Naked Liberalism

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It begins in the morning, my desire to be more conservative. Not because I admire conservative ideology, I do not. But merely for the convenience of it. Being a liberal is just so much harder.

In the morning shower there is always a spider awaiting me. I don’t know why my shower has so damned many spiders and I want to ask everyone I know if there’s a spider in their shower every morning but you don’t dare ask people about their showers nowadays. My first instinct, although I’m a liberal, is always quite conservative; KILL IT. It’s an instinct clearly born out of fear of things that are different than me. A liberal form of insect racism. Even before I turn the water on it to wash it down the drain, my liberal moral dilemma has already begun.

Any conservative in my spider-shower would’ve already washed it down the drain and finished his shower by now, while the liberal stands frozen in a naked tableau wondering if the spider has any children. And if so, are they waiting back in the nest or web or wherever baby spiders wait for mom to bring them food, if it even works that way for spiders. Maybe it’s only birds. Who knows? Not a liberal. But still we worry about these things.

The conservative is out of the shower by now and is enjoying toweling off a little too much, while the liberal has realized that he’s late for work and capitulates to the Darwinian pressures of the real world and while saying aloud “I am a terrible person” he turns the water on the spider. But the struggle of that little thing as it fights for its life is too much and the liberal burns his hand on the hot shower nozzle as he turns it away to save the spider. Is it a she, like Charlotte, in Charlotte’s Web? The liberal stands with his red ankles, red because they are being scalded as he tries to shield the spider from the hot water while using the shampoo bottle as a medi-vac flight, to hoist the half-smashed little guy up and take it to safety. The liberal is admitting to himself that he has a shameful killer instinct, probably stemming from his ancestors in Arkansas, but by trying to rescue the spider he is proving to himself that he can overcome it and be a better human.

The Conservative is by now ordering steak and eggs, because that is the kind of heart-attack food conservatives eat for breakfast, and why not since you can’t hurt what you don’t have. He is on his third cup of joe with breakfast at his favorite coffee shop where in 2019 they still call the waitresses Hon and tip them with coins.

The red-ankled liberal is now talking aloud to God, if only there were one, saying things like, Who am I to decide that another living thing doesn’t matter? and How arrogant am I? And by the time the liberal accidentally squashes the already dead spider by trying to use the conditioner bottle to scoop it onto the shampoo bottle in order to save it, the liberal has assigned it a personal gender pronoun and is giving Them (that the spider’s pgp) a eulogy.

The conservative is driving alongside the crystal blue ocean in a red convertible now, his hair blowing in the wind. The liberal in the shower faces the truth, swallows hard, and washes the dead bug down the drain, with the heaviest of hearts. He tries to wash his hair but can’t bear to pick up that shampoo bottle again, the one that tore the spider in half during the botched rescue. He thinks how Jimmy Carter must’ve felt.

The conservative now lies in a hammock looking out at the green Caribbean Sea over his bare feet while he sells stocks on his cell phone worth two point five zillion dollars. The liberal stands numb, choking on the water running into his nose and mouth, struggling to breathe and to get that violent image out of his head of the innocent spider kicking all its little legs trying to save herself from certain death. Why did he decide to wipe out all that that spider had learned in its short life, like how to spin webs and hunt flies and write Some Pig in its web?

The conservative is now running the world and dismantling democracy while the liberal has managed to get himself out of the shower, away from the scene of the crime. He wonders if there is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for spider murderers like him. There should be, he thinks. There should be. He wipes the steam off the mirror with his shriveled hand only to see the guilty face of a killer who is no better than a chanting Republican. A water-wasting murderer no less, who has just wasted enough water to fill Lake Tahoe. He stares at himself in the foggy mirror and then splashes cold water on his face to wash that violent image of the poor struggling spider out of his mind. Another liberal with PTSD, and he hasn’t even had his coffee yet.

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To The Moon

On this 50th anniversary of mankind’s greatest achievement, I have been quite moved by the treasure trove of excellent footage of the moon walk, of the launch, of the cheering scientists at mission control, and of a speechless and giddy Cronkite. I have wept more than once this week while reminiscing with the footage of ordinary citizens from 1969 showing wide-eyed wonder and pride at what we had accomplished. I’ve been crying for that lost innocence.

While everything is Apollo 11 on this momentous anniversary, as it should be, the moon walk has been on my mind for several months now, since I overheard a group of teenagers from an elite charter high school in the lobby of our theatre talking about what was true and what they knew to be internet hoaxes. I confess to rolling my eyes at how little they seemed to actually understand, but I kept my superior attitude to myself. Until, that is, one of them steps into the middle of their huddle, looks up from his smartphone and says “And that they walked on the moon… that’s a big conspiracy.” I froze. Is he serious?

Then his younger brother pushes his glasses up on his nose and chimes in. “Yeah, that’s a total hoax. Never happened.”  They all laugh.  

That puts me over the edge and I do what only an old man would do.  I step into their circle of disinformation and offer my unsolicited sage counsel, my expansive middle-aged perspective, you know, to enlighten these kids.

“I was 5…” I interrupted, “when we first landed on the moon, and I remember it like it was yesterday.”  They stopped talking and looked respectfully at me, as if they knew they had to allow me to finish my words before they could tell me how stupid I was. I could see they didn’t care. They had been talking about the internet, after all, and about how smart they were, not about the truth or about “the olden days”.  But I thought they needed to know the difference between reality and internet hoaxes. I couldn’t retreat or these kids would go to college in denial of man’s greatest accomplishment ever. So naturally, I went on to tell them every painstaking detail I could remember about my own experience of the moon landing in order to make it seem real to them. I lived it after all. It was real! And if I could convince them of my reality, then they’d believe the truth. Simple. All I had to do was lead my young friends to the truth, which would then cure them of their J.I.I. (Juvenile Internet Ignorance).

So I tell them how I sat on the floor as a 5-year old tow-headed boy in front of my next door neighbor’s bulky black and white TV eating dry Froot Loops out of a plastic cup, while my mom and Betty Patterson drank coffee and watched from Betty’s kitchen table just a few feet away. “I remember knowing even at 5 the context of what was going on.” I tell them.  “Even kindergarteners knew what a big deal this was to all of mankind.”  They stare blankly.

“I remember how Walter Cronkite talked about it with such amazement and I understood very clearly the danger in it.” I tell them.  “This was grown up stuff and I was proud to be watching it, and felt like I was part of it.” 

The tall handsome boy had heard enough and he threw his long hair back and looked down and started scrolling on his phone.  I upped the ante. “It was the first time I remember feeling proud of anything.”

“But they’ve looked on the moon and there is no flag there.”, says a senior with her fingernails painted black. “There’s nothing there. It never happened.”

“There is too a flag up there!” I snap.  “And there’s a dune buggy too.”

“Whaaaa?” says the short sophomore while tilting his nearly shaved head in slow motion.

“You mean a 4-wheeler?” adds the little conspiracy theorist who started all this.

“The moon rover!”, I say emphatically. “Haven’t you seen the footage of them driving it over the craters?” Silence. “The IMAX movie?” Silence. “Trust me, it’s up there.”

“Then why haven’t they found it?” asks the most bored of them all, not looking up from his phone

I explode. “What do you mean found it? It’s not lost!” 

“Then where is it?”

“What do you mean where is it?  It’s on the moon!” I say pointing to the daytime sky.  “Parked … somewhere … wherever they left it … up there … on the moon!” I could feel myself unraveling and knew that although my answers were correct, I wasn’t convincing them of anything except that old people are crazy.

What upset me most was that these high schoolers, some of whom will be going to college in just a few weeks, not only don’t believe that one of the most pivotal achievements of humanity ever even happened, but worse they don’t understand the ramifications either way. They don’t think it matters one way or another.  To them it’s a binary choice. They don’t understand what it would mean if the entire country had indeed been fooled by our government for the past half century. Nor do they grasp the inspiration of what man really did a half century ago.  Don’t know don’t care. They shrug and move their conversation to another internet hoax.  Just like that.

I stand there, failed, old, and disappointed in myself for not being able to convince them of something so basic. I feel frustrated at the world that has led us to this point. Reflexively I did what I’ve learned to do in moments when I feel self-conscious, I pull my phone out of my pocket looking for validation. Just like them. I stared at the blank screen in my hand and thought for an instant about throwing it against the brick lobby wall. But instead I gripped it tighter. I know that I couldn’t live without my instant connection to disinformation any more than they could. I too am a digital captive.

So while I have reveled this week in the glorious anniversary footage of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, it has been bittersweet because I can’t get those teens and their internet conspiracy theories out of my mind. I look at the footage of innocent kids from my generation watching in awe as people did the undoable and I’m sad for the kids of today who seem to know less about the world than a kindergartener knew in 1969. That word hoax is back again, confusing the confused. Technology has moved us forward since the 60’s, to be sure.  But in some ways, technology has walked us back from the greatest leap we’ve ever taken.

DHS Sends TSA to the Border

Why Stephen Miller Loves Blue Gloves

Washington, DC,  Friday May 17, 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security confirmed this week that they have ordered nearly two hundred TSA personnel to the southwestern border to “assist in the humanitarian and security crisis at the US/Mexican border.” DHS refused to say specifically what role TSA personnel would play at the border.

While this move surprised many, some members of the Trump administration have been expecting TSA’s role to increase at the border for nearly a month. It has been rumored for weeks that presidential advisor Stephen Miller became infatuated with a male TSA agent after being patted down before a recent flight at Reagan International airport. White House staffers say they first became aware of Miller’s crush when he showed up for work the following Monday wearing blue rubber gloves. “I first thought it was a joke, until he tried to look inside my briefcase and told me to throw away my bottled water.” said a perplexed west wing staffer on background. “And he’s been wearing them every day since.”

TSA officials at Reagan International airport confirmed that after Miller was hand-searched by an unidentified male TSA screener in early April, and that he returned to the metal detector for additional screening 7 times before his flight. “He kept requesting another search by the same male agent.” said a TSA manager, “and when nothing was found he’d smile and say, ‘Well, maybe next time.’ Then he’d walk back around and get in line again.”

DHS officials in Washington denied that the deployment of TSA personnel at the border has anything to do with Miller’s personal life. “We simply needed our best trained people at the border, and nobody is as sharp as our TSA screeners.” said Asst. DHS Secretary Ima White.  When asked about the high percentage of guns and bombs that TSA screeners have failed to detect in numerous security tests nationwide, White said, “Yes, but how many illegal bottles of Evian have been confiscated by TSA in every airport nationwide? Nobody ever gives us credit when the system works.”

Reporters shouted questions to Miller Thursday night as he left the White House, which prompted him to raise his blue-gloved hand as if to stop them. “Nobody suggested that Michael Jackson was in love with a gorgeous TSA guy when he wore a glove, did they? But why is it when a white guy wears a glove to express himself it’s suddenly suspicious?” Miller continued to deny that he is gay when asked by reporters, and accused them of being homophobic. “If you think somebody is gay just because they know a good search when they feel one, then you’re the crazy one. Then you’re a liberal!” 

Nearly an hour later Miller was reported to have been shouted out of Pepitos, a nearby D.C. Mexican restaurant, after being recognized because of his blue gloves while sipping a mango margarita in the bar.

DeVos Proposes Eliminating Funding for Puppies

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

WASHINGTON D.C. – Friday March 29th, 12:53pm ET Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, appearing before Congress for a second day Friday, retracted her call for defunding the Special Olympics after being berated by House Democrats on Thursday and after President Trump contradicted her Thursday evening by voicing support for funding the event for people with special needs. Media accounts framed DeVos as being “thrown under the bus by the administration”.

DeVos said Friday about her reversal, “I’ve been supportive of funding The Special Olympics behind the scenes for several years. Except for yesterday.” 

Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin responded, “Well, I guess you deserve a gold medal in hypocrisy for your performance yesterday, Madame Secretary.”  Durbin then held up a card, as would an Olympic judge, that said in handwritten magic marker, A Perfect 10 in Hypocrisy!

DeVos thanked Durbin for the high score.  “I do like gold very much, Congressman, and I’m so flattered for the high marks, but it might not look right if I accepted the gold metal, so I think I’d better let the handicapped people have those precious metals.”

“It’s a gold medal, not metal with a T.” Durbin pointed out.

“Gold is a precious metal, no matter how you spell it, Senator.” DeVos responded.

“And the term ‘handicapped’ is outdated and insensitive.”, added Durbin. “And I’m not a… oh never mind.”

Later in her testimony the Secretary of Education shocked even Republicans on the committee when she called for funding cuts for puppies and ice cream. Trump loyalist Devin Nunez (R-CA) asked, “How, for the love of God, can you cut funding for ice cream?”

“It distracts children from learning.” DeVos responded. “We have to make some hard choices because of the tax cuts for the poor.” She then giggled and added, “It’s been a rocky road.”

DEAR DIARY, Week 3.5 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY

3/7/19    9:05am    DEAR DIARY, yesterday was the busiest day yet of the NATIONAL EMERGENCY because it rained in Los Angeles. Hard. When it rains in LA there’s no doubt that it’s an emergency. People run in the streets as if they’re being shot at. Cars fueled by Starbucks creep along inch by inch through torrents of raging rivers beside the carpool lane, their pilots’ faces grimacing behind their fogged up windows as they talk about their careers on the phone. I suited up in the bright yellow rain poncho I got at a USC game last time it rained in 2016 and headed out to assist. People will see the burgundy FIGHT ON logo on my chest as encouraging when they are stranded and sitting on top of their cars on the Hollywood Freeway. I take some rope from the garage just in case. It’s that pretty multi-colored nylon ski rope and while firefighters might scoff at the beauty of it, nobody will be laughing when it becomes a lifeline as I perform a swift water rescue in the middle of a major intersection at rush hour. I toss the rope and some gardening gloves and some matches (in case I need to build a fire) in my car and drive straight into the storm. I sit at the first red light for 5 cycles, which is 19 minutes.  Then the second stop light for 3 cycles, which takes 12 minutes, during which time the rain has stopped and the clouds have parted. My rescue skills won’t be needed today after all. I do a “Starsky and Hutch u-turn” and head back towards home base. I wait through those two traffic signals for another 17 minutes while keeping my powder (and my rescue rope) dry for the next time. LA weatherman Dallas Raines says it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. And I’m ready.          #FightOn!    #RainRainGoAway    #I’veGotYourLifelineRightHere     #Donate2Kickstarter4Helmets

3/9/19     5:20pm     DEAR DIARY, yesterday was the 3week anniversary of the official declaration of NATIONAL EMERGENCY and I didn’t have time to write in my journal because I spent most of the day online looking for the parade. You’d think on an auspicious anniversary like this, there’d be a military parade or at least a “Come on America let’s stick together ‘cuz it’s a NATIONAL EMERGENCY” tickertape parade like they used to have during WW2. I went to the City of Los Angeles Events and Street Closures website and found no parades whatsoever.  What? There was an Arbor Day event in the valley where The Tree People were giving away seedlings, but no parade. There was a Farmers Market in Hollywood, but no parade. There was a health fair where you can get your blood pressure checked in an RV in Long Beach, but no parade. Then I realized what’s happening. They’re waiting on the one-month anniversary to do the big parade. More of a round number.    #BringBackParadesDammit!   #LetsCelebrateThis EmergencyRight    #Happy3WeekAnniversary    #YouCanSitOnMyShouldersToSeeTheEmergencyParadeBetter

3/10/19     12:12pm     People are slowly starting to think about survival skills. I saw a news story online about two little girls in Northern California, who survived for a couple of days lost in the wilderness because of their…wait for it… SURVIVAL TRAINING.  That’s right. There were taught in 4-H to lick the water drops off of leaves, which is why they were only mildly dehydrated when rescued. Since it’s Sunday and my neighbors don’t have 4-H, I invited them to come to my first FREE Emergency Survival Training workshop. This time, I had FREE hot dogs, because I know that food attracts people.  When it did not, I figured I’d just demonstrate the 4-H method of water collection in the wild, and my neighbors would see out their windows and take note, even if they were too embarrassed about their ignorance of survival skills to attend my workshop, which was FREE by the way! So I went next door to demonstrate for whomever was looking out the window, only to realize that they have no leaves at all in their yard. They chopped down their beautiful 50yr old fir tree a few years ago. Too bad for them as they could die of thirst later in this emergency because of that one bad decision with a tree trimming company 3 years ago. I went to the next house but noticed that they too had chopped down the huge 70yr old maple tree in their yard. Do these people hate water this much? I skipped all the houses with fake grass because I’m not licking dew off of any astro-turf, I have my pride. I passed all of the treeless yards and just went straight to the one jungle-like house way down at the end of the block with leaves galore. They have those huge banana palm plants next to their living room window for perfect viewing.  I approached the window quietly and noticed a woman inside in a burgundy bathrobe. Perfect. I started licking a huge leaf right in front of the window. Ewe. Nasty. I admit that I didn’t think there’d be so much dirt in my mouth since it just rained. Ewe.  I turned my head instinctually and spit. Unintentionally I spit on the window and the woman inside who was observing my class seemed a bit upset about it. “It’s okay!”, I yelled through her triple-paned window.  “It’s just water.  Look!”, I said. And without even thinking about it, I licked it off the window, which was gross, I admit, but a good teacher will go to any lengths to bring their students to that light bulb moment, you know. It never occurred to me that I might gag, as I did, at the thought of it, afterward, and well… I threw up on her window. I was a bit surprised as it all happened so fast. I could hear some screaming through that very thick window and I figured this was enough teaching for one day and I ran home, only to find an LAPD car parked across from my house. The cop was so on top of it that he had already heard from the community about my little accident down the street. Turns out that he was very interested in my Survival Training Classes.  Yay. I asked him where I could buy some LAPD cop helmets for the neighbors, and he just stared for minute, then got in his car and left. Must’ve had a call.

DEAR DIARY, week 2.5 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY

2/27/19    9:05am    DEAR DIARY, It’s day 13 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY and I just turned on the big screen in my special big screen viewing tent in the backyard, only to see the real news under Cohen in the crawl that Congress may vote to end the NATIONAL EMERGENCY.  WHAT?  Just like that? Without any closing ceremonies or signing of treaties on an old ship?  This is why it doesn’t pay to invest in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY these days! Nobody’s in it for the long haul. Sure let’s just vote to end it. Let’s all take the plastic off our windows and pretend there’s no emergency. At ease, everyone. Everything’s just fine!

2/28/19    9:15am   DEAR DIARY, It appears on the 14th day of this NATIONAL EMERGENCY that congress has not officially ended the emergency yet. It seems they move slowly. So until they pull the plug, there’s still plenty to do for concerned citizens. I decide to check the beaches since that is one of LA’s main vulnerabilities. I dress like a regular beachgoer, but with plastic Depends® under my khaki shorts, just in case I have to do a water rescue. Fortunately I bought a case of Depends® at the beginning of the Emergency for when the toilets stop working, never even dreaming that they’d double as a wet suit. Yet another positive benefit of preparedness. The water is calm and my earthquake app doesn’t show any recent temblors in the area, so I rule out the possibility of a Tsunami. The only invading armies I see are the tourists buying surfboard key chains on the pier. Fishermen fish, kids build castles in the sand, the Ferris wheel ferrises, and the lifeguards, however ancient, are still blonder and sexier than anywhere else on TV. Everything is normal here. Check. No sign of emergency in Santa Monica. Check.  Beaches safe (except for the unsafe levels of sewage in the bay, but that’s obviously no emergency). Check. I’m returning to the valley where I am needed.

3/1/19    11:41am     DEAR DIARY, Today is the 2-week anniversary of the NATIONAL EMERGENCY and I’ve concluded that Los Angelenos are just not taking this very seriously.  At all.  They don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. When a president declares it to be a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, that means there is an emergency… somewhere.  So, I’m taking the initiative to organize my neighbors by volunteering to be our Emergency Block Captain. I make a flyer, introducing myself and point out that I live in the only house on the block with plastic over the windows. Hopefully they will get the hint and follow suit. Some people want to be prepared but just don’t know how. They need help.  So I’ve taken it upon myself to help my neighbors. I’m forgiving whoever came and stole Bonnie and Clyde, my very expensive plastic ebay alligators, which I had grown very fond of by the way, and I’m offering to help even those thieves.  Even if I knew who put the gnomes in my moat, I would still help them, because in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, we all have to pull together. So I take my reward signs down from the telephone poles, and replace them with my new EMERGENCY Block Club flyers. #HelpThyNeighborCuzItsANATIONALEMERGENCY! #I’mVolunteering2BEMERGENCYBlockCaptain #IfUStoleMyGatorsIForgiveU

3/2/19     9:17am     DEAR DIARY, While looking for emergencies on the weather channel in my viewing tent in the backyard, I saw a report with a black Labrador retriever helping find bodies in the rubble after a tornado somewhere and I realized that I have a black lab sitting… well, sleeping right there. Labs are great rescue dogs, and I’ve got one! But we’ll need to do some training first. So I ask Lucy if she wants to be a hero. She doesn’t move. I ask her again. She snores. I say the word “cookie” and she immediately snaps awake, starts pawing at me, and begins the slow gradual shifting of her body toward the edge of the sofa cushion (yes I moved the sofa out here too and when that earthquake comes I will feel so smart for being proactive and not having my house fall on me). I get some dog biscuits from the metal food cabinet, which is an old silver cabinet from the garage that I dragged into the yard and padlocked next to the tent (in case of bears). I tell Lucy to sit, and she stares. I show her a cookie and she sits. I say stay and she stands. I show her a cookie and she sits and stays. I see the pattern. So I show her a cookie and say “evacuate the neighbors, Lucy.”  Nothing.  “Illegal aliens are coming to get us, Lucy.  Save us!”  Nothing.  I show her a cookie. “Lucy, there’s a Tsunami!”  Nothing.  “Go find a body, Lucy. Find a body for daddy.”  Nothing.  Okay, it could be that Lucy is not military grade. #GetARealDog

3/4/19    9:13am    DEAR DIARY, Yesterday was the first Sunday morning in my new role as Emergency Block Captain of my neighborhood, so I decided to hold my first preparedness workshop in the driveway for the neighbors.  I thought it’d be more engaging if at the first meeting they were actually doing something rather than just sitting there and listening to me tell them everything they need to know about NATIONAL EMERGENCIES. And it makes me look like a smarter leader if they have fun at our first meeting.  I moved the razor wire out of the driveway and set up some folding tables so we could all build something together like they do in the parking lot on Sunday mornings outside Home Depot. But what to build that will be useful in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY?  Flashlight, perhaps.  Explosive diversion grenade, absolutely, but too dangerous for the kids to build.  I do know how to build a harmonica out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and plastic wrap.  It’s more like whistle really, but it could be used to signal each other.  If all the neighbors built these special whistles, then we could whistle back and forth from house to house and relay messages if anything bad happens. We could whistle in Morse Code. This is a great idea and will really help keep people be safe! Thank God Michaels is still open in this NATIONAL EMERGENCY.  What heroes they are. I bought the rubber bands and popsicle sticks and even some aprons like they give you at the Home Depot workshops, except these are red and say Hobbylicious in fingerpaint right above the Michael’s logo.  I set up for my emergency whistle-building class. And, I waited… I waited… for the neighbors…and I waited… #Ingrates!

3/5/19     9:03am      DEAR DIARY, I spent Monday returning the unused aprons to Michael’s as they cost me $11 each. This emergency is adding up quick. After thinking on it, I realized that the reason no neighbors showed up for my Sunday morning workshop was that they didn’t see the invitation signs on the telephone poles. Only Lucy-walkers and overachiever fitness nuts ever dare to be on foot in this neighborhood, so nobody saw the signs. Drivers don’t even slow down for the stop signs on my street, so that must’ve been the reason.

I think everyone would be more excited about this emergency if they had an emergency uniform of some sort. A full uniform would be the best, especially if they had boots. Boots always make a uniform. But that’s way too expensive. Maybe just a hat (no, the surplus stores are gone!)? Maybe just a lapel pin, like the president wore when he declared this NATIONAL EMERGENCY a couple of weeks ago? I search the internet for pin-making sites. It’ll only cost about $5 per lapel pin, after the $250 set-up fee, and that’s if I buy at least 500 of them. So for less than $3k, I can give almost every household in the neighborhood a pin, which will make them feel more official about being an Emergency Responder. But the pin-maker site requires camera-ready artwork. I’ll need a logo for the National Emergency. Hmmm? If immigrants are the emergency then what should the logo be? The Statue of Liberty? A passport? A coyote? An ICE agent? Or should we go more “generic emergency” with flames, a huge wave, a tornado, and a missile? We could put each emergency icon in a quadrant of the logo, like a city seal. It needs to look official. I’m gonna need a graphic designer. Maybe an old one, to give us that old official feel. Not a young person with those modern swirly tech company logos, but old fashioned and out of date heavy imagery like a government would have. I put a listing for pro-bono graphic designers on a patriot website with a flag and a gun on their homepage. Now that’s the kind of emergency imagery that gets people excited.

3/6/19   7:13am     DEAR DIARY, Last night it started raining in my emergency backyard viewing tent, so my big screen stopped working and everything got wet. Cold and wet. And with all the lightning, I decided it was worth the risk to sleep in the house last night. Plus Lucy needed to dry out. The whole tent smelled like wet dog. So I went inside and got online and pivoted from buying Emergency Pins to buying Emergency Pens. That one letter saved me $2000. So instead of a uniform, everybody gets a red pen that says on the side in #8font  For EMERGENCY USE ONLY!   NATIONAL EMERGENCY 2019  If I squint I can see that there’s writing on it. I’ll have to use a magnifying glass to actually read it, but I trust that it says what they say it says. It still costs me $600 so it’s not cheap. Man, it takes an entire marketing team and a real budget to get a NATIONAL EMERGENCY up and running properly. And we still don’t have helmets!  I’m gonna create a Kickstarter campaign for my emergency helmets. #WhatsANationalEmergencyWithoutHelmets? #HelmetsMatter #EmergenciesRBetterWithHelmets #WatchYourHead #BringBackArmySurplusStores

Dear Diary – NATIONAL EMERGENCY, Week 1.5

capt scott diary

2/18/19
8:30am DEAR DIARY, It’s day 4 of the NATIONAL EMERGENCY and a slow panic is starting to set in. I’ve run out of Cheetos and Oreos and I’m not sure how much longer I can hang on without venturing across the street to the grocery store. But I expect that the shelves will be as empty as a Russian meat market. When I peek out my window everything looks normal, which scares the living hell out of me. But wait. It’s Monday morning and… wait, there are no families walking to school as they normally would be. This is what I mean by the panic setting in. On Friday when the declaration was declared, families picked their kids up from schools everywhere without a panic, because it was all so new. But now on Monday, they’re panicking and keeping their kids home from school because it’s a real NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Makes sense. Wait. Shit. I just read that it’s President’s Day. Shit. No school today. Shit.

12:01pm. DEAR DIARY, I open the blinds to see absolutely no sign of any emergency whatsoever. Nada. They are doing a very good job of hiding it. Like that movie The Truman Show. It seems that everyone on my street is acting like everything is normal. A little bit too normal. Where are their helmets?, I wonder. It’s a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, for God’s sake. They should have helmets. Costumes aside, they’re such good actors here in LA. I wonder if the people of Smalltown Wyoming, who have never had an acting class, are as convincing that everything’s business as usual in this NATIONAL EMERGENCY?

9:02pm. DEAR DIARY, I’ve been crouching on my kitchen floor for hours eating dog food. It grows on you, actually. But, I venture over to the grocery store dressed naturally and everybody is still acting very calm. Like nothing is going on. I stayed low between the cars as I inched carefully toward the store’s entrance. Good actors everyone. Inside there’s no sign of any emergency. I know if the pop tarts are all gone that we have a serious problem on our hands. /that would mean that everybody knows how dire this is, when they’re stocking up on pop tarts. That shows a blatant disregard for one’s own health, a certain hopelessness. You stock up on carrot juice if you plan to survive the emergency, on pop tarts if you’re not planning on seeing the other side. There are plenty of pop tarts, which I take as a sign that life as we know it will indeed go on. I grab a box of strawberry with white icing and I pay with pennies because I had assumed their credit card machines would be down. They weren’t, yet. I returned home to find that I still have power. I put my pop tart in the mini-toaster and turned off the kitchen light. I crouch down on the floor in the orange glow of the toaster oven. I am glad I have electricity and food. For now. It’s an emergency.

 

2/19/19

8:16am. DEAR DIARY. Day 5 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY. I peeked out of the blinds and can see parents are walking their kids to school today. They must think the schools are still open. Maybe they are. Maybe just to keep us all calm, they’ve been smart enough to keep the schools all going to keep us busy. Genius. I’m rationing my pop tarts today, not assuming there will be food when I go back to the grocery store later in the NATIONAL EMERGENCY

11:18pm DEAR DIARY, I found some raisins and made them into bullets. I loaded them in to my .22. Let’s hope I don’t have to use it. NATIONAL EMERGENCIES are not for sissies.

 

2/20/19

8:58am. DEAR DIARY, I have ventured out in my car. I decided to play along and go to an Arts Ed event in Beverly Hills as if there is no NATIONAL EMERGENCY. But there clearly is an emergency. The traffic in LA is stopped. Nobody is moving. 30 minutes at a single stop light. CLEARLY AN EMERGENCY. I should’ve brought my raisin gun for my road rage.

 

2/22/19

6:51am  DEAR DIARY, It’s the one-week anniversary of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY, and frankly I’m way ahead of the game. None of my neighbors have even taped plastic sheeting over their windows yet. Procrastinators. I’ve gathered up all the twigs on my street and have plenty of kindling for when the power goes out and I have to cook over the fire. And I’ve bought up all the chocolate fudge flavored Boost drinks at the grocery store so I don’t have to eat dog food over the weekend. Today I’ll set up my tent in the backyard. It’s an EMERGENCY, people.

#NATIONALEMERGENCY!!!!!!

#OMGItsANationalEmergency

#HELPWereInANationalEmergency

#HeDeclaredANationalFuckingEmergency

#BoostIsDelicious

 

2/23/19

9:45am   DEAR DIARY, It’s day 8 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY and I decided I’d better buy some camouflage clothing, you know, just in case. In Los Angeles true camouflage would mean dressing like a car, but since Target doesn’t sell Tesla costumes, I head for my local funky army surplus store. These old surplus stores are perfect for any emergency; Gas masks, water purification tablets, utility knives, camouflage everything, army helmets with people’s names written inside of them. But when I get there, it’s gone. That old army surplus store right across from the courthouse that had been there forever… is now a hamburger joint. What? That can’t be. For 30 years I’ve never actually needed anything in that crazy store, now when the world is ending and I actually need tent stakes and wool underwear they’re sellin’ double cheeseburgers!

I sit in my car hyperventilating, then pull myself together and drive to the other big army surplus store in Hollywood. An hour in NATIONAL EMERGENCY traffic +30 mins in pre-Oscar traffic = 90 minutes in traffic only to find… what? This one is gone too?! Condos sit there laughing at me! What the hell? Is it too much to ask in a NATIONAL f’ing EMERGENCY to have a weird old army surplus store, where the clothes have already been worn and smell like mildew from WW2? I need camo gloves with leaves on them, dammit! It is not easy to prepare properly for a NATIONAL EMERGENCY in 2019 Los Angeles when they seem to have closed down all those bizarre army surplus stores. What good does a 6-story condo building with inadequate parking do you in a real emergency when you just need a pair of goggles and a corporal’s hat? I head back to the valley with camouflage nothing. Another hour to get thru the hostless Oscar fiasco + another 30 mins back to the surplus/burger joint. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. I order a bacon cheeseburger figuring the bacon will help me end this NATIONAL NIGHTMARE one bite sooner.

 

2/24/19

9:33am   DEAR DIARY, So here’s the thing. Some people try to be good citizens, you know, and prepare for emergencies, especially a NATIONAL EMERGENCY. And some of us even prepare extra well so that we can help others during said emergency. But some of us, who are well prepared, are starting to feel the scorn of those less prepared. Jealousy perhaps? Preparation envy? Maybe the sandbags in front of my garage door were a bit much. And I’ll admit that the barb-wire around the perimeter of my yard could be viewed as unwelcoming, which is the entire point in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY btw. If my Homeowners Association busybodies had even bothered to climb under the razor wire and over the moat, they would have seen for themselves that they are only PLASTIC ALLIGATORS in that hand-dug moat, which I felt very lucky to have found on ebay on day 2 of this NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

 

2/25/19

7:31pm   Yesterday I decided to treat myself and allow myself just a little bit of normalcy during this NATIONAL EMERGENCY. The sun was out and no tanks were in the streets so I watched the Oscars, just like in normal times. I ran a long extension cord from the house to the tent in the backyard, where I moved the big screen TV a few days ago to make me feel more at home. But clearly I should not have let my guard down. Some of my neighbors who obviously know that I’m in show business, clearly knew I’d never miss the Academy Awards, even in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, even without a host. So they took advantage of my successful career. When I took a break from my special screening tent after the Queen song and went out front to check the moat, some wiseass neighbors of mine had breached the barb-wire in the driveway and stole my 6-foot plastic alligators, which I had nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde. I know it had only been a week, but they were like family. Now if that wasn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury my extremely inconsiderate so-called Homeowners Association cowards replaced them with two ridiculous garden gnomes, one with the tip of his stupid little pointed hat broken off. To be sure, they are NO Bonnie and Clyde! I want my crocs back, dammit!

 

2/26/19

8:34am   This NATIONAL EMERGENCY has proven to be quite mild thus far; no looting, no flooding, no tanks in the streets. It’s been a week and a half and I still don’t know what I’m protecting myself from. I go into the backyard tent and turn on cable news for clarity. Nine hours and 22 blood-pressure points later, all I know is that Rudy Guilliani is crazy. So, I make REWARD signs for Bonnie and Clyde and staple them to all of the telephone poles in my neighborhood. It’s a good thing I have the seller photo of them from ebay. I staple them right under the LOST CAT signs for Romeo, a tabby who had last been seen on Cantaloupe Street on Christmas Eve. Clearly Romeo went out on his own free will looking for a Juliet, while Bonne and Clyde were KIDNAPPED without any say-so in the matter. I put letters in every mailbox on my street asking to review security camera footage from all homes who have cameras. Somebody‘s got footage of these smartasses walking away with Bonnie… with two man-sized reptiles, and I’m gonna find them! And while I’m putting the flyers in mailboxes you’d better believe that I’m also inconspicuously looking to see if there’s a bare spot in anyone’s yard, where there might have been a broken gnome at one time. After the entire neighborhood is flyered, I get online and try to find a chiropractor. Digging that moat killed my back.

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