Things I’ve Forgotten

seatbelt

After a couple of months at home in this pandemic, I’ve come to realize that I’ve forgotten how to do some very basic things. Experts say it takes 66 days to form habits, so it makes sense that in as many days in lockdown now, everyday habits are starting to fade from memory. Even the simplest things. Like how to unlock my front door with a key. I used to do it numerous times per day without much thought. I even have some of those colored plastic key identifiers so I know which key unlocks which door. But the other day, as I stood on my porch dumbfounded by the heavy clump of keys in my hand, I couldn’t remember if the pink key was for home or for my office door. I knew to put the key in the door, but which color? Choosing between the blue, green, or pink key seemed insurmountable. I couldn’t remember.

I’ve forgotten how to buckle a seat belt in my car. After all those years rolling my eyes on planes, now I sit in my driveway wishing for a flight attendant demonstration on how to buckle that belt. I’ve even forgotten that I need to wear the seatbelt at all, which I always used to wear, out of sheer habit, back when I used to drive. Now, when I get behind the wheel in my mask, I remember how to drive while I’m driving, which is probably not the best way to do it. By the time I get there, I’m just starting to remember how to drive. But I’ve rarely remembered in the past two months to wear my seatbelt.

I’ve forgotten to be scared of guns because for a couple of months now, all the guns have been under stay at home orders. So I’ve had to turn to being afraid of 25% unemployment and being put on a ventilator made by the same people who made the now deceased Chevy Volt. But guns, well, I’ve forgotten that they are in fact, one of the great plagues of our time because for 9 weeks a real plague took over the headlines. Until… the first malls were reopened this week, with… wait for it…a mass shooting. Yes, I forgot. Thanks for the reminder, Arizona. Now I remember. America, we’re back!

I’ve forgotten how to wear pants. Not how, but why? With all the back-to-back Zoom meetings all day long, I’ve forgotten why anyone needs pants at all. Why bother? Shirts, I’m all for them. Shirts with collars are even okay for special Zoom occasions, but I’m having trouble remembering why pants. Only motorcycle cops, teachers and plumbers really need pants. So I’ve cut up all my jeans and made them into masks. The fact that I can’t breathe through my Levi’s 501 mask is neither here nor there. At least I look good while I gasp for air through what used to be my back pocket.

Mostly I’ve forgotten, after two months of house arrest, what the day-to-day scurrying I used to do was all about. The 3 hours per day I used to spend in LA traffic? I can’t remember why that seemed so necessary. Or why I wanted to kill everyone else on the Hollywood Freeway who stood in the way of my commute? It seems so silly now. The working until 7pm most days? I can’t remember why it was all structured that way. I can’t remember why I rarely had dinner with my wife because the day always got in the way. I forget why I was living that way, back when I had a choice.

But maybe it’s good that I’ve forgotten many of the everyday things I didn’t really need to be doing. Maybe I don’t need to remember how to be resentful in traffic or get the right key in the right door. Maybe this smackdown is protecting us from the nonsense of everyday life in 2020 America. Maybe I don’t want to remember. I don’t. I hope, on the other side of this, that I forget to remember these things. These everyday things that I forgot.

 

In “Pearl Harbor week”, Trump Turns to Victoria Secret

Surgeon Gen

WASHINGTON DC, April 4th, 2020, 9:26am EST – After being warned on Sunday by Surgeon General Jerome Adams that “This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”, President Trump again invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act to order another American company to pivot from their normal business model to produce goods to help with the Covid-19 pandemic. After the Surgeon General’s sobering Sunday morning statement on Fox News, the president moved to calm the panic later in the day when he ordered lingerie company Victoria Secret to “…immediately begin production on 100 million face masks. Now if they came from Victoria Secret, I’d sure want to wear one. Right?” tweeted the President.

Asked for comment on Sunday evening, a spokesperson from Victoria Secret’s parent company L Brands was completely unaware of the tweet and said only, “Uh, maybe he doesn’t know but we make bra’s not surgical equipment.”

Trump’s tweet proves that he is indeed aware of Victoria Secret’s product line. “Look, they have c-cups already made. Ready to go. I prefer a D-cup myself, over my mouth, for breathing, for breathing through it, works just like a mask, only for men. Most men will not want to take these off.” tweeted the President Sunday evening, “Except so-called men in California.”

By Monday morning L Brands’ CEO said that she still hadn’t heard directly from the White House but that “… any masks manufactured by Victoria Secret would need to carry our brand image forward. And the last thing we need right now is red-laced masks distracting frontline healthcare workers.”

“Remember those pink pussy hats?” tweeted Trump Sunday night. “I figured, why not pussy masks? Who wouldn’t want that on your mouth. People won’t want to take ‘em off.”, tweeted Trump on Sunday just after midnight.

Trump tweeted 29 times about Victoria Secret Sunday evening and into the wee hours of Monday morning until he apparently fell asleep while tweeting, “nothing feels better on your face, just keep … it… there… just… like… that… just… just…”

If I Get the Virus, Get Me a Tesla

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If I get sick, I want a ventilator made by Tesla. Not one made by General Motors. No offense GM, but I want one that breathes on its own, not one that needs to be bailed out. I want one where I can sit behind the wheel of it and read the newspaper while it does the breathing. And if it costs 3 times as much as the GM ventilator, everyone will understand because it’s a Tesla after all.

I worked on a General Motors assembly line for 3 summers in college, and I’d never trust those folks to make me a lifesaving piece of equipment. If I want a ventilator where the windows get stuck, I’ll buy a GM ventilator. Imagine the commercials for GM ventilators. The compact new GM Wheezer, the fun sporty breathing machine. Or The GM S-360 Heavy Breathing Mini-Truck Machine. Or The GM Electric PURR, the quietest ventilator on the market, and it comes with its own charging station.

Now I’d consider a ventilator made by Hummer, not just because as a child of the 60’s and 70’s I still laugh at the word hummer, but also because theirs would be called the Hummer BLOW, which is just too funny for words. BMW would also make a great ventilator because they’re German. Nuf said.

I am also excited about the SpaceX ventilator. I want one that will land right beside me as I gasp for air on my sofa. A bearded working-at-home millennial in his tight-fitting plaid pajama suit will land the ventilator upright, on my coffee table without disturbing so much as a coaster, using his rebuilt x-box remote. These kids today.

But wait. Now we’ve come full circle. Tesla and SpaceX are both one single genius; Elon Musk. Does the fate of mankind really depend on one broke gazillionaire stoner tech entrepreneur? I feel like I’m on Mars. OMG, Musk is the Get-Me-to-Mars guy too! I do hope Elon is working from home and taking his Covid-19 precautions seriously by washing his hands frequently. Because clearly, he holds the whole world in them.

Thanks for Nothing, Thomas Jefferson

jefferson

Thank you, Thomas Jefferson, for fucking us. Of all the things you could have had us pursue…You could’ve had us pursue basic pleasantries with our neighbors, and perhaps today we would not be a divided nation that can’t even talk to each other. You could’ve had us pursue good health, and then maybe today Americans would not be the most obese people in the world. You could’ve had us pursue knowledge and then we’d not be having to bribe our kids into college. If you had chosen knowledge instead of happiness, then maybe 1/3 of Americans wouldn’t believe Russia is our friend and the world might not be in this ridiculous mess in the first place. But noooooo! You said Happiness. We could have all been happier being healthy or smart or being able to communicate with each other.

Jefferson meant well, but he doomed all future Americans to misery with his lofty notion that we should pursue… happiness. It sounds good on the surface. I mean, who doesn’t want happiness, right? Happiness gets 5 stars on YELP. But that’s just because Jefferson sold us that idea. Before that, nobody had ever presumed people were entitled to …happiness. If you just avoided the plague it was a good day. If your village wasn’t raided and your head wasn’t chopped off, you had done a pretty good job of being a rational and responsible citizen that day. But then, in strolled Jefferson with his fancy feather in hand, to set the bar a little, no A LOT higher. Far too high. Let’s not just worry about survival any more, let’s try to be happy while we’re planting and plowing. WTF? No wonder today Americans want credit for “adulting” the first time they go grocery shopping without their parents.

The problem with this brilliant idea of pursuing happiness is the pursuit part. Jefferson knew people weren’t ever really happy for the whole day long, so he wrote “the pursuit of happiness.” In modern day Los Angeles a pursuit means news choppers and spike strips. At least a televised police pursuit usually ends with a petty criminal being tackled by Highway Patrolmen after a pit maneuver. Now that’s happiness. And a satisfying pursuit that sates one’s appetite, if not for happiness, at least for perverse 21st century live entertainment. And it’s free, if you pay for cable.

If I had a nickel with-his-face-on-it for every time I’ve had a great idea that never took off, I’d be a gazillionaire. But Jefferson knew the future. He was clearly envisioning Facebook when he wrote about the pursuit of happiness. He figured that seeing photos (although he’d never seen a photo) of other people’s perfect salads would drive us all to pursue even better salads, on cooler more rustic-looking outdoor tables than our friends have, with those little white party lights strung over the patio. It’s the pursuit of … Wayfair.

Tom would be so, dare I say, happy to know that centuries later most American adults would spend an average of 3 hours per day staring at their phones, trying to convince themselves and everyone else that they are indeed happy. In technological pursuit of happiness. Check it off your list, late Thomas. Mission accomplished. We’re pursuing our asses off.

House Rules

gavel

Because the House Rules seemed to work so swimmingly in the Impeachment hearings, I decided to try to institute them at my house. After all, these rules go back to the framers. They’re tried and true for centuries. Why wouldn’t we all be using them in our houses?

So when my wife called me to come in from my gardening because she just thought of something she wanted to tell me and it couldn’t wait, I replied “For what purpose does the gentlelady from California seek recognition?” Turns out, that didn’t go over very well. But because these rules worked so well during the hearings, I didn’t give up.

In fact, the next time I added props. I bought a gavel on amazon for less than $20 and brought it into the kitchen for when she criticizes me for not washing all of the silverware when I do the dishes. So when she began her attack, I turned and said “Point of order! Point of order!” as I brandished my gavel with my sudsy hands. She, in return, opened a drawer and without a single word pulled out a meat tenderizer and proceeded to gavel a chicken breast into a pancake with 4 loud whacks that made the dog hide under the table. I dried my hands on the dish towel and quietly retreated to the den.

I was pretty sure this one would work, because of the double entendre. When I’m driving and she always tells me to slow down or to watch out for that car over there, I would simply say “Will the gentlelady yield?”, a little driving joke. But when she did it and I used that line straight from the House of Representatives, it landed with such a loud thud that it nearly activated the air bags.

My favorite House Rule of the hearings was the oft used “Move to strike the last word.” Upon hearing this phrase, I immediately thought of a million uses for this rule at my house. Anytime my wife begins a sentence with, “Now, listen…” I will just “Move to strike the last word”. Whenever she tells me to throw away my treasured 1970’s Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band concert jersey that is so threadbare a sneeze would blow it apart, I’ll just tell her “I move to strike the last word.” When she tells me I have the diet of a ten-year-old, I will say “Move to strike the last word.” But in reality, when my wife actually told me to clean up the garage and I finally got up the nerve to try out this little chestnut, I said “I Move to strike…”

She cut me off with all the authority of the Speaker of the House, “Don’t you dare!” she says wagging her finger at me. And then her finger morphs into that meat tenderizer. And then she morphs into Nancy Pelosi holding that oversized Speaker gavel that looks more like Gallagher’s watermelon-obliterating Sledge-o-matic. I cower at the foot of the speaker of my house, acknowledging that I cannot institute house rules in my house, because I am married to the Speaker. Only she has the power to dictate the house rules.

Except for one, which she allows and even encourages me to repeat daily now. “I yield back.”

 

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.

Democrats Getting Ready to Get Tough

Washington DC —  May 22, 10:15am EST        “House Democrats have finally had enough!” said a leading Democratic congressman, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he entered a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic caucus Wednesday morning to discuss impeachment of the president. Democrats are newly emboldened about the prospect of starting impeachment proceedings after the Trump administration has refused to honor all congressional subpoenas.

Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who until now has tried to quell impeachment talk among Democrats, is speaking tough. “The president is involved in a cover-up! And we will not be pushed around any longer.”  When asked by reporters what Democrats would do if former presidential advisor Hope Hicks ignores her subpoena as former White House Counsel Don McGahn did yesterday, Pelosi said, “We’ll see to it that we get her swift attention. We will hit her where it hurts.” While Pelosi refused to state what specific punishment Hicks might face, Pelosi’s deputy did not deny the rumor that House Democrats are prepared to have Hicks banned from all “cosmetics stores” in the DC area.

And if that isn’t tough enough, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) went even further. “We are prepared to order Don McGahn’s mother to testify on Capitol Hill if he keeps stonewalling. Nobody wants to see their mother dragged in front of the cameras.” 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) threatened to have the gym memberships revoked of all Trump administration officials who ignore subpoenas. “We’re taking off the kid gloves and hitting them where it hurts!” Nadler said.

While no reporters were allowed in the closed-door meeting, it was leaked that Democratic caucus members overwhelmingly supported ordering the House sergeant-at-arms to have “the boot” put on the cars of all those administration officials who put themselves above the law and ignore subpoenas. “This is it. We’re fed up and we’re taking action!” said Pelosi as she exited the meeting. “We’re praying and we’re taking action. We’re all in agreement that the time has come to put an end to this flouting of the law.” Pelosi added. “When their cable is shut off, they’ll know we mean business.”

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.

Trump: Rename Notre Dame

Washington, D.C. Wed April 17, 2019.    Less than 48 hours after the world watched in tears as the famed Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris, U.S. President Donald Trump has offered to personally pay to rebuild the beloved global monument, on one condition. That is the problem, according to French Interior Minister, Christophe Cantaner. “His offer depends upon the renaming of Notre Dame. It’s conceited. It’s impossible.  It’s gauche.  It’s beyond stupid.” said Cantaner Wednesday morning when asked about the offer after touring the iconic Cathedral’s damage.

Just hours earlier Trump had told reporters at the White House… “Look, I myself will pay for the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and maybe if I did that, my friend Macron, he’s little but he’s smart, so smart he married his teacher, a cougar, much older than he is. He’s my friend, admires me very much. He gives a great parade. Military parade.  Maybe if I pay to rebuild it, maybe Macron will name it after me. That’d be nice, don’t ya think?  Trump Towers Paris, because there are still several towers left.  More than one.  So it’s gotta be Towers with an S.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron smiled when asked if he was taking Trump’s offer seriously, saying “Notre Dame will be rebuilt by the French.  It belongs to France, and only we can rebuild it.” When pressed by reporters for further comment the French President replied, “There will be no renaming of Notre Dame. Not on my watch. Not ever.”

Trump said in an Oval Office press gaggle that he’d pay for the new Notre Dame walls… “if they’d make the new walls out of see-thru steel slats. We’ve already got bids on those from San Diego and I can make that happen so fast, walls even Californians would love. We need to make sure no immigrants get in there and start more fires. Here it’s the Mexicans we worry about, there it’s the Syrians and Africans. But they really should put my name on it too, if I were going to pay for it, don’t ya think?”

DHS Secretary Nielsen Quits to Become CEO of Los Cojones!™

WASHINGTON DC – Mon April 8, 2019        Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, abruptly resigned on Sunday, after months under fire from democrats and even President Trump, who appointed her. Liberals had been battling Nielsen over her many controversial policies, including the separation of thousands of immigrant children from their parents as they attempted to apply for asylum at the US/Mexican border.

Last week President Trump increased his attacks on Nielsen, saying “She lost her nerve but she needs to find it again and refill those cages.” Trump was referring to the fenced holding cells that have been used to incarcerate the Central American refugee children apprehended at the border.  The tactic of taking the children away from their parents at the border was an effort of the Trump administration to intimidate immigrants, which backfired when public rage about locking up children in fenced cages swelled and DHS reversed the policy. DHS has been unable to reunite thousands of children, according to DHS statistics as recently as last week.

Nielsen announced Sunday that she is resigning from government to accept the position of CEO of the beleaguered Mexican restaurant chain, Los Cojones!™  “It’s no secret that I love Mexican food, and have really missed it.”, said Nielsen, referring to the public shouting down she received in a Mexican restaurant after the child separation began in June of 2018. Video of protestors shouting SHAME while Nielsen dined in a DC-area Mexican restaurant went viral and forced Nielsen to leave the restaurant giving up her favorite three-cheese enchiladas in tomatillo sauce.

“I’ve had to do without chimichangas for too long now.” Nielsen said Sunday.  “I’ve always loved Los Cojones!™” Nielsen acknowledged on Sunday, so I’m very excited about making many positive changes as I did in my tenure at DHS.”

The bankrupt national Mexican restaurant chain is in 22 red states and California. “The famous Los Cojones!™ Wet Bars, for instance, will soon be called Los Cojones!™ Wet Backs!”, Nielsen said.  “We’ve got to have a sense of humor about these things.” 

Nielsen is also planning to add new menu items including the Trump Tostada, a tostada shell full of nothing but red meat, except in the California stores where Nielsen admitted, ” we’ll have to throw in some salad.” 

Nielsen also plans to add children’s sections in all Los Cojones!™ restaurants. “No parents will be allowed in those sections so that they can enjoy a nice quiet dinner with a Margarita while their children will be treated to free kid’s meals and crayons. But don’t worry.” Nielsen added. “All of those children will be reunited with their parents… after they pay, and even given free Los Cojones!™ Pralines™.”