Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why I Could Never Go on Jeopardy

I'm a pretty bright fellow, and I know a lot of stuff. In fact, I am a virtual warehouse of useless information. But put me on a television show, cameras rolling and buzzer in my hand, and I think i'd freeze. I would stand there with a blank look on my face, forget where I am and what I am there to do, and the first round would slip past before Alex Trebeck could get my attention. It's stage fright and more. I get test anxiety reading an eye chart. What if I fail? Will the opthamologist declare me blind? Will he say I can't drive? It has never happened, but what if it did? I love to drive. I love the control. It's like remote control heaven with changing scenery. I park outside the eye clinic, perfectly spaced between the lines. I step out and my confidence wanes. I'm nervous going in. They check you for glaucoma – talk about pressure. Then they dilate your eyes with drops. Is that some sort of performance enhancing drug they're slipping into you? You trust them – they're doctors, after all – but the Eyeball Olympic Committee might be watching. I know you can't “fail” an eye exam. It's a tool to help you see better. But what are they thinking when you're sitting there with that blackout circle over one eye, trying to read the back-lit letter board with the other? F looks like P. E blends and twists before my eyes into B. O grows a tail and C may or may not have a TV tray across its lap. I stare and stare and stare, trying to make certain I have it right. Are they judging me? Am I stupid if I miss one? I mean, the answer is right there in front of me. “A, E, I, O, U, Alex.” “In the form of a question, please.” “What are A, E, I, O, U?” “Eh-eh. Sorry. The correct answer is, what are vowels?”

Sunday, February 19, 2017

66, 52 Trump!

The sky has not fallen. Small bits of it seem to have impacted on and around the White House, but they were mostly harmless. The pieces President Trump attempted to launch never left the ground. The sun still shines, the earth revolves around it, the moon arund the earth. 29 days into his Presidency, very litle has changed either in Trumpo world or the real one. The people who will believe anything still believe the Donald even after provable lie after lie coming from every corner of the West Wing. Mitch McConnell syas he believes in Trump's agenda but is tired of the rhetoric. Republicans in Congress seem nervous, disillusioned, even dismayed, but vote to give him what he wants, The democrats protest loudly but have no power but to delay, which they do only half as well as the republicans did under the last administration. Things are stgnant, largely; in other words, politics as usual. Masses of American citizens are taking to the streets, protesting on behalf of various higher issues all dealing with human rights. Trump supporters send out tweet-worthy bytes demanding that we all must support the President, right or wrong, and stop criticizing him. They forget three things: first, it is a patriot's duty to speak out when something is wrong even more than when it is right, because you don't have to fix what's right. Second, if we are going to make America great again, we will do so by practicing democracy and not its opposite. Third, criticizing Trump is way too easy to resist. In one week I will be 67 years old. I never thought about getting this old. It just happened. But all those years have shown me many, many things. Although I have never seen a presidency like this one, I have seen leaders come and go, lead and fail, rise to the job or be swallowed by it. I have been so fortunate to have lived in a counrty that encourages freedoms, and I have exercised my freedoms to the best of my ability. I have seen the days turn to night, the sun rise and set, the moon wax and wane, relishing in them, counting them, all my life. I have learned that there will be a tomorrow despite the efforts of insane leaders to stop it, yet I worry desperately that the next insane leader might destroy so much and so many before the dawn. So don't blame me for the mess we face. I voted for Hillary. 27 times. In sixteen states. Unfortuinately, I missed Wisconcin.