One of the central tenets in the art of writing while stupid is: Whenever you find something holding you back from writing, write about it.
My laptop is dying. It crashes every 20 minutes now. What did I do to deserve this load of karma? Just ahead of Christmas, no less. It was my uncalled for references to the baby Jesus, in two recent columns, wasn’t it? I made offhand, gratuitous comments about one of the three Persons of the Trinity in His form as a helpless baby. Of course my laptop would crap out on me. This is being written on a cell phone. By next week I should’ve mastered dictation by Google Voice, because hunting and pecking on this teeny keyboard is wearing out the tip of my right index finger.
There’s so much I could write about besides my troubles. I could easily write two paragraphs about how Councilmember Kshama Sawant has kept her job. It’s a hard slap in the faces of all the rich people who thought they could get rid of her by pooling their money together.
I’m not going to say whether I’m a socialist or not, but I think we should have more socialists on the City Council, not fewer. There should be 4 1/2, for all the math to work out.
Speaking of the Seattle city council, they’ve voted to end hazard pay for grocery workers just as we’re all bracing for an onslaught by the omicron variant.
In news near the Atlantic Ocean, New York City is using peanut butter Oreos and sunflower seeds to lure rats to their deaths. The rodents die by drowning in a proprietary blue liquid that contains alcohol to knock them out and a scent to mask their odor as they decompose. I want to go on the record: I did not come up with this idea. I don’t hate rats so much. I love the rat filmed dragging a slice of pizza downstairs into a subway station. What a cutie.
(See how it works? I just wrote over 1800 characters with my right index finger. And all it took to get me started was to indulge in one long paragraph whining about it.)
Recent news about rising tensions between China and Taiwan brings me back to personalizing the news, my favorite way to react to it. I’ve mentioned many times here that I spent about six months in Taipei when I was 8 years old. It was a really great time to be there. Taiwan was under martial law, imposed by Chiang Kai-shek. Tensions were high. There were rumors of war all over the place, reports of islands in the strait being subject to rocket attacks. There were daily air raid drills. There were bomb shelters everywhere. Our house had a silly concrete bomb shelter with barely room for me and my parents, and there was no door to close behind us, you just had to crawl in and get as far from the entrance as you could. I didn’t think much of that bomb shelter. My thought was “Mickey Mouse.”
Since my father was in military intelligence (the mother of all oxymorons) I had a good conduit to the rumors. Especially when officers under his command came over to visit. You’d think they wouldn’t discuss work in front of me, but they couldn’t resist, I guess. One of the things that intrigued me was that my father, the major, almost always knew less about what was going on than his lieutenants and captains. You’d think that the higher up you went in the ranks of the intelligence agency, the more intelligence would cling to you. But no, Dad scared me, making me worry that whatever intelligence was being gathered was never going to rise to the top. Ten years later as I was finishing high school and had to register for the draft I thought about that a lot.
“What if the war in Vietnam was being fought by an army with no intelligence at the top?” I mused.
In retrospect I think I may have mused correctly.
Anyway, back to the situation at hand, here we are being called upon to assist Taiwan if invaded. Who in the U.S. knows what’s going on this time?
What are we going to do? Nuke the invading armada?
Read more of the Dec. 22-28, 2021 issue.