Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Truth in advertising

“Try Viagra soft and have an orgasm all day.” Good Lord, can you even begin to conceive of what that would be like. Take it in the morning and you’re dead by noon. I just can’t imagine such a thing. I’m quite certain there are some young – very, very young – boys out there who are thinking, “Wow.” Son, let me tell you something…you’ll tear all the tendons in your wrist by eleven o’clock. Either that or your partner is going to say, “Enough, awready,” at least by noon. Orgasm all day…who the hell are they kidding. That’s false and deceptive advertising.

There’s a lot of false advertising out there. I saw one today that encouraged you to try it for clearer skin should you be the unfortunate victim of Psoriasis. The only problem with the product is – hey, at least they were honest – it had been known to cause constipation, nausea, vomiting, and cancer. Oh, great, my skin will be clear but I’ll get cancer. Is that a trade-off or what?

Truth in advertising, I’m ready to believe, is a thing of the past. Or was there ever really genuine truth in advertising? After all, the job of the advertiser is to convince you, the consumer, to buy its product over that of another advertiser. Think back to the days of yore when patent medicines were sold that cured everything from warts to your Uncle Everett’s gout, and from flatulence to Aunt Emma’s lumbago. Most were damn near 100 percent alcohol, codeine, cocaine, or some other drug that made you so damned happy or cuckoo that you didn’t even know you had warts, gout, flatulence, or lumbago. As a child, I remember being given terpenhydrate and codeine as a cough medicine. You didn’t cough because you were freakin’ drugged. The stuff was terrible, yuck, what a taste, but it sure worked. Later, mother became more merciful and purchased a cough syrup called Cheracol. Now this was a cough syrup. It was pleasant tasting, a nice dark purple color, and it contained enough codeine that you could really get high. Oh, I should also note that when I was a child, these were over the counter medications. Eventually, someone realized that you could boil these medications down until you had something like pure codeine or something and that shooting this shit by injection, even if you didn’t have the flu, had a marvelous, albeit somewhat deadly, effect. I guess the druggies didn’t need to hear the advertising, they just gravitated toward the drugs.

Let us return to this truth in advertising thingie that we began talking about. To do this, we first must talk about the Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the federal government. It was begun by the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Acts in 1906. The principal reason for the act was the filth of the Chicago stockyards and the resulting food poisonings not only from beef but from other products being sold as ‘food.’ In 1930, it became known as the FDA and in 1938, laws were passed that allowed the department to regulate cosmetics. Yep, that’s right, all sorts of crap were being passed off as cosmetic aids, some of which could harm the skin. Today, the FDA is still protecting consumers though inspections and close watches on what can and cannot be sold. All that said, I guess we finally get to the question of truth in advertising. While the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for protecting consumers by “combatting unfair and deceptive acts or practices,” it often appears that their regulation and enforcement if lax. Take, for example, the new Toyota ads for 2018. The emphasis here is on high speed and having fun by driving fast. The ads I’ve seen so far appear more to promote recklessness rather than Toyota’s traditional ads featuring performance and cost savings. Perhaps they’re taking a page from the book of Lexus which has, for several years now, been speed oriented. Last I knew, we still had traffic laws regulating speed limits in this country, but you’d never know it to see some of the car ads on television. Perhaps the ads that bother me the most are those that talk about prolonging your life if you have cancer. Cancer kills, and while new approaches to cures are being found just about every year, this insidious disease killed well over half a million Americans last year. I cannot tell you how many of my friends have died from cancer. I stopped counting long before my wife contracted and died from it. For advertisers giving what I consider to be false hope to cancer victims by advertising products that they say will extend one’s life is tantamount to not telling them just how much more suffering will be involved when stage IV finally arrives. When I’ve discussed Joan’s struggle with others who have endured the caregiver role, there seems to be agreement that if it had been legal, our patient would have wished for an early out. I guess that’s my real bitch with advertising. Forget the bait and switch deals that car dealers use. Forget the 70” latest model television sets that the store had for sale at only $99.95…that were purchased by a couple of store clerks when the first came to work…”but this one is better at $799.95.” You know the type; you’ve been there.

Perhaps what I’m encouraging you to do is don’t let yourself get taken in by advertisers. Have a good laugh when you read those ads in the Sunday paper, but always remember, “Believe nothing of which you read and only half of what you see with your own eyes.”

Read Full Post »

Just my view

The exposure of Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator hopefully has opened a new door about how women are treated in this country. While his actions are disgusting and disgraceful by anyone’s standards, he has exposed an attitude that has been accepted by too many men since the Pilgrims first set foot on the shores of the New World. After all, how many women signed the Mayflower Compact, the first written form of government in what is now the US? If your guess was zero, you’re right on the money.

I’m still trying to figure why it took another 228 years for the women’s movement to begin. One of the reasons that I question this goes back to the Salem witch trials that began in 1692. The huge majority of those convicted of witchcraft and executed were women. If I was a woman at that time, I think I’d begin to take a hard look at the men in charge and begin to organize just because of their stupidity. Yes, of course I know that’s not fair, but 228 years is a really long time. I’m certain that during that period there were attempts by individuals and perhaps even small groups, but men being men – and a lot haven’t changed today – they forcibly put down requests for even the most basic of rights. After all, didn’t the Constitution state that, “all men are created equal,” but with no mention of women.

You may find it difficult to believe but it wasn’t until 1920 that a law was passed that banned husbands from beating their wives, and it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the criminal justice system began to look at domestic violence as a crime rather than a “family matter.” When you begin to do a little research on the subject of women’s rights, that is, if you have a compassionate bone in your body, you’re stomach starts to turn over the manner in which our great, great grandmothers were treated by the men in their families.

But, enough of that. The first true organized women’s movement began in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY. According to Info Please, “After 2 days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men sign a Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines grievances and sets the agenda for the women’s rights movement. A set of 12 resolutions is adopted calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.” If you wish to learn more about these resolutions, I invite you to do a bit of research on your own. I think you’ll find it worth the time. In spite of efforts on the part of women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul, and many others, it wasn’t until August 26, 1920, that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting voting rights to women, was signed into law by Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby.

Today, there are women in positions of leadership in almost every field of endeavor. Are there enough? Absolutely not. The glass ceiling, wage inequality, and even “…the grabbing of pussy” is still considered by many narcissistic, misogynistic, pigs to be a male entitlement. It is not. I don’t believe I have ever heard of a case of a female leader walking up to a male underling and grabbing him by the penis “because she was ‘the star’ and could do anything.” No, 99 percent of women – I hope – would never consider such an impropriety.

I can well remember in high school the ‘conquests’ bragged about by classmates. I think it was every boy’s dream to “get laid” before he graduated. Admittedly, I did not. I graduated a high school virgin, something which gives me neither great disappointment nor great pride. Was I a virgin before marriage? Sorry to disappoint, but no, by then I was a proud member of the male chauvinist club. However, and I say this in all sincerity, I do not believe that ever in my life have I consciously disrespected any woman. Perhaps that’s because most of the women I have known have all been a hell of a lot smarter than me and without overtly doing so, have commanded my respect. I have been fortunate to have worked directly for two women. Carolyn “Pat” Patillo was the office manager of Curtis Publishing Company in Boston. As part of the co-op program at Northeastern, I worked at Curtis for several terms. Pat was a victim of cerebral palsy. She walked with two crutches, and it was an effort for her to do so. She was fair, objective, honest, and insightful. Her critiques were always accurate, but it was her sense of fairness that impressed me most. My second female boss is still among the living and therefore, I will not embarrass either of us by mentioning her name. For the first two years of our relationship, it was hell on wheels. To this day, I cannot tell you the exact reason. Had she been brought in as a new vice president? Yep, and I resented the daylights out of it. Was she one of “those” women’s rights advocates who wore her beliefs right up front? Yep, and I’m not certain I thought that was particularly fair. Over the last five years of our relationship, we became a team, and anyone with a critical word to say about her became a lasting enemy of mine. She taught me a great deal, and I will be forever grateful. (STK forever).

Will there be more Harvey Weinstein exposes? I sure as hell hope so. Gentlemen, we can no longer think that we are the be all and end all. Many, many of the women today, as well as the women of yesterday, are so much brighter than we are. It’s up to us to swallow our macho, asshole pride and admit it. I’m pleased to see attorney’s general going after companies and demanding equal pay for women. I was really pleased when GM named Mary Barra as CEO, a promotion that was well earned and well deserved. While we still have a long way to go to smash and throw away that ceiling made of glass, who knows, maybe a Madame President isn’t such a strange dream after all.

Read Full Post »

What a country II

I really must stop asking, “How stupid can he possibly be?” Donald Trump seems to be taking it as a personal challenge…really. His increasing fall from reality must be looking pretty darned good to what few Cabinet members he has as well as a growing number of Congressmen and women. I mean, come on, when you get into a pissing contest with the dictator of North Korea who couldn’t care less about his own people and you bring your country pretty close to the brink of a nuclear war, you really should be checking in with your shrink to see if your elevator is still going all the way to the top. If that’s not bad enough, you forget your obligations to American territorial possessions, sign an executive order that is going to screw millions of poor people, and manage to alienate several of our closest allies by disavowing a nuclear deal that has the approval of those allies. What am I missing? American voters thought they were electing a businessman, not a politician. Donald Trump isn’t a businessman. He’s a billionaire who played at being a businessman. And he certainly has no political intelligence whatsoever. His screws aren’t loose, they’re ready to fall out, and I expect to see Heckel or Jeckyl pop up as the head falls off. At least those two crows knew enough to get out of trouble when it happened.

While Germany, France, Great Britain, and the rest of the civilized world is wondering, “Whatever happened to America,” we’ve become embroiled in such critical questions as, “Will Trump’s admonition of NFL owners result in new standards of behavior during the playing of the national anthem,” and “Who gives a damn about those millions of poor people and their health care anyway.” I think Goldilocks’ next move will be to name Harvey Weinstein as Secretary of Health and Human Services. It just seems logical for a jerk to appoint a jerk-off. It appears to me that Mr. Trump is making waves in every direction but one, that being Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. It’s called keeping Mueller off the front page and out of the television headlines.

Speaking of the NFL, if the owners vote to force all their players and staff to stand during the national anthem, isn’t it a violation of the First Amendment rights of the players. And when a group of those players decide to protest anyway, by taking a knee or whatever, how will the owners punish them. It certainly cannot be by benching them. The alternative would be to dock their pay. I’d like to see them enforce that one without finding themselves involved in a lawsuit. Perhaps Trump will issue another executive order absolving the owners of any responsibility for their actions and put the blame where it so rightly belongs…on Roger Goodell and the NFL. If that makes sense to you, you might wish to apply for one of the unfilled deputy secretary positions that Trump has yet to fill. Speaking of executive orders, Trump was highly critical of Barack Obama back in 2012, tweeting “Why is Barack Obama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?” Trump has signed 50 executive orders to Obama’s 26 at this point in his Presidency. It’s truly amazing how short Trump’s memory is, and I’m certain that were he to be confronted about the executive orders he would maintain that he never, ever, made that tweet. Trump’s lie-ability is truly fascinating; both The New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as Politico and several other sites are keeping track of the lies told by this man since taking office. I stopped counting at somewhere over 400, and that was only from the Times tally.

It seems to me that Donald Trump, in addition to all of his other lovely qualities, is a racist white supremacist. Elaine Chao and Ben Carson are the only minorities in his Cabinet, and his intense, secretive hatred of Obama is coming out as he attempts to destroy anything that smacks of success from the Obama Presidency. First, Trump was one of the first authors of the “birther movement,” which stated that Obama was not a viable candidate for the office. Once Obama was elected, the tweets from the “tower” constantly bombarded America’s first black president. Oh, and among those tweets was the number of times that Obama was ‘caught’ playing golf. In a tweet from October, 2014, dear Donny wrote, “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter” Sorry, Donald, but at this particular point in time, you are a plus seven over former President Obama. Try this one, “Can you believe that, with the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, Donald Trump spent the day playing golf.” See, what goes around, Donald, can come around and bit you right square in the ass!

Read Full Post »

Hey, Donny

America has more than 800 military bases stationed around the world. Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen populate those bases. Yet, we now have a commander-in-chief who is threatening to pull military forces from one of our own American territories and halt the progress that the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) has made purely because he received some criticism for his slow response to a humanitarian crisis when hurricane Maria goddamn near wiped out the island of Puerto Rico. Donny, baby, you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of America you want to help. It doesn’t work that way. You see, that little Oval Office in which you sit when you’re not holding “rally’s” with your 30 percenters or playing golf at one of your clubs, yeah, that’s the place. Okay, remember now? Anyway, from that office, you are in charge of 48 states on the continent of North America, another really, really big state up beside Canada, a state comprised of islands that is damn near 4,900 miles from the mainland, and…now read carefully, Goldilocks…several islands that we call American possessions. In other words, we are responsible for the well-being of those possessions. You probably don’t give a damn about them because they aren’t allowed to vote in presidential elections so, in your particular vernacular, you would probably say, “Fuck ‘em. They can’t vote for me so why should I give a shit about them.” That about right, there, Blubber Gut? Just so you’ll get a bit of a geography lesson, the possessions are called American Samoa – wow, they even use part of our name – Guam, where American casualties numbered nearly 8,000 during WWII, the Northern Mariana Islands, which were also contested during WWII. On Saipan, for example, Americans killed numbered more than 3,000 and over 12,000 wounded. You also should be concerned about the other two possessions…Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

So, you see, Donny, your job is a bit more than worrying about who’s going to get on your case about the legislative agenda that you don’t seem to have, or what ‘fake news’ outlet is calling you out on your lies and other misstatements. You have a great deal more responsibility than even you thought you’d have when you swore an oath to “…protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution” last January. Instead of being concerned about the size of that crowd, or who’s kneeling and who’s standing for the National Anthem at NFL games, you really do have some bigger issues with which you should be concerned, and that includes issues that have to do with these things we call territories.

In all fairness to you, Donald, I don’t believe that any of your predecessors did a great deal to help these island possessions. Hey, Puerto Rico defaulted on $70 billion in bonds, had a really shitty power grid and basically sucked as anything but a tourist destination. They also have a pretty rotten gang problem that means tourists damn well better not venture too far from where they’re staying or else they may be staying for good…in the ground. Here are a couple of thoughts: First, maybe, the resurrection of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands could be your legacy. Can’t you just see it now…in big bright lights…”THE MAN WHO SAVE PUERTO RICO AND THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS…DONALD JOHN TRUMP.” Man, wouldn’t that be a gas? They might even let you build a hotel and a golf course somewhere. With your business savvy, you could turn both places around…and you wouldn’t have to spend a penny of your own money, just get Congress to appropriate some big bucks. Oh, the second thought: Sell the fuckin’ things to some unsuspecting country in the Caribbean; get rid of ‘em. Might have to take a bit of a loss on the sale, but hell, you’ve done that before. You know, decrease the debt of the lower 48, and while you’re at it, how about Hawaii. The Japanese are already the major investors in the islands. You could still keep Pearl Harbor, and it would be a nice whack at Obama since that was where he was raised. I know you’d do anything to give him another shot.

Anyway, Donny, as we used to say on the boats, “It’s time to fish or cut bait.” Either commit to Puerto Rico and other United States possessions and make them great or tell them that you want nothing to do with them and go down as one of the biggest assholes ever to sit at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Just as an aside, I think option one is your best choice because you’re already on your way to achieving the second option. Why add more fuel to the fire?

Read Full Post »

I am convinced that I live in a white-bread-world. Oh, hold your horses, I’m not talking about color or race or any of that crap. I’m talking about a world of naiveté and innocence (that’s what naivete means dummy), a world where my neighbor’s kid is shot by the police because he just happens to be black and is waving a toy gun or knife around. I’m talking about a world where my friend doesn’t wait overnight before calling the police and telling them that her four-year old didn’t make it home from pre-school yesterday. I’m talking about a world where a child’s greatest wish is to have her own bedroom. And yes, I’m talking about a world where fraternity hazing does not include letting pledges drink themselves to death. I just don’t know those worlds. They’re out there, but I don’t know them…and I certainly don’t care to know them…but I should care.

I grew up in a world where I did have my own bedroom…at least until I was twelve and my baby brother came along, but there was no big deal about that. Yeah, we had a bullet come through the living room window one night and lodge in the wall near the TV but we didn’t think a whole helluva lot about it. It wasn’t an every night occurrence. I’m white and so were all the cops in my home town; hell, I didn’t see a black cop until I began attending college at Northeastern University in Boston. Either my mom or dad was still up when I walked in the door one night…well, except for the one night that I slept over after a party…unanticipated good fortune had smiled upon me and I didn’t get home until 6:30 the next morning. Mother was in the kitchen and just looked at me and shook her head…how do mothers know these things anyway? My world, even at Northeastern, consisted of Boston’s South End. We were told that we would not be welcome in the Roxbury community. I just accepted that. “Here’s a place where you don’t go,” period, end of statement, okay, fine by me. Even when I pledged a fraternity, we weren’t forced to down alcohol to the point of getting so shitfaced we might have died. Fact is, I don’t recall any hard drinking during my pledge days. Sure, we got whacked on the ass with the pledge master’s paddle a few times, but nothing excessive. Sure, we had some crazy pledge tasks to perform, but I’ve already told you about those. And sure, we were a bunch of assholes who were supposed to be brotherly, but I never saw it that way.

So, where are these worlds of which I am so ignorant? Who are these people who allow their kids to do things that get them shot by police? Why do people feel the need to carry a weapon in what we call a civilized society, and if it’s so damned civilized, why are so many people either getting shot or shooting others? This. Is. America. It. Is. The. Land. Of. The. Free. This is a place where, if you get off your ass and get a job, work hard at it, go to school – day or night – and work harder and better, then maybe, just maybe, you can avoid getting into a position where you don’t have to carry a gun, don’t have to worry about getting shot by a cop, don’t have to worry about next month’s rent. Or am I dreaming? Am I blowing smoke? Do I even know what the hell I’m talking about? I haven’t lived in that world, those worlds, the worlds where we don’t even know if there will be food for dinner…I just don’t know that or those worlds. I certainly don’t wish to become part of them, but I would like to know more about them. Why? Because maybe if I knew something more about them, I might just get some idea of how to change them, make them “better,” if that’s the right word to use. Are there people out in those worlds who care so little about themselves that they wouldn’t want “better” if it was available to them…even if it meant putting forth a little effort to reach “better?”

We used to have fried baloney and baked beans for dinner a couple of times a week. I don’t recall that we had steak very often. We ate our chickens when they stopped laying. I don’t recall eating a raspberry until after I was married. There were people in my town who sort of looked at my family like we were from across the tracks. That was okay because we just minded our own business and didn’t associate with “them.” When I went to work, part of my salary became part of the household income, and that was just what was expected…no big deal. Based on what I see on television and read in the papers, I guess, in some ways, I must have grown up pretty damned rich, either that or I grew up in a world where things were far less complex or complicated than they are today. Of course, the country was only 152 million strong back in 1950. Today, our nation is nearly 325 million people, and I’m quite certain that is part of the explanation for these different worlds of which I write. Nonetheless, it would be nice if those of us who don’t understand these different worlds could somehow begin to better acknowledge, understand, and perhaps encourage the elimination of a few of them.

Perhaps we could begin to eliminate some of these worlds by using a bit of common sense. If you can’t afford to have another kid, keep your damned legs closed. If you don’t know where your kids are, get off your ass and find out. If the boyfriend gets rough with your baby, throw the bastard out the door. If, if, if, and I know these things won’t be done…just like I know I’ll never know those worlds. But I sure as hell wish they didn’t exist.

Read Full Post »

A day in the life

I really can’t think of one good goddamned thing about growing old. I know, I know, a great many of my friends were denied the privilege of doing so, and I guess you could put that on the plus side of the ledger. Of course, if you believe in God, heaven, and hell, you might well wonder if dying would be such a great thing after all. While I might not have been Adolph Hitler reincarnate, I guarantee you that I was not St Catherine of Sienna, St. Peter, St. Theresa, or any of the other really good people who do deserve a place sitting with the Lord. Of the ten commandments, I’ve broken damn near everyone, and I’m not certain that gets me a pass through the Golden Gates.

No, the only thing one can say about the golden years, as some are wont to call them, is the golden is the color of your pee and in itself that’s not always a good thing. You wake up in the morning and wonder if all of these aches and pains are going to go away with the first sip of coffee or even if you’ll make it to the kitchen to have that first cup. Your feet hit the floor and the diabetic nerve pain sends the soles of your feet into the marvelous, painful, tingling state that seems to override the leg cramps and the stiff neck, etcetera, etcetera. Stumbling into the bathroom, you do manage to relieve yourself in one way, but you still question whether that Senecot that you took last night will do its job soon or wait until you’re far removed from a toilet to take effect. Since you put on your Depends first thing, I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but cleaning up can be a bitch, particularly if you have to drive home to do so…ah, don’t worry about it. Fabreze does wonders in situations such as this.

The heavenly aroma of brewing coffee tells you that someone else has made it to the kitchen before you. (Oh, thank you, God). You rattle and creak, trying to keep your balance all the way down the hall and finally settle in to a seat at the kitchen table…where the pill container, blood pressure cuff, and diabetes blood sugar test kit await…all before coffee…or juice…or V-8 Fusion energy drink. Medical procedures performed, you wolf down the protein bar – which actually tastes good because it simulates Rocky Road. Now it’s time for the umpty-ump pills, washed down with…whatever.

Back down the hall for a silent brushing of the teeth and a gargle of Listerine, it’s now time to get to the computer, check the e-mail, check the Greater Good Network, and move on to the morning papers. Wild fires are still burning in the west, shootings are still taking place all over the country, Trump continues to tweet asinine comments about minor issues while ignoring the real needs of the nation, and…let’s see… oh yeah, the Red Sox bow out early in the ALCS…again.

By now, it’s shortly after 4:30 am. I climb into the 99 Camry, the one with 165+ thousand miles on it (purrs like a kitten…that just got its tail stepped on) and head for the gym, hoping against hope that the young women who opens will decide this is her day to sleep in. No go, however, and the doors open a bit before five. I greet a few friends and climb on the bike, get out the head phones and plug them into the I-pod for 45 minutes of the same goddamn thing every day…Olympic Fanfare, Washington Post March, Marine Corps Hymn, Pomp & Circumstance, and, of course, the 1812 Overture. Actually, it’s a pretty fast pace when it gets going. Eleven miles later, it’s off the bike and onto the mat for some stretching exercises, followed by 250 ab crunches. I stagger to the car and drive home, only to find that Juli is already up, has let the dog out, and is watching the morning news. I flop into the big bear chair, recline it, and watch CBS this morning…I think I’m ready for bed!

If asked to write down 15-minute intervals of the rest of the day, I’d be hard pressed to do so. I can tell you that my back hurts for the entire day, that it’s an effort to walk down the hall to get to the bathroom when nature so demand. I read a great deal, and even find some time to do a bit of writing for the blog, but I really cannot tell you how the day progresses…and that pisses me off. It’s like not having anything to do, but not enjoying not doing it…go ahead, figure that one out. Some days I drive Juli to the market…”You can’t come in because I shop faster than you walk.” Okay. Some days we get to Walmart in order for me to pick up prescriptions and she to do some other shopping. Some days we get out to lunch, but dammit, those are short-term things. What happens in between?

When you have a job, you have specific responsibilities. You know this; I know this. When you retire, you have things that you really want to do, but after almost 20 years into retirement, most of those things have been done. I have the feel that that is when the grim reaper begins to catch up. I’ll be damned if I want that son-of-a-bitch asking me if I’m ready yet, because the answer is that despite the aches and pains, the groans and gnashing of teeth, I’m quite certain there are still a few things I’ve yet to accomplish. Problem is…I can’t remember what the hell they are. Therefore, I will continue to piss and moan about the agonies of growing old while I continue to write nasty things about nasty people, good things about good people, go to the gym regularly, help with the garden and marvel at its wonders, read the books I wish and…hey, wait a minute, what am I saying? I may ache and I may be old, but life is pretty damned great when I pause to think about it. WOW, what a joy it is to be allowed to grow old.

Read Full Post »

I wonder

Anyone who has ever driven a car probably knows two main routes in the United States, particularly if they happen to live to the east of the Mississippi. The first is US Route 66. It’s outdated now because of the superhighways, but historically, well, it has a great deal of history. I drove parts of it back “in the day” when the superhighways were still just a dream. Motels, restaurants, big gas stations, and all sorts of touristy shops dotted that old route, but if you needed to get from point A to point B going west, it was a great road. The other route that most “easterners” know is US Route 1. It starts in Maine and goes all the way down to the Florida Keys. Hell, for all I know, maybe someday it will extend all the way to Cuba via a 90-mile bridge. Like US Route 66, US Route 1 has been replaced by US Route 95, and that will probably be replaced by some other superhighway Anyway, US Route 1 is the road I want to talk about.

The gym that I go to early in the morning is located on Route 1…in a shopping mall…across from one of what we call a “big box store,” in another shopping mall. Maybe that’s why some of these old routes have been bypassed…the new super-duper highways don’t have malls and such, just rest stops that host restaurants and gas fill up stations; oh, and stops for truckers. Well, anyway, I’m getting a little bit off base here, so let me get back to my original point. Here is US Route 1, passing right by the mall where the gym is located, and here I am, generally getting there around 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes I’ll break out the Kindle and begin reading one or another of the more than a hundred books I have on that device, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll sit with the driver’s side window rolled down and watch the cars and trucks rolling by on US Route 1.

A couple of days after the recent shooting in Las Vegas, I was sitting in the parking lot, thinking about all those people who just wanted to hear some country music, just wanted to enjoy themselves, and just, instead, got killed. It’s really difficult to process something like that because there’s no way to pass it off and say, “Well, that’s life,” “Shit happens,” or any of those stupid clichés. And then that stupid bastard has the audacity to take his own life and deprive the world of knowing what the hell was going through his mind. I want to know what he was thinking. However, if he hadn’t offed himself, he probably wouldn’t have been doing the killing in the first place. But, I want to know why, but I’ll never know…and that really pisses me off. So, I sit in my car, with the window down because it’s a warmish morning, and I watch the cars and trucks go by, and I think “Are any of you crazy enough to pull some shit like that?” “Are you driving along, hating the world and yourself so much that you would even consider stockpiling weapons for more than ten years, just so you could kill a group of strangers?” Why would anyone do that. How could someone, anyone, harbor that much hatred in themselves that they could do such a horrific thing.

So, I sit in the car and I ponder, but I also ponder where some of those trucks are heading and what they’re carrying, and when they’ll reach their destination. I wonder about the people in the cars on US Route 1 who are heading to or from work at 4:30 in the morning. What are they thinking? I’m pretty darned certain that they aren’t thinking of killing people, at least I hope they’re not thinking of that. It’s kind of crazy the things that I think about as I sit in that parking lot at 4:30 in the morning. One thing I don’t think about is my workout. Heck, that’s become such an established routine that it’s like I’m on autopilot. I know, I know, you’re supposed to change your workout regularly, and I guess I do that, but I really prefer to think about those people in their cars and in those big trailer trucks, and I like to wonder what they are thinking about.

Who knows, maybe one of those drivers looks over at the parking lot and sees this single car with a driver whose arm is resting on the open window, and they ask themselves, “I wonder who that damned fool is and what he’s thinking about this morning?”
Interesting, eh?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »