Tag Archive | economy

Deer Jesus Epistle — Measuring Up As Men

SteubenvilleinTutu

“I call on men and boys everywhere to take a stand against the mistreatment of girls and women. It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”  — Desmond Tutu, November, 2012

Not three months prior to Tutu’s statement, two teenage boys brutally assaulted, humiliated and traumatized a sixteen year old girl who was inebriated past the point of being able to take care of herself, let alone call for help from others.

To this very day, the victim’s family and the victim continue to receive death threats and threats of bodily harm from the victim’s teenage peers in the Ohio town of Steubenville, population under 19,000.

Various reports have attempted to slant the story away from the fact that a young woman, possibly already sexually traumatized before the notorious August, 2012 incident, was a victim of rape under Ohio law.  Some of these reports lay claim to this incident being, “fueled,” by social media.

I beg to differ.

Our society fuels both social media and violence against those who are vulnerable.  The whole of United States culture has been built and maintained by a strict code of exploitation of the temporarily weak by the temporarily strong.  When those temporarily weak grow strong enough, there is war.  This has been our pattern for over two centuries.  As the temporarily strong have used war to exploit the growing strength of the temporarily weak, they have become hollowed-out, rotting caricatures of the men, women, slaves and indigenous people who once founded and built this country.

The people of Steubenville have been demoralized and stripped of anything akin to human decency and what the rape of this vulnerable teenage girl reveals is not just cause, but effect.  This entire incident – the childhood trauma, the teenage alcoholism, the economic exploitation of the middle class, the indiscriminate violence, the media circus, the inappropriate labeling and valuation of cultural symbols by a media circus — all took place in a town too small town to be on any nation-state’s radar as a threat to anyone’s interests.  Steubenville has long since been decimated by “globalization” and the moving of steel mills to lands our uneducated children can no longer name, much less locate on a map.  And so the macrocosmic rape of Steubenville played itself out in a microcosmic incident of despicable human trauma and exploitation with vulnerable children caught in the midst of forces too powerful to be ignored.

Were the boys who victimized this teenage girl of Steubenville victims themselves?  Probably.  We enter into the so-called adult world of bitter realities praying to an ineffable sky-being that the personal coin of our lives will somehow magically land on its edge.  These boys parlayed their alcohol-induced block of feeling and sense-making to mean that, finally – for once – they were neither cause nor effect, neither victims nor victimizers, for their target of opportunity was so clearly incapable of recollection or self defense that they could finally act on their hormone-fueled drive for reconciliation and justice leaving no one the wiser.

Alas, no one in a surveillance culture ever gets completely away with anything.  Now everyone knows the coin landed with “cause” facing up even while a circus of agenda-setters tried to turn “cause” into “effect.”  However, the cellphone camera coverage made the facts clear in this case and gave the judge presiding no recourse but to adjudicate these two boys based on their behavior, rather than as well-intentioned young men who simply happened upon a vulnerable female during a night of alcohol-fueled stupidity.  “It was a case of mistaken identity, your honor, where one of these boys thought he had left his car keys in the vagina of an incapacitated female he thought he recognized.”  Such explanations would fall dead on arrival in the judge’s chambers, as they should have.

Human beings under stress behave no better than the worst-behaved chimpanzees in the wild.  Among the great apes a silver-backed gorilla could have mustered superior behavior to the demonstrated depravity of these two alleged hominids taken together.

What the media confusion of cause with effect displaced, potentially forever, is the idea that an incident like the Steubenville rape could be either cause, or effect, or even both at the same time.  The coin of human experience, constantly spinning in midair, revealed first cause, then effect, then cause again, in an endless cycle that rotated about an axis we prefer to call “time” but we might just as well label, “perception.”  For all humankind knows, there is no such idea as “time,” but simply circadian rhythms that come together only to fall away over periods greater than multiple human lifetimes.

Enter now into the social vocabulary words like, “forgiveness” and “mercy.”

For too long we have contented ourselves to believe that forgiveness and mercy were gratuities we ought to extend to those less fortunate than ourselves.  We linger in pestilence and paucity of spirit when we think this way, for every grievance we hold against one another increases only our own misery and despair.  Confusing cause with effect, we then displace our agony and our anger onto some other victim of circumstance who seems a more fitting recipient of our ire.  Rather than identifying and then forgiving the multinational banker who has made our lives into wretched caricatures of grandeur, we instead direct our rage at unwed mothers too poor or uneducated to utilize contraception during sexual intercourse.  Or, perhaps even a gay male who, in spite of society’s remonstrations against the foundations of his conscience, manages to find a moment’s joy in the arms of a lover he never knew could exist.  How dare such people find solace or comfort in a world as laced with misery as this!  Do they not know that we were chosen, we were first in line to receive social justice when it finally arrived, not these outcasts and piriahs!

Identifying our grievances as rage against the international banking establishment and its tendency to treat human beings as chattel at best and dumb animals at worst, we might find the misbehavior and misdeeds our brothers and sisters commit against us as effects and not strictly causes in and of themselves.  While we cannot reasonably hold these banking offenders accountable for the behavior of specific individuals, we almost certainly can hold them accountable for statistical increases in the measurements of social misery – poverty, violence, unemployment, disease, ignorance starvation, war and violations of civil liberties of every sort – as surely as we can place pen to paper to sign a bill into law.

From this day forward, for every middle class and lower citizen who commits a crime and is held accountable, let us also hold accountable those leaders and institutions that failed to provide the childhood support and supervision even a modicum of human decency ought to afford.  For it is not only the youths of Steubenville who have lost their way, it is the entire economic establishment raised to believe that “greed is good” and “only the fittest should survive” while placing their thumb on the scales of justice to favor one sort of “fitness” over another.  No human being at any layer of the social strata will ever be capable of knowing what sort of fitness our future survival might require.  Let us no longer pretend that the crazed and menacing ramblings of a sociopath speaking on behalf of other sociopaths hold out any promise of brighter tomorrows blighted by creatures with less than half the human capacity for empathy and compassion.  Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist” rants and her present-day apologist’s polemics do not advance the cause of human evolution, but would drive us backward to a time when dinosaurs ruled this Earth only to be smited by their own inability to cooperate and ensure mutual survival.

Let this be our response to the people and children of Steubenville, Ohio, and our collective prayer that the wisdom and compassion of Bishop Desmond Tutu should not pass into history unacknowledged or unnoticed.

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Jew or Genital?

A Story in Three Pieces

I should have suspected that the future would not be anything like it had been promised to us in 1977.  During a compulsory sex education course one of our football coaches had the indubitable privilege of referring to our nether regions as, “gentiles.” 

No one dared question our coaches’ pronunciation, or comprehension, of the subject matter displayed on the slide projector, lest the whole nescient affair be prolonged, the self-identified sexual scholars forced to ride the pine on the following Friday, and all hopes of victory, dashed. The promise of celebratory coitus, however imaginary, would surely follow.

I had no idea what it meant to be a Jew in 1977.  I still do not.  Of genitals I knew as much as any teenaged machine-gun whose prowess was directly proportional to his belief in the well-intentioned exaggerations of his equally anxious co-conspirators.  Of gentility, I have had my fill to the present day, four decades later.

Gentrification, a sport practiced on either side of the Judeo-Christian divide against those of lower socioeconomic status, works in both directions – those crapping and those crapped upon. The longer one side takes to leave its imprint on the sidewalks and alleyways of their new homeland, the longer the other side feels obligated to take to both erase the imprint of the former and install the imprint of the latter.  The quality of the feculence matters little because eventually the competitors will bury each other in it while astonished onlookers, and finally the critics, will move on to greener pastures.  Usually atop one of these layered sandwiches of feculence.

Normally one does not mention sex, religion and economics in the same thought-space, unless they are a former practicing Catholic with a habit of buying lunch for struggling seminary students, nee priests, and accepting their promises of salvation in a life beyond a certain, and certainly overpriced, grave.  Of salvation I have no interest.  Of lunch I am often in need of company.  We amuse each other, the sanctimonious and the delusionally divine, and we surprise each other with our scholarship just short of citable reference.

“Dogmatic, my friend, are the properties of automata applied to dogs.”

“Will I hear your confession once I am ordained?”

“Why?  I’ve already heard your sordid tales of intrigue.  Countless times.  You’ve heard me go on and on and then stop.  I feel absolved.  We’re good.”

“You would be surprised, my brother.”

“I doubt it.  My salvation is as certain as the fact that I will be buying you lunch, once again.”

“You make me smile, my friend.”

“And you give my wallet wings.”

And so it is.  Sex, religion and economics inextricably joined at the hip over something as mundane as  lunch, yet the triplets still refuse to mention their condition in polite company.

The occasional scholar, fresh out of seminary, may express to his surprised, but often unimpressed laiety, that the Crucifixion was about the economics of the Sanhedrin and those of the poorer countryside, in this particular case, Nazareth.  But such revelations come on the heels of over a dozen centuries of holding Jewry accountable for the behavior of its own against one of its own, of blaming a single religion for the misdeeds that happen in every religious dogma, every human organization and even in our own families of origin.  Those who have want more; those who have less do not see where those who have more merit the largesse.  This has been particularly true when those who have less were simply working for the right to eat and have comfortable shelter.  Nothing so prepares an individual for the battles of management like working under the whimsical tyranny of a poor manager – for things like food, water and a clean, dry place to sleep at night.  And sex.  The bell shaped curve being what is, we can comfortably proclaim that most managers are complete morons.  But, then again and by the same rationale, so are most workers.

To really appreciate the stupidity of most sexually-charged religio-economic debates, I had to imagine what life might have been like before religion, when all we had were clans fighting for, with and against each other in bloody battles to the death for the right to survive and procreate.  Or just screw the daylights out of each other.

In such an ancient time, the need for disparate groups to unify under a shared set of beliefs that linguistically codified both the need and the rationale for coming together could be both chronic and acute. War and defeat, like life and death, could be both swift and final.  Without the guarantee of a shared set of beliefs and the linguistic shorthand that can come only from living one’s life under the auspices of an easily identifiable shared set of beliefs, communication becomes mottled; defeat, more likely a result of in-fighting, misunderstandings and internal struggles for power, than any weapon used by an enemy.   Superior fire-power never lost a war; inability to recognize the limitations of superior firepower on either side could turn victory into defeat, and defeat into victory.  Effective communication is crucial in a snappy event like open warfare.

Then there was who was screwing your mate and mother of your children.  If it was you, linguistic shorthand was not only possible, it was preferred.  If it wasn’t you, again, there needed to be some linguistic cover provided to both sides of the issue.  It took some time, but eventually Mommy’s interlocutors were called, “doctors” and Daddy’s flirtations were labeled, “secretaries.”

Religion evolved naturally from a need for a larger community from which to draw strength and the human need to communicate and connect according to a shared set of beliefs.  To the extent that religion became a defense against assault from some external “evil,” to that same extent we can identify any particular religious ethos with the propagation and perpetuation of war, even to the present day.  As we proclaimed the existence of evil where it did not live, the belief in the reality of evil strengthened the evil within us; we desperately tried to cast that evil out of ourselves and onto the world of our senses, of our imaginations, to no avail.  It turns out that you cannot fix the shit in your head with the shit in your head.

And then we raped their women, which may or may not have been the ultimate objective of the warfare to begin with.  We raped those who sewed, in other words, and became that which we proclaimed loudly to despise.

Some would like to lay all war and barbarism at the feet of the Jews and their genitals, especially the ones who look like they never get laid in anything like a normal, missionary fashion.  Being the first documented slave class to break with one’s masters came with the added bonus of a master who wanted their victorious documentalists desperately back underfoot — we were so good together and did so well for one another.  Raping their women was pretty nice, too. Eventually the former slave had to, and has to, commit to a life where only they can rape their own women and that cannot happen from a foundation based on worldly ignorance.  Children have to be raised to pursue knowledge of the world around them, the better to rape their own women and stave off any further attempts by the former master to overtake the former slave and begin the process of raping one another all over again.

Some would like to believe that there is a vast difference between rape and making love, but not in these United States of America, 2012.  Judging from contemporary divorce statistics, the thesis that making love is just slow-motion rape is difficult to argue against.  What appears to be a case of mutual caring and respect leading to coitus can be repackaged as just a more sophisticated form of rape.  Rape first perfected by the female of the species perhaps not long after she was dethroned from her matriarchal power.  While men continue to practice the cruder, more animalistic form of domination and control, women tend to prefer the delusion that waiting until human beings forget what happened and what was said accomplishes a “miraculous” transformation.  The difference between the two – mindless acts of domination and control to achieve a pathetic physical release versus a mindful act of premeditated abandonment and emotional evisceration – is one based in time.  Once I introduce Einstein into this equation, and pull in Quantum Mechanics, time and its alleged reality completely disappear.  The time it was when I thought I fell deeply in love is the same time it is when the children are waving, “bah-bye,” from the rear window of the station wagon that I bought for the wife, now the driver, who used to shower with me on the weekends.

So if I may be so bold, this picking of nits that would conflate sex with something higher or more profound than simple rape needs to be set aside for a time.  The same time that might be wasted playing with the feelings that don’t really change the facts of the matter or the principles involved.  Or the lack of them.

While we are in this, “time-out,” of suspended disbelief, a couple of facts can be seen to noticeably shift and it is to the point where other observations we might have made outside of this bubble of timelessness can begin to make more sense.  Since I am proposing that sex and rape are the same, the triplets become rape, economics and religion.  Who can help but agree, in this day and age, with any thesis that would place rape and economics on the same basic plane of human experience?

Not all economists are rapists, but it doesn’t strain credulity to suggest that all rapists are, after a fashion, economists.  Have you seen the formulae they use to determine (read: justify) a simple cost of living adjustment to be applied to the retirement distributions of elderly and infirmed pensioners?  How about simply adding back the inflationary degradation subtracted from the wages these people earned while they were working?  That’s a simple percentage either added to or multiplied by whatever the hell it is you would like to pay the people you no longer give a shit about.  But not to a fancy-pants rapist who has learned the alchemy of economics.  He can integrate, derive and perform internal rate of return calculations across multiple chalkboards so as to make it appear that the pencils you are shoving into your eye sockets are what is causing you to lose the buying power of the money his or her fancy formulae have determined, in ochre and calcite, that his clients should be paying you every month for the rest of your life.  A life shortened now by blindness and fits of as yet inexplicable rage.

We rape those who sew.   We humans always seem to pick on the weak or disadvantaged as a means of obtaining personal power and economic advantage.  Seamstresses in Taiwan may be making 30 dollars a month sewing together our clothing to the 30 dollars an hour we (who still have jobs) might make who buy these clothes to wear.  But it is a cinch that the monstrous assholes who moved the jobs from the mills at 30 dollars an hour to Taiwan are making upwards of 30 dollars every second they are on the corporate payroll whether or not they are sitting at their desks or golfing with their neighbors.  The poor Taiwanese get to experience a salary increase vastly better than the ones they were experiencing before the clothing mills showed up onshore.  The only losers, at first, are the poor schmucks who made all of the automated productivity possible in the first place – the middle classes of the Americas and Europe.  But soon the “Fotomat burns down, no film at eleven” nature of capitalism (read: fascism) will drive the entire world to realize that what they aren’t getting paid in wages they are giving to a group of shysters who have disrupted their living environment and have hollowed-out their ability to govern themselves by a reasonable consensus of opinion.  Sometimes these capitalist bastards succeed in making whole countries uninhabitable as the Japanese people will soon discover to their chagrin.

“So why do you avoid talking to me about what’s going on here,” she said, the week before she left.

“It’s complicated,” I responded, not wanting to end up talking endlessly into the wee hours about things that can’t be fixed in the middle of a tired, achy night.

“It’s been weeks since you’ve even touched me, Stephen.  I feel so alone.”

“I’ve gone years.  I don’t want to, but I’ve tried forcing myself too many times.  That’s how I ended up just pulling everything into myself and numbing out in the first place.”

“Godammit!  You have to talk to someone – anyone – about this!  This is not normal!”

I dislike interrogations with an inexplicable passion I can’t always control.  They remind me of experiences I’d rather go out of my way not to recall.  It’s in the past.  It’s done.  I’m tired of hearing myself whine about it.  It just pisses me off, I end up screaming at the top of my lungs, and then the nightmares and the terrors come back for days afterward.

“Don’t you care about how I feel?  Don’t you love your children anymore?  Anyone?!”

I remember thinking that this was not going to end well for anyone.  I remember feeling that pressure in my gut and in my neck. At the bottoms of my aching feet. I remember needing to get away – to get out – of that bedroom.  But she kept blocking me, kept insisting I meet her demands to pass her latest test of my solemn appreciation of every sentiment that dripped out of her mouth like a thick, sticky cough syrup.  I was getting angry and very soon I was not going to give a shit one way or the other.

“Please.  Let.  Me.  Go.  Now!”

“Fine, asshole!  I’ll let you go!”  And she pivoted on her right heel like a door swinging open and I walked as fast as I could to get to the street, to get to fresh air, to head for cover.  As long as I was inside the wire, I could walk anywhere and think about anything, which usually revolved around Pirsig’s musings on motorcycle maintenance, or the death of his son on a San Francisco street corner.  No matter how grand the expression of fatherly love, there is never any guarantee that it will have the transformative power intended.

So let’s step back into the world where raping and making love are considered completely different activities coming from completely different psychological states, one sick and one decidedly healthy.  The worldly place where time is real and who really knows what the hell Einstein really meant, anyway.  Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared and so two major metropolitan cities in Japan should be turned into ashen ruins.  A perfectly understandable place to find the human identity we left behind when we started suspending time and blending causes into effects.

But we can keep the thesis that rapists are economists and thereby keep the insight that our triplets are sex, religion and rape.  If you don’t mind indulging my post-relationship cynicism, I see a duality of religion and rape in a thought-space threatening to collapse into the Unity we were taught in catechism classes to believe was real even while they divided religious education into a course for boys and a course for girls.  Maybe I’ll feel better about all of this in the morning, but I doubt it.

Amy Jade

Mitch Winehouse Posing With Wax Figurine of Daughter

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you.  You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”    —  Bob Marley

As a child who grew up in one of the many flavors of household, “dysfunction,” I can report emphatically that children always believe their parents are worth suffering for, over, about and instead of.  And, sadly, Amy Jade Winehouse was, probably unbeknownst to her, a victim of this particular scourge of western civilization, the cliché of the “dysfunctional family.”

We can see plainly that the tabloid monsters have wasted no time with their, “no-shit” anthems regarding the life of someone who publically displayed a death wish, rubbing our faces (and her parents’)  in the fact that no amount of talent can overcome low self esteem.  No shit.

Addicts who refuse recovery will die from their disease.  Again, no shit.

Troubled people lead troubled lives.  Where have I heard that one before?

People who come from troubled homes grow up troubled.  Thank you, Time Magazine.

True leadership is a matter of good breeding.  Screw you, Nathan Rothschild, JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.

My contribution, withheld until the last possible moment and kept relatively unheard from, has more to do with Amy Jade Winehouse atypical child warped by the typical damage caused by parents suffering in silence from their own painful mental illnesses and the toxic byproducts of their choosing to couple in order to heal.  Or find respite.  Or deal with their shit.

In defense of Mitch and Janis (nee Seaton) Winehouse, and parents everywhere, I can assure everyone that no parent ever passes on the full weight of the dysfunction under which they were born and reared through.  Every generation takes a bite out of their personal pain and moves heaven and earth to make certain that things turn out better for their children than they were for themselves.  I have no doubt that this is precisely what took place in the Winehouse Family and they can rest in a peace that our media will not be granting them for some time to come.

But mental illness is not about a single person facing a single challenge.  People with similar diagnoses are attracted to those who either share the same diagnosis, or who trumpet a solution the sufferer has been conditioned through shame to believe is where they must go. These kinds of personal problems, often hidden in shame from public view, must be vetted and viewed compassionately, if critically, if we are ever to afford meaning to the tragic death of Amy Jade and the hundreds of thousands, globally, who will share her story every year.

Mitch Winehouse believed, probably sincerely, that the solution to his mental and emotional difficulties would be found in the recessed world of polyamory.  He is not alone in harboring this delusion.  Janis no doubt believed that turning a problem over to “goddess Shiva” could only generate more chaotic consequences.  I sympathize with Mitch: sexual and emotional intrigue can lead to a euphoric state where depression is nowhere to be found.  I empathize with Janis: making a problem more complex cannot possibly result in an end state where a problem finds resolution.  Our various religious and moral traditions do nothing to help us attack our marital issues with open minds.  But to seriously entertain the thought that two adult women, willing or unwilling, would or could solve the problems of one charismatic, but gravely warped, male, was, and is, completely insane.

Into the fire and crossfire of sexual tension and emotional pain came the head of Amy Jade.  Filled with the shrapnel caused by years of abandonment, betrayal, stubborn foolishness and simple human cruelty, Amy grew up to honor her parents with the solution she believed she had found.

To their f*ing problem, not Amy’s.

This is what I, and many children raised in dysfunctional homes do: we take on the problems of our parents and, since they are not able to solve what to us seems like a simple problem, we will solve the problem for them.  The problem with our approach, however, is that we do not possess the full complement of an adult nervous system and a life of adult experiences where our judgment might be tempered with common sense.  And, in cases like the Winehouse’s and mine, we are compelled to allow adult reality to overwhelm us and drive us slowly, constantly mad with grief.

So whereas Mitch was driven by his delusional thinking to seek multiple life partners to soothe the ravages of what some might unfairly label, “ennui,”  he was also driven by guilt to seek a mother figure who would shame him into conforming to a standard of sexual conduct that had only left him in more pain on numerous occasions.  The impacts of chronic depression are quite well known, but my experience has been that it twists judgment and behavior into “pretzels” of logic where we can be compelled to do just about anything, including suicide, in order to soothe the pain that no one but us can see or even feel.  But the problem is simple: pain seeks pain relief.  Distraction turns out to be a fairly effective reliever of pain, if only temporarily.  Janis Winehouse, or any spouse with a whit of personal sanity left, would have none of this.  This left Amy, her daughter, wide open to the manipulations, rationalizations and justifications of an adult male driven completely mad by his own delusional thinking.

At the very least, Mitch Winehouse confided far too much in his growing daughter regarding his difficulties with her mother.  Such information to the immature brain and nervous system of a child could only trigger a stronger-than-steel resolve and commitment to ensure that her mother paid for her “crimes” against her father and that she, Amy Jade, became many times the woman she was raised to believe her mother was.  Where her mother had failed to keep the family together, Amy would demonstrate, once and for all, that her mother was some sort of emotionally crippled maladroit.

Janis Winehouse may have been emotionally crippled, but none of her difficulties were because she was uniquely and supremely guilty of crimes against her family or against anyone, for that matter.  And never could it be written that a mother deserves to sit powerlessly by to watch her lovely child suffer and die because of the twisted relationship she shared with her father.  Janis, like hundreds of millions of women every year, falsely believe they can provide a home so warm and inviting that no amount of male dysfunction stands a chance of survival.

Mitch Winehouse will spend the rest of his life tortured by his guilt and shame much as he was before he ever met and married Amy’s mother.  This guilt and shame will serve no useful purpose to anyone and is not an epitaph worthy of his heartsick daughter’s legacy.  I hope he rises to the occasion and walks through the fire of a stern look in the mirror and then returns to us with useful information that prevents this kind of tragedy from ending this way ever again.  He, too, is suffering mightily from the death of his beloved daughter, but it is his own mental illness that warped his judgment into believing that turning a child against her own mother was ever a justifiable act when dealing with a contentious adult relationship between two parents.

I hope both Mitch and Janis prove worthy of the self-forgiveness required to “repent” for the crime of bringing such an enormous talent into the world and then smiting it with their conjoined weaknesses.  This sin is not their’s individually but is a weakness of relationship chemistry that no one can reliably predict until after a relationship has been engaged.  When I saw a similar dynamic emerge in my relationship decades ago, I opted to avoid parenthood at about the same time Amy Jade Winehouse would have been conceived.  I did not regret my decision as regrettable as the circumstances under which it was made were.  I knew then, and I know now, that a selfish decision on my part could have far more tragic impacts on far more people than just myself and the woman I was involved with at the time.

A world bereft of children is a sad place, indeed, but a world bereft of meaningless tragedy is a more worthwhile goal by any measure.

An Impossible Honesty

So what is it like to age, mature and grow older in AynRandistan?

When I was in my twenties, it was a distant concern, a lower priority than when and where the next party would be thrown.

When I was in my thirties, it was the burden of the older workers who seemed to be placed in my path to annoy and slow me down.

When I was in my forties, it was a predator that knocked on the door I refused to answer.  Sometimes it would go away, and sometimes it would return with several armed friends.

Now that I am in my fifties, it has become the realization that I will be spending half my life in a literal blur looking for a pair of reading glasses to see things more clearly, after having spent half my life in an intellectual blur, completely clueless and empowered only to make that blur more intense and disorienting.

When I was young, I presumed that I was alone in my ineptness and kept it hidden from no one but myself.  The difference between being a worker and being a manager was the quality of the lies I told. 

To myself.

Now that I am older, the difference between being a worker and being a manager is still the quality of the lies I tell myself, but now I feel every lie so deeply that no massage therapist can smooth them out nor any chiropractor retrieve.  As I see my fellows breaking down at the horror of watching, and the thought of having to clean up after, six billion people all committing suicide, my bones ache with the impossible honesty I would ask of those who stay behind to testify to the power of love.  Not the love of song and sex, but the love of Kahil Gibran – the threshing floor kind of love that only those committed to another for multiple decades can even begin to appreciate.

When, in my deepest, most final sadness, I am forced to squeeze, not point, the finger of last judgment in your direction, it is this kind of love I would save you from; the kind of love that the narcissistic and genocidally inclined cannot know, much less appreciate.  It would be cruel of me to expect you to know or to care of this love, yet it is the love your mother knew or you would have never been born and raised past the age of consent.  I would ask the forgiveness not of you because your cause is a sad and troubling loss, but of your mother.  Her generosity, or the generosity of a mother before her, is beyond doubt or question. 

May I always keep this silent prayer in mind as I beg all that is real and true for this to be my last judgment.  May I always be capable of feeling the loss of your humanity as mine when you cannot.  May I never lack the integrity to see clearly when, past every warning, you repeatedly or belligerently cross the line of humanness in praise of the reptiles we once were.  May I never lack the courage necessary to make crooked the finger of last judgment that hope might be more conserved.

Of the four boxes of hope, in order: soap, ballot, jury and ammo – three have been exhausted.  I know the third has been exhausted because I contributed to the receipt of one copy of Vincent Bugliosi’s book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder, for every District Attorney in the United States where a constituent had died in the Iraq War.  Over one thousand copies of that book were delivered two years ago and not one single prosecution, in spite of the unimpeachable prosecutorial integrity of Bugliosi, was ever initiated.

Nigeria may seek to prosecute Dick Cheney, Spain may overlook the threat imposed upon it by the World Bank and decide to prosecute members of the Bush or Obama Administrations, but in these United States, no prosecutor or legislature would dare place their reelection at risk by taking responsibility for maintaining a democratic republic governed by a constitution and a Bill of Rights.  Doing the right thing has become a task of impossible honesty in these formerly United States of America, circa 2010 CE – AynRandistan by another name.

May your prayers be answered, your box bottomless and your aim true.