Truth Hurts, Life is Painful, and we are what we are, Human.
Just a fucking shot..
The Rolling Stone
I'm leaving this weekend for a week of self inflicted debauchery in the black hills. My wife has rented a small cabin in the middle of nowhere; no cell, no television. If we get eaten by bears, or abducted by aliens, no one will ever know. We'll end up as a segment on the next episode of life's mysteries. I'm not a vacationing kind of guy, I always come home tired and broke. Tired because my wife is a lot more active then I am, broke because she doesn't mind spending down our savings. Last time I was out that way was some 45 years ago, accidentally stumbling across a little festival in Sturgus while hitch hiking. Reality is, I don't remember much of the three days I was there, which means I probably had a lot of fun. It'll be a bit different these days, I won't be dropping any acid, and I'm hoping the bed I'll be sleeping on will be softer than the ground. And the festival won't be happening till later this year, which is probably a good thing, for me. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be in the thick of Sturgis in early August, but this old boy just can't handle the strains of so much fun these days. I know my limitations. It is a bit weird, that it's been 45 years since those days, but that's how the stone rolls down the hill. Fast! That stone by the way, is closer to it's resting place than where it was started with a good, solid push. Course, I'm in no hurry to rest, yet the reality sucks. In the back of my mind there's a thought that when I return to civilization, everything will have returned to normal. There's a better chance that the rest of humanity will have been abducted by aliens, or eaten by wild animals, so I'm not expecting much. Of course, I don't know what normal is anymore. Might wake up one morning in the badlands, naked and alone, to find out the last 45 years has been a hell of an acid trip. But I wouldn't be that lucky.
People. You and I, Conservative and Liberal, Christian, Muslim, Black, White, Asian, Native Indian are more alike than different. We want to live our lives in peace, make our lives better, provide for our children and insure they have a future better then what we have. Equality, justice and freedom are not ideals that belong to one group of people. History shows us that people of all color and creed have fought for those beliefs through out it's winding and turbulent road. How is it, that a Nation whose very foundation is based on the equality of man, is a nation of inequality? Racial inequality, gender inequality, financial inequality and social inequality. Perhaps, we are not alike? Or is it that we are too much alike in our fear and mistrust? Fear and mistrust of those who are different, who have different experiences, different experiences then our own? Are we so fearful of what they bring to the table, that we must not grant them justice, equality and freedom to preserve our way of life?
When I ask, what is the difference between a Republican and Democrat, a Conservative and Liberal, I find my answer lies in fear. One lives in fear of social progress, fear of identity loss, loss of power, loss of value. The other embraces the thought of progress, the thought of power being held to accountability, finding worth in their own value. Fear is powerful, and a necessity. Fear allows us an opportunity to react, usually without thought. Humanity would not have survived without fear, fear of predators, animals and human alike. Fear gives us time to react to danger, and how we choose to react to that fear, doesn't really differ in the individual. We live with that fear until we decide to do something about it.
We all fear change, disruptions to the norm. We are also in that time frame where we have an opportunity to define our reaction, and I have to wonder if we'll be the better people for it? I hope we are, because in my heart, I believe we all, are more alike than not.
Illusion of Change
Some days I just don't have anything to say at all. There are days, and today is one of 'em, when all I can do is shake my head in disgust. There was a time when I believed humans would come together in triumph over the social and cultural ills that have plagued our kind since the beginning of time. I believed technology would bring us closer as a species. I thought the Internet would change the world for the better. Thought a shared global economy would pave the path to shared global concerns. None of that is true as those are just things. Important things, yes, but still just things, and where things change the course of human society and evolution, things don't change people. The auto changed American culture, but are we better people, did it make us us better individuals? Sure our cars make our lives easier, but they don't open our eyes to injustice, even when you drive through a poor neighborhood. Your aware of it, but you're protected, shielded inside your vehicle form the truth of what poverty entails. The Internet, social media is no different. Yes, it's an instant window to the world, but like being in our cars, driving through a wretched poor neighborhood, we are protected. Sure, it gives us a louder voice to opine, but it's equivalent to the wife saying to her husband as they pass through the ruins of an American neighborhood, 'How sad'.
We're all sad in what we're seeing in our Nation; Inequality, Prejudice, Hate, Police Brutality, Riots, Looting. None of it is to be proud of! You know as well as I do, things will soon settle down, people will ask questions, community groups will form, people will talk issues, and nothing will change.
That's the harsh reality of humanity. Yes, protest and violence can change lives for the better. The violent riots to unionize led to better working conditions. Of course, the violence of the civil rights movement changed our Nation and protest shortened the Viet Nam war. Yet we are all still tithed to corporate America, people of color are still treated different, and we're still involved in assorted little wars spread across the globe.
What's changed? You can give an old house a fresh coat of paint, that doesn't change the structure, or foundation of the house. It looks better, the house is a bit more pleasant to live in, the people that live in the house are a bit more proud of their house, but they haven't changed.
I once thought we, America, had the will to change the foundations of our society. To tear down the walls of poverty, to crush prejudice, to destroy injustice. I'm not ignorantly suggesting that social ills can be driven from the souls of humanity, they cannot. What I am saying, is that to affect real change, we have to do more than just paint the house.
And who wants to rip the foundations out of their own home?
We certainly don't and I was wrong in believing that.
The Rot of Inequality
Peaceful protest and violent riots are a thread of America's fabric. Most Americans are setting home with the thought, that what we're seeing across America, will soon pass. I wonder? What we've been seeing across our nation for the last four days, good, bad and ugly will be relegated to the history books, a footnote in Wikipedia. There's something sad about that fact, because it seems someone, anyone and everyone should be wondering why we're here? At face value, there's a simple explanation, George Floyd. It's not the first time a black person has died from police brutality, and it won't be the last.
It should be!
Good Lord, the statistics are there, and they are overwhelming that people of color are treated different than white people. Yes, some cities and police departments have tried to address the problems but the results are lost in the recent demonstrations. Here in Minnesota, the National Guard was mobilized in it's entirety, the first time in it's history that's happened. I've never seen a police station abandoned, and burnt to the ground, ever. I've seen stupid behavior via social media of both rioters and police. While I expect stupid behavior from people on the rampage, I don't expect to see police officers accost, arrest and even shoot journalists much less drive a vehicle into a crowd. Yet, I understand why that behavior is happening, they're scared of losing control. I also understand the rage, and fear of those protesting. That's not saying the descent into looting is acceptable. It's not! But there comes a time when a person's voice has to be heard, and the voices of African Americans have not been heard. Yes, we've given them lip service, made promises, and taken minute baby steps, all to placate. But we've never listened, just as we've never listened to the Native American community. We, as a society are in the wrong. We'll set back in our recliners knowing the violence will end, and things will get back to normal. We've gotten used to that, and America depends on the normality of the status quo.
I've never liked the status quo, especially the one that says we're all equal. It's not true, we're not born equal, we all don't have equal opportunities, we all don't have the equal rights. It's an ideal concept, but it's not a realistic concept of how things work in the lives of people, especially more so in people that are of color, or certain religions, or cultures. What is true, is that we should always be working toward the singular goal of equality. That cannot happen as it would implement social reform in how we deal with poverty, education, hunger, income inequality, and our political and judicial system.
More now then ever there are forces gathered, forces I don't understand, forces that I can't even define, but they are there. They're evident in the blame game, it's antifa, white supremacists, the weak Democrat mayor, the thugs, police infiltrators, fake news, the Russians, Chinese. Maybe they're all there, maybe not, I don't now, but their presence is felt.
I don't know what the future holds, but I do know this, the face and character of this Nation is changing, and what's emerging is something no one is going to like, much less want to live in.
Wow, That's Weird
Life is strange enough without all the weirdness.
Comic Book Kid
A look back to when a buck 99 bought a spaceship to the stars.
Call the doc
There exists in every person the potential to do great harm and some people find that potential because it’s easier to find and execute than to find the potential to do good.
When we see a stranger in the face of a child, we all lose.
We surrendered our role in being citizens, believing that financial equality comes without a price, without suffrage.
Social Commentary is an act of subterfuge that will destroy our civilization, but it just also happens to be a good thing.
The Silence and the Wind
The American landscape is complicated, and frustrating!
Nobody gives a shit anymore!
And that's the thing about racism, it's multi layered.
Names I Rather Not Know
There's a disconnect somewhere in my psyche. I don't understand how a group of protesters can gather in a threatening posture on the steps of my state capitol, and not be threatened or dispersed by the police. Yet, a peaceful protest condemning the murder of George Floyd, by a police officer, is met with tear gas and devolves into mass destruction of property.
Somethings not quite right.
Might be the fact that now George Floyd's name is right up there with Philando Castile and Justine Damond? Might be that one group was peaceful, and another not? Might be how the media frames the protests? Might be one group was mostly white, the other not?
I don't know! What I do know is George Floyd's name, and I shouldn't. For the same reason I should never have heard the names of Castile and Damond. From Trayvon Martin to Ahmaud Arbery, and all those in between, there are names I know that I should not know. Yes, Trayvon and Ahmaud were not killed by a police officer, and Justine was white. That's not the entirety of what I'm trying to say. What I am saying is there deaths were the result of a society that devalues the worth of people. People of color, poor people, people that are disenfranchised, people that suffer from mental health issues. People!
How does this keep happening? Usually without repercussions.
Is the American psyche so screwed that we accept these deaths the same way as we accept the 26 deaths at Sandy Hook?
Personally, it's not about gun control, it's about who we are as a people, as Americans, that we have become immune to death and injustice, both now being a way of life that we accept, with little, or no accountability, as that immunity is reflected in those who patrol our streets, protecting us. It's as if we're all innocent bystanders in a horror movie, our hearts and minds paralyzed to the point where we can't act to affect change, refusing to be part of the solution, to even sensible talk about a solution. Perhaps because most of us don't believe there is a solution.
Life has never been about fairness and equality. If it was, there would be solutions available. That's the American way, accepting that there's a segment of the population who are treated different in our society than I am. That's why in the next several weeks or months, I'll learn the name of another person who I should never have known existed.
Red Level Bullshit
I have friends who are Trump supporters. Well grounded friends that I can have topical, political conversations with in a decent manner. Some of them are also Christians. They're not fanatics, they're open to conversation. I get why they like Trump, they're dissatisfied with the status quo, believing Trump is bringing change, that he is shaking the status quo up like a blender set to high mix. They buy into his fake news charade and tirades, and they universally applaud his treatment of reporters during his press conferences. His character as a person is secondary. They might not like him as a person, but they'll defend his character as long as he's changing shit up. Interesting, being an old fuck, most of my friends are old fucks as well, and none have social media accounts outside of facebook, if that. Interesting because what they know of Trump on Twitter comes from mainstream media, and their reporting of the Presidents tweets. Wholeheartedly, they believe MSM misrepresents Trumps tweets. A favorite argument my friends make when defending this mans tweets, or his treatment of reporters is, 'He's just trolling 'em'.
Well fuck a duck with the feathers up. Maybe if my old friends had social media accounts, they'd start to understand that trolls are not liked. They don't get the damage being done, or they don't care, or worse, the destruction is worth it. I get their dissatisfaction with the status quo, the way Washington works. I'm the first to stand up and yell, I'm on board that band wagon. I happen to think, and this is where I differ with my Trump supporting friends, is that this man is leading us on a path to something quite different then what they believe.
It will not be an enlightened golden age or Democracy, of fairness and equality. Our lives will not be better. Our paychecks will not be bigger. Our lives content. What bothers me, and troubles me immensely is the belief of most of my conservative, and Trump supporting friends, is the singular belief that if Democrats, and liberals in general, just shut up and get on board with Trumpian policies, everything would be just fine. To a fault, they believe societies ills are due to liberal ideologies. Their beliefs when it comes to inequality, prejudice, corporate and Government greed is simply that it's all human nature, we'll aways have those things. My answer is always an definitive, 'So we shouldn't work to try to do whats' right?'. Of course, I get universal agreement with my answer. As an after thought, they all feel the need to expand on their answer, that Trump is working on that, it's the direction he's heading.
And I don't have an answer for that.
Life as Chaos
My life has been pretty much linear. That's a nice way of saying I'm a fairly boring person whose daily routine has been pretty much the same for most of my life. Admitting that kind of leaves a sour taste. Hey, wait a minute though. Sure, my daily routine has been pretty much the same for most of my life, but there's been some chaos here and there. Raising kids isn't boring, unexpected illness and death are not boring, financial struggles are not boring, and in fact create a shit load of turmoil, even chaos.
Life is like that at times, chaotic. Thing is, we deal with what life throws at us, we deal with the crap, we move on. We're able to do that, because individual lives are rather simple, we follow the rules. According to the theory of chaos, which simply goes, the more complex a system is, the more chance that system can break down. If you have five ducks in a row, and one is removed, the system has been changed. Yeah, I know, that's a real simplified version of Chaos Theory. It serves a point I want to make. On a personal level, we're able to adapt to what comes along because all our lives are fairly routine. We also expect life to throw shit our way at any given moment. There is a red flag here.
Our political system has become very chaotic. There's arguments that our two party system is rather simple, and it is for the most part. But when you add in the federal government with three branches, fifty governors, tens of thousands of local governments, it starts to become quite complex, and the more complex the system, the more it become susceptible to chaos. And that chaos comes back full circle to the individual, which in turn feeds the larger cycle of chaos.
Which means we all might be royally fucked.
Given all the craziness in our lives that Covid-19 has bought; economic turmoil, isolation, wiping our asses with sand paper, protests, and Trumps never ending bullshit, we also have gigantic murder hornets and the arrival of aliens. Or at least, our Military admitting something is going on in our skies that they nothing about. Interesting though, murder hornets got a lot more headlines. Not sure why, unless the media was trying to suggest the aliens looked like, and perhaps were, hornets intent on feeding upon the human species, without actually saying as much. I've always believed you had to read whatever you believe into any headline. I found the time and actually did some research and found that they were two separate newsworthy events. Kudos to me for figuring that out. Except for the fact murder hornets were in the news for a week and aliens in our skies, well, that headline disappeared after a day or two. I almost had the impression, no one cared.
Let me say that again.
The Pentagon released videos of unknown craft, doing shit that we can't explain, admitting these unidentified craft were defying our laws of physics, and no one seemed to think it was a big deal.
Hmmm.... I hum with suspicion. I can't help but wonder if we've been deluded with so many UFO claims over the last seventy years, that most people don't give a rats ass any more. Better said, it's all ho-hum news. Not fake, but what's the big deal, we all know they're here, but until they land on my front lawn looking to supply their pantry, I'm not going to worry about 'fucking aliens'. Yeah, I'm kind of the same belief system. I'm guessing the Pentagons finally reached the same state of mind at the general public. Yep, they're here, don't care, call me when they land.
My daddy used to tell me 'worry about the things you have control over', the rest is non essential, cuz that shit's going to happen anyway.
But I am worried about whatever's flying around in our blue skies, because it means some of the other associated claims with them might hold water. Abductions? Bases on the dark side of the moon? Interference in human history and evolution! Numerous associated conspiracy theories of government involvement? The truth is, saying there are strange moving craft in our skies is one thing, calling them out as visitors from another world is something else. Doing so would open up questions that we're not prepared to deal with, ethically, religiously, educationally, and morally. The Government said as much with the Brookings report.
That report was issued in 1961. You know, back in the day when we had our shit together. Yep kids, there was a time when America worked together for a bright and prosperous future. Thing is, life is a bit different today, and Ronald Reagan's '87 speech about humanity unifying in the face of of an alien invasion could be considered somewhat prophetic.
Then reality hits home, we can't even get unified to fight a damn bug. Even if it turns out the bugs are actually aliens that look like huge hornets and they're here for dinner.
What a world.
I've just finished an exhaustive investigation into the facts and truths of what Trump is calling ObamaGate. That investigation is as conclusive as the investigation which Trump and his administration has conducted into the deep blue state conspiracy. For those scratching their heads wondering exactly what ObamaGate is, it's simply that Obama conspired in the last days of his Presidency to frame Trump, and prevent his ascendancy to the Presidency. The Mueller report, resulting in just under 200 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas and five prison sentences were all the result of this deep state conspiracy, and hence Obama.
Unfortunately, when asked for specifics, such as what crimes were committed, Trumps reply was, and still is, 'You know, Obamagate, it's all over the news'. Well, far right news anyway, like Glen Beck, Hannity on Fox and Breitbart. The problem is, there's a lot on inflammatory rhetoric, a lot of accusations and very little substance, and even less documentation.
But hey, I'm biased. That might be because when someone claims their microwave was altered to spy on them, I kinda roll my eyes, and that's coming from a guy that's known to have a aluminum foil hat setting on his shelf. Trying to set that bias aside for a moment, the question that remains is 'Did Obama and key members of his administration push a false allegation that Trump conspired with Russia to derail Trumps presidency?'
Accusers are saying that Flynn's confession was coerced, or that Michael Flynn was entrapped. Just as a point, I'd like to remind everyone that Trumps excuse for firing Flynn was that he had lied to the Vice President and the FBI about his dealings with Russia. Trump is now claiming a witch hunt against Flynn, that hunt being part of Obamagate, so I just have to wonder what changed the Presidents mind?
I'd also like to point out, that many of the hard core conservative websites have been promising for a year or more, that the release of bombshell reports that will mean the arrest of Obama, and his key administration members, for treason are just around the corner. I'm waiting for those as I'm nuking a bag of popcorn.
Final analysis, it's all a smokescreen to discredit Obama. Hey, the guy wasn't perfect but the bottom line is, he's hated by the far right, and that's Trump's base, and they need to keep that base agitated, agitated enough to vote this November. So the real question in all this, is will it work?
I hope this letter finds you well, as I suspect you are not. I'm worried about your mental health, specifically your ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. I fully understand reality is a bitter, hard cup of java to gulp down every morning, that fantasy is a relative kin to drinking Kool Aid with a half cup of sugar added. I'd like to expand on that a bit, as chances are, you're probably not sure what I'm alluding too. Simply, drinking Kool Aid, sweetened to your desire is harmful. It's like smoking, you're aware of the long term effects as you reach for another cigarette. You just can't stop. It's an addiction. Like any addiction, you ruin not only your life, but you also cause havoc in the lives around you, because those lives around you care for you.
Fantasies are wonderful places of existence, there is peace there. Life is good, knowing you are among the righteous, your words reinforced with facts from another, along with with gods will. A world where truth is black and white, or better said, only white with no shades into darkness. A world where you are the shining knight in golden armor battling the minions of evil. A world where the dregs of opinion, debate and compromise are cut from the root of the tree of knowledge, and boiled thrice over in a cauldron of warped, twisted logic to be used in your war against all that is distasteful to your liking. Indeed, a wonderful place of existence where blame is parceled out upon the shoulders of those you do not agree with, those who have different ideas, and those you fear. If there exists any discomfort in this wonderful state of existence, it is truthfully, from those who are different, those others who exist outside your sphere of destiny.
Unfortunately old friend, I am one of those others. I am not so sure of foot as to my truths, and my opinions are susceptible to the prevailing winds of education and knowledge. Life for me is perpetual shades of all colors, often blending together, to be a bit of this, and a bit of that, and admittedly, it's sometimes hard to sort through. In a strangely weird way, I'm fine with that. Fine that there may be truths out there that don't align with my own, experiences that I am unaware of, lives lived that I could never comprehend. Sometimes, those other truths rock my world apart, splitting the ground where I stand when I come across them. Funny thing is, when I'm repairing all the fault lines, I find myself at my best. I've often wondered how that is, that my world is at peace among the destruction of personal truths? I suppose it is like traveling through a long, seemingly endless dark void, and then seeing a prick of light.
I suspect when all is said and done, you'll view my mental health as a valid concern, and I understand that. Perhaps you are correct, perhaps I am caught up in a world of my own making. I do question my sanity, because where else does reality change with the daily headlines. The thing is though, my headlines do change, and I've always believed that change is the path to being a better human being. Yet, the commonality remains that when the headlines turn to spring, you and I friend, are both able to marvel in natures rebirth. Perhaps there is hope!
May you be well.
The Fog of 2020
2020 is Crazy, Insane! Don't think anyones going to deny that. A couple decades down the road, our kids are going to be calling it the year that changed everything, especially a little thing called work. The year will be remembered as the year that every American figured out our Government just has to print money and send everyone a nice, big, fat check to live on. Some people had already figured that out, and in 2020, everyone figured it out. Of course, that all happened because there was an idiot for President who didn't want to deal with a little virus going around, so he just figured he'd send everyone a check to tide them over. Instead of stepping up to the plate with national guidelines to resist the bug, the old man fumbled and went golfing, unprepared for the societal shift in the workforce. But that ain't the only thing that was weird about 2020, a lot of good people died, old people. We shed 'em like a snake sheds. No one cared about about their sacrifices for the rest of the country, you know their service in WW2 or Viet Nam, or their fight against the injustices of prejudice. That was just history, gone and done with, having no effect on the present day. Hell, it was such an odd year that aliens invaded and no one noticed, or cared, not even our military. The Presidents reaction was a Spock like, 'Fascinating', and then he dug out his nine iron. Our kids will also remember 2020 as the dividing line that put an end to people driving recklessly down the aisles of Walmart, making people get off their fat asses and actually do a thing called walking. That happened because there wasn't nothing left on the shelves and people had to either grow their own food or buy from farmer John down the road. People got healthy again. There's no doubt that in 20 years, smart people will argue about how weird it was that no one worked, but everybody was fit as a fiddle. The general consensus will be that after a single decade of watching Netflix, everything that had been possible to have been watched, had been watched, and people moved off their couches and recliners in search of new experiences. Of course, this is all from our kids perspective, and being home schooled and all, they don't know shit about history. From our point of view twenty years down the road, we're all just going to look back at 2020 in a fog, wondering if that damn virus was part of the alien invasion.
Quick and Strange
I picked a hell of a time to retire. Working in the health care field, I would of done it sooner, or later if I knew what was coming. That's the thing, you never know what's down the road. For some odd reason, I've never been worried about tomorrow, always having felt things will work out. In a strange way, I'm more concerned about my past. The suns going to rise tomorrow, and I'll deal with whatever life throws my way, but my past, my memories, that's different, different because it's all happened so quick, and so strange. Strangely different! My older sister and younger brothers have good memories, remembering events and times that I don't. My memories have never worked like that, rather being more like a gray area, a shadow, an impression of sorts. For instance being born. I understand no one remembers being born, I don't either, but there's this impression I've always had, a dark, blurred memory that's more of a feeling. That's how my long term memory works, in shadows. My marriage is a good example. I know I got married, but if you asked me who all was there, or to recount the time-line of the day, I couldn't. My wife can. I've often believed that's why I can't remember dates if my life depended on it. Perhaps life has gone by so fast it's all a blur, that makes sense. I'll attribute my memory to that.
Life happens at the speed of light, I find that regretful. Here one day, gone the next, the present always with us, with little time to reflect, to change or to to grow. I know there will be people who will argue that fact, that there is always time to address wrongs, to become a better person. I seriously applaud those who can do so. The majority of us can not. That's not to say I haven't learned anything in the last sixty years, I have. Knowledge affects change, eventually. That change is gradual, slow burning, to the point where most people don't even realize it's happening. What I do find interesting is, the exchange of facts and knowledge is exploding, due to global communications. Yet, there remains a large section of ignorant people who could care less about facts and knowledge.
Life is about more than knowing facts. Moral courage, decency, compassion come to mind. I've found that most people I've ran across have both decency and compassion, but lack the moral courage to follow through in the overall arc of decency and compassion. In that they're not willing to either sacrifice or suffer to prove their moral courage. That's true of the general population, and it's understandable in the short term sense of things. If most people were able to sense how standing up for what's right, or those in need, played out in their own lives over the long term, they might be willing to sacrifice a bit more. Strange thing is, we all sacrifice something, anyway.
I don't know if there's any takeaways in all this and if I had to define life's experience in a word, it'd be strange. Two words would be quick and strange.
Toddlers and Terrible Tantrums
I'm of the thought that our media and Trump are two young 'uns caught up in terrible tantrums, each screaming to be heard over the other, demanding my attention. I'm the tired parent, sick of the yelling and screaming, to the point I don't want to deal with either of 'em. I wish they'd both calm down, get along, and move
on. Like any decent parent, I know that ain't going to happen. The adult in the room is going to have to intervene. Unfortunately, that ain't going to happen! That's ironic considering there's a lots of adults in the room. The oldest adult in the room, the American public can put their foot down, but we won't. After all, when it comes to Trump and the media, they're both giving us what we want, what sells papers, clicks and snake oil. The National Enquirers existence is proof of that, and our gullibility. The other adult in the room, our National leaders are weak kneed jerks, too caught up on retaining power to intervene. Of course, a key to retaining that power comes in the form of money, money donated by large multinational corporations. You can take what you want from that fact! But you know how it works.
What happens when you have two toddlers throwing tantrums and there's not an adult around to step in? One, or both are going to get hurt. As any good parent knows, the babes in diapers are also going to break all their treasured toys, soil their pampers and wail forever and ever, forever. It won't stop till the adult makes it stop, and sometimes that takes work, a lot of exhausting effort. Sometimes, it takes both parents to step in, each to deal with a diapered babe, separating the two. Of course, there's different ways to deal with the brats. Every parent has probably tried to threaten their little ones to quiet down, perhaps going so far as to whack 'em on the butt, but for the most part, every parent will try to bribe the little angels with a pudding cup first. You also have the compassionate technique, slinging the kid over you shoulder while trying to softly sing to the little angels.
But like I said, there isn't an adult to step in between Trump and the media, ain't no one with enough authority or balls to slap their ass and send 'em both to their room, or entice them with their pudding cups. Rocking them to sleep won't work either, because for both of them, their dueling tantrums are a state of existence, and when they wake up from dreaming about world domination, the kids are going to go right back to throwing tantrums.
And they're going to eventually demolish the room they're in.
Life is a Wonderful Thing
and sometimes it's a fucking thing. Today, life is a good thing, tomorrow, maybe not so much, I ain't there yet, so I don't know. I get ones outlook on life is based on their emotional attitude at any given minute, and I know we're all constantly advised to change our attitude if our days are shitty. Yeah, that's easier said then accomplished, and there's times that gem of advice makes for a blank stare of contempt. It ain't easy to change how you feel, is it? I mean, exactly, how do you do that? Take a deep breath, think happy thoughts, go for a walk? Me? I tend to wallow in the absurdity of it all, and don't argue, the human state of mind is absurd. I mean, just look at us all, living in the moment. I mean, like Holy Shit, we're in the middle of a pandemic and we got people so angry because they gotta stay home, they're protesting, while wearing homemade tissue masks. With guns. I got nothing! Then again what do I expect from a species where a lot of people think intelligence and character is derived from skin color? Most common sense thinking folk believe absurdity lives in the twilight zone, but hey, I'm here to say, it don't. Fact is, we're so used to living in the twilight zone, we're all fucked up, thinking it's normal. When someone gets somewhat angry and emotional about living in the gray world of twilight, what advice do we give 'em. Change your attitude. Know what my response is to that, 'fuck off'. I don't enjoy going to work, having to wear a mask I can't breath through, that fogs up my glasses, and makes me remember I didn't brush my teeth this morning, and translates every world as mumbo jumbo. That makes me angry enough to cuss. And I'm fine with that anger, because if I'm not mad as hell about our absurd world, it ain't never, ever going to change. Life? What a fucking absurd thing!
A spoon is a spoon, is a spoon
I've always wondered about the life's little mysteries. One of the smallest mysteries among them all is ooparts, or better said, out of place artifacts. Hammers, spark pugs, jewelery, kitchen ware, all dated to a time when modern humans weren't around, and dug up to challenge our chronological history. I've found it curious that there's never been any evidence of a human civilization before modern humans, and an article in MIT Technology Review, titled 'If We Weren’t the First Industrial Civilization on Earth, Would We Ever Know?' raises the possibility that there might not be any evidence left of a past industrialized human civilization that predated our own. Except that hammers, jewelery and kitchen appliances get dug up from the depths of time. Kind of makes sense, a million years down the road, without constant upkeep, there won't be any evidence of our roads, our cities, our civilization. Earth will have shoveled all of our progress under and regurgitated it a dozen times over, yet every once in a while an old encrusted spoon might find it's way to be dug up by the next civilization. Fascinating when I think about it. What I also think about, is the only way they would know what the old spoon was used for, is if the future civilization had their own spoons, which means future humans look pretty much like we do, five fingers and all. Of course, a million tomorrows is a drop in the bucket on the geological and evolutionary time-line. Switch that up to ten million years, or even a hundred, and chances are they wouldn't have an idea what a damn spoon was. Of course, there's some people around today who don't know what spoon is. I think I'll just leave it at that.
Can't Take This Shit No More
It's bad enough I ain't got no toilet paper, and now I have to listen to Trump tell me he has total authority over everything. Might not have been his exact words, but the meaning was clear. Didn't we fight a war over shit like that? As far as I'm concerned, if Trump keeps talking like that, he'll lose the election in a landslide, but he'll probably be taken out behind the barn well before that happens. One thing we all can agree on, there ain't no kings here in America. Royalty's for those foreigners. But claiming to be the grand putzah of the universe ain't enough for the old guy, last night Trump had to go and defund the World Health Organization (WHO). In the middle of a global Pandemic! His reasons for doing so is something to do with WHO covering up the initial outbreak in China. Might be, but I'm inclined defunding WHO has more to do with deflecting attention and investigation away from his own lack of attention to this little Covid-19 bug. You know, telling us all it was a Democratic hoax. After all, you can conduct an investigation without taking their money away, and if you find something suspicious, you can use funding as a threat to effect change. That kinda makes a bit more sense, cuz you know, WHO has done a lot of good in the world, and of course, there's that global pandemic thing.
So Yeah, I can't take this guys shit anymore. I'm also struggling with some of his die hard, stiff as a woodie supporters, and there's a lot of 'em. Maybe too many for my sanity. Hey, I get why a lot of people like Trump, for the same reason I like Obama. Thing is, I didn't hang my belief system on every word Obama spoke, and I didn't agree with every policy decision he made. There's a whole lot of truth that some of these Trump supporters don't know their ass from page two, meaning they're blinded by his brilliance, which says a lot about their own IQs. Of course, I'm being harsh, but god dammit, I just can't take this shit anymore.
Living in the Twilight Zone
Life is weird these days, with covid-19 and all. I and my wife are essential workers, so we're not feeling the financial strain or the madness of quarantine that others are. We both are experiencing a different kind of insanity in our work environments though. Tween the two of us, I'm the lucky one, working the late shift, which means I don't see a lot of people, yet I still have to deal with decisions made by administrators, and those decisions change daily. That's craziness all by itself. My wife, Theresa has it worse, working twelve hour shifts as a nurse in a nursing home. She has to deal with the state, her administrators, residents and their families. The one commonality in our jobs is lack of PPE, you know face masks, gloves and gowns. That alone is trying. I have a face mask that I'm told has to last a week, and I've been issued a face shield, and I can't breath through all that shit. I can't imagine what it's like where healthcare workers have to double up on their PPE. So far, here in Minnesota, in our county, there's only been one diagnosed case, and 64 deaths statewide. That said, we're still a stay at home state, and social distancing has become the norm. That's created an emotional internal war with my wife, she recently had a resident pass away, and had to limit family members who could visit in the mans dying hours. That didn't set well with the family, and Theresa received the brunt of their understandable anger. And it got worse when the family decided to ignore the policies in place. That's kinda scary when you think about it, all those old folks are highly acceptable to the virus, and all it takes is one person to start the spread. That I don't understand. The thing about it is that I'm doing my part, I haven't seen my mother, who is in a different nursing home, in a month. Hearing stories about people who don't give a damn about others is irritating to say the least. Then again, that's only one story, seems like everyday, she has a new one, either dealing with families or new policies she has to adhere to. I get the frustration with changing policies. Working for the VA, it seems there's a new policy every single day. All in all, it's just weird, not that our jobs haven't always been weird because there's hundreds of weird stories to be told about working in healthcare environments, now it just seems the everyday weirdness has taken a turn into the twilight zone. For instance, we're moving people out of their offices, prepping areas to receive patients from other VA hospitals and local hospitals. That movement of people also includes reassigning people into different jobs. It's just insane, especially since we're not hard hit.. yet! Hell, it's all so weird I wouldn't be surprised to read a headline that those who have died from this shit are rising outta their graves and the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. That's how weird it is.
When I write poetry, I try to be open ended, meaning I like to leave interpretation up to the individual reading it. I don't use a lot of punctuation for that purpose. Thing is, I always have a point I'm trying to make. I'd be interested in what your thoughts are as to what I'm trying to say here.
Quietness of the mind
rattled by ramblings of the insane
Those who strike
with sodden words
of despair borne of
A thought to run
to escape the madness
carries no weight,
for there is no such measure
to scale persecution
where none exists.
not thought of men
birthed of fools
their lives instead
cloaked in disgust
by life seen in a mirror.
Life not lived
affairs thought deserved
desired commodities denied
creates darkness of mind
a life not lived
beyond their mirror.
Infectious, it spreads
ill thoughts of righteousness
carried by wind of mouth
whispering to those
quiet of mind
to not be still.
Rise up, it murmurs
in a thread of lies
be not content
there exists no truth
no guilt you hold
life defined by circumstance.
Ravaged winds of whispers
in arguments with men
who have no such cause.
Words are spread
in this world
of men beneath vile
to justify their desires
the quietness of my mind.
On the Other Side
There's been a few headlines, sensational or not, about how everything is going to be different after the virus. On a personal level, for those who lost a loved one, everything will be different, leaving them with a much deeper appreciation for friends and family. Not being able to be by a dying parents bedside, not being able to hold a memorial service will lead to that. Values, what's important will change for most of those experiencing loss. There's also a sense of lost time. My mother suffers from dementia, and I've been a daily visitor up till this shit hit. I haven't seen her for three weeks now, and that's bothersome. It's not life changing, but it's bothersome.
In the aftermath of this virus, I'm left wondering what we'll have learned, how we'll do things different, and will we be the same nation, and people afterwards. What will the new normal look like? At the moment, there's a deeper appreciation not only for our medical community, but for those working in low paying jobs, like janitors, grocery store workers, and grave diggers. You know, those people that toil in the background of our daily lives. There is also a sense of looming economic disaster. Unemployment has skyrocketed, local business are shuttered, and there's still no damn toilet paper to be found. Socially, people are hunkered down, homeschooling their kids, and getting to know their spouses all over again. None of this will last forever, but will there be lasting implications?
In a perfect world I would think there would be a valid conversation about not only how unprepared we were from a medical viewpoint, but a serious conversation about our healthcare system. There's going to be some seriously outrageous medical debt involved when this is over, and who is going to pay for it? Chances are, we will, you and I, with higher taxes, a lot higher taxes, and health insurance premiums will probably near double, making health insurance unaffordable for a lot of folks. The rising costs aren't part of the perfect world scenario, because we don't live there, and chances are we won't have the needed conversations either.
Thinking about those who toil in the background, income inequality and such, we'll continue to talk about it for a while. There will be some talk about Universal Basic Income, but that won't last, as won't the appreciation for your local janitor. One of the reasons will be because we're going to be too busy returning to our jobs, and worrying how we're going to pay off three months of mortgage payments along with our maxed out credit card debt. I think too, you'll be surprised at your first paycheck upon returning to work. It'll be smaller, with many employers not being able to afford what you were once earning.
Higher taxes, larger debts, smaller paychecks are going to be the new normal for working class people like me. I don't doubt that at all as everyone prepares to re-enter the workforce. Yes, unemployment will drop sharply, but state unemployment funds will be drained for those who remain unemployed. There will also be a lot of local restaurants, bars, bakeries, and smaller business who won't survive, and they'll keep the unemployment stats higher than expected for the next few years. States will have to decide if they want to divert money to cover unemployment, money from infrastructure, from education, and it's not going to be pretty.
What also is not going to be pretty is the blame, the outrage, and the finger pointing. You think we're divisive now, just wait. Not only on a individual level, but in our government. Just wait till we're on the other side of this. I'd like to think both republicans and democrats would work quickly to reestablish our economy, but I don't see it. We just don't have the leadership. Yes, they will save corporate america in the belief that doing so will regenerate our economy, but corporate americas main interest will be self serving, always has been, and I don't see that changing.
The end result of this pandemic will see us living in a different economy, higher debt, higher taxes, lower wages, fewer social safety nets, and a lot of anger. I'm just wondering if it'll be enough to effect change, substantial change.