Thursday, December 24, 2015


     There have been so many profound stories to share from the last several weeks at work.  It has been very tiring as the holidays have approached, as well.  There is so much beauty in this world - wonderful children, good poetry, dear friends, rock music and the sweet anger release of a well strung together litany of curse words.  Even with all this though, it's a tough time of the year.  From my birthday in October through New Year's day, the progression of special days that trumpet ever more loudly my mother's absence in my ears.  We all have something, right.
     There's Edith, who at 83 lost her youngest son, husband and home in the last year.  Her son died unexpectedly, meanwhile her husband who she was the primary caretaker for, took a turn for the worse and died six months later.  Edith and her husband had the first floor in her two family, and her son and daughter-in-law had the second floor.  With both men gone, the decision was made by the remaining children that it would be for the best to sell the house - after all, it was too much house for two older women.  Edith lives in a three room apartment now in a nice part of town, but she doesn't know any of her neighbors.  They're all so busy.  We sat for a while and talked about her husband, her son, her grandchildren, how hard it is to cook for one person, what life was like when she was a nurse and in charge of the medical unit at the airport.  She talked about how hard it is at the grocery store, and I suggested that they could deliver for her - or maybe one of those children or grandchildren could go with her, walk arm in arm and listen to her wonderful stories while they carried her milk.  She patted my hair when she left.
     There's Russell, not my Russell, but I told him he had the same name as my husband, and he got a kick out of that.  Three months ago he came into my office and was unsteady on his pins.  He almost fell over, but somehow I kept him off the floor and we've been friends since then.  He came in recently to find out how fast I could make a very large check clear.  It turns out he doesn't have much time left here on this planet, and he wants to make sure he can give it to his girlfriend.  I was like, Russell, you didn't tell me you were that sick? How well do you know this woman?  He laughed me off and said they'd been together for 25 years.  This check was the least he could do for her considering all the shit he puts her through.  He said goodbye and shook my hand like it was the last time we would see each other.
     There's Gary who stopped by to go over some recent transactions.  Then he asked me if I had my holiday shopping done, and when I said not quite yet, produced six watch and pen sets from a bag he had at his feet.  They were $45 a piece, but I could have two for $80 or three for $90 and how many sets would I like.  That was fun to delicately extricate myself from.  There's Georgia that wants to adopt me, and/or introduce me to nice young man she knows.  I'm happily married Georgia, I always say.  He's got a really good job, she says with a smile.  Oh Georgia, I say - you are too much.  Then we laugh, and I smile until I can get her the fuck out of my office.  There's so many stories and so little time to give them all the justice they deserve.
     Tonight, we'll sit in our living room and read the story of Jesus' birth to the children, just as my mother did every single Christmas Eve when we were children.  My sister is with us for the first time in a very long time.  She's making block towers with the baby while I write this.  We'll keep trying to get the 18 year old cat to stop eating the artificial tree.  We'll hang our stockings later after everyone showers and puts on beddy-bye clothes.  And after I kiss them goodnight, after my sister goes to bed and my husband goes to sleep, I will touch my mother's tiny urn on my dresser and wish her a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fake Prophet

     I realize that anyone who is reading my thoughts is, in all likelihood, probably in agreement with some of my arguments - otherwise you would have bid me and my little rants adieu some time ago.  I am unabashedly a liberal in my ideology and belief systems.  I support and defend a woman's right to her body and to be equal with men.  I believe that we have an obligation to come to the aid of those less fortunate.  As Uncle Ben teaches us, with great power comes great responsibility.
     I also believe that the system, "the man" shall we say, succeeds when we are kept like sheep - fat and sassy, debating the television/media flavor of the month, the hyped hoopla that allows us to think we're having real debate.  Let's get indignant over a red cup at Starbucks.  Let's pretend there's a war on Christmas and Christians because somebody suggested we say Happy Holidays and you think godless liberals don't want you to say Merry Christmas anymore - it's not like there aren't ten or eleven religious holidays from roughly Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, and maybe wishing everyone you meet a Happy Holiday might be a nice thing to do.  Let's get angry about Caitlyn Jenner being a real woman or not and deserving of fake awards or not.  Let's talk about who's fucking who on The Voice, The Real Housewives of X town and The Fake Ass Duggar Prophets.    
     They want us to focus on this pablum and allow the real issues to pass from our memory.  Suck all the crap in and stare into Kaa's eyes ... Forget the refugees ... Turn from an honest dialogue on gun control ... Pay no attention to the squeezing of equal healthcare access for poor women and men ... Ignore the economic caste system that is becoming written in stone.
     And then into the mix, toss Donald Trump and his ever increasingly divisive rhetoric.  Months ago, I mentioned I was concerned about him and what he might foment.  Don't worry, friends and family told me.  He's a joke; no one really believes what he has to say.  Each day he struts and preens in front of the cameras, spouting off unimaginable soundbites:

- Today's campaign press release, "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
- If he's elected President he would deport Syrian refugees who are here, including children. “They’re going to be gone. They will go back. … I’ve said it before, in fact, and everyone hears what I say, including them, believe it or not,” Trump said of the refugees.
- When he was asked about all Muslims here being issued ID cards: He said, “we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely.”
- On the families of terrorists: "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families," Trump said.
- A protester at his rally who was punched and kicked by Trump supporters, "maybe he should have been roughed up."  

     He is still ahead in the polls.  Clients I know think he's great - "he's just saying what most of us think already."  They were having a lively discussion in the lobby about how Trump would turn this country around.  It reminded me of Hitler's Willing Executioners, by Daniel Goldhagen.  I hope I don't give Goldhagen's thesis a disservice by summing it up thus; the German people were not only aware of what was going on under the Nazi regime, but were willing participants and in multiple instances, participated in a culture of cruelty and murder.  The prevailing thought prior to this had been that the majority of the German public was indifferent to what the regime was doing and more disliked the Jews than hated them.
     Are Trump and his supporters Nazis - certainly not, but he is riling up his supporters with comments that make a lot of people very uncomfortable.  Apparently, not uncomfortable enough for the Republican party or the other candidates on the stage with him to disavow him and all he stands.  It's as though they've become indifferent.  We must not go down that path.