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Vesuvius remains

Victim of Vesuvius, 70AD © Andrei Stancu

It’s another day, just another one out of what really is an uncountable succession of days, seems like years, well it is years, but I’m talking days and then I have to do the quick math of figuring for the sake of easy arithmetic that a year is 350 days and it’s like, what? nearly three years, more like two and a half, but call it close, so it’s like a thousand days since that son of a bitch took office. And wasn’t it A Thousand Days that became the title of that book about the presidency of John F. Kennedy by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and so yeah, it feels right, because he was shot on November 22 and here it is September 5, so we’re close real close. And I get to the final question of the moment, and that is, what does it feel like on a day to day basis to realize that your president is an idiot, one of the greatest who has ever existed and lived beyond infancy, and he has been in office for all that time and yet nothing truly irredeemably and ineluctably untoward has happened, not yet, of the sort of thing that does happen in that genre of movie they like to call “disaster” which takes something away from the real thing, because disasters are regular occurrences, like Category 5 of any natural phenomenon, or, I’m sorry to say, a mass killing (now a quantified, that is a precise, standard of measure) which is getting close to but not quite within asymptote range of being not unlike an everyday occurrence, the sort of thing that doesn’t make headlines necessarily any more, like a traffic fatality or a multi-car collision in which there may or may not have been a death, and yet there’s still that undeniable disaster aura, but in a disaster movie usually it’s a shit-in-your-pants stupefying unheard-of, unduplicated in the course of human (at least) history event, because prehistoric, whatever that means—it happened in the past but it doesn’t constitute history because we can’t attach reliable dates to it? or is it something else—like some extra-terrestrial body smashed into the earth from outside the earth—or a volcano the size of a city erupted and kept on doing so for some measurable, but seemingly interminable, amount of time sufficient to have not so much permanent, because nothing is truly permanent, now we’re told not even the universe is permanent, as inalterable effects on whatever it touches that had been in some previous condition before the disaster and will never be in that condition again, impossible in other words and because it’s not part of human history, it somehow doesn’t matter, and yet nothing of the sort—the sort that does matter, it matters for real—has happened because of the idiot, though we’re all still expecting it somehow, and no amount of rational, calm, mindful thinking leading to some kind of soothing discourse, expressed using the most controlled and masterful forms of rhetoric, as if reasoned by the world’s most reasonable human being will persuade us otherwise in our heart of hearts and gut of guts and brain of brains, because it’s in those three seats of our sense of being that the most dire expectations form, swell and congeal into some inert indefinable incoherent mass that just sits there, pressing on our consciousness, but then somehow also, because you gotta’ get on with your life right? and carry on as if this is a world like it’s always been, essentially disaster-free (for most of us; the great preponderance of us) and well, what’s the point of betraying any sense that although it all seems normal this is in fact just not a normal life at all, and we all wonder at any time of day and not just at the end of the day, as if we’ve suddenly found a moment of clarity sufficient to sum things up before we drift off, miraculously, into another night of rest, will there ever truly be a sense that this is a normal life once again and there is some confidence that it will last longer than, say, a week, or maybe a few months, or, who knows? a thousand days…

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