Archive for May, 2009


May 23, 2009

In response to the almost deafening nationwide clamor demanding that I offer my opinion on Pelosi,  Cheney, and the CIA:


Pelosi — Probably telling the truth, in that narrow, literal sense that lawyers invoke to earn their $1,200 an hour, meaning that while she did not actually hear any explicit statement that extralegal abuse was going on, she wink wink nudge nudge got the drift of the gag.  


Cheney — Lying like a bastard, as usual, and knows it, and couldn’t care less, because the central engine of his being is that he is emotionally and psychologically unable to live with the notion that he could be, or could even be widely thought to be, wrong.  About anything.  Which he has never been nor ever shall be.  Room, shroom; he is the smartest guy in the galaxy.  All you need to know.


The CIA — May or may not be telling the truth, or may be telling some combination of truth and guesswork, or even fantasy, but even the agency itself can’t be sure, because it currently lacks reliable intel, and so, out of sheer force of habit, presently maintains the protocol of the past eight years of saying whatever it thinks Cheney wants to hear.



May 12, 2009

In the last, I don’t know, 72 hours or so, I have learned of the death due to cancer of two old friends and chronological contemporaries, which is emotionally detached locution for “people the same age I am, for God’s sake, and they’re dead already.”  In this instance, indeed, people who are…were…actually younger than I am.  


In case anyone is reading this who might happen to be an acquaintance of long standing, the departed are Liz Corwin (housemate from a spell at an anarchist collective / cocaine dealership in Berkeley many years back) and Mike Nichols (no, no, just a guy I was in a living group with at Cal, even more years back).  The old friend who called to tell me about Liz remarked with a sigh that, “I guess we’ll be getting more of these calls from now on.”  This was one of the first such calls, in my case, but he’s right, of course.  


And I’m surprised that I’m, well, surprised.  Should have seen this coming.  But heretofore, the deaths of friends my age have either been flukes or accidents or the result of a pattern of behavior that could reasonably have led to no other conclusion.  Now, ominously, people my age are dying of diseases that you tend to contract and die of at my age.  Which will be, incidentally, 65 in a matter of weeks.  


The silver lining:  From here on out, I get Medicare.  

The huge, enormous, vast, ugly fucking black cloud: From here on out, I will increasingly need it.  


I think that I’ve been less than prepared for this eventuality because I have been insulated from my own aging process.  I haven’t had any of the things in my life that, for most normal people, graphically bring home one’s sense of one’s advanced years: children, aging siblings, diseases, frailty, or the death of one’s parents, which moves one a whole generation forward on the passenger list to oblivion.  


In my case, Dad is gone, to Alzheimer’s, almost six years ago, but Mom endures in a nursing home in Berkeley at the age of 94.  Having your mother still alive at my age is not just uncommon, but disorienting.  You are still someone’s kid, even though you have reached retirement age.  Just my opinion, but 65 is too damned old to be somebody’s son.  It feels, well, spooky.  


One of the ascribed characteristics  that the media casually imposes on the so-called Baby Boom Generation is its refusal, or at least dogged reluctance, to grow old, let alone die.  I don’t agree with that stereotype.  I think it’s more likely that we just want to look our best on our deathbed, which who knows, you could find yourself on at any moment, and in this age of cell phone cameras yet.  Just give us a quick, painless passage, and decent lighting.  


Life is nothing if not mysterious, but in any case, one way or the other, we’re about to find out just how The Biggest And Most Powerful And Most Self-Absorbed Generation In The History Of The World, at least in the view of those generations bobbing resentfully in its wake, handles act four.