One of the more interesting features of getting older is that you get to exercise your mental acumen with the near-constant query “Am I having a heart attack?”
Because nearly everything feels like a heart attack. Today, while sitting at my desk, I bent over to pick something up off the floor, and I felt a stabbing pain in my chest like I wouldn’t wish on worst enemy. I was on the phone with a vendor at the time, so I had to suppress the urge to say:
HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT THE FUCK I’M DYING GAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!
Instead I went “Uh-huh. And how much is it?”
Because god forbid I should be unprofessional, even as my last breath escapes my body.
I later got the same pain when I bent over in the same way again, and so I figured it was not a heart attack, but instead one of those creaky you-can’t-do-that-anymore-without-it-hurting things that you get when you’re orbiting the half-century mark and preparing to land on it in what I’m sure I will perceive as the wink of an eye. And I responded by conceding mentally that if I could no longer sit in my desk chair and bend over at the waist stretching my right arm down and backward and to the right, then, well, I would just have to make due somehow.
I think this never-ending parade of minor concessions are there as a warning that the diminishment and crumbling of the human body is a humiliating process. The body will fail, eventually, and so will the mind. For most people, the body fails first, and I think that is probably the easier way. No one wants to be a vegetable inside a still fully functioning body, unless, of course, Fox News has decided to renew your contract.
Bang! Still got it.
Honestly, though, as I have watched adults get older and turn to the politics of fear and defensiveness, I have resolved to keep an open heart, and to stay liberal, even when those around me are clutching their pocketbooks to their chests and driving 15 mph in a Chrysler Lebaron.
Jesus, speaking of Chrysler, who else laughed out loud when they heard that Chrysler was thinking, by way of recovery from the brink of oblivion, of teaming with Fiat? Because I’m pretty sure Fiat is like the Chrysler of Europe. I mean, Chrysler teaming with Fiat is like American Idol teaming up with the Eurovision Song Contest; they’d just be expanding the geographic area over which they suck ass.
Anyways, in politics, pandering to the fear constituency continues to pay off. Right now, the fear is all about big government. Yes, the big government boogie man is back, big time, as conservatives scramble for a message that will lull the American people into the kind of retarded stupor that favors the election of candidates like George W. Bush and his intellectual broham, Sarah Palin.
Palin recently got up on her high special needs horse when she responded with ill-disguised glee to Obama’s awful joke on Leno about his bowling being worthy of the Special Olympics.
Although, to be fair, the Special Olympics is really the worst event name ever. It’s kinda like they want to be made fun of.
But because Palin has a child who is saddled not only with parents who have some pretty fucked-up ideas about the monikering of their offspring, but also with a mental deficiency called Down syndrome, Palin was given a platform from which to declare that she hoped that the leader of the free world didn’t really mean to degrade special needs children.
And my problem is not with her remarks, which were completely reasonable. My problem is, as usual, with her hypocrisy.
Because that very same day she made a big show about “turning down” stimulus dollars for her state, including $170 million earmarked for education, including…wait for it…
Programs for special needs children.
She justifies this decision by saying that she doesn’t want to “grow government” by endowing projects at a level that will leave them high and dry when the Federal dollars are gone.
Which makes no sense. Because even if she never intends to sufficiently fund education in her state, and I would hope that would not be her aspiration, it’s not as if the Fed dollars she would have gotten would not have done permanent good. It’s like refusing to wash dishes today because next year you might have half as much soap.
Not that her position matters much, because she, like our U.S. Congressional Republicans, will be saved by those in the legislature who labor under the idea that they are there to, you know, serve the fucking people. And in the end,
And most of them will be old. And a-scared of something called “big government,” even though it’s the same entity that buys their FDA-approved meds, and sends them a social security check that it turns out they really need after all, and makes sure that they have electricity to charge their Medicare-funded mobility scooters. Yes, they’ll mark their ballots for Palin, or whoever is standing in her place, because they’re afraid of big government, big government, big government - completely forgetting, in the fog of age, that at one time they were smart enough to realize that government is an engine designed to help, and especially help the time-addled and the infirm.
I promise not to be one of them. If I’m even still alive by then. I might be having a heart attack.