My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men.
How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?
Boy The Younger’s first-ever cross country meet was a success. He finished in the top half of his age bracket, crossing the tape in 32nd place at 15:17. I realized while I was watching runners go by in the races that preceded his that I have exactly one cross country cheer: “You’ve got this!” It seemed to me after the sixth time I said it to some random kid who ran by looking like she wanted someone to just shoot her and put her out of her misery that I didn’t quite “get” cross country cheering. In baseball, there are a wide variety of cheers based on the situation. For example: “All right now, two strikes, choke up, put the ball in play!” or “One more strike, just like that one!” I’ve got a few weeks before BTY’s second meet. Any suggestions on how to step up my cheer game?
Conflicted About 9/11
I sit here on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 feeling much the same way as I have for all the previous ones of these things, which is to say, conflicted.
I was shepherding a weekly newspaper toward its print deadline when the first plane smashed into a tower of which, as a small boy, I had stood at the base staring up in amazement. Days before, I learned Wifey Poo was pregnant with Boy The Elder. I remember feeling torn between having an important job to do to chronicle what was happening at the local level while simultaneously wanting to stand constant sentry over my suddenly growing family. I was as patriotic as the next guy in the days and weeks that followed. I remember listening to “God Bless the USA” with the windows down.
I also remember how, by the time we’d all traveled around the sun together again, none of those “good” things that happened at a societal level in the wake of the tragedy remained. And it’s gotten progressively worse with each subsequent trip.
Let me state this clearly: I honor the brave men and women who have stepped up and fought the wars of the previous two decades. I appreciate the sacrifices of those who did not come back alive. I cried tears then and will at some point cry tears again for the victims of religious zealotry gone mad.
But I’ve fallen out of love with America and its institutions. I watched as torture, decades-long imprisonment of innocent people and the creation of a surveillance state became an OK thing as far as a majority of my countrymen were considered. I then sat back and saw the citizenry, including people with whom I share blood, practice its own particular brand of zealotry by electing and — despite Himalayan-sized piles of evidence of his moral, ethical and legal failings — attempting to re-elect the most dangerously unqualified man to ever have sat in the Oval Office. And then I watched as, inflamed by their sore-loser messiah, these zealots coalesced into a mob that conducted a Third World-esque insurrection led by a shirtless moron wearing a Fred Flintstone grand-poobah hat.
With each passing anniversary, I felt more and more uncomfortable with what the dominant narrative said I should feel. It’s one thing to remember the victims of the tragedy, but to feel any sort of patriotism and pride for the country that has gone so significantly off the rails since that one sunny Tuesday in September? I can’t do that.
Which leaves me feeling conflicted. Because I used to be one of those “love-it-or-leave-it” flag-waving patriots. I voted for good-ole’ Dubyah and still think he handled the aftermath of the crisis about as well as any human being ever could. Then again, so did Trumpeteer Rudy Guliani and he somehow ended up with brown goop dripping down his face and as a punchline in a Borat sequel.
I’m conflicted because I know what an American is supposed to feel today, but I don’t feel anything close to it. I mourn for the victims’ families who were broken that day. But I don’t like what America has become in the wake of the tragedy and I can’t seem to make myself feel something that I don’t actually see.
My Facebook newsfeed has fed me the same message from friends and family all day. “Never Forget.” I’ve never forgotten. I dare say no one 25 or older ever has or ever will. But the America I loved isn’t the America that exists, and I’m starting to wonder if it ever will again.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
As I was saying…
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Because I’m sure by reading this today, someone will want to kill me tomorrow and I’d love to give them the honor.
- Breezes that keep a hot day from being disgusting.
- Big tall glasses of iced tea.
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You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished theContinue reading “Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021”
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted otherContinue reading “Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021”
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realizeContinue reading “Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021”
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a smallContinue reading “An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”
He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up myContinue reading “‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021”