those people were everywhere in their buggies pulled by horses with severe incontinence problems. Now I understand why there’s such good farming there. You’ve got to do something with the hundreds of pounds of excrement everyday. And yes, the Amish looked just like they do in popular culture, Kingpin, Witness and that one episode of the Simpsons. They had the beards, (men and women) the weird pilgrimy clothes and the look of pious reflection we’ve come to associate with the Amish. There were even some Mennonites there too, but they weren’t as easy to see since they were chilling in their air-conditioned cars on the way to Burger King (motto: An ongoing experiment to see how much meat a human will shove into his mouth before he chokes to death –now with large fries!)

Alright, we all kind of know how the whole Amish thing works. We may not know the particulars, but I’m sure we all get the basic gist, am I right? No electricity, no cars, no buttons, plenty of barn building, goofy names, depressing clothes and oodles of good old fashioned farming until your blisters have blisters. Yet this isn’t entirely the case. A tour and a lesson in area history taught me the answers to many questions, while bringing up many, many more.

I don’t have any Amish friends, in fact I can’t say I’ve ever spoken to an Amish person beyond “How’s it hangin Jedidiah?” or something similar. So I’ve never been able to ask an Amish person just what their deal is. If anybody who’s reading this has an Amish friend, feel free to show them this Eighty-Four Glyde entry and get their opinion.

Let me clear up a few things, in case you were wondering. The Amish can wear any type of shoes they like, and Pumas seem to be a favorite, (go figure). The Amish can go to grocery stores to buy food, without much in the way of restriction, (though if one of them were to buy some microwave popcorn, they might get shunned). Now, before people who are better educated on the Amish than I am get all worked up, I understand that many rules vary from settlement to settlement. What the Amish are allowed to do depends on the local Bishop, (and animal decency laws). But still there is one thing about the Amish that I learned that did nothing more than confuse the shit out of me. Check this.

The Amish don’t use electricity because it means a dependency on the outside world, but they are allowed to buy electronic appliances and the like and convert them to other power sources. I was shown a kitchen wherein the Amish had a propane stove and a propane refrigerator. This same kitchen also had an electric blender that the Amish had converted to work by air compression. Here’s my question: What?

I don’t shun electricity and I can’t even set the clock on my DVD player, (true, this joke doesn't make much sense, but a joke about setting my VCR clock would be woefully out of date.) How in the hell can an Amish person convert an electric blender? Think about it. You’ve got to know what you’re doing and have a decent amount of technological skill to do something of that nature. Does that mean that the Amish have a secret sect of people whose only job is to stay on top of current technology? Is anybody following me here? The Amish know more about how to use our technology than any regular “joe” on the street. I think the implications are clear: The Amish are trying to take over our society. First it started with the fudge, then it moved onto “Shoo Fly Pie,” next it’ll be something seemingly unimportant, like wool. They’ll have a monopoly and assert their dominance on the global market, leading to the eventual downfall of all other societies, leaving the Amish to grow their crops and live their annoyingly pious lifestyle in peace. It makes me sick!

We can put a stop to this. All we have to do is draft all the Amish people and send them off to fight in whatever country Bush is currently miffed at. Within a week they’ll be gone, and I can have all the Amish women to myself! HAHAHAHAHAHA……wait, that’s more of a punishment then a victory.

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