NO. This is NOT NORMAL.

Everyone is going kamikaze apeshit over the Sean Spicer appearance on the Emmys last night.

Seriously? The things that have been going on in this country and around the world, and you’re outraged at a joke? Would it have been “funnier” had Melissa McCarthy delivered it? Less “outrageous”? Less galling for you to digest?

Spicer is just another diversion. While we’re freaking out about his audacity to make a joke about crowd size, there are really shady things going on. But like that dog in the movie UP, someone just yelled “SQUIRREL” and there we go again, down another rabbit hole. Or squirrel. Except that I dont think squirrels live in holes. Okay, holes in trees, but not in the grou….wait. Sorry. I strayed off-subject.

(See what I did there?)

Like it or not, the guy did his job. Have you ever worked somewhere and had to play by the company’s rules because you NEEDED your job and were required to at least look like a team player until you could figure out a way to GTFO? I know that I have. I believe that I have shared those experiences right here from time to time. I know a lot of people who have. Please, spare me your platitudes about self-respect and honesty. The guy was working in politics, which, as far as I know, ranks up there with lawyers and used car salesmen (and televangelism) as being the most disingenuous, cutthroat, facetious profession in the world. He did his job; at times, very badly. But he did his job as well as anyone who has taken one despite knowing, in the pit of their stomach, that it was a bad idea, could do. He was rewarded for it by being ousted for another guy who lasted a week. For a guy who made the phrase “sucking my own cock” a part of the dinner conversation and the water cooler talk and the mainstream news media. That was HIS lesson to learn, not ours.

Perhaps it should have been our lesson.

The point is, we are normalizing this crap with every passing day. When school shootings were happening with increasing frequency, I worried out loud that we would stop being as horrified with every occurrence . I worried in the same way about terrorism. How many of us have watched the news, read it, felt pangs of sadness and been momentarily aghast at the atrocities man commits against man – and then simply gone about our day?

*Raises hand*

I’m not proud to admit it. It speaks more to my growing insulation against an outrageous and despicable world than I care to face. That I can read about someone walking into a school and shooting the place up, or driving down a crowded city street and mowing people down, and then go make myself a sandwich? In a less caustic and embittered world, who does that? Who does that?

I do. You do. We do.

We have to stop insulating ourselves. I know, it’s probably a form of self-preservation. We don our armor because we need to get through the day and thinking about the fact that this world is at a level of batshit fucking crazy that we’ve never experienced before is simply too hard to digest. The problem is, by waiving it aside; by shrugging our shoulders; by exclaiming “I can’t believe this shit!” and then walking blithely away, we are digesting it. Maybe we feel like we’re wrongfully incarcerated inmates and the food in front of us is shitty, but it’s all we got – but it’s also not. Because we are not inmates.

Neither, in the end, was Sean Spicer. The truth of his tale is yet to be told, but I think that we’re being fed little appetizers in the form of his recent appearances, and the whole meal is yet to come. We can argue that he lacked principles and that any self-respecting person would have never taken the job of Press Secretary for such a corrupt President in the first place, but the fact is, others have in the past. And others will in the future. Again: his lesson.

We have to shed the insulation and feel all the feels, so to speak. The only way to change a situation is to first change how we react to it, and then to act. How do we do that?

I don’t fucking know.

Look, I’m as frustrated and clueless as you are. I’m agitated, stressed, and I suspect that my new crop of stomach ulcers can be blamed equally on the fact that I am angry every single day at the state of the union. I’m as guilty of normalizing crazy and inviting it into my living room for an evening of charades as anyone else. I don’t have answers that I can articulate. What I have is action. My words, in print and voice, are action. My participation in civilized activism is action. My vote is action. My rejection of “normalizing” this shitshow is action. It’s the best that I have right now. I think that, if we all could come together as a collective and simply agree that none of this is normal, we might begin to dissolve the contrails overhead that have made things so overcast. Once we are out in the light, then maybe we’ll be able to see the path in front of us. All I know is that sitting complacent in our seats and muttering a mantra of “Mueller will make it better” isn’t going to work. While we are looking at the shiny objects in front of us, the dark magic is happening.

We need to get to work. I am not okay with leaving this dumpster fire for my grandkids to put out. That Sean Spicer lacks any modicum of self-respect is not my fight. I’m more concerned about the fact that so many others think it should be. And so should you.

Don’t get distracted.

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Things don’t go as planned for a reason, and it’s not because of God.

Crossroads: they’re part of life.

We all experience them at different points in time. They are the stuff of coming-of-age, meeting our destinies, and in many instances, confronting truths. I suppose that I could make an argument for life itself being one big crossroad event, but I’m not feeling that philosophical today.

Crossroads can be a brutal, bucket of suck. I have reached one such crossroad, and let me tell you this: any crossroad that involves being brutally honest with yourself about who you are is never going to be a fun-filled retrospective of memories. When you have to face certain realities and confront a less than optimistic truth, it is easy to bog yourself down in self-pity and sadness. You want to wallow. You should wallow. But not for long. No one wants to hear that, see that, accept that; not from themselves, and certainly not from others. We are an increasingly insensitive, isolated, narcissistic species and loads of us absolutely abhor the feeling of responsibility for someone else’s sadness. By responsibility, I don’t mean that we created it, but that we feel the need to “fix” it. We tell ourselves we’re just too busy, we have too many of our own concerns. We may even be so inclined as to actually be concerned and sad for them. We will attempt to quickly divert them with phrases and pithy responses. We pay lip service to their misery; “Cheer up! It’ll be fine.” With that in mind, you must choose your method of wallowing carefully, so as not to offend any of the dozens of easily-offended people in your immediate realm.

While my initial reaction to those who seem personally affronted by my wallowing is to say “Fuck all y’all” I know better than to do that. It is better to choose which direction you take without the bitter resentment at others’ indifference to your personal pain. Irrationality can color a situation in an unrealistic way. In my stubborn way, I am always tempted to insist, “I can do this on my own.” The truth, though? I shouldn’t.

I am a writer. Always have been, always will be. It doesn’t pay the bills, though, and hasn’t been a possibility due to other life events taking up my brain and my time. I began my adulthood working toward a career in writing but was quickly sidetracked. I faced a crossroads: continue with my education or drop out to follow a man and raise his children. I can never, ever say that I chose wrong.

Throughout that journey down that road, I often pondered returning to that life of study, if only part-time. I wanted to be something, someone. I was convinced, though, that writing wasn’t going to put food on the table and help our situation. My biggest influence in that life was my husband, and he treated my desire to write as if it was just a childish indulgence. Better to focus on something else I had always been interested in: nursing. I would get catalogs from the local university and plot my course. Invariably, though, something in life would force me to focus elsewhere. A few job losses (his), a natural disaster (flood), and the reality of raising 5 kids becoming more and more expensive. There will be time later, I would silently tell myself. You’re still young.

Later, when the children were getting older and the next crossroads loomed ahead, I made another choice: to love someone else. Thoughts of nursing school would surface, bobbing quietly in my stream of consciousness, and then eventually disappear. Life was so busy. Life demanded that I put out fires constantly. I began to write again, blogs, poetry, little story ideas. I was good. I knew it. Friends, strangers, family told me so. This was still possible.

The nursing thing, though? It was always there. I have always taken care of others in some way, from childhood to now. It’s been not so much a calling as it is a part of who I am at my core. I’m a nurturer, an empath, and apparently amongst the 1% of personality types classified as an

INFJ

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.

How wonderful for me, right? It’s actually a pain in the ass to be this way and to be depressed. It’s probably why.

Be that as it may, nurture is what I do. Putting out fires is what I do. Combine the two, and you get a nurse. And it pays well, too.

The idea was this: go into nursing. Write in my spare time. Certain events coincided in such a way that it suddenly became possible. At 50, I was going to work in a subordinate nursing position and go to school. I was overjoyed. This, I told myself, was finally The Right Time.

Until it wasn’t.

No pity party here. I am 50. I have tried to be healthy, but my body has always had other ideas. The neck birth defect, the spleen compromise at 16, my heart deciding that it wanted to be a rock star and beat to its own, eventually dangerous rhythmn. The depression. The fucking depression!!!!

And now, this eye condition. We don’t know what it really is or how it began or if it will eventually be cured. We don’t know anything, really, except that I don’t have tears. None. I have tried everything, even watching The Notebook. On the one occasion that I cried because I had no tears, I ended up crying harder because I had no tears. (Cue Alanis.) My corneas are damaged. I can’t even get new glasses because my eyesight has degraded to a point where a new prescription is not possible. I am in pain. Discomfort. And I need to put drops into my eyes at an hourly rate. Sometimes more, if the sun and moving air get to them. I exist most days in the dimness of subdued lighting, venturing out only to do what is essential. My opthamologist has been less than helpful, and quite unavailable most of the time. We fired him. Next at bat is my PCP, and I admit, I have way more faith in her. She at least shows up for our appointments.

The point is, I can’t work in a healthcare setting without eyesight, and certainly not while being a slave to a bottle of drops. It’s not sterile, hygienic, or wise. If it corrects itself eventually, yay for me! I’m pragmatic, though, because have you met me? Nothing is ever simple. If I won the lottery, it would most likely coincide with the fucktard-in-chief deciding to raid all 50 states of their lottery coffers to pay for his goddamned Wall. I’d end up with an engraved brick somewhere along the Texas state line.

The neck has spoken, too. Because it can’t just be one, simple, mysterious eye affliction, can it? At 50, the neck has decided that Fuck this shit. It may tolerate some more shots before going kaput, but behaving as if I am not in pain when I am not, in fact, in pain is apparently baaaaad because when the pain eventually returns, it is worse. My left side is significantly weaker than my right. That means being careful. And that limits how much physical activity I can safely get away with. Bottom line? No joining Cirque De Soleil. No Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody-esque headbanging. And no nursing.

Crossroads: they suck sometimes. And the thing about dreams is that that’s all they really are. You can work hard and do everything right and sometimes, they just don’t happen. And so you wallow, and then you put drops in your eyes and it may take you three days of pecking away at this blog but you do it because guess what? You still have this.

I am a writer. No one can take THAT dream away from me. None of the roadblocks, and all of the five-gallon buckets of suck that life has dumped on me, can take this gift that I have away. If my eyes are fubared? I have a voice. There’s Braille.

Whatever it takes! Maybe all the crossroads I have found myself at were necessary to get me to this one. To the true path. I have options along the way, too.

So let’s get going, shall we? Bring a pillow for your ass – because riding with me is bumpy. Bring your sense of humor – because it will save your life. And bring pizza. And nachos. And wine. Because why fucking not?

Reality IS a thing.

Let’s try a new thing. I’m not one who enjoys change, but at this stage of my life, I’m making an uneasy peace with it.

Let me give you an accounting of a life lesson that has been taught to me. Call it fucknuggets of wisdom or the sounding of the douchetrumpets – whatever.

When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot. I was, short, dumpy, uncertain, clumsy, and had an oddly-shaped head (a friend of mine back then – kids have no tact or guile – said her dad referred to me as “moon-face” and I didn’t know what it meant, but instinctively knew he wasn’t being nice; he was a big, loud, angry fuck knuckle of a botard and he died in late middle age and I was glad) and poor, so I was easy prey.

There were these “rich kids” who lived in the neighborhood. In retrospect, they might not have been rich but their father had a good job, they had a big, nice house, and everything anyone could ask for. Their mom was a stay-at-home who was always in everyone’s business and who came from a huge, Italian family in the neighborhood, which was code for “We belong and you don’t” in this particular ward. They sent their kids to Catholic school and wrinkled their noses at anyone who A) wasn’t Italian, and B) didn’t have the same or better social status. These kids were spoiled, entitled, and mean. There can be no other word. They flaunted their clothes, their posessions, and acted as if they were royalty. Other kids treated them as such, so how were they ever going to know that they weren’t, right? They were both older than me; the boy was 2 years older and the girl, 6. He was a nasty little prick who once cornered me and threatened to punch me in the stomach just because I was walking past his house. He teased and taunted me. In later years, we actually got along but mostly because he was hired, through our contractor, to replace the kitchen cupboards in a remodel my first husband and I did of our house. I let it slide, because I was young, and still not the loudmouthed truth-telling bitch that I am now. Were this scenario to happen now, I’d have had my verbose way with him.

The girl? She was a cunt. Seriously. I don’t use that word unless I mean it. A bit on the chunky side, loud, snobby, and stupid. FUCK! Was she ever. I knew it, even then, but she was so mean to me that it took my breath away. When she deigned to pay attention to me, it was to ridicule and insult. I avoided her whenever possible, but she was so present, so in-your-face, and I was so much younger…..it was difficult to escape her. The memory of her is one of those shudder-inducing recollections that everyone has. Since she was so much older, I was able to avoid altercations with her in my teenaged tears. That was a fortunate thing for me, because that decade was fraught with so much turmoil and sadness and assorted fuckery that adding her to the mix might have tipped the suicide scales much farther than they leaned.

Apparently, life was not a bed of roses for this family. The dad had an affair. The parents got a divorce. The kids were taken out of private school and sent to public. The mother, a gay divorcee in her 40s, started dating a guy and then got *GASP!* pregnant and “had” to get married. How the mighty fell in the 80s. This was a big, fat, dramatic scandal! I lost track of the older girl over the years, not really giving even one fuck about what happened to her. She was a cunt, remember?

Fast-forward to last year. I encountered her mother, who has been through a series of life-humbling events. We spoke, and she informed me that her daughter had died the year before. She’d had some sort of cancer and it killed her quite suddenly. I offered my condolences, because really? Telling her that her daughter was a loud cunt who had made my childhood even more hellish than it already was seemed unnecessarily cruel at that moment. Her treatment of me no longer mattered. I felt sorry for this grieving mom. I’m a mom too, and I wouldn’t ever wish that kind of pain on another parent.

A little more fast-forwarding, to the other day. Facebook has the ability to bring people together and put them in your peripheral vision even accidentally. I stumbled across a family member of these childhood nightmare kids and curiosity took over and I had a bit of a creep. We all fall victim to this temptation; don’t lie to me and say you never have!

The cunt of my past had a Facebook page. You know, the thing about Facebook is that it’s like schizophrenia, or herpes: it never goes away. She died, but her profile lives on. People still post things on her page, too. Her friends, family, kids, husband. Post after post, I read about how good she was, kind, loving, funny. Everyone seemed to miss her terribly. I thought to myself, maybe she changed. Maybe life taught her a lesson or three, and she became less of a cunt and more of a humble, caring person. Just as I became less of a victim and a doormat and more of a blunt, honest, kick-you-in-the-crotch warrior….maybe she became redeemable. Maybe she acquired some wisdom. I was actually feeling a little bad about my radical, extreme labeling of her.

Then I saw a post from early November of 2016. One of her family members had posted to let her know (because in the Afterlife the dead still get their news from Facebook. Duh!) that Donald Trump had won the election and was going to be President. Apparently, she loved him. She thought he was the greatest person ever. She admired his goodness. She had felt that he was going to save this country from the terrible path it was on. The family member wanted to let her know that her “hard work up there in Heaven” had succeeded! Her savior had won.

What a stupid cunt.

My life lesson, kids, is that people don’t fundamentally change who they really are. Just as I was a warrior deep down inside, this girl was the same vapid twit even at the end of her life. Anyone who condones, admires, and espouses the characteristics of the morally-bankrupt turd who currently sits in the Oval Office – and thinks his values are what this country needs – derserves to retain my early, first impression of her; even in death. First impressions can be misleading, but not if they keep on giving the same results over and over. Trust the gut. It never lies.

Class dismissed!

Let me be me for a moment. In all seriousness

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind.

I am 50 years old. There have been 10 Presidents in my lifetime. My recollection of 2 of them is vague, at best, because I was either an infant or very small. I remember President Ford’s term, albeit shorter than others.

This is the thing: I have always felt safe under the President’s watch. It has been almost an afterthought, an expectation, something taken for granted. You elect a candidate because he (And someday, inevitably, blessedly SHE) is capable, intelligent, knowledgeable, and up to the task. Even if your choice doesn’t win, the candidates put forth are expected to be of this high caliber. They answer a higher call to power not simply because they want to be the leader, but because they believe in this nation’s people and its ability to do good. Some have enjoyed the status a little more than others, but for the most part, becoming President of the United States requires selflessness. It requires tenacity. It requires a very thick skin. Those who answer this call take very seriously the commitment to the nation that they are making, and indeed, to the world.

I do not feel safe within the “protective arms” or leadership of the current President. I go to bed worried, and I wake up worried. I look at the news, and at Twitter, usually before I take my first sip of coffee. I go about my days constantly checking in with social media and news outlets because, let’s be honest here: this guy could launch a missile by first announcing it on Twitter. He could declare war on another country, or on a specific group of people, via a tweet. And, in fact, he has. The are no limits to his unhinged megalomania. He is a threat in and of itself.

I am not going to cite the things he has done during his six months in office that are bad, or negligent. Those who are still with him will simply say “Fake news!” like he has conditioned them to react. I know fake news, and I know the truth when I read it, or hear it. There are real enemies of the truth out there, printing falsehoods just to misguide people; a certain segment of the population doesn’t read past the headlines. A certain segment falls for every story published by TheOnion. A certain segment of the population thinks Alex Jones is a legitimate journalist and freedom fighter and they don’t see him for the grifting, wacko opportunist that he clearly is. A certain segment of the population thinks that Tomi Lahren is a cute l’il scrappy bunny and would you just bless her heart for all those smart, sassy things her little firecracker of a mouth says? Fox News is the anointed truthteller of this Presidency, and not Reuters, The Associated Press, or reliable, trusted guardians of “Just the facts” journalism like a Dan Rather, a Bob Schieffer, or a Diane Sawyer. Fuck those guys, right? If President Trump says they’re lying, they must be. He got elected, after all. He’s qualified.

Except that he isn’t, and they’re not liars. But he is. Every day, he lies. Granted, he doesn’t call it lying; he calls it “hyperbole”. He is, as my grandma would say, a “big bullshitter”. His defenders cry out, “Let Trump be Trump!” but this is not an episode of The West Wing and we are not insisting “Let Bartlet be Bartlet” because Jed Bartlet was a FICTIONAL CHARACTER and even then, Donald Trump is no Jed Bartlet.

This constant tendency he has of bending the truth would not have been tolerated by any person during any other presidency and it should not be now. He does not get a pass because of who he is; an “outsider” new to the game. President Obama did not get a single pass because he was black; even now, he is criticized and in fact demonized, his very legacy under attack. He was not perfect; none of them are. He did, however, lead the country and strove to make us feel safe. He did, and does, possess more honesty and humility in his pinky toe than Donald Trump does in his entire family.

Donald Trump is a con artist and a scammer. He is thin-skinned, petulant, and a bully. His approval rating amongst his own supporters is falling like Thor’s hammer on an enemy. His party has zero faith in his abilities and is actively trying to limit his capability to inflict even more harm on his own people and, in fact, the rest of the world. That Congress must take these steps to safeguard us and our interests worldwide is both shocking and sobering.

But he still has the launch codes.

I miss the carefree days of President George W. Bush.

This is all true, I promise.

One of the hardest things to do, when trying to write, is to not revisit themes you’ve been to before. When you write a blog with specific ideas and parameters in mind, that can be hard. Sometimes, you need to abandon those specifics entirely and just write what you know. My intent, namely putting a real face on depression and calling it out for the nasty, lying bastard that it is, can be just that – depressing. One of the best ways to escape the daily drudgery is to do things to combat it. So for today, fuck depression. I have other things in my bag of tricks and experiences. I can write about other things that I know.

And, here is what I know: my life has been a series of “What the fuck is this?” moments. Some of it, you cannot make up. A lot of it, you can. But only in an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland While on Drugs with a Good Half-Dozen Shots of Tequila sort of way.

Let’s recap last week, and not in a Breaking News fashion, because with what’s happening in this country alone, this could be the blog that never ends. I’ll hit on that this way:

The President is a stagnant dribble of douche-waste, a discarded baby diaper that has been left in a parking lot and run over by cars for a week. John McCain is an American hero.

There. That is the best I can do today, because I am exhausted by the minute-by-minute cacophony of political pundits, tweets, and “He did what?” exclamations that rise into the air in a muddled symphony of exasperation. Today, let’s be all about the love, the silliness, and the profane. I threw in profane because you all know how much I enjoy a perfectly-placed expletive.

I bought a bicycle last week. Not being able to drive because of my eye condition has been pretty confining, and definitely contributes to the tendency I have to burrow down into myself. I walk every day, but I thought that putting some serious exercise into that routine and being able to go farther in a shorter period of time would be grand. The local bus lines don’t get you everywhere, and not always at the times when you need to be places. Let’s set aside the fact that the last time I regularly biked, I was 19. I tried to revisit the activity one time in my late 20s but I weighed about 75 lbs more than I do now and that ended rather quickly. (Me, wilting in the summer sun on a bike trail at State park, tearfully crying to my ex-husband that this was a baaaaad idea and then walking the bike the rest of the way.) I wasn’t physically ready. Now, I am.

I picked out a sweet black bike with white and pink striping at my most favorite Hell Store in the world (the husband still works there, and a 10% discount is still a 10% discount, yo) and the husband took it back to the automotive department to have the tires inflated. He also adjusted the brakes. We headed for the check out and were ringing out when suddenly, a ear-shattering BANG! sounded. Bomb? Gunshot? The whole place went silent. Hesitant voices rose in unison: “What was that????” People emerged from crouched positions and hiding places. I should point out that we had an active shooter situation in our store last Autumn. You do not forget that shit and it kinda makes you expect it again. Especially there.

The husband said, very loudly, “IT WAS THE INNER TUBE IN THE BIKE TIRE EXPLODING.” He said this loudly because he was balancing the bike and his right ear had just taken on a deafening, concussive sound. Casualties that day included various pairs of underwear, his eardrum, my esophagus stretching to accommodate my heart, and let’s not leave out the possibility of cardiac arrests that could have occurred when various out-of-shape employees came huffing and puffing to the scene of the bang. Apparently whoever filled those tires is not very educated about tire pressure, which is frightening given that the department is Tire and Lube Express. Reason #676 not to shop there, kids.

Anyway, a replacement bike was procured and then I made the husband ride it home while I took the bus because I was scared. Yep. That is what I did, and he did it because he loves me, and we got home at the same time, which was interesting. I rode it that evening, just a couple of turns up and down the street. I didn’t wreck. I figured out the gears, which are on the hand grips now and not in the center of the yoke like they were back when Hector was a pup and I had a gorgeous turquoise ten-speed with the curled handlebars.

Sidebar: who is Hector? Is/was he an actual puppy or was he referred to as a pup because he was young? What did he do to gain such fame as to have a “saying” coined about him? Did anyone ever actually meet Hector or is he an urban legend?

Anyway, the bike revealed the fact that I will need wind-canceling goggles to wear over my glasses because that’s one bad aspect of having severe dry eye syndrome. This means that I will either look like a complete moron or a serious poseur when I ride depending the style of eye coverage I buy. Or can afford, more importantly. The bottom line is that there can be no vicarious bicycling until I do, which is probably good, because you just know that there will be a crash in my future. Let’s put that off for a while, shall we?

On Friday, I was walking as usual, and passed one of the 4 churches I usually lower my head and look away from so as not to catch any Christianity cooties. This is what I encountered on the sidewalk in front:

A man had apparently dropped his undershorts. In front of the church.This happened to be a Baptist Church, and you know those Baptists are passionate about their worship. I speculated with my friends that perhaps this was a new religious movement, or maybe it’s like Vacation Bible School, where a bunch of guys stand in the community hall bare-assed and speak in tongues. Then they have cookies and Hawaiian Punch and color a picture to take home and put on the fridge. I came up with some titles for the program:

Get Naked For The Lord

Moon If You Love Jesus!

Geeking Out For God

Mother Mary Says ‘Never leave home without clean underwear!’

Shake Your Willie For the Holy Trinity!

Nude Christian Men For God

Commando For Christ

Commando For Christ was the clear winner. On Saturday, the skivvies were still there but on Sunday, they were suspiciously absent. It can only be one of three things:

1. A bad advertising angle

2. The group was secret, like a cult, and didn’t want to risk being found out

3. My suspicions were wrong and someone just dropped their laundry and a conscientous church member considerately retrieved them and deposited them in the Lost and Found

My money’s on #2.

At any rate, it is Monday again. This means there are all-new and interesting “What the fuck?” moments to come. Stay tuned, because I guarantee you that I attract them like flies to shit.

Get off my lawn!

Getting older doesn’t have to suck. There is acquired wisdom. There are the blessings that accompany age, like seeing your children become amazing adults and then being given the ultimate gift of grandchildren. There is the realization that every day is a present that you get to open. Life is so fleeting; it is over in a flash. When we are young, an hour lasts forever, and both the best times and the worst seem to yawn on endlessly. We anxiously rush through high school, eager to “get on with it” and curse every moment we must wait. Suddenly, we’re in our late 40s and we find it incredible that, as 20-somethings, we thought 50 was ancient.

Let me tell you fuckers, 50 ISN’T old. As a 49 year-old, I can assure you that we were wrong. This body has mileage on it, yes. Three babies, more than a few fractures, surgeries, and arthritis have limited me in minor ways. I don’t spring into action like I used to, and there are days when I want to cry, I hurt so bad. But fuck that. I don’t. I push on, because I’ve acquired a belief that if you stop, you might as well die. I pop the pills and break out the heating pad and try to be safe. Mostly. And sometimes, I forget that 50 looms and I stand on a wobbly stool on an uneven surface and I hang Halloween lights and by the grace of God I don’t fall THIS time and break my ass. When I was 25 I did that shit constantly because I was young and vital and if I fell, so what? I could jump right back up. Time was on my side and recklessness was the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Old people broke their hips. Old people had difficulty grasping things and opening jars and pill bottles. Well, “old” is definitely a point-of-view to me, and while I haven’t broken a hip, I realize that the odds are in favor of that if I keep acting like a 25 year-old. The difficulty grasping is already a daily irritation.

My problem is that I still feel like a 25 year-old. Actually, somewhere in my 30s, with enough mileage on me to make me tough but with enough youth remaining to deem me vital and relevant to the rest of the world. 50 year-olds don’t attract the same attention as younger versions of themselves do. 50 year-olds who act the age they feel are laughed at or called “sad” or desperate or thought to be “having a middle-age crisis”.

Well fuck you, judgers.

I understand…..FINALLY…… why old people say they’ve “earned the right” to say what they want. To act how they want. To have no filter. You know why? Because they HAVE. You don’t need any more reason than that. When you reach the age where you realize this, you’re going to laugh and ruefully admit that you’ve become your mom or your dad. When you mutter tiredly, “I’m old”, it will be with a mixture of revulsion and pride. And when you shout “GET OFF MY LAWN!” you’ll realize it:

Fucking shit, it really is infuriating to work so hard to get the grass just so and then to see some little fucker run through it!

What I find to be bullshit is something much simpler: wear-and-tear on the face. The sagging of once majestically pert tits. And the hair color issue. Burns my ass! I have colored my hair since I was 16. I’ve been virtually every shade of red, brown, black, purple, pink, and green. Every so often, I like to return to my natural shade of darkest brown. I begin with black and let it fade. Autumn is usually when I do it, and it makes me feel good to sport that dark shade.

Until this time.

My natural hair color is no more. It has been replaced almost entirely by that harbinger of all things geriatric: white. White is pretty, and dignified on an 80 year-old. White is not so much on a 49 year-old. I hate white. I can’t wear it. It gets dirty too fast and it washes me out. It’s a vicious thing, age. It robs us of our tight skin, our perky boobies, our elastic bodies, and the melanocytes. Here’s the thing about coloring your hair dark when you have white roots: it’s impossibly high-maintenance. It’s a pain in the ass. And that’s another gift that getting older bestows upon us. We simply haven’t got time for all that maintenance. We’re too busy developing our bucket lists and going to the doctor for more drugs and yelling at those little fuckers on our lawns.

And so, tonight, I am giving the husband what he wants ( No, you dirty minds, not THAT. You’re nasty!) and dying the hair red again, with blonde streaks. It camouflages those white roots better. It’s also a younger version of me, which is who I am inside this 49 year-old shell. And that’s the irony of getting older, too. We’ve earned the right to act as young as we want to, even if we could conceivably break a hip in the process.

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I like the safer bet of sporting red hair, myself.

Clowns be shifty creatures

You have to hear the title in Captain Barbossa’s voice; that crafty, wily would-be captain of The Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, for this to work. Aye, clowns be shifty creatures. And by clowns, I mean politicians.

Okay, I  mean Donald Trump.

Look, we’re less than 2 months from election day, when the very fate of this country will be decided. I’ve held my tongue, for the most part, because I’m speechless when it comes to the downward turn this country has taken with regard to decency, respect, and reasonable arguments. But since this is my blog and you read my writing and you know I tend to speak my mind, I figured, awwww, fuck it. Let’s piss some people off. And, might I add, if MY OPINION (guaranteed to me by the motherfucking United States Constitution) pisses you off, then why the hell are you following my blog? Am I being dramatic? I don’t think so. I’m sure there’s some Hillary Hater out there, furiously typing a blog with the same, exact sentiment in mind. She Who Must Not Be Named. Killary. The Banshee Murderess who will take your children and cook their brains and serve them at the next State Dinner. Hillary has more titles given to her than Dr. Seuss. Trump has one. The Donald. How very original! I have a good theory as to why this is. It’s because no one in the history of the world has taken this charlatan, this carnival barker, this con man to end all con men, seriously.

Here’s a true story. When my youngest daughter was about 3, she had a toy telephone that she loved to play with. You moms remember them: Fisher Price made them, they had faces, and kids pulled them around with a string. They made irritating, wonky noises as they were dragged around the house. Sounded a lot like Sarah Palin.

One morning, she drifted into my bedroom and asked casually, “What’s Donald Trump?” in her singsong voice. This was back in the early 90’s, when there were a lot of trash stories about Trump and his mistress and Ivana getting rich off their divorce and Robin Leach’s insufferable crowing about Mar-A-Lago on commercials advertising Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Still, I was a bit taken aback.

“Not ‘what’, Sweetie, but ‘who’. Donald Trump is a rich businessman who has hotels and golf courses and named a huge skyscraper after himself.”

“So he gots lots of money?”

“Yeah, I guess so. But he’s a big jerk and not a nice guy.”

Katie (she used to be Katie before she announced, at age 8, that she was Kat) was silent for a moment, seeming to digest my words and turn them over in her head. Then, I  heard the unmistakable sound of her telephone being dialed, and her singsong voice followed, only it wasn’t sweet sounding anymore. It was a menacing, Ripley-esque “Get away from her, you BITCH” tone.

“DONALD TRUMP. I WANT MY MONEY. You  GIVE it to ME or I will SUE you.”

I was shocked. “I will sue you”? Where does a 3 year-old get the idea to sue someone? Did they say that on Animaniacs or Gem and the Holograms or her brothers’ favorite show, Masters of the Universe? I can just hear  that dialogue :

He-Man: “Alright Skeletor, you’ll regret your plans to rule the universe! By the Power of Grayskull, I will stop your evil ways!”

Skeletor: (cackling) And just howwwww do you think you are going to stop me, He-Man???

He-Man: I’ll….I’ll SUE!

Anyway, this little game of Katie’s went on for a long time. Every few days, she’d be on that telephone, threatening litigation and demanding payment for “all that work” she did for Donald Trump. I laughed about it at the time. Donald Trump was a buffoon. Harmless. And kids need an enemy for their make-believe dramatics.

I’m not laughing now, and neither is Katie, henceforth referred to as Kat. Her make-believe turned out to be prophecy in the form of plenty of stiffed workers not receiving their pay from Trump after failed business transactions; Trump University students not receiving an education they paid for; Atlantic City residents let down by Trump’s failed casino ventures; and let’s not forget all of the charities promised money by Trump who never saw a DIME.

“I want my money!” indeed. But set that aside for a moment. Set aside the fact that he’s seeking the authority to control the country’s economic future. I know, scary. But look at his other “qualities”: dishonesty, bigotry, racism, ignorance, and his notorious thin skin. Do we want to elect a man who might pick up the red phone and launch a nuclear missile at some leader of another country who put him down in a 2am tweet? Because that’s the fucking reality here, kids. Forget that he’s a  rich, entitled coward who got out of Vietnam because his feet hurt. Forget that he cheated on wife number one with wife number two and then cheated on wife number two with wife number three. Forget that he’s really cash-poor, like many “successful business magnates” are. Forget that he has accepted loans from Russian mafias. Forget that he once said that if his daughter wasn’t his daughter, he’d date her. (Creepy-ass fuck.) Forget that he has really poor taste in decorating and that the Lincoln Bedroom will end up looking like a cheap, Dollar Store-inspired whorehouse if he’s in charge of the redecorating. Red phone, my ass. It will be the jewel-encrusted “gilt” phone. Okay, let’s go back to the creepy-ass dad shit because there’s a picture:

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Yep. That’s the guy who wants to be president.

Right now, he and Hillary are neck-and-neck. Did I ever think that was going to be the harsh reality this close to the election? No! I thought BERNIE would be the candidate and that those of us who “felt the Bern” and who weren’t referring to bladder infections would be spreading the message of a new, improved America to the masses. Look, I’m  fine with the excellent work that President Obama has done. I championed him 8 years ago and I champion him now. Sure, there have been disappointments, but most of them are due to the spoiled, rotten, bratty attitudes of the assholes in Congress who flat-out refused to reach across and shake the hand of a president because his skin is black. Elephant in the room, my ass. It’s the goddamned truth. There’s more blatant racism in this country today than there was 8 years ago, and that is truly unfortunate. People are less afraid to share their racist opinions and they have a tool in the form of Facebook (thanks, Zuckerberg!) with which to spew their ignorance.

No, I  didn’t think I’d be this worried at this point. But I am. We are IN THE SHIT if this orange-complexioned hatebag gets elected. He is what’s wrong with this country. Fuckknuckles like him created the economic mess we found ourselves in over 8 years ago with their greed. No, it wasn’t George W. See? I am capable of a kind word or two about a Republican. I was one once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away. Was he a massive dingleberry on the anus of his father? Probably. But he did not create the mess alone. This is what I think. I think reality  TV needs to be outlawed and that this patron saint of the genre needs to be exiled to his gilded penthouse, along with his Children of the Corn-looking spawn. He can spend his days muttering, “I coulda been a contendah” while Melania looks on with her bored, disapproving Slavic gaze and Douchebag VonFuckface and Thurston Shitbag III drop by to regale him with their latest African safari hunting trips.

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Thanks to Bill Maher for those classic monikers, by the way.

I have thoughts about Mrs. Clinton, too. I am an equal-opportunity critic. She deserves her own blog, though, and she will get it. Right now, I need to go wash my eyes out with purified water because I can’t unsee that pic of Trump and Ivanka. My apologies, friends. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Here’s a kitten:

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