Tagged: women

Luck or Consequence?

You should remember that I have a step-son, A-. He’s now 12, and he has been in my house for over two years. For right or wrong, most nights, as my wife (his mother) and I lay in bed, about to fall asleep, I recount, let’s say, “areas for improvement” in his day. So many lies, so much disobedience, so much unthinkingness. He’s not hell-bent, but he has severe low self-esteem and until me, has never apparently had an adult teach him anything, let alone the big things. Making matters worse, he’s been guessing wrong and drawing wrong conclusions with his own brain—itself a testament to how incapable a human is to just “get it” without proper breeding.

Anyhow, as you also know, I fly helicopters professionally and of the EMS sort. Recently, I was able to attend a drag racing event as the “on duty”, “fly out the injured driver or fan” pilot. Well, one of the perks of this event was I got to go down to the start line and be as close to the car as anyone, well, anyone except the driver.

I’m telling you, it was like a bomb went off when the lights turned green. I feared for my own life.

In other words, it was awesome.

Later that shift, I flew an actual patient of a bicyclist vs. car event and then I had a long drive home. Long day.

Pretty much went directly to bed. And while there, I’m showing the wife videos of the crazy races and explaining the unimaginable experience of being right there (and having flown in to the event, all while being on the clock) and, because she she knows I like Nascar among other reasons, she says, “Lucky you.”

Full stop.

Lucky me? I’m at the race and being teated as VIP because I’m fortunate?

Sorry, my wife. Maybe it’s fortunate that that shift was open and I was able to fill it. Maybe it’s fortunate that the other helicopter that was supposed to be there was weathered in and we were sent until they could replace us. But the reason that pilots get these uncommon opportunities is pure consequence of consistent application of self-control, obedience, perseverance, attention to detail, service, and the list goes on.

The moment sticks in my craw because of my step-son. I’m the only adult in his life that holds him accountable, that gives him consequences, that tells him unrelentingly that “this behavior caused this consequence” and this means that I’ve created in him a fight. He has all the rest of you just neglecting him, just letting him believe in some bastardized version of “fortune” when it comes to how life unfolds in one corner. And he has me, in the other. I’m strict. I’m probably terrifying. And I talk to him more than anyone he knows. But I’m also alone. Me and my helicopter and my videos of cars exploding off the planet. 9 years of everyone, followed by 2+ years of everyone vs. one man who seems lucky. What do you think? Who’s he gonna choose to stick with?

Good things happen as consequences, and nominal and bad things happen as consequences.

Bear in mind, I’m not saying, I, Captain Pete, deserve good things, deserve good consequences. I am saying that when they happen, it is definitely and certainly due to past performance.

I saw the same images of who gets to be where at sporting events as I grew up that you all saw too. Celebrities and the wealthy have their places in the arena, and so do those of us who prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.

But enough. I wrote this as a conversation piece. I’m curious, what do you think? Is my wife right? Am I just lucky? Or am I right? Was my front row experience the consequence of past behavior.

Lastly, help a brotha’ out. Give the kids in your, ahem, “sphere of influence” consequences.

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Stunted?, A Review of Elvis by Baz Luhrmann

Mr. Luhrmann’s biopic finally made it to streaming and, therefore, ahem, “undocumented” streaming, which means, finally made it to my laptop. I’d been waiting for months—so long in fact that I nearly watched a cam version. In short, I’m glad I waited. There was nothing that I missed by not being part of the initial watch party, and there was plenty that I’m glad I saw in decent quality, both picture and sound.

Skipping to the end, though, unlike Elvis’ at least momentary ability to gain satisfaction on the “love” front, I was left unsatisfied.

The chosen vehicle to deliver Elvis to us is the “unparalleled talent held back by abusing manager”. Despite this choice, the movie and the man seem to cry out that there must’ve been more to Elvis Aaron Presley. He couldn’t have just been “Elvis” because he constantly broke his manager’s barriers. And we all know, or those of us who read lyrics all know, that every artist views themselves as restricted, even in their most untamed seeming creations.

I call your attention to Exhibit A: Tool has a song in which he describes how a fan calls him a “sell out” and then he, MJK, responds, “All you know about me’s what I sold ya, dumbf*^%/I sold out long before you ever even heard my name…” among other fairly harsh truths on topic.

Over here is Exhibit B: Metallica released a collaboration with Lou Reed that was widely and thoroughly panned by critics. I think it’s the last CD I bought at Best Buy. Or second to last. When someone told the drummer that it was very hard to listen to, he replied, “You should try performing it!”

The nicest review I found at the time was written by, if memory serves, someone from Mastodon. He essentially argued, “Good for Metallica.” He said that Metallica is so big that they actually had a chance to release something that they wanted to release, no input from anyone. Sure, he went on, it’s no good. But none of us have achieved or probably will achieve the ability to make truly pure art like they did. (My paraphrase.)

In short, Mr. Luhrmann’s Elvis comes across as merely trope (rare adjectival use) and yet, after what I just saw, Elvis Aaron Presley couldn’t have been so one-sided. The most important thing about him couldn’t have been that his manager held him back if it’s common knowledge to a mid-western kid like me that no musicians are free from stunting managerial oversight (excepting all-mighty ‘tallica, of course).

In the end, it was a decent film, had stirring sequences and the ending was unavoidably emotional. But it didn’t quite do justice to the wiggly flesh exterior, the blood-pumping heart that lay beneath, or the invisible soul that would not be told who to be that I have to believe filled Elvis Aaron Presley—the man I’d want to have met.

On that front, Mr. Luhrmann succeeded. I’d never had that thought before the film. I’d always pictured a Vegas has-been. While I still think there was a sharper image to be portrayed by a film, I definitely had my perception changed. And that is rare these days. So while it’s true that Elvis has left the building, I say, long live the king.

Been Driving A Lot

I’ve been driving a lot, of late. And this has provided ample time for thinking.

As my careful readers know, it is my general belief that my assessment and perspective on life is spot on, and that there is something to gain if I am able to communicate my perspective to others.

My particular aim is to develop the most eloquent and compelling, if not provocative, manner of stating whatever position I find to be true and in need of announcement.

Today, I want to firmly place the concept of “races” or “ethnicities” or “identity politics” or “racism” in the trash fire. I want all of us to stop giving ear and time to the idea that the certain subgroups of humans which have been oppressed are now in need of special, however acute, advantages to make up for the oppression etc. You know what I mean—all the mainstream, legitimate sounding equity and equality BS.

Here’s my zinger which demonstrates that I’m right:

No race/ethnicity/community will ever say “thank you” to the race/ethnicity/community that helped them.

To use one specific example, I’m saying that the venerated “black community” will never tell those former-slavers-now-living-with-“white-privilege”, “Thank you all for giving us a hand when we needed it.”

And it is this fact-of-life of perpetual ingratitude that is the proof that the Blacks themselves know who is ultimately responsible for their station in life—individuals.

Of course, I could be wrong. I long for it, in fact. I’ve even made it easy for ya. All that would have to happen for me to be wrong is one or more of my readers which hail from the “community” would have to say, “Btw, Pete. In honor of your upcoming 41st birthday, I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you for freeing us from the chains of bondage. That was very big of you.’”

(I’m not holding my breath.)

While I wait, I march on with high hopes of avoiding the consequences of unthinking stupidity—and raising my children to do the same.

A Tone-Matching Post On 50 Years of Unhurt Women, Physical Touch, and One of Justice Sotomayor’s Opinions Within Her Dobbs Dissent

I became a gym regular at the age of 16. I mean, I was a nearly five days a week regular. I loved lifting weights. Unlike most of my peers, I used my senior year’s “take an hour off school cuz you work fifteen hours a week” work consortium(?) credit on the first hour, not the seventh. I went to school late. What did I do before school? I went to the gym.

You ladies, especially you unfit ladies, may be surprised to know that gyms are a pretty well-known place for gay men to congregate en masse.

As I get going, a few factual anecdotes may prove salient here.

Back then, I had a buddy who was always more socially aware than I, and we were probably the only two 17 yr olds actively engaging in weight lifting for personal fitness, ie not football, while in high school. Despite my falling behind him in awareness, I was well-aware that one or two of the men at the gym we regularly chatted with were essentially sexual predators, and that my young friend and I were the prey.

Anecdote 1: The one man, 50ish in age—but no more than twenty in appearance (“Black don’t crack”)—offered my friend $200 to publicly shower at the gym. My friend accepted and told me that he figured, “I needed a shower anyhow.” He then told me, “So I shower, the dude walks in, (keep in mind this is a public men’s locker room) and I see him peer in, and then he leaves. Easy money.”

Anecdote 2: I never got an similar offer, but I was always a user of the one private shower, and one morning the door opened and this same gay man see me and says, “Oh, sorry about that,” and closes it. I shook my head. My predominant thought was, “I don’t know if I could stop myself from the same foolishness if an uber fit, attractive (and unconscionably funny and smart and charming…) young woman was showering in the men’s locker room right behind where I took a leak, either.” Or simply, “Meh.”

Unlike my buddy, I had more chats with another man that folks always told me was gay, but he never as anything but nice to me. Well, over time he accepted my invitation to watch me play roller hockey in a men’s inter-mural league. That was horribly awkward. Not sure why I did it.

Anecdote 3: And while he didn’t proposition me, he knew I was promoting a local Strongman Competition and he offered to have his company sponsor it. As I took him up on his offer, he paid me the $250 from his own checkbook—not Frito Lay’s. Lol. He must’ve wanted it real bad. I mean, I’ve been horny, but sheesh.

I could go on, believe me.

Nearly two decades later, life/poor judgment drops me off as an assistant manager at a gentleman’s club. Besides alcohol, their business is physical touch. Seriously. In a manager meeting they told us about studies which show that a waitress’s placing their hand on a patron increases tips and spending. They reminded us how some men come in to the club not having been touched ever during the preceding week or so. A handshake from the bouncer/doorman, or at least a fist-bump, is good for business, period. (Unless the gentlemen displays otherwise, naturally.)

Furthermore, at the club, I learned that Hollywood generally gets the lap dance concept wrong. I have witnessed—my own eyes—“regulars” who literally just want the “lady” to sit, cowgirl-style, on their lap, and chat. Or perhaps just sit like that and hug. Song after song after song, dollar after dollar after dollar. No dry humping, no gyrating, just body touching body. Like as much surface contact as humanly possible. Mind you, this was not every man. But many.

All the above builds to my climactic and tone-matched response to the notion that women will be hurt by the overturn of Roe.

The other day, I posted that the evidence and arguments of “women” claiming, “women will be hurt,” really mean that “children-not-yet-living-as-responsible-adults” are who will be hurt. I thought this would necessarily lead someone to ask me how to fix this “irresponsible children will be hurt”situation. But you didn’t bite. So before getting to that interesting question, I want to show another angle of how this “women will be hurt” claim is foolish. The other angle being, “Women will be hurt?? What about MEN!? What about ME!!??”

See, as above, I believe—as a man—that I need touch. I don’t mean “want”, I mean “need”. I mean, like, “can’t live without it” need. And the main touch that I want is unprotected vaginal sex—including orgasm—with a woman.

Before Roe was overturned, before last Friday, I had all sorts of ways to feel this touch, in all fifty states. I told women, “I love you.” I told women, “You can’t get pregnant if we stand/sit/you’re on top/I’m on bottom/sideways/doggy-style etc.” I told women, “I’m rich.” I told women, “My family’s rich.” I told women, “I’m smart.” I told women, “No matter what happens, I’ll make it work.” If none of those dead ringers would achieve my need, I’d dig deep and offer, “You’re so beautiful.” Finally, if fortune was not on my side, or, to be frank, if she was really dumb (“geez, Pete”—I know, I’m mean), sometimes, when I really, really needed that special touch, I would tell them, “Come on, baby. It’s not like first trimester abortion is illegal. Just. (Oh that’s it.) Let me. (Yes. More.) Finish in you.”

And now?

Damn you, Justice Alito!!

Nowhere, not in the United States nor in my pickup lines, did I ever have to worry about what State I was in. Do you understand?

But now, since Friday, when all other winners fail me, when I have to resort to the classic, “It’s not like first trimester abortion is illegal,” line to spread my seed in a woman, I have to consider where in this great country I even am! (And as a Captain, I have a tendency to travel. So this overturn affects me particularly hard.)

I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. It’s true, I could say, “Even if we’re in one of the states which has banned abortion, I can get you a comp’d flight to a state that has the pills at least.” Yes, that might be a winner. But she’d probably have to be ESL at the least to let that pass. (I’m seeing that in the throws of ecstasy created by yours truly, an immigrant might only recognize “pill” and think “birth control”—and while many women on the pill only take it as a secondary, passive method—still requiring the man to use a condom—some do not. So I may be able to get the touch I need with this line.)

In the end, I want to wrap up by saying, Justice Sotomayor et al’s argument that “abortion rights allow a woman to control her destiny” (paraphrase) is true only conditionally, that is, only with the addition of one word. To make it true, it must say, “Abortion rights allow a stupid woman to control her destiny.”

Two Thoughts For To-day

First, I want, for posterity, to include content from an email to a friend. It’s about the second amendment and Bruen opinion. I know the email will never be deleted, but this is easier to find and I like the compact way I developed my thoughts.

My full attention response to your statement of the crux of the matter is as follows: by virtue of it being in English and law in a political State, the Second Amendment means something. Rather, it meant something. And by meaning something, there are things it didn’t mean. It had nothing to do with SpaceX, for example. Or vehicles in general. The rub is not “regulation”. The rub is “what did it mean?”

To be clear, I’d even be fine with deciding it is unintelligible and we’ve been fools for two centuries-plus for treating it like it had meaning.

****

My feeling on the passing scene is the Left will always insert straw men (“it’s about safety” or “it’s about how far does the second amendment limit regulation”) because the most plain meaning of the words (if there is any meaning at all) is, “Citizens ought be able to instill fear in the hearts of seeming attackers AND, if attacked, connect the remaining space between threat and action with certain death.” And the Left will never admit this paraphrastic or philosophical meaning because they are the attacker.

There’s no sweet spot, D-. There’s meaning. Should citizens be able to make this connection between threat and action or not? What do we believe? I say absolutely. And I mean this regardless of whether there is a second amendment, regardless which country I am in. I believe the best political philosophy on weapons is citizens must bear them. Did the second amendment teach me this? It doesn’t matter. Does the second amendment mean this? I believe it does. And part of the reason I do is that these men were revolutionaries themselves. Had they not had weapons, they wouldn’t have founded anything. By way of analogy, a mathematician who denied numbers are useful to his profession would be the same as a Founder meaning otherwise than I believe he did by the words of the second amendment.

****

Random slaughter? That’s also not a concept in the sense that you meant—unless the holocaust and all the major atrocities of people with guns against people without guns are included. In church world we say, “The Gospel levels the field.” In the same sense, so do guns. We’re all sinners. We’re all possible victims—and we ALL should be. No man, not the government, not “you or anyone else” gets through this lifetime without fear of attack.

****

That’s the email content and first thought for today.

Second, I want to say that I love hearing from people who I disagree with. In this case, I have been doing my best to understand the “women will be hurt” argument on the Pro-Choice side of things.

So far as I can understand it, in the end, the argument doesn’t really mean “women”. By “women” they really mean “children”. No, I don’t believe they mean “female people under the age of 18 will be hurt.” Instead, I believe that the “person” they mean by “women”, in the sense they employ, has not yet achieved adult status.

Adults have to make decisions. “Should I live here or there?” “Should I date this person or that?” “Should I rust out or wear out?” “My primary circumstances have changed, how does that affect my next decisions?” These are inescapably adult decisions.

“I want my way here and now, there and now, and now and forever—without consequence”, that’s a child. That’s a child, no matter the age, no matter the sex.

I believe this is a wise assessment. But I also believe it furthers the conversation in a good way by providing something meaningful to respond to. So if you disagree with the big overturn or how I have characterized this “women will be hurt” part of your stance, and if you enjoy conversation, then please comment below. I’d love to hear how I’m misunderstanding things.

The End of Dreams Is Bittersweet

Showtime is 5pm. I’ve dreamed of seeing Top Gun: Maverick for probably 32 years. As the hours count down, I’m not sure that I want to wake up anymore.

I saw Top Gun for the first time at a friend’s house in 3rd grade, shortly after moving to a new city. It would’ve been early 1990. Soon after, I then sat in a tv/video store in the mall where they had a laser disc of Top Gun playing just the first half, basically until Goose died on repeat. My mom was off shopping and was perfectly content to leave me perfectly content as she did. Then, somewhere along the way I got the soundtrack on cassette tape and listened endlessly.

That opening. It’s like the reason surround sound was invented for home theaters. A laser disc copy was at another friend’s house and we fired it up too, mostly for the bass of the opening scene.

Top Gun. It has been the movie that never was going to have a sequel, and yet was so beloved that everyone wanted a sequel—assuming it could be done right.

I told the squadron commander at my first unit post-pilot training, “I am the guy who saw Top Gun and said, ‘I have to at least try to do that.’ That’s about all I know.”

He respected my honesty, even as he probably wished I knew a little bit more about what I had gotten myself into.

So many memories of that movie are woven into the memories of my actual life. There’s no separating the two. Art influencing life, life influencing art.

It all ends in a few hours. Above all, one dream has been searchingly saturating my life for three decades: Top Gun 2.

When the credits roll, I will still be a pilot. But when the credits roll, there will not be a boy’s dream of becoming a pilot; there will not be a boy’s dream of Top Gun 3.

So this is it.

The end of dreams is bittersweet.

I Thought I Caused the Formula Shortage…

It’s true. I have been feeling guilty. I thought I caused the formula shortage.

I remember the date, the same as you do. February 25th. It was the day after Russia attacked an area of Russia held by a people called Ukrainians for the past 30+ years.

Can you blame me? I had a baby due in a week or two and, in a moment of weakness, thought, “I remember the toilet paper run of ‘20. I’m not gonna be caught without formula when the results of last night formally play out in six months.”

So I rushed to Walmart and purchased $500 of diapers and formula.

Essentially walk-lunging down the main vein aisle between groceries and large women’s lingerie, I finally made it to the diaper section. I was sweating, not from the exercise, but from fright, as I realized I’d need a cart for six or so huge diaper boxes, sizes ranging from 1-4, and didn’t know whether I could trust leaving them alone whilst I went back to find one.

Cart in hand, diaper boxes crashing to the floor with a volume that drew far too much attention to the supposed clandestine operation, I then thought, “And formula. My wife’s production slowed around the 6 month point with A- and so I should grab some formula.”

When I saw the $50 a can price, I balked and said, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll grab two today and then just casually pick up another each time I visit. Wouldn’t want to do anything crazy.”

Making my way back to the front, I over-waved to the Somalis who looked at me as I struggled to keep the items balanced in the cart. “Hi. Yes. That’s right. Keep your heads covered, ladies. Faces, too. Nothing to see there, just like nothing to see here. I just realized I have a baby coming! Stupid American dad is all! Haha!” I jested.

All the while I knew that, supplies in hand—bird in the bush, you know—my child would be a veritable uberman to their already disadvantaged offspring.

Credit card passed the chip detector test, and I was out the door.

Only one time did a box fall off the cart on the bumpy trip to the car, a fact which none of the passing meth heads seemed to notice, and I eventually made it.

My tiny, but fuel efficient, Nissan Versa Note could barely hold all the goodies. The backseat was certainly employed for the proud duty of transporting size 2 & 3.

Fast forward several weeks, through me declaring we are in WW3, pivoting to the realization that “Ukraine is not a country”, and suddenly, after seeing celebrity gossip unseat war and rumors of war, I began to hear there was a infant formula shortage.

Imagine my guilt.

Scratch that. Imagine my first gasp of guilt.

“Huo! Did I do that?”

Then some more time went by. Nights were filled with either heavy, short-lived sleep or EMS flights toting around ailing patients. (I might point out for your edification that one was a “mums the word” victim of a stabbing in only his underwear, which I took as a friendly reminder to “Be nice to yo’ wife, Pete…”)

But today the headlines got me again. So I googled it. What is causing the shortage, I wondered? Me?

The answer? Trump.

Lol. Or that’s what The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson had to say. (Babylon Bee too.)

Whatever.

The important thing is—still perfect.

I have yet to make a mistake.

One Fruitful (Hear: “Motivational”) Christian Perspective on Hegel’s “The ‘State’ as ‘Rational Life of Self-Conscious Freedom’”

Christians can read Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel fruitfully, if we downgrade slightly Hegel’s “belief” in the State as “self-knowing” to a “for fun, guys, let’s contemplate what religion looks like to the State if the State, itself, was the perfect being. The highest being.” (You may want to bookmark this one. It’s odd enough that you’ll need time to think it through for yourself.)

This downgrade must be made by the Christian, because otherwise Hegel actually competes with Moses, John and the others behind the Bible. And as far as that competition would be concerned, Hegel obviously loses because he does not promise eternal life, like the Bible writer’s do.

But! But, subsequent to the downgrade, Hegel’s conception of the State as a “concrete, self-aware being” is intriguing and can be useful to our Christian labors. How, you ask? Here’s how.

I haven’t been able find a reason to join a church. I haven’t. As most of you know, I grew up in church, left when I left for college, then moved away to the AF and from Christianity, and then ended up at a Christian seminary in a master’s program. While there, and just before there, I joined a black church, but the cultural divide was so great that it really doesn’t count as being a church member. The situation would be more accurately described by saying that both the real church members and I merely filled the role of “safe, outside consultants”.

Well, I’ve got a family now; there’ll be a grand total of three, not two, kids here in a matter of days. And I have a fourth working out her salvation elsewhere. And I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that I have the Holy Spirit in me, that all should be done for the glory of God, and so I want to continue down the Christian way. But I struggle with the church membership bit. And I know I’m not alone. We all struggle with it, Christians and non-believers. Why join a church?

Well, here’s where Hegel’s modified look at the State comes in. If the State were this perfect being, then necessarily in our belief-in-this-being’s-perfection, we’d naturally agree with his, the State’s, perfect judgement. And on the matter of church membership, the State would encourage it.

Why? Because in the behavior of citizens being members of the local church (no matter the particular denominations etc.) the citizens are essentially “buying into” or “leaning into” or “doubling down on” their belief in the State.

Now, Hegel never mentions what I’m about to, but by my thinking the following runs through his thinking like a vein.

The idea here in this post, the simplified, fruitful version if Hegel’s idea, is not more complicated than to say without strong activity in the small institutions of the State (nation) by citizens, the big or overall institution (the nation) cannot be made as good as it could be made. Of course, underscoring this concept—and hopefully made clear by the post title’s “One Christian Perspective”—is the belief that the church is more than just a “small institution by which to make perfect the State.” What Christian reads the Bible and thinks “Oh! I get it. It’s like what Hegel said!”? But to a man of action like myself, the fact that this type of thinking moves me up from the comfort of the couch is the important part.

Would it move you up from the couch, unchurched Christian? Love of nation as the reason to stick out the undesirable parts of church membership?

If so, don’t tell me in the comments. Instead, look for me and my “bleed on the flag to keep the stripes red” love of country in church this weekend.

Found: A Tale of Unexpected Reunion

“Yeah, housekeepers don’t really keep anything like that. Most people wouldn’t drive back for a sock,” I heard the receptionist reply to me, damningly, over the phone.

“But I’m a regular. It’d be no trouble for me,” I retorted unthinkingly.

“Well, they wouldn’t know that,” she continued, unmoved. Then, to be nice, “So don’t forget your underwear next time either, cause they’ll pitch that too, haha!”

“Haha. That’s a deal,” I replied in kind, though maliciously pouting on the inside. See, I knew all about dirty necrophiliac hotel housekeepers. Throw forgotten socks and underwear away? Right. Sure. If by “throw away” she meant, “sniffed every ounce of man scent out of them while dreaming of someday being friends with George Clooney,” then I could believe they “threw them away.”

I wasn’t about to cry, but I did hold back a torrent of emotion. Frustration and disbelief being the order of the day. How could I—I, Pete Deakon!—forget one of the greatest socks ever assembled on this side of heaven in my hotel room? Phone chargers and loose change, that’s my calling card. Not one of the best socks ever.

Its warmth was unmatched. Its thickness, divine. And when my foot first entered it, I don’t mean each time, I mean I remember the first time I put it on, I swear I saw the face of Jesus.

But now it was gone.

How many times could I look in all the places it could’ve run off to? I triple checked the drawer. I checked both the washer and the dryer at least four times—nothing. I checked my t-shirts. Sometimes, as you know, a sock has been known to get *inside* the garment and I’m not just talking polyester gym wear. Even cotton shirts have been known to swallow a sock or two.

Still nothing.

Days went by.

Every time I passed my suitcase—the offending article—I’d nonchalantly open the lid and double-check what was inside. I mean, surely I wasn’t expecting to find anything, especially after so many days and so much effort.

Late last night, however, a novel angle came to mind. I remembered that my wife, at random, scoops up my clothes from the foot of the bed and unthinkingly—I won’t say with evil intent—puts them in her laundry basket.

“Eureka!” I told myself. “That’s got to be it.”

And rather than get out of bed and look right then and there, I savored the thought like only I know how, and slept peaceably until the morning.

“Fart,” I said, hands mingling with bras and who knows what other odd kinds of accoutrements the woman punishes the Maytag man with.

Was there no end to my pain?!

The hour had become late; if I didn’t get going now, I wouldn’t be able to capitalize on a quiet morning that spontaneously bestowed itself on this overworked—an apparently victim of spiritual warfare—father of three, going on four.

I opened the sock drawer to pick out my underwear and socks. There it was—the evidence that I was without. One sock—unmated.

I thought, “I will never again find a sock to replace these.” I was now talking aloud to myself, “These were the best socks Cabelas ever sold. They don’t even have them anymore. Fuck Bass Pro.”

I reached for a pair of underwear.

What is shorter than “instantly”, dear reader?

Seriously. A second is shorter than a minute. A moment is shorter than a second—some lovey-dovey movie taught me that. And I have to believe an instant is shorter than a second. But what I need to describe is an even shorter amount of time.

A spark.

I mean that in the time it takes to feel a spark, I knew something was different about the pair of underwear I was trying to pull up. It had undue thickness and, again, as quick as a spark, I knew it was heavy—too heavy. I mean, I wasn’t grabbing one of my “off-the-hangar-at-Macy’s-one-pair-only-Tommy-Hilfiger-I-think-they-count-as-MAGA-colors” pairs of 100% cotton underwear. I was touching a newer—and nearly ethereal—pair of Hanes—out of a 5 pack.

As gravity worked against me, all in this single spark of time, I squeezed all the harder and noticed that my fingers were kept separate by some material, some seemingly hidden, spongey, like the thickest of wools-

“My sock!!!”

Picture the blur that is the Guatemalan daycare kids’ hands as they open the Christmas gifts that your high school social studies class got them, picture that and amplify it by every color in the rainbow and every shade of glitter.

Then pause.

These moments don’t happen very often, and at my age, they won’t likely happen very many more times. So I thought to myself, “Let’s not rush things, baby. I know you’re in there. Let me just get my camera quick.”

Long story short, I took four pictures, in sequence, as a time capsule, and sent them to my wife. My final text taunted her to try harder next time, if she really wants to hide my sock from me.

As I’ve been writing this, I know she texted me back, but I won’t check yet—not just yet. These moments—bliss—do not last much longer than a spark, so I’m gonna hold onto this one just a little bit longer.

Lemme Tell Ya What’s Stupid

You want to know what’s stupid? Using visual aids or graphics to describe COVID-19.

You want to know what’s stupid? Boosted pro-vaxxers, who finally got it and now say, “This time everyone’s gonna get this s—-!”

You want to know what’s stupid? Self-policing mask usage/fit.

You want to know what’s stupid? Children declaring that they don’t want to get “COVID”.

You want to know what’s stupid? Adults feeling ashamed for getting COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Variants.

You want to know what’s stupider? Sub-variants.

You want to know what’s stupid? Saying “He/she/they died of COVID.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Fearing death.

You want to know what’s stupid? Fear.

You want to know what’s stupid? Pandemics.

You want to know what’s stupid? Buying and using a home test whose result you know isn’t going to be definitive in your eyes.

You want to know what’s stupid? Signs above sinks that read, “Wash your hands for 20 secs.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Using your eyes to read a test to discover if you feel sick in your body.

You want to know what’s stupid? Using short animated videos to explain/defend/justify the need to lockdown.

You want to know what’s stupid? Bubbles.

You want to know what’s stupid? Worrying.

You want to know what’s stupid? Telling a child to worry.

You want to know what’s stupid? Mankind testing animals for COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Restricting travel during a pandemic.

You want to know what’s stupid? Runs on toilet paper.

You want to know what’s stupid? Emails explaining COVID plans that may change.

You want to know what’s stupid? Feeling like you can (and should) do something to help during a pandemic—like explaining things in emails.

You want to know what’s stupid? Email pronouncements that describe the last two years without using the word “stupid”.

This hasn’t been interesting, strange, complicated, challenging, scary, wild, or any other of the many safe-for-work adjectives.

Lemme tell ya what’s stupid. The last two years—that’s what.