Who reads? Who legislates? Who can lead anymore? Our government shutdown and looming debt ceiling crisis is a bit demoralizing for someone who spent a couple valuable years of his youth studying public policy. Ba-HAA! Sort of seemed made-up back then.
Now the facade is broken: “Thank you for calling the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies Admissions Office. If you aspire to advise the clowns in Washington, press 1. If you aspire to be one of the clowns in the Washington, press 2.” I had some hope coming out of the Dark Years — the early 2000s when America started wars for no reason and held prisoners without charges or trial and careened around the highways in super-sized SUVs. Things are a bit brighter on some of those fronts: we are thinking seriously before jumping into new military actions. Sustained high gas prices are finally making MPG a selling point on cars. We are still, unfortunately, holding prisoners for no stated purpose in Guantanamo, right? Just googled that to see what’s going on there: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/23/us-military-willnolongerissuedailyhungerstrikeupdates.html
So the hunger strikes may have succeeded in getting Guantanamo back on the map and Obama will renew his efforts to close the detainment camp? In the meantime we’re nasally force-feeding the hunger strikers to keep them alive. Yuck. As in “Yuck, America. Try to remember what you stand for.” The “means justify the ends” has become “the meanies justify their ends and anyone else’s ends who get in the way.” Ok, that one needs work. I could be delusional.
This is possible with old age approaching. I’ve been sending out feelers for my 40th birthday extravaganza in December. I sent an email before I remembered few people read anymore. The few replies I did get asked if I had emailed them by mistake. I then created a facebook event only to see the event page taken down by government action. Apparently China was not amused at my naming the event “The People’s Republic of China” and my first post with a sponsorship request. I did get 1 million people saying they were going and 2.5 million “Maybes.”
The kids are doing well in the same school now right down the street. Karen helped organize the recent Walk to School Day, and her big coup was to get the Sharon Eagle — the high school team mascot — to join the walk. I wish I could have seen that, and then blind-side tackled the eagle halfway thru the walk. No, we’re a peace-loving community here in the heart of Southeastern Mass. But it’s great to have the kids at the same school, and no more trips to a separate daycare. Apparently Isaac has a whole new flock of girlfriends, to the extent that he sits at the girls’ table at lunchtime. I’m going to attribute this to his having an older sister and his comparative maturity perhaps? Let’s just say he’s very well rounded on the gender norm front… he loves cars and dinosaurs, but also My Little Pony. He’s convinced himself that Rainbow Dash is a boy. Syd tries to correct him on this but I always try to mouth “Let it go” to Syd. She does because that means they can watch the same show.
Yep, the chaos is always simmering at home. I joke at work about being afraid to go home, but lately I’ve been passing up even the occasional after work gathering to get home. Part of the change is that I’m convinced the new crop of research assistants at my company are still high school students. A couple of them went speed-walk racing by my office door the other day as a joke, and rather than find that funny my first reaction was to shake my fist. Pretty soon I’ll be dressing up in a monster outfit and getting caught red-handed by Scooby Doo. A dated reference, I know.
Just my 19th nervous breakdown, as the Stones would say, before turning 40. I’m sure once my body starts to break down I’ll take it a lot better. BAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Ok, let’s pretend none of this is happening. Or we know it is, but let’s think, “Wow, if that was really me and that was really happening to me, I’d be upset.” This is the core of my new self-help book, The Detached Self. Picture some very heavy-handed cover art with a body — one’s own body, somehow — being held at arm’s length. In today’s world of self-medicating herdlings, this thing is going to fly off the shelves. That will be the promotional one-line review on the back jacket. People will glance right past that and buy it anyway, having already internalized the book’s message. “Wow, if that was referring to me, I’d be insulted.”
I may be rambling into the void here. I know I am. Unless you’ve read this far, in which case this was an open letter to you. How are you doing? It’s been ages… write me some time. Anyway, happy fall, and hope the government gets back on track. Maybe they can dress up like adults for Halloween and get everyone back to work. Until next time…