Closing Argument

As a gay man of a certain age who has lived far, far longer than I thought I would in the 1980s, here is what I most definitely know –

CHANGE. TAKES. TIME.

And that is frustrating, maddening and even infuriating. 

But here’s what I also most definitely know –

CHANGE.  HAPPENS.

And often, it’s when you least expect it.

OK yes, but stick with me!

Much like volcanic eruptions, events in your life or in the world reach a tipping point over time and suddenly, one day, everything’s different.

Except, it’s not suddenly and it didn’t come out of nowhere.  It took time and often it took energy, whether it be from the environment or through the work of many, many people.

I’m not a religious guy, but I like what Buddhists believe:

NOTHING IS PERMANENT.

Except maybe these…. and Cher

You have to participate and fight for what you want.  You have to expend energy to hold on to it.  And even if you do all of the above, circumstances will inevitably change and things WILL be different.

And if you don’t like what they’ve changed you will inevitably need to engage once again and hope to achieve something different, and hopefully better than what your new status quo is. 

And then, sometime after that, the cycle WILL start again.

That IS the way of the world as I’ve seen it.  And I’ve seen, well, A LOT.

Don’t go looking in my attic

All this is to say:

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good, honest country where we work TOWARDS equality for all you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good honest country that opens its arms to the world and ENGAGES for the betterment of humanity you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

If you want to live in a place that ASPIRES to be a good honest country that DOESN’T BLAME everyone and everything else for its problems you will VOTE for JOE BIDEN.

Nothin’ spooky about this

More specifically:

If you want to live in a place that doesn’t put children in cages, with a leader that doesn’t tell tens of thousands of lies a year, many of which have cost the lives of a quarter of a million of its citizens in 8 months with no end in sight, and under an executive branch that will work for the betterment of ALL its people rather than solely the select minority who voted them into power, you will VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN.

…. and he’s outta here. #slingshotfordemocracy

These are just a few arguments off the top of my head.  

But what it truly comes down to is:

How willing are you to ENGAGE for what you TRULY want? 

How willing are you to LEAVE CYNICISM BEHIND for ONE DAY of this year and RISK being disappointed once again in exchange for the EXHILARATION OF TRIUMPH?  (Note: And yes, relief).

How willing are you to FIGHT even though you’re DEAD TIRED and, truly, DON’T REALLY GIVE A SH-T anymore.

I get it.  I’m burnt out, too.  I’m out of jokes.  I’m even bereft of snide retorts.

Well, mostly.

Yeah, OK Chairy. That well shall never run dry.

The only way to achieve what you want, and DARE to ACT on a DREAM, is to RISK failure.  And, at the risk of an en masse eye roll:

You can’t achieve a WANT, or most especially a DREAM, if you don’t have one.

In the last four years, is there anyone that is reading this who hasn’t dreamt of waking up and, for ONE FULL DAY, NOT HEARING THE VOICE of Donald J. Trump?

Even Randy Rainbow needs a break #help

That might be the least of what you REALLY WANT, but perhaps that’s all you can muster at this point.  In which case, you must:

VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN.

Is this the best closing argument?  Maybe not.  

But I suspect it’s the one thing the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of us Americans have in common. 

And what will unite us once again come Election Day. 

And beyond.

Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson – “The Love”

My Other Half

This is not a reflection on marriage or relationships.  It’s far more self-centered than that.

The still miraculously ageless Paul Rudd, our Dorian Gray of the 21st century, stars in a new Netflix series called Living with Yourself.  In it he plays a man in seemingly middle-aged malaise (Note:  Because really, it’s Paul Rudd).

There is actually a “Which Paul Rudd is Older” Quiz and it’s SO hard. Click here to take it and fail miserably like me #HEISAVAMPIRE

Life has turned against him and it’s mostly not his fault, more a circumstance of battle scars and, well, age if you don’t count his still voluminous hairline and the suppleness of his skin.

This man is 50 years old #dealwiththeDevil

In any event, after a sad public semi-meltdown at the office, his newly reenergized work friend takes pity on him and gives him a card with the key to his secret of rejuvenation.   What it turns out to be is the number of a slightly seedy storefront in a strip mall where, for a small pile of money, you will become the BEST of you.

Or, put more succinctly, a CLONE of you; the rested, hottest, most well adjusted version of yourself, the best of yourself and without having to endure painful psychotherapy or tedious self-help courses.

You will wake up and walk out as strong and as vibrant and as in demand as, say, football quarterback Tom Brady.  Because, as the series more than implies, that is how Tom Brady manages it.

Ugh, forget it

Though since nothing is that easy in our actual reality these days AND because all good TV shows and movies need some conflict, it’s not that easy.  Rather than killing off the world-weary version of Paul Rudd, as this storefront usually does (Note:  Ha, imagine that they thought they could even nick Paul!) with no one the wiser, things go awry.

The real, down-in-the-mouth Paul Rudd somehow manages to live (Note:  Was there ever a doubt?), emerging through dirt and plastic wrap from sex feet under clad only a diaper, where he then walks six hours home to his nice house and nice wife and angrily confronts…HIS OTHER HALF.

These pics are 11 years apart… I just can’t get over it

No, it’s not his wife who he encounters when he enters back into the world that was once, more sadly, his own.  What he sees instead is the best version of him; someone that he instantly recognizes physically but for all intents and purposes is now a psychological stranger.  Right before his eyes is his truly OPTIMUM self.  The can-do guy without the bumps and dings and self-sabotaging either life or he saddled himself with.

It’s infuriating and yet strangely comforting.  It makes him sad and resentful and, yet, gives him a sliver of hope.

In short, it allows him and us to look in a three dimensional mirror and try to somehow rectify what it means to be the best AND most world-weary versions of each of us in any given moment, mindful that every option is always available and every alternative has its perks and minuses.

We agree, Keanu.

This gets you to thinking.

If even ageless Paul Rudd is world-weary and tired and angry and bitter what hope is there for me?

But if there is indeed an age defying, bouncier version of the Paul Rudd that we all know and love hiding from even Mr. Rudd himself, perhaps each of us suffers from the very same malady?

Maybe there is a better version of yourself lurking somewhere deep inside.  This would be a person less jaded and certainly less fed up.  This would be a guy (or a gal, obviously) able to take a different, more positive road to, well, everything, and make his or her choices accordingly.  This could be someone WE’D envy and, more positively, even aspire to be if we weren’t already them.

Imagine if we had access to that?

My better version would look like Matt Bomer, right? #please

Who would Donald Trump be?  Is there a better version?  What would Vladimir Putin do?  Or maybe there are even worse choices and what we are now experiencing is actually his best self?

Or vice-versa.

Again, it gets you thinking.   Though that can be a perilous course depending on which version of yourself you are.

Jekyll or Hyde?

Difficult though it might be to accept that we are not set in stone, condemned to act in a certain way given our all of our specific life experiences up to that very point in time, it is worth considering.

What would it be like it be like if my mind and body could get serviced by the best human garage in town and emerge as a nearly refurbished version?  Not only could I be freshly painted and waxed on the exterior (Note:  Because, please, that’s the first thing you notice, no matter how much psychotherapy you’ve had or not had) your outlook could be a sharpened, shiny and certainly more electrifying version of that very same DNA.

We call that Fonda-ing

This does not mean you’d be anyone else but you.  It only allows you to be the very best of who YOU are and choose what actions YOU take accordingly in any given situation.

It also allows for a more limber point of view from which to make these choices.  Not necessarily younger, since we all must choose unwisely when we’re young, but simply less cynical and jaded.

It gets you to thinking again, and again, and again.

What are the possibilities contained within all of our inner operating systems?

Fiona Apple – “Better Version of Me”