Climbing That Hill

After a fantastic week of Joe, Kamala and Amanda Gorman, a 22 year-old young woman who made me love poetry once again for the first time since my early twenties, it started to happen.

I began falling into the…

ABYSS.

to the sunken place I go

Strange the way it creeps up on you.  And even stranger how, once you get to be a certain age and have had enough therapy, you know how to begin to creep out.

What brought me careening down there after this cataclysmic week of exciting firsts?

  • L.A. house arrest to avoid a virus
  • Vaccine searching fatigue
  • Zoom communication (meetings, teaching, and even socializing)
  • Screen watching fatigue (what was once fun and decadent now feels dronish and labored no matter how much YOU liked it and swear I MUST see it).
  • Fascism and other tales percolating from the dark side of nowhere
The true spirit of this week #onlyBerniememeIwillshare

Of course, this is merely a partial list.  Feel free to add on and subtract for yourself as you see fit.

I was sort of embarrassed to write this because of the privilege I enjoy.  White, employed (Note: Well, for now, nothing is permanent), happily married, friends, house, food, shelter and pasta guilt-free more nights than I can count because, more than anything else, THAT’S allowed these days).

Still, living through these times feels like dancing on the head of a pin too often than not.  At any point you can slip and impale yourself.  Perhaps not too badly but just enough that a small puncture slowly turns into a crack, and then a wound, which gets larger and larger and then suddenly emerges as a…gaping hole

Nothing to see here… totally normal day

And, you know, that can’t be good.  Imagine what awaits you when you’re fully sucked down inside.

Um, no….THAT’S not what I mean.

Seriously.

Living in Los Angeles, California has had so many benefits but the most recent downside is navigating at the epicenter of U.S. Covid-19.  We’re averaging well over 10,000 new cases daily and more than one million overall. 

Our home state of California has over 3.4. million cases thus far, the most of any state in the country.  When you consider there are just shy of 25 million people infected in the entire U.S. that means we account for almost 20% of cases.

We’re #1! We’re #1! #uhoh

And yet, we have far less vaccines available than other states. A friend in Florida told me it was easy peasy to register for your shot.  Yet the first day you could register in L.A. county, the site crashed, appointments were cancelled and many of us (Note: ME) spent hours trying to book vaccinations at sketchy clinics that wanted ALL your insurance info online and STILL didn’t manage to offer a definite spot for both shots.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Trump administration had it in for California and gave Florida a larger part of our vaccines just cause HE lives there.

But I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Yet.

Searches Etsy for fashionable tin foil hats

Nevertheless, it did give me a lesson on how others might have begun to succumb. 

This, of course, was countered by watching a kind and decent man being sworn into the presidency pledging that his first priority would be fixing the CoVid mess by listening to SCIENCE and not poll numbers.

But what was even more encouraging has been his appointment of seemingly EVERY top expert in EVERY field of government to do that and much more AND to, in turn, save the Republic.

(Note: It also didn’t hurt that not ONE of them was related to him by either blood OR marriage).

Like magic… BUT REAL!

Call me crazy (and many have) but I found this to be oddly encouraging.  That and watching the unmuzzled Dr. Anthony Fauci spreading honesty on TV once again, particularly about all things CoVid.  He even got down in the weeds and reassured crazies like me that there is NO real difference between the Pfizer and Moderna shot and that the only reason he took the Moderna one was that it happened to be the one available the day he had his vaccination at the National Institute of Health.  But that he would have done either.

Speaking of straight shooters, AND decency, tell your Fox News viewing relatives there is neither to be found there.  Sean Hannity this week had a banner onscreen headline categorizing Joe Biden’s first week as president  “DISASTROUS.”  Not sure if this was due to the one million shots for the first 100 day pledge, which was already being met after several days in office, or the US reentering both the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization.

My charitable way of saying “you are a moron”

Still, they did surface with two compelling Biden scandals.  Our new president has the temerity to wear a Rolex watch AND owns and exercises on a Peleton bike.

Oh, the no golden toilet of it all!  Oh, the shame!!

The President EXERCISES?!

Sure, I’m being snide but I’ve found that’s one way to brighten up my world and get by.  The other is to take in the fact that after four years DECENCY might actually be back in vogue. 

How do I know? 

Well, when Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was walking down Constitution Avenue with his wife, VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS OF CALIFORNIA, he made international news just for briefly stopping and doubling back where they had previously been in order to retrieve the earring that had just fallen out of her ear.

So shocking was this act of valor in these days, I heard one journalist this week actually say on air, where do you make copies of a guy like that?

Get yourself a man that would wear your name on a t-shirt! #weloveDougie

Yes, that’s how starved we’ve been and how low the decency bar is.  Which means imagining how high we might get back to during the next four years is indeed something to live on for and celebrate no matter how long it takes to get us all immunized so we can return to hugging (and more) in person again.

Though if all that doesn’t do it for you, reveling in the words and images of our young poet laureate on Inauguration Day was a real, um…shot in the arm for my psyche, not to mention a reliable booster on each awful day since.  And that was even AFTER listening to Gaga sing the National Anthem with a giant Dove on her chest.

It was the gold mic choreography that really got me

I mean, if Amanda Gormans exist in the world – a young person with that much talent, grace and theatrical style – who also overcame a speech impediment – to live perform a POEM(!) she wrote for the ages to the world on Inauguration Day –  how bad are things, really? 

Especially when it leaves us with this life lesson:

..We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

We will rise from the windswept northeast

Where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

We will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it

Lady Gaga – “The Star Spangled Banner”

Check out the Chair’s newest project, Pod From a Chair , now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

A Maskless Proposal

The following may or may not be inspired by a renowned yet these days too seldom read 1729 essay, A Modest Proposal, by the late, great Dr. Jonathon Swift.

Thanksgiving 2020 is upon us and even the most virtuous in American society would have to admit this year has been… memorable.

Pretty much sums it up

The way I see it, we are standing at a precipice.  We can continue on as we have, squibbling and squabbling for the last gasps of healthy air, hair dye, and toilet tissue at our local markets as the weather turns cruel and we are forced inside.

Or we can take matters into our own hands.

We Americans have never been ones to back away from a fight to be EXACTLY who we are and get WHAT we want, WHEN we want it by challenging WHOMEVER we want in order to defend our freedoms to do so.

Through the generations this has meant standing up for our rights, taking to the streets and, well, even bearing arms if necessary in order to defend our TRUTHS that we PERSONALLY hold SELF-EVIDENT, no matter what anyone else says.

We’ll take small victories whenever we can #2020

It is the American way.  It has thus always been and always will be.

In the 1800s a number of us grabbed our whips, chains and gunpowder, holding firm to the grounds of our towns in order to preserve one of the then enduring traditions upon which our country was founded – SLAVERY. 

A very dedicated, very bold, very self-proclaimed group of PATRIOTS had the courage to put their muskets where their mouths were and fight to the death in order preserve their inalienable rights to make a living and feed their families on the backs of anyone deemed 3/5 human.

They dedicated their lives so their future generations could continue to live free and thus pass down whatever property, human or otherwise, they had managed to support, cultivate and grow through the years so their namesakes could continue to live well on what their ancestors had both literally and figuratively wrought.

Where are you going with this Chairy? #keepreading

This same inborn national verve translated to the early 1900s when any number of American men, and even women, did their damnedest in order to ensure that females could NEVER have the right to vote.  The patriarchy was being challenged and, though arguments were vociferous, those patriots upheld this tradition for almost 150 years from the day on which our country was founded.

No matter how you slice it, that’s quite a long winning-streak and just goes to show what can happen in these United States when one side believes in the rightness of their position on an issue and in both the inferiority and made up fake logic coming from the other side.

I can’t look!

Using this line of thought, Americans have continued to stand up for all kinds of rights, particularly from the 1960s on. 

Speaking of which, who could forget the crusaders who, with the support of law enforcement, took to their local bridge in order to beat back the invasion of those who didn’t sport their same pigment at THEIR neighborhood lunch counters, schools or local watering hole?

That is not to negate those who several decades later stormed the Capitol to ensure only members of the same sex could legally marry.   Having years before lost the fight to deprive people of different pigments of that right, those naysayers still managed to hold the line with solely traditional opposite-sex marriage for more than two centuries.

Valid

Particularly impressive was their ability to do so through a murderous, worldwide pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s that they cleverly employed to prove their point of the moral unworthiness of many of those new potential same-sex spouses to respectably enter into our country’s version of legally enshrined, wholly American wedlock.

It is then, that now, in the midst of yet another, albeit different global pandemic, a new but no less patriotic group of Americans are standing up in much the same tradition of those that came before them.

Let them hence be known as THE MASKLESS.

Also these idiots #COVERYOURNOSE

This is not their official title but for clarity’s sake it embodies the right for which they fight.  This fearless group among us CHOOSE to fight the new (though now seemingly old) 2020 virus that has murdered more than 1.4 million worldwide, almost 20% of them American, armed only with good, old-fashioned American GRIT.

Eschewing prevailing societal and medical sentiment and guidelines on public health, the latter of which they consider as freedom suppressing, fake and phony as any expert testimony in our recent history, the MASKLESS have proclaimed to any of us that will listen that this Thanksgiving they are taking to the streets, and the airports, and their houses of worship and any other local establishment or relatives’ home that is open to them.

They will do so in as LARGE NUMBERS as THEY choose because enshrined in our Constitution since the beginning of our time has been their RIGHT to assembly.

Maybe more my speed

They will do so because they say to NOT do so, will mean the DESTRUCTION of the ECONOMY they and their loved ones have built.   Its destruction would mean an equally awful END to all of us, death by a thousand cuts to their businesses, savings and 401Ks, instead of death by some silly, overblown medical condition. 

If it means sacrificing the oldest or sickest of the herd, so be it.  Those citizens should be proud to go down as human collateral damage in order for our society to live on and thrive as it always has.

Dowager energy in 2020

Given the rampant and ongoing polarization in these supposedly United States, and in the spirit of American grit and self-determination, the street would seem a good place to play out this issue that divides, though in their view clearly does NOT plague us, this holiday season.

We certainly don’t want to silence the Maskless, that would be un-American.  But nor do we want to discount the overwhelming majority opinion of professional medical advice and adhere to minority, fringe theory in order to get through god knows what else remains for the rest of this year.

I guess it’s good to be prepared

That would be like applying leeches to a bad bruise you received at a 21st century freedom march that is now suddenly festering with infection.

Therefore, rather than endure years of continued argument and litigation where both sides will get heard but no one will really listen, an immediate 21st century compromise is very much in order. 

And it is this:

Those who want to shelter in place in single, twos or fours during this holiday season should immediately do so and remain SILENT.  Eat turkeys or whatever else you choose with or without masks – in the privacy of your own homes.

Will do!

Of course, it’s unlikely the latter could happen under this plan.

Because given their history and acknowledging their predilection towards street fighting for absolute freedom at the absolute cost of anything that inconveniences their traditional ways of life as THEY know it, the Maskless shall henceforth be awarded their own designated section in every suburb, city and Town Square across the country for public and private assembly.

These areas will be walled off and offer unlimited free food, shelter and even lavish restrooms, during the Thanksgiving and, eventually Christmas 2020 Holidays.  There will be NO MASKS, NO SOCIAL DISTANCING and NO CHARGE for anything.  In fact, those outside the walls will shoulder the ENTIRE cost to keep THEM INSIDE and among themselves in a generous reach of across-the-aisle patriotism.

Ca Ching

There will be a limited but sufficient medical staff comprised of those health professionals who adhere to the same way of thinking as the Maskless.  And these people will have access to every medical treatment available to the rest of us WITH THE NOTABLE EXCEPTION OF ALL MEDICINES AND/OR EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO TREAT COVID-19.

These treatments will remain outside, on the other side of the wall, where the rest of the citizenry now live in constant, though perhaps irrational, fear supplies will run out in the coming winter months. 

Since the Maskless have NO such FEARS, or believe the virus causes nothing more than benign or medium range flu with the usual and very treatable symptoms that can concurrently be resolved with the said medicines available to them, this decision should not be controversial. 

Oh Chairy #nailedit

Thus, rather than be made to eat their words, the Maskless can instead eat their yams, their string beans and their sweet potato casseroles, in addition to their turkeys.  The can do so in peace, without the ranting and ravings from friends, relatives and other unknown or perhaps even illegal American citizens seeking to limit their rights.

In turn, those friends, relatives and unknown/illegal citizens, will  concurrently and finally be able to relax for their remaining  and likely dreaded weeks of 2020.  Crazy, hateful and freedom-hating as THEY… okay WE  – okay I –  might be – we will all also finally feel SAFE and SANE or the first time in almost, well, FOUR YEARS.

Keep Calm and Joe/Kamala on

And hopeful that the Maskless that are no longer among us will finally EAT THEMSELVES alive with the unlimited sides of ALL of the freedoms they feel they so richly deserve.

It’s their right and their choice.  Right???

The All-American Rejects – “Gives You Hell”