All posts by ryk

In The Time Of Trumpanzees I Was A Monkey

We are into our second week of life in Amurka with a reality teevee preznit, and surprising absolutely no one, our new government has turned out to be a shit-show. Our new preznit has zero knowledge of how to run a government, and zero interest in learning. Like the campaign before it, his administration will be based on bombast and spite.

And it will be largely fact free. Our new preznit has powers that are truly Orwellian. He has rendered objective reality malleable. Truth is meaningless if enough people are willing to believe the “alternative facts” and dismiss empirical evidence as fake news. Sadly, there are a lot of believers. If there are as many as he thinks there are, this country is in deep shit, because when all that matters is belief, there is no difference between government and a cult.

But I’m an optimist at heart. I’ve got my own beliefs I guess. I believe sooner rather than later, most Amurkins will see this man for the petulant 70-year-old child that he is. Vastly unqualified, unfit for the office, and so insecure that he is still whining about an election that he won and claiming his dick inauguration crowd was bigger than Michelle’s husband’s was.

The people who elected this man might be gullible enough to believe his bullshit about bringing all the good-paying manufacturing jobs back while they continue to spend most of their disposable income buying cheap Chinese crap from Wal-Mart, but they can’t ignore a government as off-the-rails as this one. They aren’t insane. I’m pretty sure…

Erin go Bragh

Like most Americans I am worried about what might be awaiting us when the reality teevee administration takes over our government. Even the Republicans know it is going to be a train wreck, they just don’t care, as long as they get a tax cut and a chance to destroy the social safety net.

But some time around the new year I realized the absolute worst-case scenario might play out a few months from now if when the reality teevee preznit gets chased out of office for corruption. (Or quits in a fit of pique because someone said something mean about him on Twitter.) That would make Mike Pence preznit. Mike Pence the evangelical asshole. We could end up living in a country where atheism is illegal. (I know it sounds far-fetched, but nobody thought we would elect a narcissistic, reality teevee con man preznit a few months ago either.)

Anyway, I thought it might be prudent to start scouting around for a country to seek refugee status in if worse comes to worst. The first candidate I thought of is a certain Emerald Isle in the north Atlantic that I have always heard good things about. Last week I set out to see if it might be a good fit.

So as not to draw attention to myself, I parachuted into the ocean a few miles west of the island and swam ashore. This turned out to be a more difficult task than I first imagined, as I found my way blocked by the Cliffs of Moher. Here are a couple of photos I later took from the landward side.

As you can see, the cliffs are pretty much impassable without climbing gear, and since I had left mine in my other wet suit, I was forced to swim a few miles northward where I was finally able to make landfall. But the “land” I first set foot upon had a truly bizarre and eerie look. Check it.

I still don’t know what to think of that, but as I made my way inland the landscape transitioned to verdant peat bogs, with fat sheep and cattle tromping about in the mud. I continued eastward to the other side of the island, and took lodging in a city called Dublin. The hotel was very dated, but pretty well maintained, and not offensive to look upon.

I spent a few days sightseeing and getting a feel for the place, enjoying the moderate climate, eating massive chunks of fried cod and drinking a refreshing local beverage known as “Guinness.” All in all, I found it to be a very pleasant country. The natives are friendly, and they speak a language that sounds a great deal like English, if you listen very carefully. The biggest problem I ran into was the local currency — something called “your ohs” — doesn’t fit properly in an American wallet.

Warren

I haven’t posted since the election, but not because I am still in shock that we elected a reality teevee star preznit. I am still in shock, but that is not why I haven’t been posting. Nor is the fact that I have been busy fortifying the Abandon Mythology Command Bunker in preparation for the coming shit storm remodeling my basement. Or that I am battling my annual winter-long cough due to cold.

No, the reason I haven’t been posting is I have been feeling down. Way down. More than just low-light, winter solstice SAD. A couple of days before the election, one of my oldest friends committed suicide, and it really set my mind reeling. I haven’t slept well since. Many nights I wake for my 2 AM piss break and cannot return to sleep because my brain comes alive with memories.

I knew Warren since high school, so almost 40 years. For 15 of those years he was married to my sister. Back in the day, when we were brothers-in-law, Warren and I spent a lot of time together, both working and playing. But honestly, when you are young and strong, hard work with a good friend is almost more fun than play.

We would roof a house over a weekend for side money, or pull the motor of a car on a Friday night, knowing that motor had to be rebuilt and back in the car, running, by Monday morning, so someone could get to work and not get fired. We spent untold hours in his garage arguing the merits of Ford versus Chevy, irrespective of whose old shitter we were currently wrenching on.

Those times didn’t seem all that important or significant when they were happening. Just a couple of guys in their 20s figuring life out, sharing the struggle. But it is mostly those memories that come back to me now as I lie sleepless watching the night drain away on my bedside clock. It is only in hindsight that I recognize how foundational those memories are to the man I later became, to the man I am now.

Warren and I drifted apart after he and my sister split. We still saw each other a few times a year, but we weren’t close like we had been. I was busy raising a family and he was busy doing what many middle-aged men do when their marriage blows up, so our lives didn’t overlap that much. I saw him often enough to know he drank too much, gained too much weight, and wasn’t happy in his second marriage, which ultimately failed.

The other memory that comes to me in the night is my last conversation with Warren, about a week before he died. I don’t know if it is my survivor’s remorse or I genuinely missed an opportunity to keep my old friend around a while longer. I knew he was struggling with depression, and I know what a roller coaster ride that is. But I knew about Warren’s problems secondhand. He had not shared this information with me. As a result, I bumped up against the line between casual and serious conversation, hoping he would open up to me, but I did not cross that line. I can’t help wondering if a little more effort on my part right in that moment would have made a difference.

Proud atheist that I am, I believe everyone’s life belongs to them, and to them alone, so I respect the individual right to end one’s life. I reserve that right for myself, as we all do, since it is truly a right that cannot be taken from us. In Warren’s case, I would just like to have had the opportunity to present an argument.