Friday, April 24, 2020

Day 19,432 of the lockdown: Kidding, it only feels that way

Boulder, Colorado

     My mother and I talk on the phone every day. It seems the least I can do. Boulder, Colorado, which offered so much when my parents retired there, geez, more than 30 years ago, isn’t quite the jubilee it once was. Now in their mid-80s, they aren’t charging up the trail to Wonderland Lake anymore.
     It can be a frustrating conversation. Particularly when my mother is planning to go to the store. “Ma!” I’ll say. “Don’t risk your life for coconut shrimp!” Or, when that doesn’t work, “Ma! You’re going to die alone, surrounded by strangers in masks.”
     My father is sometimes watching television when I phone — CNN, thank God, not Fox — and my mother will mention something on the screen, the latest aftershock from our president’s daily twirl in the limelight, like some demented ballerina on the music box in an insecure girl’s nightmare.
     “Don’t watch TV news, Mom,” I’ll say. “I never do.”
     That’s true. Primarily because I read four newspapers and follow events online, so anything on TV is repetitive. Even big breaking stories — the last time I fled to TV news was when Notre Dame burned. After 10 minutes of time-filling and tap-dancing, watching the same static shot, I bailed. What’s the point? As for the president’s daily 5 p.m. nervous breakdown, “Fortunate the person,” Soren Kierkegaard writes in his journal, “who did not need to travel to hell in order to see what the devil looks like.”
     People who do make that journey, the daily descent, feel obligated to react. This has gone on years, and I’m sorry, but by now those doing so seem merely slow on the uptake. “What? You’re saying that the president is lying?!? Oh, my gosh, that’s awful! When did he start doing that?
     And yet. Sometimes, you must join in. State the obvious. For The Record. Yes, there is something OCD about keeping track of the president’s lies. Maybe it’s like baseball; to ignore even one wild pitch is to lose the fabric of the game. To abandon history. I understand that. Was that a strike or a ball? Hard to determine the next day. You have to pay attention now. Though I bet journalists wish they had decided to keep track of his true statements — a much shorter list.
     To the matter at hand.
     On Monday, he — no need to speak the name, we all know who I'm talking about — tweeted this:
     “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens. I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

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  1. Whatever you do, don't tell Donald Trump about that new invention by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek just a couple hundred years ago, demonstrating that we are not only surrounded by invisible enemies, but inundated with them.


  2. A friend once suggested that I might have a chance of making it through Ulysses if I read the Dubliners first. As a kind of warm up I guess. Looks like I have the time now.

  3. I liked the quote from that gloomy Dane Kierkegaard. It will go into my mish mash book.
    He who is better not named (like Voldemort) reading badly from his self-praising script is clearly unwatchable, but I find the daily briefing by Governor Pritzker and his medical sidekick Dr. Engaze, informative. They are obviously deep into the subject matter and know how to put it across.


    1. Agree about Pritzker (and Lightfoot). Very first time there has been capable and compassionate city and state leadership in my lifetime. And I'm old.

  4. Originally, I muted the sound when Dolt 45 appeared on my TV screen. Eventually, that wasn't enough, and I needed to snatch up the remote and change channels. I cannot stand the sight of that hideous face. So much has already happened this spring that the immigration order became merely another blip on the Radar Screen From Hell.

    Now Dr. Orange Julius is suggesting we inject bleach...BLEACH!... in order to cure the virus. Real doctors have said that's a common method for suicides. Four more years of this nightmare will make that plan start to sound like a good idea. Every passing day just turns up the insanity level another notch. You couldn't make this shit up.

  5. Based on his inanity's comments that we should drink bleach & Lysol, I suppose we should all remember Mencken's prescient quote:

    H. L. Mencken, wrote the following in July 1920: "As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron."

  6. You're right, Neil. Everyone has already forgotten about the immigration thing, because now we're arguing over whether he did or did not advise us to inject ourselves with bleach.

    It never ends with this guy.

  7. I'm jealous. An advanced copy of Jeanne Gang's book. That should be good. Just take it light on the Lysol and Bleach.

  8. Maybe by the time the building goes up some of us will be able to afford a unit as the housing market crashes. There is a silver lining! But truly, Vista Tower does look like a gorgeous and exciting addition to our lakefront skyline. As far as the cartoon character some are calling our president, I find it devastating that we do not have a real leader at the helm of our GREAT America today. It is making this crisis much harder to bear.


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