Addled Thoughts

Christmas Present is now Christmas Past. Only 364 shopping days left till the next one. Now all I have to do is get past the idea that a newly numbered year demands that I come up with some part of my ample library of faults that I pledge to get rid of. My plan this year is to resist that temptation with all my manly vigor. It has occurred to me that I may need all my faults. Every blessed one of them.

Those that I still have after all this time are such an integral part of my machine that who knows what would happen if I could expunge even one of them?

Let’s see … starting up my own story before the other person has finished theirs because my own is soooo much more interesting. Let’s say I resolved to get rid of that one. Let’s also say (which is so unlikely that I hesitate to even mention it) that I am successful. Suddenly there is a hissing noise and I begin to shrivel like a beach toy with an air-valve problem.

And then there I am, a flat bag upon the beach of life.

Nope. Not going to happen. I’m hanging on to them all, even that one that makes you grind your teeth. Learning to accept me and my horde of horribles will become your opportunity for personal growth. It’s my indelible contribution to society and the world.

I feel really good about this decision. I think it’s the right one for all of us.

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So what sort of world do we live in? Where the chief executives of some of our states are shipping bewildered human beings to other states to make their point. Which is what? That several generations of leaders have failed to come up with a workable plan to deal with the problem of immigration? Leaders of all political stripes and persuasions? That these same outstanding citizens would rather offer grandstand plays than their version of a solution?

I would be much more impressed if Governor Abbott himself showed up carrying a sign on a winter night to demonstrate outside of the vice-president’s home. Instead of slithering around a warm and comfortable Texas governor’s mansion on Christmas Eve while his minions drop poor people off buses onto frigid streets.

In this world we are afforded way too many opportunities to use the challenge issued by Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954. This is one of them. “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last, have you no sense of decency?”

I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician, by The Byrds

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Moving right along. Robin and I have developed the excellent habit of giving each other Christmas gifts that we actually use. Shopping in December provides constant reminders to senior citizens of the unpleasantness that occurs when cold weather seeps through worn garments and reaches the skin.

So under the tree there is always something warm to wear. A sweater perhaps, or a fleece hoodie. Slippers with deep pile to protect those poor feet that get so little respect. Something we can remove from the wrapping paper and immediately put to use. We give gifts now that are rarely exciting, but are always welcome. Could be worse.

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One hour after I typed the above entry, and this would be early Monday morning, a minor calamity struck yours truly. At first I became aware that there was a clenched fist in my stomach which was not one of mine. How it got there I’ll never know. An hour later the fist was succeeded by a completely uncalled-for amount of retching. An hour after that, the rest of the wonderful adventure that is gastroenteritis took hold of me.

At that point I placed myself in isolation in my bedroom, hoping that this unwanted gift I had received would not spread to our guests. So far they are all well, and I have no idea where my own illness originated. Perhaps Santa has now switched from leaving lumps of coal in errant children’s stockings to leaving microbes behind as more forceful remembrances.

By five p.m. I am sitting up and taking fluids, so my survival seems to no longer be in question. But I am not much help to Robin as co-host with some variant of the plague. I will owe her when this is all behind us. Big time. Actually, I owed her big time before this happened, so … big big time?

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The headline on CNN read: Russian sausage magnate dies after hotel fall in India. This caught my eye because I have made it a point to follow the careers of Russian sausage magnates for years. Apparently he was a happy fellow vacationing in India when suddenly it occurred to him to jump from the third floor window to the pavement below.

Things like this have a habit of happening to lots of Russian magnates, not just those in the sausage industry. They have accidents or commit suicides or simply are found dead and no cause of death is ever listed. It makes one wonder what is a safe occupation to have these days in Mother Russia?

Speaking for myself, if I were going to jump from a hotel window, I think I would book a room on a higher floor. In this case, three were enough, but there is always the small chance of survival at this height, and who wants to wake up in the hospital with everything broken?

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There is a line in this performance by Tori Amos that catches my heart. “When you gonna make up your mind, when you gonna love you as much as I do.” Nuff said, I think.

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