Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Oregon Charleston Connecticut Boston Isla Vista – in Memory

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

I’m as tired of updating this post as Obama is speaking about the massacres.

If it Were Up To Me

Written and performed by Cheryl Wheeler

 Every time there is a mass shooting in America, someone puts together a video featuring this song and posts it on YouTube. No doubt there’ll be another version out shortly.

It’s Nixon time again

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

OK, fellow boomers,

It is time – unfortunately – to confront yet again that spectre of our youth, Richard Milhous Nixon. It seems that more of his papers and of course those infamous tapes have been released recently and some luckless soul tasked himself with updating our image of the man, documenting his endless tricks and missteps.

And endless they are, from sabotaging a Vietnam peace deal in ’68 – before he was elected! – so he could beat Humphrey, to spending weeks drunk in ’73 during the Yom Kippur war, leaving decisions to Kissinger and Haig and almost triggering a nuclear war.

Terry Gross interviews Tim Weiner, the guy who documents all this, on a recent Fresh Air episode titled “The Tragedy of Richard Nixon”. You can find it here on the web or search for that title on your phone’s podcast app.

Why should you listen? I suppose one reason is for “closure” though I hate that word and the idea behind it. A better reason is to remind yourself that things were every bit as fucked up in our younger years as it seemed at the time. Or, if you don’t want to go home again, listen to better understand why we are in the mess we are today.

But don’t eat right before you click “play”: once again, Richard Nixon will make you wretch.

I’m sorry, I’m not accepting any new diseases right now. You might try again next year…

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Six months ago, learning I had a spot of skin cancer on my arm, I freaked. More than freaked: I was absolutely outraged. How could this happen? Why me? How could this happen to me?

Never mind that I’ve been expecting skin cancer’s arrival most of my life. Whiter than white, that’s my gene pool. Skin cancer’s more common in my extended family than healthy relationships. My mom fought an ugly battle with it all the way to melanoma’s threshold. It would’ve won if ovarian cancer hadn’t gotten to her first. My sister has almost no melanin in her skin. Ever the outdoors-woman, her skin goes from white to red to white again, never getting even getting close to beige. Both of us have had solar keratoses burned off our faces and necks for years. And in case we missed the point, our grandmother’s maiden name – she was born on the West Coast of Ireland – roughly translates from the Gaelic to "the tall pasty people".

Add to the genetics the fistfuls of meds I take to keep my borrowed liver from rejecting, each with a Day-Glo warning label screaming, “stay out of the sun!” plus regular reminders from the dermatologists that it’s when I get skin cancer not if, and a spot of basal cell carcinoma should come as no surprise to me at all.

It didn’t. Except it did.

How could I have a new disease? I moaned. Wasn’t liver cancer, a transplant, a weird and rare hepatitis outbreak, two hernia operations, the unexpected arrival of two autoimmune diseases –  another gift from the family genes – wasn’t that enough?

Yes yes. Stupid question. But for two days stupid questions were the only ones I could ask, intelligent ones being drowned out by  the moans and whines of “oh poor me, oh poor Eddie”.

A week later, back to my normal self (and what the hell might that be?) I returned to the dermatologist, had the half-dime-sized spot burned off my arm, hurried off to yoga, grabbed lunch, picked up Otto, and drove to McLaren Park where we went on a long walk, me taking pictures and Otto sniffing and peeing. Shock and anger and whining? Over a dot of skin cancer? Please. I’d assimilated my latest disease.

Yet the question does creep into my mind: how much is enough? How much is too much? How much can my body take? More to the point, how much can my mind?

Last week I broke two ribs. Nobody can figure out how or why. I did not fall, I had no accident, did not black out. I was shocked and it hurt like hell, but no outrage broke through, no self pity. The three weeks before that were devoted to the misery of a hideous sinus infection which scared the hell out of me when it moved into my eyes (!) puffing them out until I became a scary-movie version of the Pillsbury dough boy. Then there were miserable reactions to the antibiotic used to knock the infection out. I ended last week with an MRI of my liver, ordered by the docs to see if there’s something they can blame for rising liver enzyme counts and began this one by getting an overdue blood draw on Labor Day.

I forget how awful this all is until I see it reflected in others.

The friend who drove me to the MRI appointment – and who has ferried me about the last week because of the awesomely painful broken ribs – asked why I was having the scan. I think he assumed it was for the ribs, but you can never be sure with me. I told him about my problematic no-longer-new liver and then, in his eyes, I saw how heavy a burden all this is, how impossible it is to imagine living my life as one ailment piles on top of another over and again until there seems no human way to cope with it all. I hate seeing that look in others. I dread the times I feel the burden myself.

Poor Eddie didn’t freak out over the skin cancer. He panicked. Panicked wondering how I could possibly cope with one more problem.

I expend more energy fighting to keep my mind and emotions in some sort of balance than I do trying to keep my deteriorating body intact. I suspect this is essential, the only way I can stay alive.

"Fear Of Change" Isn't Just a SignOn A Coffeehouse Tip Jar

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Yesterday I listened to three-fourths of a lecture by Dmitry Orlov titled Social Collapse Best Practices. Three-fourths? Well, as fans of Russia’s great writers know, nobody does gloom like the Russians. Consider Dostoyevsky. Or Solzhenitsyn, who makes Dostoyevsky read like Steve Martin. Orlov channels that famous Russian gloom into our new century and aims it square at the heart of our current socioeconomic madness. I ran out of mental room for the apocalypse so I had to put the last bits aside.

Mr Orlov is a hybrid: born and early raised in Russia, he moved to the U.S. at age twelve. Now he is a writer and lecturer specializing in such happy topics as Peak Oil and the collapse of societies. Serious collapse, as in Post-Soviet the-world-we-knew-is-gone-OMG! collapse.

Both bits of his background come through. He is relentlessly, apocalyptically depressing, forecasting nothing less than… oh, let him say it:

I am one of the very few people who several years ago unequivocally predicted the demise of the United States as a global superpower.

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It's The Stupid Economy

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I have this image stuck in my head:

It’s a few months from now. Everyone who can possibly be foreclosed upon has lost their house and been booted out. The banks have repossessed apartment buildings from the landlords and every tenant has been evicted. And all of us, home owners and renters side by side, are parked on the street, right in front of our former homes, worldly goods stacked around us.

We cook on barbecue grills, sleep on mattresses spread along the asphalt, wash our dishes and ourselves with hoses hooked up to fire hydrants. We queue for the block’s portapotty, all the while staring at our boarded up, crumbling former homes, wondering, “how did we get here?” No answers come forth; we shrug and go about our days.

This scenario is of course delusional. Oh, not the part of all of us living on the streets; that seems all too possible. The delusional part is the idea that everybody will shrug and go quietly about their business. We’re just not that kind of species. Paraphrasing our national court jester: burn, baby burn.

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Confidence

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Funny thing about confidence: you don’t really know you’ve lost it until you start getting it back. Without an inner voice constantly whispering a “you can do it” nag, a hypercautious agony aunt takes over and plunges you into a fog of jitters. Auntie has excuses for everything. “No, no, no!” she hisses. “Be careful!” “Oh, you really shouldn’t go out tonight. You’re not quite recovered you know!” “Of course you shouldn’t feel guilty about not taking that bike ride! Look at what you’ve been through!” Eventually this irritating scold owns you so completely you cringe at the risks involved with everything. “Be careful of that tea now, it’s hot!” “Don’t trip on that step!”

Unless you had the misfortune to be raised wary (or had a very difficult childhood, the same thing), auntie’s isn’t the default human condition. (more…)