Sitting with Difficult Emotions

The more difficult the emotion, the harder it is to sit with it.   We don’t want to feel the things that hurt us, quite naturally, and we have sophisticated, if often not very subtle, means of not feeling them.   One of the most striking is the method described by Dr. John Sarno [1], who died recently at an advanced age.  Sarno cured crippling back pain in countless patients by having them understand that immobilizing spinal pain, caused by the body’s clenching, resulting in constricted blood/oxygen flow to muscles and nerves, is more palatable to the psyche than feeling the threatening primal rage that causes it.  Understanding that, and feeling a hint of the emotion behind the physical manifestation, appears to be a big step to feeling better.   Spine surgeons hated Sarno, as did other medical experts.  Bad for business was fucking John Sarno.

I’ve never tested Sarno’s theory, not having suffered from what the good doctor called TMS, Tension Myoneural Syndrome.   But I have often sat with anger, which is a motherfucker to sit with.  Much easier to do virtually anything else, I’d have to say.  Blaming others for your anger is a great alternative, I think you will agree.  No shortage of asshole provocateurs in this world.  Hah!  Done and done.  Nothing a hearty “fuck you!” won’t cure, repeat as needed.  If people weren’t often such merciless pricks, you wouldn’t have to get angry at all.   Anodyne as all get out, no?

In a quiet moment you will realize that blaming and venting didn’t quite work, you’re still angry.  There is a cure for that too!  Endure no quiet moments!   There is so much noise available, sought or not, that we can keep ourselves from moments that will… well, you get the idea.   Stay busy, my friends, and you need never feel things that will cut you too deeply.  Work hard, play hard, pass out, repeat.   It works for many people, I don’t knock it, really (though I also do knock it, clearly).  

 Some consider pondering things like your own anger a form of masochism.  That would be true if you used your anger against yourself, blamed and excoriated yourself for feeling something so ugly.   I don’t advocate self-harm in any form, though you might not know it from my lifestyle, which involves, I suppose, a certain amount of it.  To my mind, and my spine, there is a good benefit to sitting in a comfortable chair with difficult emotions, or taking them for a leisurely stroll.   For one thing, these terrible emotions lose some of their power.  When you sit next to a monster intimately tied to your life you will tend to feel more comfortable with, and less terrified by, the monster after a while.    

Go down the list of the seven deadly sins [2] as an exercise.   Take a fearless moral inventory, if you like.   Note how the seven deadlies overlap.   Do you regularly experience, say, jealousy?   Deal with your feelings of envy by understanding where they come from.  Your fucking older brother got all the credit while you got none, never, not once.  Mom and dad beat the shit out of me, while my siblings got away with murder.  My brother and sister literally murdered and dismembered people, in front of mom and dad, and my parents just laughed and gave them lavish gifts.  If I set the table wrong, the salad fork on the wrong side of the entree fork, I’d catch a beating.  A beating and not so much as a stick of gum, ever.  You wonder why I’m fucking envious of the spoiled bastards all around me everywhere?

I’m not actually recommending anything.  There is nothing to recommend.   We all do what we need to do, constantly.   Me, I need to draw, write, play music.  Can’t help it, don’t sell any of it, even as all three things are done at an increasingly high level, a professional level, one might say.   My problem, when phrased that way, is my stubborn lifelong refusal to even try to monetize any of several highly honed skills.   On another note (accompanied by a lovely, old-timey minor 6th chord), I don’t give a fuck about this world of noise and strife when I am doing what I love.

Not to say that I love sitting with difficult emotions, but the obligation to sit with the stinking bastards comes with being sentient, as far as I can see.   I’d have it no other way.


[1] I have written a bit about Sarno, you can read it here and follow the links for more information about Sarno’s radical, medically disparaged but true sounding, theories.

[2] Anger, jealousy, pride, lust, greed, gluttony, sloth.


Walking into a storm

It’s difficult to remember sometimes, but it is best to remain calm when you are walking into a storm.

Some people, I’ve come to understand, are riddled with anxiety under most circumstances.  They will not remember what you talked about last time, because… oh my GOD!!!  You cannot imagine what it’s like to live with constant anxiety, it has got to be the worst thing out there.  I’m sure I can only begin to imagine it because I’m one of those people who take imagination seriously, seriously enough to practice it regularly.   I’ve clung, you might say, to a childish refusal to lose the ability every kid has to wonder about mysterious or amazing things and picture the missing parts.

 The walls in your house are constantly threatening you, they are not straight, they could fall, causing a terrible, agonizing death of broken bones and slow suffocation.  There are a million things to do, crucial protective things that need to be done, and secrets also, terrible shameful ones that can crush you in an instant, but the real threat is that you can only remember to be aware of five or six of these key things at a time.  But there are literally a million!  So many more than can ever be controlled because they can’t even be named! And, of course, it’s the ones you forget that will bite you the hardest, bite you to death, with razor sharp teeth, row upon row of them.

 “We had this conversation last time,” you might say, seeking to avoid going through the whole thing from the beginning,  finding it hard to imagine all that talk was for nothing last time.  Tbe anxious person will say you’re mistaken, eyes looking past you at an approaching catastrophe possibly just past your shoulder.  You know, the whole thing can come tumbling down in a rage of fire and rocks, it happens all the time, but, actually, it’s very late and I have to go now, I should have gone an hour ago, I can’t believe I’m still here!  The Bible may be bullshit, metaphor, whatever you want to call it, but the torments described in it are very real.   Disbelieve at your peril.   Put that pen back exactly where you got it from, it belongs next to the red one.  The RED ONE!   Next to the fucking RED ONE, do I have to explain every…. Oh, my God!  Never mind!   Just give it to me, give it to me, give me the pen, the pen, give me the goddamned pen!

Vocabulary word of the day: anodyne

I was, for many years, prone to writing any unfamiliar word I’d encounter on a bookmark (with the page number next to it) and immediately looking up its meaning in the dictionary.   Then I’d read the sentence armed with this new knowledge and understand exactly what the writer meant by using the previously obscure word. This excellent habit was instilled in me by some wonderful teachers.  I recall, in High School, taking the vocabulary sheets they distributed quite seriously.  Little else they endeavored to teach me in High School meant very much to me, but expanding the number of words I could use to express myself clearly always made sense.

Now, with Jeevsie here, constantly by our side on the ubiquitous internet we carry around with us in our pockets, it is very easy to instantly have any unfamiliar word defined for us.  So it was the other night, when, drawing some knives, relieved that my favorite pen was behaving properly after a few days of struggle with her, I suddenly, unaccountably, wrote the word ‘anodyne.’   


After I wrote it (I recall now hearing it months ago from Noam Chomsky describing the ‘anodyne explanations’ we get for each of our most unjust practices) I immediately looked it up.  Which took about 1.2 seconds with our modern data retrieval capabilities.  What a handy little fucker of a word!

We prefer the anodyne to the difficult, without a doubt.  An anodyne explanation usually smooths us down, a difficult conversation often churns us up.  Take American slavery, for example.  One can say, with great conviction and moral certainty, that it was a grave national sin that has not been practiced here for 150 years.  Abolished forever a century and half ago, our Constitution amended to make it perpetually so.  Done and done.  Nice and anodyne, wouldn’t you say?

 I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like a little anodyne myself, once in a while.  And you know how hard it is for me to lie.

Pharmaceuticals in America

I have no intention of researching and writing a piece about the folks who sell us legally prescribed drugs.   For a small, bitter taste, you can read this short bit about the wealthy family who helped bring us the Opioid Crisis.  Pharmaceuticals is a fantastically lucrative American industry up there with fossil fuels and munitions as far as the vastness of its profits.  I have to make a few calls today to line up a new drug dealer for my irbestartan and atorvostatin, as well as the weekly megadose Vitamin D, $2.50 a pill, that I’ve been prescribed.   The first two are generic versions of two famous patent drugs, Avapro and Lipitor.   Of Lipitor my mother used to say “I luhhhhhv Lipitor!”.   It seems to be lowering my cholesterol nicely, and not giving me any noticeable side effects, though I’m not sure I have the same passion for the little pill that my mother did.

Right after Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, became the law of the land I had a long chat with my local pharmacist, a sympathetic man named Bahdri.  He was lamenting what he expecting of the new law.  He predicted that within five years all small pharmacies like his would be out of business.  The turf was being handed over to huge pharmaceutical distribution companies who were set up to deliver prescription drugs to millions of Americans under the PPACA.  It was the pharmaceutical version of Amazon.  No need to walk into your local brick and mortar store to get the shit you needed, just order it and pick it out of your mailbox a couple of days later.   Bahdri was gloomy about his prospects.

I liked my little local pharmacy.   I’d been having one of the drugs delivered to my home by an outfit called CVS Caremark, it was done automatically when the new drug was prescribed.   They’d send a ninety day supply of irbesartan.  I’d save five or ten dollars over the copay at the pharmacy.  I didn’t care about the few dollars, and arranged to have the prescription filled at Bahdri’s.  I preferred helping to keep a small neighborhood store in business.  As it turned out, I needn’t have been so solicitous.

Bahdri explained recently that the thirty day supply of one of the drugs cost the pharmacy $9 and my insurance reimbursed them a mere $1.37.   This did not seem fair to me either.  My new plan, a sort of pay as you go Medicaid, has no copay for drugs under a certain price (I paid a $10 or $15 drug copay on last year’s plan), and so Bahdri’s small store was getting screwed every time I walked in.  Bahdri informed me that the large chain pharmacy across the street would also not fill my prescription, certainly not the ninety day version.  He advised me to have the prescription sent back over to CVS Caremark.  I told him I would, and I will.

Yesterday, being out of one of the drugs,  I went to Bahdri’s to get four more 50,000 unit Vitamin D pills for the weeks going forward.   I take these because, after numerous skin cancers have been removed from my nose (and one from my arm) I avoid the fucking sun as much as I can.   The sun helps the body produce its own Vitamin D, or something like that.  The sun is very good in many ways, no doubt, but I avoid it.  This is no great sacrifice for me, as I stay up late, sleep late, spend my first few waking hours writing, wait for late afternoon most days to venture out.  I take most of my exercise around sunset or after dark.

Anyway I ran into Bahdri’s yesterday early evening to get the Vitamin D and his assistant (Bahdri wasn’t there) told me they no longer accepted my insurance and that Bahdri had told me as much the last time I was in.  I begged to differ, but my begging was not the kind of humble begging one usually associates with beggars.  I told him exactly what Bahdri had said and stated, with a lawyerly flourish, that Bahdri had never told me “your business is not wanted here any more.”  I suggested there was probably a law against a pharmacy denying a customer a prescription refill without some kind of prior notice giving the patient enough time to make other arrangements  (I doubt there is, of course, Big Pharma was in on writing the law).  I was beginning to get pissed off but reined myself in.  The pharmacist did his best to counter each of these points, but he was overmatched.

I demanded to know the price of the Vitamin D.  He hemmed and hawed.  I told him a few more times to tell me the price.  He consulted his computer.  The four pills were $9.95.  I tossed a ten dollar bill on the counter.  He told me he could not take my money, it was against the law, since I have insurance.   It was, he suggested humbly, sub silentio and without judgment, the kind of insurance only a homeless leper in his home country, an untouchable, might have.   Leper was my word, actually.  He was hurt that I had thrown the ten dollar bill at him.  He couldn’t understand it, as he assured me it was nothing personal, they just do not sell drugs at a loss to contemptible paupers like me.

I appealed to basic fairness, made another idle threat about using a law that almost certainly doesn’t exist.  He hemmed a bit, and then hawed some more.  I told him to save his breath.  He did. I was done strong arming him.  One of the kids who worked there handed me the four pills, I signed for them, and left, holding up poor Bahdri and his store once again.  Banned for life, like Pete Rose, from a store I have patronized for the last fifteen years or so.  

So today, as on so many days, I have to make some long, trying calls, try to navigate the hideous compromise with decent health care for all (except for at least 27 million or so odd Americans [1]) that President Hope and Change was able to negotiate with the health care free marketeers who wrote the law, folks who graciously agreed not to string him up as long as he didn’t try to fuck with their bottom line.

 Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart once said “Fairness is what Justice basically is”.  I’m not sure of the context of his remark, but I’m pretty sure they nailed that commie motherfucker to a cross and then burned the cross.   You can’t say stupid shit  like that here, not HERE, it’s just WRONG!  SAD!  Thankfully the guy we have now doesn’t need to be told any of this, or anything, really.


[1] This number went up somewhat dramatically in 2018 under President Highness’s rule, as he continues his tireless campaign to make America great again. As for the number of uninsured Americans cited above, it is based on the 2016 number, here is the  source

The War on Drugs

Like the War on Terror, the War on Drugs depends on breaking down doors in the middle of the night, dragging people off and putting all the bad guys out of commission.   The war metaphor underscores the idiocy of this massive program which has locked up tens of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in American prisons. [1]  War is a violent reaction to a thing that can most often better be addressed in other ways.   Most war is waged, let us be frank here, for the profit of certain powerful parties who have others die for them in noble battle.  When war is not profitable anymore, the lion will lie down and let the lamb snuggle against it.   In the meantime, locking Americans up in privatized prisons is lucrative for the owners of those private prisons.   We need to keep the beds full, or the entire industry could collapse.

Speaking of war as the answer to all problems, at one time we had a War on Poverty here too, until, as Ronald Reagan cracked, “poverty won.”    It did indeed.

This is a somewhat random rant, as I have opined here several times about the moronic nature of this somewhat random War on selected criminalized drugs.   As a society America is very fond of drugs, we are dependent on a host of medicines.  If you have any medical condition whatsoever, we use drugs to cure it.  Ads for various drugs are ubiquitous on television: Ask your doctor if Asseffex is right for you.   If you are depressed: antidepressants.   Anxious: anti-anxiety drugs.   Can’t sleep: sleeping pills.  Need to unwind after a stressful day: alcohol or a tranquilizer. Do you fart?  take this.  Does your leg sometimes shake?  This drug cures RLS.  The list is endless.  

Let us be fair– which would you rather do, take a pill or delve into painful things and make hard choices about your life?   Chronic sleeplessness cured by a pill or by doing the unpleasant work involved in understanding what is actually keeping you sleepless and making needed changes in your life?   Go for the pill.   I’m no-one to talk, I’ve been convinced to take a daily blood pressure lowering pill and a statin to control borderline high cholesterol.  Would I need these if I lost the twenty pounds I need to lose?   Hard to say, and something I may never know.  A doctor friend convinced me to take these medications, she and her husband do.  She made some convincing arguments and I was convinced.   It’s very easy to take the two small pills every evening.

The War on Drugs is a war against certain mood-altering substances that the law chooses to criminalize.   The prevailing attitude among national lawmakers about drugs that only serve to get a person high is that folks should talk to their doctors, or bartenders.  Liquor stores are also a legal and readily available option.   Meanwhile, countless poor bastards have been locked up for the crime of procuring or selling illegal drugs, including marijuana.  The annual price tag for this lost War on Drugs was over $15 billion as of 2009.   When you’re preventing evil, the sky’s the limit, I suppose.    

Why do people become dependent on drugs?  Despair, difficulty with feelings of hopelessness, anger, worthlessness.  People take mood-altering drugs in an attempt to make themselves feel better.   The moment when the effect of the drug is felt is a moment of relief for the drug user, the only time in their day when they momentarily feel OK.   The moment when the effect wears off is a moment of feeling shitty again for the user.   It is not hard to identify these impulses.   The hard thing is to be in the middle of a war on the thing that makes you feel a little better, in addition to your other problems.    Not to say people who get addicted to drugs don’t need help managing their pain, they certainly do, but being hunted and locked up does nothing to help nonviolent people who take something everyday because they feel shitty.

In the case of the futile, destructive, perpetual American War on Drugs, the efforts of our government to use criminal laws and punishment as the only cure for a deep psychological problem only reinforces what right wing extremists have been saying for years: shrink the government and drown it in a bath tub.

We have a fairly shitty medical system here in the U.S., almost nothing as far as our medical records is standardized.  That’s because private enterprise is in charge. Our medical records are considered by these private corporations as proprietary information.   The company that provided the service owns them, may charge you for copies of your own medical records in some cases.  Here’s a hilarious, if also somewhat sour, note in our American medical records song and dance.  

I went for a pre-colonoscopy visit to a gastroenterologist’s office.    The first thing the person interviewing me asked was if I’m still taking oxycodone.   That prescription popped up immediately on the screen when she put my name in.

I’d had the side of my nose sliced open in December, by a surgeon removing a basal cell so tiny it could not be detected by the dermatologist.  I didn’t really understand why the eyebrow length incision was necessary, but I immediately understood, once the anesthetic wore off, that I was in considerable agony.   The surgeon called in a prescription for tylenol with codeine.   I took a pill and the pain quickly subsided.  I took another one four or six hours later, whatever it said on the label, and a third before I went to sleep.  I felt no appreciable high, but the pain was gone.  I felt fine the next day and put aside the bottle with the remaining tablets in it.

“Are you still taking oxycodone?” the pretty receptionist asked.

No, I said, and explained about the intensely painful incision on the left side of my nose.   The opioid prescription was the only medical information that popped up about me when she put my name into the medical database.   I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I am thinking of it now:  good old Jared Kushner!   The president had appointed him to cure the Opioid Crisis (which killed more Americans last year than military veteran suicides [2], homicide by firearm and many other common causes of American death) and, by God, Jared is on the case!  

God bless these United States!


[1]  Almost half of all federal prisoners are locked up for drug offenses.  

“Among sentenced prisoners under the jurisdiction of state correctional authorities on December 31, 2015, 15% (197,200 prisoners) had been convicted of a drug offense as their most serious crime.”


[2]  Check out the shockingly high number of suicides among female veterans, almost 600% the rate of female civilian suicides 2000-2010


Why so Pissed, El? (final)

There are many reasons to be angry, no doubt.  Many reasons to be grateful for the miracle of life, also, though those reasons seem not to be as compelling, as demanding of action, as the reasons to be mad.  I’m thinking about the myths we are fed here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Not that every nationstate does not have its myths, every culture its signature values, but… fuck.

I think about the record disparity in income we have here now in the land of the American Dream.  Men with $35,000 toilet bowls and others, homeless, arrested for shitting in an alley.   What kind of disgusting person do you have to be to shit in an alley?   Can you blame a cop for roughing up a despicable fucker like that?  

America is ruled by advertising, has long been, but now the ads come directly to our pockets, targeted by algorithms that single us out by expressed preferences.  We elect our public representives  based strictly on advertising, branding and marketing.   Everything we see or hear is “brought to you” by some corporation with the money to bring it.   Sponsors pull out, the show is over.  Ten million people used to watch that shit every week, then something that couldn’t be spun quickly enough is said by the host and, bye bye.   Corporations taking principled stands.  We will not support a celebrity who makes a stink when everybody else on TV supports the next war.  Fuck that, we are Americans!

As individuals, we are powerless in the face of what is done in our names.   The champions we are sometimes allowed to vote for, and I think of recent liberal icons who have been devoted, flexible servants of the status quo, Bill Clinton (the “best Republican president of the 20th century”, our “first black president”) and Barack Obama (“the first black president”), are also men who will make every necessary compromise without flinching.  Every president has to pass the psychopath test before being put on the ballot of one of the major parties.  Some are better than others, but each of them, in crunch time, will do what needs to be done.  Usually that involves dropping some massive fucking bombs and selling billions in the latest killing technology to despots.  Few of us get excited about it anymore.   “It’s just the president being presidential,” spoken in the way disgusted but resigned Red Sox players and fans used to say “that’s just Manny being Manny”, referring to the mercurial superstar’s self-centered childishness.

So we cultivate honesty in our dealings with others.  Sometimes that is more fruitful than at other times.  Not everyone is comfortable with everything being on the table.  Honesty, really, what is that shit actually?  How fucking honest do we want to really be, anyway?

Many people I know have stopped watching the news.  You have a famously rabid bullying (though obsequious to superiors, allegedly) war hawk from the Cheney-Bush administration, elevated to sit at the president’s right hand, foaming at the mouth about Libya-style regime change in Iran.  Everyone recalls how well that went.   The Koch brother’s personal former congressman, elevated to Secretary of State recently by the world’s greatest deal-making winner, vows the most severe sanctions in history if Iran does not stop pursuing nuclear deterrence against the U.S., does not stop meddling in the Middle East.  He announces this with a straight face:  Iran must get the fuck out of fucking Yemen or we will fucking fuck you up.   Says this as we are giving massive military support to our close democratic friends in the House of Saud as they pour the explosions and famine on impoverished Yemen.   So, to avoid massive aggravation, you tune out, turn off the news.  Go on a nice vacation, come back, feel a bit better that life is still good.

Not a bad move, my friends.   Take a nice trip, recharge your batteries.  Look after your health.  If there is nothing we can do about the kind of country we live in, the kind of world we leave to the future, at least grant us the serenity to accept that and try to live as well as we can.   Our lives here are only the wink of an eye, after all, and each of us is suspended by a strand of a spider’s web during that wink.   It behooves us to look within, find peace, be grateful for every beautiful thing in our lives, do a little good wherever we can.  It does. 

There is something perverse in me that cannot look away.  I am driven to gather the available facts, try to understand, to put the jagged puzzle pieces together in this dark, stinking room.  I am fucked up.  I get that.  But it is my life, and my world, and it burns me sometimes that, no matter how clear and convincing the truth is, that mere truth doesn’t mean shit against a nicely spun pile of steaming horse shit.  Hell, in our new post-factual world, you don’t even need to spin that shit– just keep it constantly coming.  Heh, you completely dizzy yet, motherfuckers?

A theory

I was thinking idly the other day, as I so often do, when an obvious theory presented itself to me as I walked.   What makes a man a power-crazed, misogynistic, narcissist?   How does a person become a rigid, sadistic asshole?   As George Grosz famously said, to know this we have to study the humiliations the person underwent.

I had a friend who was the youngest of three boys.   He never felt he got enough attention.  His father seemed indifferent to him and his mother, a charming woman, apparently did not give him quite enough undivided attention when he was young.   I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, but I could eventually see by the way he lived his life — intent on adoration, constantly disappointed and betrayed, rigid in any conflict, incapable of useful self-knowledge, needing to get the very best out of any and every deal– that he was a deeply damaged person.  He could not avoid conflict, no matter how gently he tried to control the situation.

In the end these traits made him insufferable.  It was his lack of insight into how extreme his personality was, as much as his quirks themselves, that finally tipped the balance.   I later learned, from his oldest brother, that he has been unable to keep any friends.   SAD!, yes, but not that big a surprise.

This poor devil had unrealizable expectations of life.  He expected to be recognized for his musical genius (he was quite talented) and it burned him that even those closest to him did not give him the props he deserved.   His father, for example, was unable to sit still for a long recital of recent piano works.  Father and adult son sat together in a cousin’s apartment where the concert was played for an audience of one.   As the composer played, his father, seated behind him, began flipping through the CDs on the rack next to him.   He reported how his blood ran cold as the cases clacked, how his spine stiffened as he bitterly forced himself to play the remainder of the new opus for a father still totally unable to focus on his youngest son.   I couldn’t help identifying a bit with the man forced to sit for as long as it took for him to finally recognize his son’s undeniable brilliance.  

We, many of us, have unrealizable expectations of life.  Others manage to realize these unrealizable things, which can serve to stoke our own unrealistic dreams.   At times, it appears, these fabulous accomplishments lead one to sourly ponder the old “be careful what you wish for.”   A terminally unhappy person, dreaming that climbing a certain mountain will make them happy, often finds empty bitterness at that peak as they stand there in what should be blissful triumph.   Certain holes in the soul cannot be filled by accomplishments, no matter how lofty.

I was thinking of the most powerful man in the world.   The first man in his job who is constantly attacking people from his phone.   “The president attacked…” is a common daily lede for current news stories.  He is an innovator, of a certain type.   He has made himself part of history.   From my point of view, my opinion only, he is not making himself a very inspiring part of history.  He is, from all appearances, a bully unconstrained by anything but his own need to dominate others.   How does a person get this way?   Walking uptown last night I had a theory.    

His father was known as something of a tyrant.  He had inherited a small fortune, from a truly entrepreneurial father, and, from an early age (the father died when he was a young teenager) began single-mindedly building that small fortune into a huge fortune.   His methods were sometimes unscrupulous, he cultivated political favors, took advantage of government programs for grants and tax breaks, but he built a huge fortune on his real estate empire.  He had a beloved oldest son who had too much of a conscience, from what I can glean, to take the family fortune to the next level.   They had a falling out, the heir apparent quit (and eventually drank himself to death) and the father had to go to his second choice, a younger son who was a discipline problem.

Much has been made of the relationship between the overbearing mentor father and his tiny million dollar loan and the boy sent to military academy to get some discipline, to become a man.  The kid had crossed a line in his bullying when he bought a batch of switchblades, the better to rule his private school schoolyard, I suppose.   After military academy the grooming of this young mogul-to-be began in earnest.   I had a sudden thought last night– what role did the boy’s mother play in all this?    

The man’s father was born to some wealth, and soon acquired fantastic wealth of his own.   The mother had been born poor, was an immigrant.  It is reported that she went personally to the laundromats they owned in her mink coat, driven by a chauffeur, to collect, and then count, the quarters from the washing machines.  Nothing particularly unnatural about this, I think.  I then thought of the effect on her children of this kind of grasping, coin-counting desperation to feel wealthy and important.  The effect on the young son, seeing his dynamic mother trying to act like an aristocrat.  What values could she have instilled in the boy?  We can only judge these by the man’s behavior.

This very public man has made virtually no mention of his mother, outside of canned comments he repeated over the years about her being beautiful and brilliant.  “An amazing woman,” he will say, using the same adjective he used to describe his Healthcare for All plan, the Wall to keep Mexican rapists out, the record size of the adoring campaign crowds who cheer him and every other product he offers for sale.  I can only imagine, by his overt contempt for women (one only has to picture him lurking menacingly behind his hated rival Crooked Hillary during a debate) that his mother, in some fundamental way, gave him only conditional love and support.   The kind of thing that plants lifelong bitterness deep in the heart.   If love depends on being a certain way… well, what the fucking fuck?  I’ll fucking be that way in fucking spades, bitch.  I’ll show you that certain way!    Goddamn it, you want a certain fucking way?   Here you fucking go, you amazing woman.

(Amazing as my long inability to excavate this desk… find an agent, get to the top of that little mountain of dung I sometimes find myself daydreaming about.)