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Nice to Meet You
Now that we’ve
Been introduced
And spoken
In such breadth
Of matters
Both profound
And inane

Now that we’ve
Been introduced
And have shared
In such depth
Our feelings
Both sacred
And profane

Now that we’ve
Been introduced
And bared our
Souls this way
I can ask
My dear friend
What's your name?
While She Is Away
I want to make clear right from the start that this is not a confession. I am confident that my mate understands, as a general proposition, that I will backslide in some areas of our marital compact while she is gone. As long as her world isn’t adversely affected, I know that I am pre-forgiven for such lapses. On the other hand, you might find some evidence of defensiveness here — even though I categorically deny that there is anything that needs defending.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: he’s all alone and he’s living like an animal. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. I am a grown man and fully capable of taking care of myself. Besides, she’s only gone for a few days.

Furthermore, no one will be harmed by my transgressions. Take, for instance, the matter of bed-making. As I have already made clear in this space, I consider this practice to be wasteful and redundant. And so, in keeping with this firmly held personal ethic, I do not make the bed during these periods of separation. The covers are a twisted clump now, just as they were when I got up. The bottom of the sheet is securely tucked (according to my specifications), but everything else is untouched. The purely decorative pillows remain on the floor and out of the way. They will not move again until it is absolutely necessary.

I am at ease with this state of affairs, even though it would be troubling to my mate. But she is far away, and this disarray in our boudoir cannot afflict her. Neither she, nor anyone else, is harmed. Similarly, if I happen to fart or belch with unusual gusto, I cannot be charged with rudeness because there is no victim to witness these displays.

There is a TV tray parked in front of my easy chair. It has not moved since her departure. Nor will it. My convenience level is just too high under this arrangement to justify folding it up and returning it to the closet. And yet, the Earth continues to spin on its axis, and the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice.

The toilet seat, as you might expect, has stayed up. Unless, that is, I have just used it for its most profound function…or unless I have recently used my rest room as a place to sit and rest. I have no quarrel with the expectation that I always leave the seat down, but I prize this opportunity to ignore it. Furthermore, the energy I save will help in saving the Earth.

Notwithstanding these minor derelictions, things are still pretty tidy around here. The dishes get washed, though at a more leisurely, thoughtful pace. There is sweeping, sponging, and even some isolated instances of dusting.

And if I were looking to prove that I am not living like an animal, I would simply point to my efforts at sprucing. I will admit that sprucing does not constitute a large part of my home care bailiwick, but I am qualified in this area. I don’t claim that deep sprucing, such as the placement of fresh flowers or the rotation of table runners, is part of my portfolio; however, do I like to think of myself as a gifted straightener. Furthermore, I make sure all the drawers and cupboard doors are closed, too. This is largely a manifestation of my mild OCD, but it still counts as sprucing.

Sprucing, in fact, is one of the fundamental human qualities that sets us apart from the lower beasts. That, and the ability to modulate our farting. So there.
Grid Irony
I had thought I would drift away from football and reserve my precious fan time for more worthy sports. I felt good about this decision. It made me feel morally superior to all the yahoos who thirst for the inhumanity and raw violence found in this uniquely American sport.

Sadly, this high-minded posture is no longer available to me. After some years of quasi-abstinence from football, I have fallen back into old habits. It is playoff season in football, and I have succumbed to temptation. This weekend I found myself watching games that involved the likes of the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans, and the Tennessee Titans. I have no feelings, positive or negative, for any of those teams (although the Titans’ logo may be the ugliest in all of sport). And yet, I watched those games as if they actually meant something to me. Why?

I could say that my renewed interest is a product of the surprising success this year of the San Francisco 49ers, who are my natural and life-long home squad. But how can I blame the team for my own failings? That would violate my core rooting principles.

Now that I have returned to the world of watching football, however, things have changed a little. For one thing, watching myself watch football has now been added to the experience (and, with this essay, watching myself watching myself watch football). As I hover over myself on the couch, I see that I’m getting the most enjoyment from individual feats of athletic brilliance: stunningly accurate throws, acrobatic catches, and dazzling runs. In other words, all those elements of strength and skill and focus that make sports such a riveting form of entertainment…along with the fact that it is real, and not made up.

I also witness myself reacting to the moments of life-threatening brutality. I cringe, and most of the time, I turn away. I’m not sure, though, whether turning away is a good thing or a bad thing. It shows that am repelled by the violence, but it also shows that I’m willing to overlook it. It’s like going to the arena and averting your gaze just before the lions devour the Christians. To the person who is watching me watching me watch, that seems a bit hypocritical.

At least for now, it appears that I am able to live with that. Go Niners!
No Time for Thinking
Okay, the holidays are behind us now. As warm memories of family recede and the trappings of celebrations are put away until next year, this time in our lives would normally give way to sober reflection.

Normally, that is. This January, we just don’t have time for that stuff. We are on the cusp of what promises to be the most consequential year in our nation’s history. If you like politics, you are in for the thrill ride of a lifetime. If you don’t, you are about to enter Hell. Either way, our options for deep contemplation will be sorely limited. So hang on, citizen.

Most of the pieces are in place already, of course, and moving swiftly. The Articles of impeachment will be sent to the Senate next week. The Democratic field is pretty much set. Global warming is an indisputable fact…except to those with the power to do something about it. Putin has us by the ballot box. The rich are still getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer. And everyone is at least a little spooked.

So right out of the gate, we’ll be going full tilt in 2020. First up: the possible conviction of a U.S. President for high crimes and misdemeanors and his removal from office. It’s hard to imagine higher political stakes than that. And just to crank up the drama even higher, several contenders for the Democratic nomination will not only be taking on a high profile in that trial, but will be called upon to vote on the question. In addition to front runners Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, we’ll have Cory Booker and Michael Bennet, all doing one of the jobs they get paid to do —on national TV in prime time. Dropouts Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand will also be in the mix, no doubt itching to make a mark.

Assuming the Republicans stay true to form, however, the trial and verdict will go through the chamber at warp speed. While the outcome is all but assured, however, we’d be foolish to rule out the possibility that Something Entirely Unforeseen will take place. Such events, after all, are a common occurrence in our daily lives. The only question is whether or not they will affect the imagined outcome.

Even if nothing gets settled in the Senate, February will come anyway, and with it a flurry of votes by actual citizens. The Iowa caucuses arrive Feb. 3, followed by the New Hampshire primary Feb. 11, the Nevada caucuses Feb. 22, and the South Carolina primary Feb. 29.

Not hectic enough for you? If we don’t have a clear favorite by the end of February, we just might get one on March 3. That’s Super Tuesday, when 14 states, American Samoa, and Americans abroad all go to the polls on the Democratic side. That adds up to 1358 pledged delegates chosen on one day. If, after that, we still haven’t got anyone near the 960 needed to win on the first ballot at the convention — which could easily happen since nearly all those states allocate delegates proportionally — then things could really get hairy.

You can count me, by the way, as a vote for hairiness. I like the idea of the system flexing all its muscles here at this turning point in history. If it does get hairy, I can see 4 or 5 candidates still in the running by the time the convention rolls around on July 13. If we get to a third or fourth ballot and still don’t have a nominee, then anything could happen.

And the year would barely be half over! By that time, the number of unforeseen events will really be piling up, including those generated by Drump himself. There has even been talk of more Articles of Impeachment rolling off the House’s production line. And why not? The various court cases that have been grinding quietly along will surely free up more evidence of wrongdoing, and those revelations will have to be addressed, election or not.

Beyond that wild prospect, there will surely be some October surprises cooked up by contestants from both parties, and we can count on Putin turning up in a few headlines before November 3rd. Come November 4th, we’ll either be contending with a colossally sore loser who refuses to vacate the White House or a sore winner who has been taking names.

Either way, we won’t have time to pause and reflect. For that, let's set the timer for January, 2021. 2020 will have given us plenty to think about.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon