(Ein) Stein On The Beach *

August 19, 2016

For much of this month I’ve been vacationing in Sag Harbor.  This place used to be called the unHampton . . . meaning that it was less ritzy than the other Hamptons.  More downtown than uptown. Well, that sensibility has gone the way of pleated pants.  One can almost no longer say with the same holier than thou attitude that he/she is staying in “Sag”.  I say “almost” because if you saw the place that I had rented you would understand why I have no trouble maintaining that endearing quality I have of being above it all.  I am, in fact, staying in the unSag Harbor.

Aaaahhh!

Aaaah!

Because it’s been so hot and so damn sunny, I’ve been going to the beach more than I have in many years. Occasionally, B and I biked on a lovely road to an ocean beach a half-dozen miles away. As I’ve sometimes done in years past, I strapped a chair on my back and attached a beach umbrella to the frame of the bike. All went well until we got to the parking lot at the beach and it was time for me to get off my bike. Because of various joint problems too dismal to go into, dismounting my bike has become a bit of an adventure.  Having the umbrella extending beyond the rear wheel made it virtually impossible for me to get off my bike in the conventional way.  So the only choice I had was to lift my leg over the cross-bar in the front of the seat.  I was a few inches shy of clearing the bar and sadly . . . very sadly, B had to grab my foot and guide it over the bar to the safety of land.  After that episode, I don’t think she’ll ever have sex with me again.  And who could blame her?

Once on the beach, I put the chair down and set out to plant the umbrella.  Somehow or other, I have become an expert in placing my umbrella in such a way, that it’s sure to get blown away.  This is not nearly as bad as it sounds; it’s a great way to meet people. They’re usually grateful they didn’t get impaled and it gives us something to talk about. Of course, if things go badly, it can also be a not-so-great way to meet their lawyers.

After several hours of me making believe I was reading and B actually reading, it was time to go.  But not before I got a chance to use my other great way of making friends at the beach. You see, for some reason my beach chair ordinarily won’t close. So I have to struggle with it by trying every which way to get it to fold. This, it turns out, is very entertaining to the people around me watching the show.  And often, they come over with suggestions and will sometimes even give it a try. This bonding experience usually leads to drinks, dinner and the formation of life-long friendships.  (Well . . . maybe not.)  I usually end the performance by trying to rapidly close the damn thing sixty or seventy time and then —voila!— it closes.  The only thing missing is a drum roll.

Finally, after feeling totally enervated from being at the beach, it’s back on the bikes for a ride that seems twice as long going back. As we arrived home, I so wanted to get off my bike.  But, given the dismounting problem,  I also so wanted not to have to get off my bike.  The classic approach/avoid conflict. Boy, life’s a beach!

*Einstein on the Beach is an opera in four acts (framed and connected by five “knee plays” or intermezzos), composed byPhilip Glass and directed by theatrical producer Robert Wilson. Not to be confused (as I often do) with: Kafka on the Shore, a 2002 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

 

Good Idea!

July 28, 2016

It’s taken me a long time, but I’ve finally realized it’s near impossible to get someone to change their mind . . . about almost anything.  About the best one can hope for is something along the lines of, ” yes, you’re right but …”.  My mother was a specialist in this; one of the reasons why the phrase, “banging your head against the wall” is so resonant with me.

Similarly, it’s really, really hard to get anyone to do things differently—-to find solutions in ways that vary from the approach they’re accustomed to.  It’s not so much a question of not being able to “teach old dogs new tricks” as it is the unwillingness of the “dog” to give a different approach a shot.

It’s not that I’m above this rigidity. Far from it.  I think the last suggestion of “a better way” I actually tried was about a hundred years ago when I was working as an accountant. I worked with a good friend, Warren, who was really smart.  But what I liked most about him was that he thought innovatively, looking at things from a fresh viewpoint.  At some point, Warren showed me that there was a better way to subtract numbers; which didn’t involve subtraction, at all.  Essentially, instead of “taking away” a number to get the correct result, you do addition by entering the number which, when added to the lesser number, yields the larger one.  (Of course, this discussion is rather dry and certainly not ironic but it will lead somewhere.  In other words, “you’re right but . . . .)

A few years ago, I tried to pass this technique on to Luap — you remember Luap — one of the owners of the office formerly and currently known as Garfield Realty.  This was at a time when he thought I was smart and would listen to me as if I knew what I was talking about.  But even he, even at that time, even though it was coming from me, wasn’t interested in trying a new “trick”.

A Favorite

A Favorite

This intransigence to new approaches, which it seems that we all have to some degree, made something that happened recently between me and my girlfriend, B, rather remarkable.  She was teasing me about having a night-light in my bathroom.  I explained that it wasn’t because I was afraid of the dark nor did I need it to find my way. I continued that when a number of years ago I found myself having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I realized that putting the bathroom lights on made me even more awake and made it hard to go back to sleep. Hence the use of a 4 Watt bulb.

Inadvisedly, I also told her that in many of my past relationships, I had put the gizmo in the bathroom of whomever I was involved with. That, in effect, I was kind of the Johnny Appleseed of night lights. Despite that bit of TMI, B looked a me with what I took as a new appreciation.  And then she said something I haven’t heard in a gazillion years . . .”You know, that’s a good idea; I’m going to give it a try.” Now, I  just can’t wait to show her that math thingy!

Brace Yourself!

July 7, 2016

To look at me, you’d probably guess I’m fairly healthy.  And, in fact, as far as real diseases go, that’s the case.  But the truth is I’ve been struggling with assorted injuries for years now.  Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining; I just thought in the spirit of candor (the hallmark of the Ironicman blog) I would let you know that physically, not everything is hunky dory.

Almost all of the aforementioned injuries are tennis related.  For the most part, they’re not serious and the truth is, if I didn’t want to continue to be active and was content to just sit and watch TV (or god forbid, read a book) I’d be just  fine.  But being that sedentary would almost certainly affect what’s left of my mental health.  So I find that I’m in a mostly constant state of trying to ameliorate the restraints that these injuries have on my athletic life.

To that end I’ve accumulated more orthotic devices than anyone should rightfully own.  I have gizmos for Achilles heel tendonitis, ankle problems, calf and hamstring strains, groin pulls and just in case you think I’m biased toward lower extremities, a nice assortment of aids for rotator cuff injuries. But my real specialty is a huge collection of knee braces. Because, in what seems to be a contradiction in terms, for some years now, my (right) knee has been my Achilles heel.

Tennis Anyone??

Tennis Anyone??

My kneemoania has been well-documented here. Now, in an effort to avoid knee replacement, I have been relentlessly trying new, often heavy-duty, knee braces. To such an extent that the customer representatives at BetterBraces.com are now my third and fourth best friends.  I’ve found some relief but it seems that I’m at a point where I either accept being a lesser tennis player, spend more time watching TV or move on to bionics.

There’s a quip that I’ve often found very appropriate: minor surgery is when it’s on the other guy.  Well, knee replacement isn’t minor; and, although I know it’s well-meaning, I find the advice I get from people in my life (by the way, not my friends at BetterBrace) to just go ahead    and “get a new knee” rather facile.  Although it’s just four words, Get-A-New-Knee it’s a big deal.  Very big.  Pre-op testing, surgery, post-op rehab, months and months of physical therapy and when all is said and done I’m still stuck with the same crappy backhand.

And there’s the psychological part.  I’m attached to my knee . . . in more ways than one.  I guess I’m just  not one to discard body parts that easily.  And then, of course, there’s that business of alarms being set off by the metal in my new knee as I pass through the TSA scan at JFK.   I need that like a hole in the head. Or a new knee.

 

Coup(e) de Grace

June 7, 2016

I used to think of myself as easy-going.  No longer.  And it seems that I’ve become particularly difficult when it comes to restaurants.  Oh . . . I’m still pretty easily satisfied when it comes to the food, but everything else has become a gantlet to be navigated.  I’m now consumed with where my table is located, where it faces and how close it is to the kitchen and bathrooms.  The shape and size of my dining chair is starting to matter, as well.  Also, how noisy the place is.  And of course, what kind of glasses the martinis are served in.  If you were to create an algorithm based on my requirements, there would be only six restaurants that would show up in a Google search. Three would be in Manhattan and two would be in Brooklyn.  The sixth is a bistro located in a small town just south of Tangiers in Morocco.

Unfortunately, that number has recently been reduced to five.  Last week, I went to one of the Brooklyn restaurants that had made the grade. But a sequence of events soured my experience; enough so, that I’m not sure I’ll be returning.  My girlfriend, B, and I were seated by the maitre d’ at a table that fulfilled my requirements.  Immediately afterwards, a party of five was led to the table next to us.  We were given our menus which we glanced at and then put down while waiting for our server, Guillermo, to ask for our drink order.  While we were waiting, Guillermo brought cocktails to the table next to us, ignoring us as if he worked for the Post Office.  We finally had to become somewhat aggressive in catching his attention. One of us said, in an annoyed way, that we had been waiting for some while and yet, our neighbors had gotten their drinks right away. His surly response was that we didn’t look like we were ready for our cocktails.  I asked, “Tell me, what exactly would it look like if we were ready for our drinks?”  The truth is, I didn’t say that.  But I find as I’m getting older that I’m getting more and more direct and caring less what people think of me; meaning that in about a year or so, there’s no question I will say that.

What a nice looking family!

What a nice looking family!

In any event, after this little skirmish our drink order was taken and ultimately delivered to our table. Now here’s where things really went off the rails.  As usual, I ordered a martini and was expecting it to come (as it had in the past in this restaurant) in that lovely triangular glass that means so (too) much to me.  But instead, Guillermo showed up with B‘s wine and my drink, which was presented in one of those coupe glasses . . . you know one of those Marie Antoinette tit-shaped glasses!  (You can tell how upset I still am by my less-than-delicate language.)  I motioned at the table next to us where stood three martini glasses –standing as if  they had spotlights on them– and asked why my drink was in an ersatz martini glass and not the real thing.  Guillermo explained that the bar had run out of regular martini glasses.

That was a hard pill to swallow, particularly seeing the object of my desire so close that I could all but touch it. At this point, it became clear to me that this dining experience had crested and that we were in a descent from which there would be no recovery.  Without much joy, B and I  gave our orders to Guillermo after which I did what I do best–I sulked.

At some point, I took a break from my sulking to go to the bathroom. When I returned, B told me that, in my absence, Guillermo had brought our neighbors a second round of drinks–all served in the real deal. Championing my cause, she had gotten hold of Guillermo and questioned him why there seemed to be enough glasses for everyone but me.  His answer was,” Do you think I purposely didn’t use a martini glass when bringing your drink?” It seemed like a tossup as to whether Guillermo disliked his job or us more. Actually, as I think about it, after the lousy tip we left, I’m certain we would be the clear winners.

So for now, it appears that my restaurant alternatives have been even further limited.  But I’m not worried that much.  New places open all the time.  And with the fall in oil prices, how much could a ticket on Moroccan Airlines cost!?

“What A (Re)Volting Development!”

May 18, 2016

imgres-1

I recently came across an article in The New York Times about a new product designed to discourage bad eating habits, particularly those that can cause weight gain.  The product is a wearable battery operated device called Pavlok (obviously named for you-know-who and his dog) which enables the user to give herself an electric shock whenever she takes a bite of a food she wants to avoid. Supposedly, after a period of time of almost electrocuting herself, she will no longer crave the food that might kill her in some other way.

Apparently, this is just a high-tech upgrade of the old-fashioned method of having your spouse give you a good slap on the kisser as you’re about to knock down that Hershey Bar or Cheez-It.  Maybe it’s designed for people who live alone.  And it’s only $199.  Way less than the cost of a wedding ring, let alone a catered affair.

This particular approach is part of a broader regimen known as aversion therapy.  It seems there are countless behaviors you can try to modify by causing some pain each time that you begin to fail yourself. For example, if your posture isn’t what it should be, there’s a device that you can wear which will shock you if you begin to slouch. Evidently, high voltage is the coin of the realm when it comes to change.

I myself, do it another way; I reward myself with chocolates whenever I stand up straight.  Works each and every time. Really. Which, as I think about it, is how we often encourage behavior modification in children. Along with countless, “Good Jobs”, we also hand out M & M’s or other goodies for various successes, not the least of which is in potty training. (There . . . I’ve used the words “potty training” in my blog —- meaning any chance of being taken seriously as a writer has gone . . has gone,  how shall I say . . .  down the toilet.) Obviously, sometimes positive reinforcement is preferable to electrocution . . . especially when you’re dealing with small children..

One of the interesting tidbits in the article was a story that the creator of the Pavlok told of  having once hired a woman to sit next to him and slap him on the face whenever she saw him using Facebook, so he could increase his productivity. I thought that was a really interesting use of aversion therapy.  Since I know that I also waste time, and a lot of it, I was wondering if I could somehow incorporate this approach into my own life. But given how often I’d need to be “punished”, I don’t think I can afford to pay someone to slap me each time I give in to sloth. I suppose I could figure out a way to give myself an electric jolt in each of those instances but unless there’s a real breakthrough in extending battery life, the thought of being tethered to an electric cord is . . . is . . well, shocking.

“Thank Your For Your Service”

April 20, 2016

imgresA few weeks ago, I was called to report for jury duty at the Supreme Court in Brooklyn. I know that almost everyone has their own jury duty story but since most folks don’t have their own blog, mine is the one we’ll hear today.

I can’t remember the last time I had served; which might mean that it was a long time ago or possibly several weeks ago—it’s gotten that bad. But there I was, arriving at the ungodly hour of 8:30AM on a drizzly Thursday morning. I had a recollection that there might be a lot of nothing happening while I was there so I brought along 11 back issues of the New Yorker, two novels that have been sitting on my night stand waiting to be read, and several NY Times Sunday crossword puzzles. I was ready for the long haul.

I took my seat in a large room surrounded by several hundred of my fellow citizens.  After taking care of some nuts and bolts of the process, I tried to settle in for my hiatus from the real world. But every so often there would be an announcement calling for potential jurors to go to a particular room. The randomness of those announcements kept me in a constant state of anxiety that precluded making a dent in any of the catch-up reading I had planned.

After about an hour or so, I heard my name called, along with about fifteen others, to go to room #7. There, overseeing the proceedings were several lawyers, one of whom laid out the broad strokes of the process of selecting a jury and what our responsibilities would be if, in fact, we were chosen to serve. He explained that this particular trial, a civil case, would take place on selected days over a 3-4 week period and asked if there was anyone who couldn’t be available for the entire time.  He cited some acceptable reasons to opt out of serving, such as having airline reservations already booked or students taking exams.  A few people raised their hands and met with the attorneys outside of our room to explain their situations and were dismissed.

Although I could certainly use the $40/day paid to jurors, I badly didn’t want to be involved in a month-long trial.  But I was afraid that if I lied and said I had travel plans, I might be asked to produce plane tickets. So I mulled over some other possibilities.  I raised my hand to speak with the attorneys and we had our little tete-a-tete. I should mention here that I’m really bad at lying–not because I find it morally offensive or I’m holier than thou–it’s just not a skill I have.  And when the element of chutzpah is added to the mix, I’m just a mess.  So, in not my finest hour, I said to the attorneys that I have a 96 year old mother who lives in Florida and given her age, I was concerned that I might need to hop on a plane at any time.

I thought this was a pretty decent way to go.  Yes it’s true that my mother has been dead for about 15 years but I thought it was almost a mitzvah to resurrect her for these purposes.  And timely too, as it was right around Easter Sunday.  Better . . . so much better,  I thought, than telling some strangers that a living parent had died.  That would be beyond the pale.

When I told the attorneys about my elderly mom, one said that his mother was 94 and the other added that his was 98.  Meaning, what’s the big deal about this aged parent thing. They asked if she was sick and I was so rattled that I said, rather proudly, that she was doing just fine. At this point they sent me back to room #7 to be included in the jury pool.

We were now told what the case was about; a medical malpractice issue.  The lead attorney asked if there was anyone who felt they could not view the evidence impartially.  My hand shot up and soon we were back in the hallway.  I explained that I have many relatives who are doctors, some of whom had been defendants in malpractice cases (at this point I think I developed a tic; also my nose grew about 4 inches) but more to the point (and honestly), I feel that our justice system has gotten perverted and that nowadays it seems that when anything goes wrong, some person or institution is at fault.  To this, one of the lawyers asked how I would feel if there was evidence that a doctor had amputated the wrong leg of a patient by mistake.  I said that in that case I would probably find that there had been malpractice.  His response was that that was too high a threshold to find guilt and I was dismissed.

I was now back in the large waiting room, once more in an anxious state.  Now, even more so because we were getting to the end of the day and there was a chance that I might be impaneled again and have to return the following day.  But thankfully, at about 4:30PM, there was an announcement that we were done for the day and would not have to return. Before we left, the Commissioner of Jurors spoke to us and thanked us for doing our civic duty.  She concluded by saying that our service for the day meant we would not be called for jury duty again for another 8 years. At that point my mother will be 104. The truth is, I just can’t see myself serving on a jury at that time when there’s a good chance I might need to tend to her at any moment.

“They Say It’s Your Birthday . . .”

April 1, 2016

Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying,  “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Ordinarily, I don’t take issue with any of the Founding Fathers but Ben totally screwed this one up. Because at least one other thing is certain–you’re going to have another birthday. And you’ll have one every year for as long as you live.

Which is precisely what happened to me a few weeks ago. Believe me, I didn’t ask for it . . . it just showed up— more or less uninvited.  But once it arrived I sort of embraced it.  Not with a full body hug; more like with kisses on both cheeks a la the French.Scan-100[1]

It was not a birthday number with a “5” or a “0” at its end; which led to most everyone saying that it was not a significant one, a “nondescript” birthday.  Which is so untrue.  At this point of my life, they’re all descript.  Each and every one of them.

Surprisingly, I received a lot of good wishes from a number of my Facebook friends.  No presents, just some words, usually just two. Which more or less cemented the feelings I have about the depth of friendships on FB.  So when I get around to it, I think I’ll send Mr. Zuckerberg a suggestion (I’m sure he can’t wait) that the site be modified so that “friends” are divided  into categories or levels.  For starters, I’d suggest that Level I Friends be limited to those who send a card and a gift (of any sort) on one’s birthday; Level II could be for those who send only a card and everyone else would fall into a third category. (For those of you who’d like to get into that first level, I’ll make it easy. I’m not interested in “things”–but a donation to a non-profit in lieu of a gift to me would be just fine.  The non-profit I have in mind is, The Neil Stein IRA Trust, LLC.  Like I said, easy.)

It’s not as if my Day went unnoticed.  A few different friends took me out for drinks and/or dinner (Level IA)  But there was no real concentrated effort to celebrate as their had been last year.  True enough, that effort had been led by me . . . but at least I did get dozens of people to show up at my house for free drinks and food.

My brother, Evets,, sent me a birthday card that was supposed to be funny—“Happy 100th Birthday”. It’s weeks later and I’m still not laughing. But it did spur my investigative instincts.  I went to my local card store and was pretty surprised to find that there’s actually an entirely separate category for centurions. Imagine, you can go to your local store and pick and choose from an assortment of birthday cards to get for that 100-year-old in your life! But one thing I noticed about all of those cards: the sentiments in each of them were focussed on the life you’ve lived . . . no mention of anything much going forward.  Kind of like rubbing salt in a wound to my way of thinking.

Now all the riotous celebrating is over and sadly, I’m facing almost an entire year until my next birthday. And even though, in a moment of pique, I’ve said to some friends that I’m no longer going to celebrate my birthday, the truth is that I want to celebrate it even more frequently.  So, another suggestion I intend to make to Mr. Zuckerberg is that he add half-birthdays to the Facebook site. But just in case he’s not as forward thinking as I am, please . . .mark 9/9 on your calendar.

 

Fiscal Therapy

March 8, 2016

Almost everyone that I know seems to have a physical therapist in their lives. Either they’re currently seeing one, have recently seen one or are planning to see one.  Kind of the way it was in the ’70s when I and everyone I knew were keeping house plants.

After my knee surgery, I too needed physical therapy.  My friend, Retep, highly recommended a woman whose office was inconveniently located on the Upper East Side.  So for the past several months, I’ve been spending half a day several times a week making my way to see her.  My PT person, Ginny, is absolutely lovely and seems to know what she’s doing.  But the best part of going to my appointment is the period I spend in the waiting room.  I am by far the fittest and often the youngest person in room. This is so much better for my sense of self than going to rock concerts that I’ve aged out of.

The clientele seem to be mostly from the immediate area . . . and mostly, women. Privileged, entitled and somewhat infirm women.  If I were in the market for this particular species, I can think of no place better to meet someone.  Forget dating sites such as Matchless.Com™ or OKStupid© –a physical therapy office would absolutely be the best place to find one’s impaired soul mate.

As for my own PT, I was a little discouraged with the pace of the improvement in my knee so I decided to see my surgeon to find out what he thought was going on.  This was a very sobering visit.  I’ll spare you the details but essentially, Dr. A said that my knee was on a downward trajectory and probably headed for a knee replacement at some point. That is, unless I wanted to abandon playing tennis and take up a different sport.  I think darts and golf were mentioned as alternatives.  I asked him if he’d like to consider taking up a different kind of doctoring. He looked at me oddly and said nothing.

But my knee has improved enough that I’m now playing tennis somewhat regularly again but not nearly at the level I once did.  I can’t tell how dispiriting this it.  Imagine that on Tuesday you are reading War And Peace–in the original Russian–and that evening you bang your head. And you wake on Wednesday only to find that you’re now having trouble following reality TV shows.  Well, that’s what it feels like to me.

I may need a larger apartment

I may need a larger apartment

This kneemoania, along with some other issues, have sent me back into psychotherapy.  As a result, there are days that I just go from one therapy to another. Fortunately, I’m able to keep the two straight and don’t start talking to Ginny about my inner life. Nor do I start doing some knee strengthening exercises at the shrink’s office.  But as you might have figured out, all this therapy doesn’t come cheap.  So I’ve decided to give them both up. A move towards fiscal therapy.  And with the money I’m going to be saving I think I’ll get myself a Ficus tree or two.; maybe some zebra plants. And of course, some jades.  I always loved those.

I’m Just Sayin’

February 25, 2016

I’ve never been able to commit to memory the differences between “left brain/right brain” functions; which is kind of ironic since my strong suit is exactly the kind of thinking (right brain?) that would enable me to do that.  Where I usually fall pitifully short is in non-linear, abstract (left brain?) thinking. This is most obvious (to me) when I need to orient myself relative to east, west, north and south positions.  The only way I can keep this kind of stuff straight is to envision a map of the U.S. and use that as a reference.  This means that I often have to stand on my head to get the directions to coincide with that image.

Another area where my brain lets me down is when language is used in a way that doesn’t follow the norms that I’m used to.  For example, occasionally when I’m talking to my friend, Nod, we have a disagreement in our recollections.  And that point, Nod is quick to pull out a quote from William Faulkner’s Light In August, “Memory believes before knowing remembers”.  And each and every time I hear this, I have no f**k’in’ idea what it means.  Although I love the way it sounds –and I wish that I was the one who had written it—  I remain clueless as to its meaning and Nod has to explain it to me.  We repeat this exercise from time to time. (I’ll pass on his email, cell # and social security number if you’d like an explanation.)

Another good example of my deficiency with abstract language is a quote that I read a while back in an interview with Philip Roth in the New York Times Book Review. He had just announced that he was no longer going to be writing.  Coincidentally, I had just informed my readers that I was going to be writing even more and, at the time, I thought that dovetailed quite nicely with Mr. Roth’s proclamation; that there might be a seamless transition between our two offerings and I would inherit his mantle.  I would have been happy to do that even while knowing I would be accused endlessly of  extreme misogyny.  A small price to pay, I thought.

Then I read his interview and realized that I was beyond delusional . . . that my (right?) brain functions were a small fraction of his. In an off the cuff way, he responded to his interviewer with an incredibly imgres-2erudite analysis of his writing and his critics, all the while using literary references most of which are unknown to me.  I guess that’s why I write blogs and he writes masterpieces

Towards the end of the interview, when Roth is asked to explain what kind of writer he is, he answers, ” I am who I don’t pretend to be.” I’ve read that sentence over and over, and though I’d give anything to have been the one to say it, I still have no idea what it means. I think I may have to give Nod a call.

 

Aren’t We Great!

February 17, 2016

Despite my best intentions, I’ve given myself over to election year politics. I’ve steeped myself in all the comings, going and ins and outs, which is invaluable fodder for cocktail party conversations.  But since my invites to those parties fall somewhere between few, far between and never, my devotion basically has been an enormous waste of time.Ibernie][1]

It seems that politics has now become just another sport to watch.  Certainly, you would believe that if you follow the way political pundits “call the game”. To them, there seems to be no sense of the gravity of the ballgame. It’s all about wins and losses.

Well, that’s not exactly true; every so often there are moments that cause them to stop and consider the solemnity of the election process. I was watching the New Hampshire primary and a political pundit (maybe Chris Matthews . . . or possibly Joe Scarborough) was having an on-air orgasm about the beauty of American democracy as we witnessed voters lined up to cast their vote.

I don’t see it that way, not at all.  What you have is two very thinly populated, nearly all white states (Iowa and New Hampshire) having this outsized influence as to who gets the nomination in each party.  In other words, a non-diverse population that represents .0000000000000000001% of the country is determining who will be considered for becoming the Leader Of The Free World. Doesn’t sound like democracy to me.

And then . . . and then, after that usurping of the democratic ideal takes place, we’re left with a system (the electoral college) that ensures that the votes of some 75% of the population don’t really have an impact on who becomes president.  Only the voters in a handful of states that are up for grabs cast votes that have any significance. Isn’t our democracy wonderful!? Aren’t we great?

Like many of my friends, I’m scared witless about the prospects of one of the Republican yahoos being elected. There’s a lot of talk reminiscent of the Vietnam War era of relocating to Canada if that were to happen. But wait a second . . . isn’t Ted Cruz Canadian?  Jeez, talk about going from the frying pan into the fire!

 


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