Say a guy's tired of watching The Twilight Zone, so he changes the channel, but The Twilight Zone is on the next channel, and the next--in fact The Twilight Zone is on all 500 channels--next thing, the TV won't turn off. And one more thing. This guy? He's not even watching TV. He's walking around, talking to people, thinks he's in the Zone. You wouldn't think that a guy like this might need some, I don't know, help?
Because I do! I can't take it anymore.
What am I talking about? Hard to say. What I'm talking about is, basically, everything that's happened since 9/11. That's when the color drained out, that's when the plinky guitar music started, followed by the horns, slightly dissonant, muted, stacatto, descending the most twisted staircase of notes ever written, followed by the constant reappearance of Rod Serling--or is it that everybody resembles Rod Serling? Because I don't have a unibrow--I keep checking, but I swear I don't. And, I hesitate to say this, but, I think, it's possible, that I am the only one left. Don't tell.
Today I talk to people who I don't talk to as much as I used to--and they all say the same thing, which is nothing, basically. It's hi, fine, bye. Whereas pre-9/11 these many and various people could have all been described, in different degrees, at one time or another, as opinionated, argumentative, not shy about saying what they think--but cheerful about it: friendly, sporting.
Post-9/11 these same people slowly transmogrified into larger versions of themselves, only with smaller brains. It soon became apparent to me that they were all wearing blinders, like horses do, so they only see what's in front of them. That way, they're not distracted by traffic. With the blinders on they can walk straight through chaos and all the way back to their own beds, if they can just keep the blinders on, and learn to poop in a bag instead of the street.Which is nothing compared to what people do.
What I remember from the days after 9/11 was the way everybody pulled together instantly; it was like a great tsunamic sucking-together of souls as might come after, say, a comet were to plunge into the ocean. We rushed together in grief and disbelief and we could not do enough for each other. Heroes were commonplace. Everybody did well. Nobody didn't. Except for me. Me, I got pissed. Then I got over it right about the time the rest of America was getting pissed.
Maybe I just don't want to be the same, or maybe I'm different, but from the moment the moil began, I've been a dispassionate observer, a buoy in a storm-tossed bay, tethered to a rock, weather beaten, half dead, but! Still there. That's how I see me. Isn't that how you see you?
As events wore on, and America took a strange and unexpected turn to Baghdad for reasons that were lies, lies, lies, relies, prelies and delies, our town ripped apart in a way that cannot be described so simply as to say we were Red or Blue. No, the divide here is economic.
Poverty, here, grows visibly, the way subdivisions bloom elsewhere. Here, the poverty line rises by the amount of money you're behind this month, and you haven't been to the grocery store for months because you can't afford it. And you have no credit cards. Or health insurance.
If you're poor, chances are you signed up to serve. Maybe you feel like it's the only job you can get. And you know the benefits will be there. If you ever get out. And when you do get out the first thing you find out is that the thing you thought you were entitled to? Sorry. You're not. This happens because the poor don't matter. And they really don't--I mean come on. They work two jobs, they're paid shit, treated worse; they fight our wars, hand over their lives and their corpses are smuggled back into the country so the left-wing liberal media won't try to make it like, oh, look at all our girls and boys dying.
But that's not what bothers me. We'll always have the poor. I know this from experience. What bothers me is how quiet we've all gotten. Not just here in town, but all over the dial. Nobody's saying. If they do, they apologize. They attack Abu Ghraib, they apologize; Gitmo, they apologize. If you're Newsweek, you retract; when your story proves correct, you leave it. If you're Time, you cough up a reporter, say, here, throw this one in jail for not naming his source. And nobody says a thing.
Executive branch, check; legislative branch, check; judicial branch... keep checking. Sandra Day O'Conner quits the Supremes, quits, retires, says I'm going to retire now. Chief Justice Rehnquist, he's dying and you don't see him retiring. Retiring?
Oh well. What a 7-2 court? Twenty years?
They own the government you know. They do. Jeb's next. Jeb Bush. He's got it. Sewn. You heard it from me.
By the way, the word moil was the Word of the Day on September 11, 2001. Click it above.