As children we had a tendency to want to know, long before we got there, how the story ended. And so it goes into adulthood? I’d hope not. Does it only occur to me that this attempt, horribly successful lately, to decide the ending and work to that end is the same thing? There are many examples, but one stands out. We know that one of our political parties has a limited time to be competitive in our politics, working against minorities of all races and backgrounds while those groups’ numbers rise. So their backers decided what they want to be the happy ending…for them…and demand results. That’s what we’re living with now, but with one exception. Those wealthy people with their fingers on the scale didn’t factor in an outlier…a totally unreal “reality TV” personality, actually barely able to operate a business, managing to use the language of populism to fool enough people to take the top prize. In a novel, such a character would be beyond belief. Yet, there he is.
Wouldn’t you think that only disaster would result? Well, it has…and it gets worse daily. The most perverse motivation, revenge, has taken the day, and all the good done in recent years is being undone. Though not their hero, this outlier is doing the bidding of the wealthy, even while they surely must have the deepest scorn for him. And the outlier Congress, brought to office through tricks, mirrors, and lies, again is proving that their party knows not how to govern…a fine kettle of fish.
Read what Libertarians wanted to do in 1980, and you’ll see today’s agenda. Their shopping list was endless…and totally mean-spirited. But all of it is now on the table, with the outlier party now leading the charge. Should they rename themselves the Outliar Party? The ending they have in mind for us is not pleasant, except for them. They make money, as we are marginalized. Time is of the essence for them to bring it about. But they need the help of people they intend to give the shaft to. You’d think those people would inform themselves…would wake up and see that there’s no limit to the harm that would be so willingly inflicted, even upon those who gave them power. But, as they whittle away at democracy, people are just becoming discouraged and giving up…or siding with the party wielding the blade.
If the story is already written, I fear the ending may be worse than I imagined just a short time ago. So, whatever you do, don’t tell me how it ends. I can always hope for a rewrite that way.
You can call me Bartleby. That’s not my real name, but it’s close enough. I think someone once said…I write, therefore I am…or something like that. No matter. I write. And I am. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll tell you why I’m here. For years I kept quiet, even as I became more dissatisfied, more disconcerted, with what I saw all around me. Personal disappointments and frustration with a deteriorating world finally brought me to the breaking point. So I began to write. Do you dare to think you can now shut me up?
My allergies keep me from having a cat of my own, but I’m always glad to welcome a cat friend. My buddy actually belongs to my neighbor. I think he’d gladly change families if I could survive it. When he’s on my lap, there’s nothing his cat mom or dad owner can say to get him to go to them. Perhaps it’s a bit malicious on my part, but I never encourage him to leave to go home.
I heard cat mom calling. “Rusty! Here, Kitty!” Only a few seconds passed before she repeated her call. No response from “Rusty” told me he wanted to stay. When I looked toward their house, I saw the muzzle of a black and white dog poking through a hole in the board fence. In his eyes, I thought I detected longing…or maybe it was jealousy. He whined.
“Sorry, Killer. I know you’d like me to pet you too,” I said quietly, then finished my sentence, “…but I’m a cat lover.” My buddy just stirred briefly, then put his head down and fell back asleep. When there’s a cat sleeping in your lap, all is good in the world. Isn’t it?
Billy’s a normal guy…maybe a little too normal…and not the player he brags about to his buddies. The fact is, last night was his first time out in a month. A blind date, Lola was a friend of a girl at work…or so he thought. A night of drinking, dining, and a night in bed was unusual for him. He now realized he’d been a dutiful sucker. Ginny was gonna hear about it when he got to work on Tuesday. But, for now, he had phone calls to make…to cancel his cards before Lola, if that was her name, could run up a huge credit card tally. Not even 8am, and he’d already called 3 companies. He’s lucky he had the latest charge statements handy…the cards gone, he’d never have been able to get the right 800 numbers. There goes the weekend, he groused. He hoped he hadn’t gotten a social disease…Billy actually prayed the worst was over.
Tuesday came. Ginny was there before him, but when he asked her about Lola, she looked puzzled. “I spent Friday night with Lola. That wasn’t Lola who robbed you.”
Billy knew he hadn’t dreamt what happened. The money and credit cards were gone. The other shoe was yet to drop…the debit card he’d forgotten to call to cancel. When he went to the bank before lunch, he had his checkbook, but the teller said he was overdrawn. Billy protested, “There’s gotta be a mistake. I made sure there was $500 in checking on Friday.” A look at the bank records said otherwise. That $500 had been withdrawn early Saturday morning. There was nothing but chicken feed left. Billy wondered if there was more bad news to come. Even as upset as he was, he chuckled as he thought to himself…was he going to find out now that he was pregnant? He sure felt screwed. Whatever else he felt, he didn’t want to talk about it with his buddies. That night never happened. He decided that was his story…and he stuck to it.
13 Wonderful Old English Words We Should Still Be Using Today
Like Marley’s ghost, I wear the chains I forged in life. So I’ve at last concluded. This is not the life I planned and not the life I worked for, but the life I settled for. The things I substituted for joy now leave me cold, leave me wanting…not for more things, but to be rid of most of the detritus of living from one disappointment to the next.
Having spent an excess of forevers seeking amusements alongside one who felt it their due, I found a wealth only of regrets. I was never one to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, content, or so I let myself believe, with going along to get along. Being my nature to be kind, it seemed necessary not to make waves. But forces long suppressed will eventually return as a tsunami of emotion. And, though it took long enough…too long…to come to the surface, I finally found myself suddenly, as I thought it, overwhelmed. Regrets…I have many…some far worse than others.
But time is not reversible. Don’t we all wish it was? So here I am, entering the latest new year, working to accommodate my reflections of mistakes made, undo those I can, and move on, to make, most likely, many more. As they say…that’s life. And live I shall. Chains will be smashed. New experiences await…and I welcome them.
© 2016 Robert Mihaly
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