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My Angel
I’m starting to get a little worried about my friend. I’ve known her for a long time, but I don’t remember ever seeing her act like this before.

We watched The Equalizer together the other night. If you haven’t seen the movie, I will tell you that it stars Denzel Washington as an ex-CIA operative. Or something like that, anyway. It’s never exactly clear where he acquired all his skills at investigating people and then beating the tar out of them and eventually killing them. The killing is a big part of the movie, and although Denzel’s character seems to be a good-hearted and deeply philosophical guy, he is coldly methodical when engaged in one of his homicidal rampages.

It’s a pretty good revenge flick, as these things go. Denzel adds a dimension of internal suffering and dangerous cool that tends to leaven all the dreadful gore he produces. We’re not talking about the butt-stupid modes of retribution we might see in, say, Walker, Texas Ranger. But it’s plenty violent, and it tends to revel in the wackiness of the instrumentalities of its executions. Toward the end, for instance (spoiler alert), our hero dispatches the main bad guy with an industrial-sized staple gun. I will only say that this is a particularly ugly way to go. On the other hand, this dude really had it coming.

The thing is, my friend doesn’t usually like this brand of cinema. Normally, she is drawn to British costume dramas, and if she does watch the occasional mystery, she will switch it off if it turns excessively violent. That seems to have changed recently. After The Equalizer, we went right to The Equalizer 2.

As the bloody orgy of revenge continued in the sequel, I couldn’t help but notice that my friend seemed to find some kind of kinship with Denzel’s avenging angel. When I asked her about it, she said that she did, that it was satisfying to see evil pay dearly for its sins. “I hope,” she added, “that the same thing happens to the Republicans.”

I should note here that my friend (and bunkmate for the last thirty years) has been working very hard with Swing Left to change the balance of power in Washington, D.C. As we have gotten closer to November 3, her level of activism, along with everyone else’s on the left, has risen sharply. Also rising has been her contempt for Trump and his corrupt enablers on Capitol Hill. She really doesn’t like these guys, and she honestly feels that no fate is too awful for them. Hurled into vats of acid? Drawn and quartered? Disemboweled? No problemo.

This is not like her. She is the half of our partnership who can ordinarily be counted upon to counsel forgiveness, gentleness, and humanity. That person, at least for now, is gone. In her place I have my own avenging angel. She is right there with The Equalizer, dispensing (imaginary) justice without the slightest qualm — a remorseless, unstoppable killing machine.

I do miss the gentle, loving woman I used to live with, but I can wait for her to return. November 4 will be soon enough.
I Miss You Guys
I've been
Without wifi
For over
A month

Nor cellphone
Nor landline
Nor even a text
Not once!

The fires
Took them all
At least
For a while

So I must
talk in person
(Remember
To smile!)

It's been a
Real joy
To pick up
The knack

Of real
Conversation
That old
Forth and back

That said
I am ready
To see boys
From home

Verizon
Adobe
And of course
Google Chrome
Numb and Number
If you’re like me, you find it easy to make an emotional connection with a letter. They do mirror our words and thoughts, after all — almost as if they were a part of us. If one of them is going through a rough patch, we automatically feel their pain. They are almost living things — like beloved family pets.

Take the letter Q, for instance. You would have to be pretty cold inside not to feel some kind of compassion for this hapless glyph. For starters, it can hardly go anywhere without U tagging along. It’s not as if U needs the work; it’s a vowel, for gosh sake. But there it is, crowding into the picture almost every time Q gets a chance to shine. And on the rare occasion when Q does appear on its own, it is almost always as a pathetic attempt by our alphabet to mimic a sound from another, foreign, set of letters — like the Hebrew letter qoph. Or qajaq, a Scrabble word with no meaning at all. Sad.

It is also a bit of an afterthought as a letter, looking, as it does, like an O that has left its pants unzipped. It all seems so unfair. But at least Q is a letter. In its alphabet-universe there are only 26 such characters. Even Q can think of itself as something special is such elite company.

When it comes to integers, though, it is quite a different matter. There are an infinite number of numbers, so no one would blame you if you felt nothing at all for any one of them and whatever tough circumstances they might find themselves in. Having feelings for a number is less like caring about an old and beloved dog approaching its last days and more like sympathizing with your laptop when it crashes. It’s that hard to relate to a number.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Recently, I have been experiencing profound surges of empathy for 2020.

Think of 2020 before the year began. It held a position of representing almost unparalleled excellence as a measure of eyesight. 20/20 vision is not perfect, but it is the ideal level of visual acuity to which we all aspire. To many of us, 20/20 is an unattainable goal even with corrective lenses or surgery. How many numerals have a credit like that on their resumes?

Apart from that association, 2020 was also on its way to an achievement of numerical niftyness that would have been rare indeed among other dates on the calendar. It would have gone into the books along with 1010 and (someday) 3030. The coolness of such dates easily outstrips years like 1818 and 1919 or any other every-101-years occurrences.

All of that, of course, came before the actual transpiration of the year 2020. You don’t need me to tell you what it’s been like, but I will anyway: COVID, job loss, eviction, schools under threat…okay, I’m getting tired of it already. Except one last thing: corrupt and uncaring governance. Oh yeah, and now a giant, killer heat wave in the West, which has now been followed by the historically awful and destructive fires currently afflicting the entire Pacific Coast of America.

Whatever 2020 might have had going for it on January 1, it’s all gone now. In my opinion, it is in the running for the worst year ever, and maybe even the worst number ever. That is a long fall for any symbolic character. There is only one thing that could make it worse.

Please, don’t forget to vote.
Living in an Evacuum
Full disclosure: I am an evacuee. That’s my official excuse for failing to update timeagan.com for the last few weeks. Yes, the wildfires that have ravaged large areas of California have driven me from my country home.

I’m spite of that, I will confess that it is not much of an excuse. My house is still standing, after all, and so am I. Furthermore, I was not among the heroes who stayed behind to fight the fire and save their neighbors’ homes. I hightailed it off the mountain as soon as I got the call.

My only real excuse is that I have been unable to return to my computer which is the normal transmission point for these updates. The fact that you are now reading this puts the lie to that rationalization.

Even so, I am in no mood to apologize. On the other hand, I can’t complain, either. My dislocation has been a colossal pain in the ass, but a mere flea bite compared to what some of my fellow Bonny Dooners are going through.

I could keep my mouth shut, I suppose, but then there would be no Eaganblog at all. We can’t have that. I will keep it short, though, and just mention a small news tidbit that gave me some joy this week.

Perhaps you saw it, too. The pro-Trump boat parade down at Lake Travis just north of Austin, Texas? Five of the motorized pleasure craft sank, two of them all the way to the bottom. The lake is a reservoir, so there were no tricky tides to contend with. It was a sunny, windless day — great for power boating and summer fun. The happy event, however, began to generate panicked distress calls almost as soon as it began, and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and local firefighters were forced to spend much of the afternoon hauling waterlogged MAGAheads out of the drink.

None were killed, which makes the story even better. I can enjoy my schadenfreude absolutely guilt-free. What’s more, I am allowed to ponder the metaphorical beauty of this tale without a hint of mean-spiritedness. The swampings suffered by these Trump enthusiasts came as a result of the amalgamated backwash from their own propellers. There was no evidence of foul play by the Deep State, or George Soros, or any other shadowy, antifa-loving forces. They were done in solely by their conjoined (let’s just say it, shall we?) stupidity.

Many of the boats that took on water featured large flags with pro-Trump slogans. One called to “Make liberals cry again.” I can’t say that this story made me cry, but I did mist up a little at the sight of these boneheads stepping in, and slipping on, their own do-do.

See you next week.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon