(click for full-size version)
For reasons I can’t explain, when I was a child I began doing something most adults don’t even do: reading the credits during (and after) a movie. I found it fascinating one could be set in Detroit, yet say “Filmed in Los Angeles” at the end.
Within the span of a few short years, I noticed the movies I enjoyed the most had one thing in common: Harold Ramis. His name would pop up all over the place.
It started innocently enough, when I saw Animal House. “Written by” was something I liked taking note of; who was behind the hilarity I was seeing? Then he directed Caddyshack… wrote and starred in Stripes…
(Side Note: I remember seeing Stripes and being enthralled when John Winger’s girlfriend entered her scene while topless. I had the thought, “Is that what a relationship is like? Full of awesomely casual nudity?” It looked like the best thing ever… until she dumped him one minute later.)
Harold Ramis was the complete package: he could write, act, direct, and produce. And not only could he do each of those things, he could do them well. It wasn’t like a movie star saying, “I want to direct” and creating some haphazard mess; Ramis was a master across the board.
He became sort of an idol of mine. Yes, Bill Murray was nothing short of fantastic, and every boy wanted to be as cool as him… But there was something about the power of Harold Ramis. Maybe he wasn’t as cool, maybe he wasn’t handsome, but he was smart and talented. As a teenager, I knew there was power in talent. Being a face on a screen was one thing; being able to write was another. Being able to direct on top of that? Get the fuck out of here. That was a threat to be reckoned with.
For a while, it seemed like he could only get better. Ramis followed movies like Vacation and Stripes with Ghostbusters, and then followed that with Groundhog Day, which may have been his plateau.
(Yes, I know he didn’t direct all of those films; I’m just discussing anything he was an important part of.)
I enjoyed his later work—Analyze This! and even Multiplicity—but he will always be remembered for his classic work of the late 1970s and the decade known as the 80s.
Sadly, I didn’t even know he had fallen ill. To find that at one point he had to learn to walk again was tough to read.
It is a sad day for the planet when Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, and Lindsay Lohan are still alive, and Harold Ramis is not.
You know I love you more than words. You are my everything, and I orbit around you as does the earth the sun. I love spending almost every moment I can with you.
Note that word, “almost.”
As much as I love you, you do not need to hunt me down every time I sneak off to relieve my bowels. Pooping is a nicely private time to me, and I try not to male it up too much, with a newspaper and 20 minutes of solitude. No, I’m a fast, one-minute get-it-outa-me fast pooper.
(I have a healthy colon.)
I also, for the record, find it a bit disconcerting you feel the need to go peering into the toilet after I stand up. I know you’re just an inquisitive child, but the arch of your eyebrow that signifies interest on your little face… Yeah, it’s poop. Nothing interesting there.
I would close the door, but you crying and pounding on it is good for neither of our mental states.
Maybe you think, “But Dad, you see me poop all the time! I make quite a show of it!”
And you do.
You furrow your brow and gain a look of intense concentration.
Your face becomes red with pressure, as you try and work out exactly what’s going on with your little body.
And like a summer storm, everything passes quickly and you go on about your day happily.
Or, you try to, but I scoop you up and it’s time for a diaper change, where you fuss and squirm and flail all four appendages as I try to wrestle you into a clean Pamper.
Anyway, I can only hope that you soon remain distracted enough by whatever you are doing that when you notice I am not around, you grant me the moments of respite from your presence I require.
I am in Chicago, and missing you dearly. This past week contained quite a few wonderful moments, which you didn’t notice as you are a delightfully unaware fifteen-month-old.
Monday was my birthday, and it’s the first time I’ve ever felt old. My whole life I’d looked at being an adult as something more interesting than being a teenager or dumb punk in my twenties, but now reality is sinking in. I lament the thought I had you too late in life, and that had you been born when I was 30 I’d have another whole decade to spend with you.
I worry about being an “old dad,” someone you will be embarrassed by in your teen years. I know kids are naturally embarrassed by their parents, but I’m talking about the “Is that your grandpa?” situation.
Also on Monday, I posted a meme of a joke of mine online. It soon went viral, with people sharing it around the world. It hit the front page of two very popular websites—Reddit and The Chive—and within a day several hundred thousand people had viewed it.
That was pretty nifty.
Because of this success, I posted a video of the joke online Tuesday night. When I woke up Wednesday morning, the video had received more views by far than most of my offerings do. I soon found out that some unknown kind person posted it on Huffington Post, which is a goulash of entertainment and news. 17,000 people watched me (and hopefully giggled) within 24 hours.
Finally in the Wednesday world of Dad’s career: my latest CD was approved to stream on a service called Pandora. With millions of subscribers, this will hopefully expose my comedy to many new people.
All this attention could be nice for my career; whether or not the comedy Gods take notice remains to be seen.
I remain ever hopeful.
Thursday follows Wednesday, and Thursday, November 21st may become a milestone… or perhaps it will fade into obscurity. Mom and I will soon learn how the day will be defined.
On Thursday, Mom and I went to the hospital and she had a microscopic embryo implanted in her uterus. In vitro fertilization, it’s called, and it’s how we were able to bring you into our life. The procedure is too much to go into at the moment, but suffice to say we are trying to bring another child into the family.
You, dear one, were such a wonderful addition that we are trying to give you a brother or sister you can befriend and mentor. Someone you can grow up with, someone you can play with night and day, a secret-keeper, someone you will watch learn to crawl and walk, just like your Mom and I watched you learn to crawl and walk…
From the moment you were born, your Mom has been resolute in the concept that when she and I are gone you will need someone to share memories with. Personal memories, like she shares with her sisters; someone you can always call upon to wax philosophic about childhood.
We named the embryo Squeak, just as we named you Peanut; Mom feels it’s good luck to add a little flavor and personality to the proceedings. When Squeak was injected into what is (hopefully) a nice warm home in Mommy, a small amount of air was released. This air made the embryo appear white on the ultrasound monitor. Amidst the gray and black hues on the screen, the embryo looked like a star in the twilighted sky, a tiny white dot living inside your mother.
You, Hilly, were once a tiny white dot living inside your mother, and look how perfect you turned out.
Because of all the struggles to get pregnant with you, all of our friends and family were told the instant you were placed into Mommy. After two years of struggling with infertility issues, everyone was with us every step of the process used to create your life.
But we’re keeping Squeak a secret until the time is right.
Because sometimes… well, it’s just nice to surprise people.
(TL/DR watch this instead)
My whole life, I’ve watched parents swat at their children’s hands in stores.
The action is usually accompanied by the words “Don’t touch,” which come out in the most unusual combination of whisper and shout; hushed yet somehow still roared. Sometimes the children whimper or cry, sometimes they just look defeated. The adults, they are alternately embarrassed and irritated. “What if someone saw me allowing my child to grab an item? They’ll think I’m a bad parent!”
On occasion, the swat is followed by a yank of the arm; “Come with me, now!” said via physical intent, not verbal interaction.
It’s always made me cringe.
Oddly enough, I never played any “What if?” games in those moments. I never put myself in the position of the parent, and thought, “I’d certainly react differently” or “What would I do in that situation?”
Well, here I am.
My Hillary is officially a toddler now—fifteen-months strong and interested in walking everywhere and grabbing everything. When we go to the store, she’s more interested in exploring than sitting in the cart.
So what do we do?
And we grab.
Hilly walks where she can, and tries to pick up everything. Sometimes she fails—as with bags of flour—sometimes she succeeds. When Hilly has discovered an item she can lift, one of two things happens: she either carries that item around the store with her, or she begins taking multiple amounts of said item off the shelf and setting them on the floor next to her. It is then my job to pick each item up and place it back where it goes, so she can repeat the process and believe we are having “fun.” Because it is fun. To her. And that, in turn, makes it fun to me. Shopping isn’t really fun for anyone, so if Hilly can make it interesting for us, hell, more power to her.
If we make it through our shopping experience with her item still in hand, I’ll swap it out with something we’re actually purchasing; “Good trade,” as Wind in his Hair might say. We then return the un-needed item to its place on the shelf, because that’s what happens when playtime is over: toys get put away.
Hilly doesn’t get to play with everything; of course certain items are off limits. We’re not going to toss eggs or anything else fragile around. But instead of swatting and yanking, I monitor my body response carefully. I generally pick Hilly up and start making faces at her. She understands “No,” so I exaggerate it mightily, shaking my head as I smile “Noooooooo” to her. It’s my way of letting her know she’s not going to get to play with everything she wants, while maintaining that just because she doesn’t get her way doesn’t mean it’s all bad.
At Target the other day, the two of us ended up in the vitamin aisle. Hilly’s eye spied small items; something easily grasped by her tiny hands and limited dexterity.
Immediately she began picking up the pill bottles.
Ever the helpful father, I showed her that if she shook them, they made a neat rattling sound. This made her grin ear-to-ear. Hilly began experimenting with a multitude of containers; each one picked up, shaken, and then either handed to me or placed on the floor.
Knowing this could take a while—there were quite a few options available for all her shaking needs—I pushed the cart aside and sat down next to her. Hilly would grab a bottle, sometimes two, and shake and wave them in the air, and look at me, beaming. To me, this was the most important moment, the interaction. Children take their life cues from us; they absorb how we relate to the world and reflect it as they age. So as Hilly would look to me, I would smile and grab and shake my own pill bottles. It was my way of letting her know that she was doing nothing wrong, everything right, and that I was enjoying myself just as much as she was.
Which, of course, I was.
Discovering which vitamins carry which maraca tone was a much more interesting way to spend ten minutes in Target than actually shopping.
At some point, a couple turned the corner into our aisle. From my vantage point, all I could see was from knees-down, but I know they paused at the sight of a grown man and his daughter playing among the pill bottles.
Sometimes you don’t need to see a face to understand intent. Sometimes you don’t even need words.
“Oh…” sounded forth from what sounded like an elderly woman.
I didn’t need to see her to know she was smiling; the warmth contained in her “Oh” could have melted butter.
I looked up, and she and her husband were gazing down at me in a way only grandparents can, love glowing through their eyes.
Some people won’t understand a grown man sitting on the floor in Target shaking pill bottles with his daughter.
But some will.
Here’s to hoping there are more of the latter on this planet than there are the former.
As we all know, George Bailey wishes he had never been born. Through the angel Clarence, George is exposed to the utopia that would have existed in a world without him. “Pottersville” replaces Bedford Falls, and is a brilliant combination of shantytown and Las Vegas. Residents live in shack-like homes, pay usury-rate interest on them, and the downtown area is aglow in neon-signs and filled with alcoholic rage. People are detached from humanity; they interact with one another in a survival-like mode.
Upon seeing this Nirvana, George Bailey knows he has to go through with his wish, so Clarence grants it. George is never born, and the world is better for it. Everyone sheds a tear, and the film ends.
That’s not how the film ends. While the description of Pottersville is accurate, the true ending is that after witnessing just how much meaning his life actually had, George lives. People watching the movie are touched because they are witness to the best humanity has to offer,
So, if we are moved by fiction, why do we not strive to make it reality? Do we feel powerless, or that our own lives have no meaning?
When I moved to North Liberty, Iowa, the town was growing. Small, but growing. I liked it, but feared what it could become. Unfortunately, the future is now, and like the fictional Pottersville, North Liberty is a shadow of what it used to be. In the past year a McDonald’s, a Pizza Hut, and a Jimmy Johns have all opened. Because the furthest ones away were, respectively, 5 minutes, 8 minutes, and 5 minutes away. And when you want a Big Mac, heaven forbid you have to drive an extra 5 minutes.
Now, when I walk my dog down the path that connects North Liberty to Coralville, I see nothing but McDonald’s trash strewn about. Yes, there used to be the occasional wrapper or other assorted waste item, but with the arrival of McDonald’s the amount of garbage has exploded. I’m guessing because the kind of person that eats and McDonald’s is also the kind of person who isn’t the best steward of the environment. As you treat your body, so will you treat the planet. And if you want to destroy something, just add humans.
I never wanted to grow old and lament yesteryear; I’ve long believed that reminiscence is a trick of the mind, where you believe what you want to remember, not what actually was. But, that said, I do notice change for the worse, and it bothers me.
In November 2012, the store JC Penney blitzed America with an advertising campaign: Thanksgiving is for family. The retailer announced they would not follow the lead of many companies out there and be open on a day meant for togetherness; their employees would rest, and all stores would open for Black Friday at 6am. A throwback to a form of nostalgia that enthralls many people, “The way things used to be.”
Several months later, JC Penney’s board of directors fired the CEO behind that campaign.
This year, internal memos discuss JC Penney’s desire to “Own Thanksgiving,” and the store will open for business 8pm Thursday night. Cash registers will remain humming from that moment through Black Friday.
Because, you know, fuck family.
I recall a time when everything was closed on Thanksgiving. I remember when stores didn’t stay open overnight in order to cash in on the masses gorging on manufactured savings. I don’t know when things changed, or who decided to open earlier first, but I hold no ill will for whichever company went first. The onus for all that’s gone wrong is on the civilian population. Us. The consumers.
When the first store to open on Thanksgiving did so, we could have ignored it. We could have stayed home and actually not gone shopping. But we didn’t. Or, at least enough of us didn’t. The masses lined up, credit cards in hand, so other stores followed suit and opened earlier and earlier. And here we are today, where every year we hear of fistfights and people trampled to death, just so they can save a few dollars on un-needed trinkets.
The silliest part to the savings game is: most deals run all day. Sure, there are a few special deals that are limited, but those are very small runs. TVs that sell for $300 usually carry the fine print “2 available.” The rest of the bargains run until closing time.
My wife and I went shopping at 6pm one Black Friday. We stopped at a Gap, one attended by the two of us and maybe 5 other shoppers, and purchased some clothes. I asked what it had been like at midnight, as the clock ticked from Thanksgiving to Friday, and the clerk laughed and shook his head.
“Packed,” he stated. “We had a 45-minute line in here.”
What kind of savings did those people get that I missed out on? Nothing. I got the exact same apparel, at the exact same price, I just had no line when I went. The Gap had stocked up well in advance, and therefore kept shelves full throughout the night and day.
The bright side to all of this is: there is always hope for the future.
On the corporate front, as JC Penney continues it’s slow decline into oblivion, better champions of decency are thriving. In 2013, Costco has taken out the ad, “We won’t be open on Thanksgiving.” It’s not a day for greed and consumerism, it’s for other, more important things.
What’s right isn’t always what’s easy; Costco is turning down millions of dollars of business. But that’s the Costco way. In the era of Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers doing all they can to destroy the middle class, businesses like Costco are proving you can be good to your employees and still turn a profit. The more we consumers support the good guys, the better it will be for all of us.
It is November 15th, and I am sitting in a hotel room in Moorhead, Minnesota, missing you dearly. Yesterday you and I saw one another via the wonders of modern technology. Or at least modern to 2013. By the time you read this, video chat may be old hat and holograms the hip, new, trend. But I’ll take seeing you wobble as you attempt to walk any way I can.
You aren’t really sure what a phone is—to you it’s a toy Mommy won’t let you have no matter how hard you reach or how much you protest; last time you got a hold of one, you slobbered it to death with your teething. But you do know that sometimes I appear in Mommy’s untouchable toy, and you light up in smiles when I yell my exaggerated “Hello!” your way. And your smiles, little one? Oh, they are my fuel. They are as important to me as air, or food.
Traveling and missing you is difficult, but, this is my job, and my job helps keep you in diapers, so travel I must. After the first show tonight, the doorman walked by me, paused, and offered this compliment: ”I see too much comedy, but dude, you were funny.” When a jaded worker tells you you’re good, it’s high praise.
The dream in all of this is to someday be a known entity, someone people specifically want to see, not just a warm body gracing the stage during an arbitrary visit to the local comedy club. Hopefully, if and when that day comes, I’ll be able to choose fewer gigs, and be away from you less often.
Until that time, I will do my best to make people giggle, and wonder if you are noticing my absence while I am gone. Most likely you’re too fascinated by the dog’s food bowl to realize I’m not around, because those little kibbles are so very tempting, sitting there on the floor in front of you, waiting for you to pick them up and gobble them down…
…but I can always pretend you are thinking of me.
Either way, I am absolutely thinking of you.
On Friday, October 25, 2013 (year of our Lord, Praise Him. PRAISE HIM.), Hillary Fine Timmel took her first carousel ride.
It was mostly uneventful; when the rig started moving, she was a little startled, but overall nothing to write home (or a blog) about.
(Side note: did you know carousels have seatbelts now? Seriously. You spin in a goddamn circle, slowly, and ride a plastic horse (or unicorn) that goes up and down. Slowly. And because America is the leading exporter of pussy—and not the good kind—if you ride a carousel, you have to wear a seat belt. By 2020 you’ll probably have to wear a Goddamned plastic helmet, too. Christ.)
Naturally, as parents, the Mrs. and I took several pictures, and even a little video. Actually, I wore the robe of Ansel Adams and did all the picture snapping. Considering Hilly’s age and stability issues—she’s a Weeble-Wobble that does fall down—Lydia stayed by Hilly’s side.
(OK, maybe I could understand safety belts for one-year-old kids, but everyone had to buckle up, which is absurd.)
We rode our ride, visited the Children’s Museum, and went on our merry way home.
At some point later in the evening, I received a text from a friend. It was a simple text, “Did you see the pic of the ‘Clown Pirate Hitler?”
I responded I had not.
A few moments passed, and my phone dinged; I had a picture.
A picture of “Clown Pirate Hitler.”
Or, more accurately, I had a picture of my friend’s ball sac done up in a wig, mustache, and googly-eyes. Because that’s how my friend rolls.
I laughed, and showed Lydia, who howled her disapproval; “Don’t show me that shit!”
(Lydia = prude)
That night while settling in to bed, Lydia realized she hadn’t seen any of the day’s carousel pictures. I held up my phone, and we right-swiped through all the precious moments we had going round ‘n’ round, and up and down with Hilly.
“I like this one,” Lydia said, picking out a particularly endearing image (defined as: one she thinks she looks good in). “Send it to me.”
…and then “Nathan!” was shouted, and I was the victim of numerous spousal-abuse blows to my body.
Why she didn’t see the ball-sac picture coming is beyond me.
It was such an easy throw.
I giggled myself to sleep through the bruises on my body.
When I awoke, I lamented the fact I probably won’t get laid for a week because of my “antics.”
My phone went “ding,” so I reached for it without thinking.
I had a picture message, and it was a doozy: a very large, Jabba-the-Hut size woman being sexually gratified by a much smaller man atop her.
And when I say “atop her,” I mean he was using her like a sofa. Which was easy for him to do, since she was the size of furniture.
Naturally, when a man receives a gift of this nature, his first thought is, “I must share!” That thought is how the picture ended up in my possession, after all. My friend was inspired enough to forward it to me, and I in turn thought of all the people I could send it to.
I started my own little “Text-fest 2013,” a flurry of two thumbs began pounding away at my keypad.
Within minutes, I began receiving responses:
And then, my favorite: “Who is this?”
Ah, “Who is this?” a possibly worrisome text. When you only stay in touch with someone once every couple years, by the time you get around to saying “Hello,” you might be talking to a stranger. All too often I have been the accidental aggressor involving a text gone astray because someone changed their number and didn’t inform everyone in their contacts list.
(Something I’ve never understood, btw, changing your number. I’ve had mine since 1998. With the ability to take your number between providers, only those being stalked by obsessive exes should be changing their digits. But I digress.)
Hedging my bets and hoping I hadn’t sent an innocent such a disturbingly hilarious image, I responded, “Greg?”
Thankfully, the next time my phone dinged I found, “Yes, this is Greg. Who is this?”
It took me all of a split-second to decide to have some fun.
“Not telling,” I replied.
“Timmel?” he asked.
My reputation for sending offensive images preceded me.
Fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound.
I denied it was actually me, and sent Greg rabbit holing down a series of guesses, him tossing out names I didn’t recognize…
…until he hit on a mutual friend of ours.
“Warmer,” I told him.
After a few more speculations, he picked a person I knew he hadn’t been in touch with in at least 10 years, “Baxter.”
Now the fun would begin.
My friend Baxter is what is known as “a character.” In quick description: at my wedding, he was an usher. When I assigned him to this role, he asked, “Can I wear my kilt?”
I responded in the affirmative.
The day of the ceremony, he informed me he wasn’t going to be wearing underwear. Oh, and that he was coloring his junk green, so he could meander around the ceremony saying “Hulk Smash!” and raising his kilt to expose his green peen to guests.
So, this being Baxter’s personality, I started slowly with Greg. I shared that I had lost weight, mostly because of the heart attack. Greg was understanding, so I moved on to how I had gotten married and divorced. Then I revealed I was divorce because I found out she had only married me to get near my rich friend; she wanted his money. Then I added she was a single mother of two, and that I had grown close to the kids, and was heartbroken because I was not allowed to have contact with them anymore.
I was laughing quite heartily, and of course texting the real Baxter to inform him of everything, just to keep him in the loop.
Greg was sympathizing and sharing, sympathizing, and sharing.
My wife came home to find me giggling; I was about to segue into the coup de grâce. I was going to bring up my alcoholism since the divorce, and my need for a new liver. It was, in fact, the reason I reached out in the first place…
The Mrs. was less than amused.
“Karma,” she explained, her arms crossed.
“I don’t believe in karma,” I countered. “Chris Brown, for one. Ted Cruz and Eric Cantor for two and three. And numerous others I know personally for a list of wealthy, successful people karma hasn’t affected.”
It was a battle I would not win.
(In all fairness, being married means I win precious few skirmishes.)
A confession was made, and Greg sent a laughing, “You motherfucker. I miss you guys” back at me.
I miss Greg, too.
And that, to me, is friendship.
When posting my last blog, I figured anyone with an IQ hovering around 100 would most likely be a little upset.
I was right.
This comment was left, awaiting my approval, by a kindly stranger from somewhere on the internets…
“E-mail : email@example.com
Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/22.214.171.124
You are so full of shit it is not at all funny. Fuck you very much. I don’t need the huge increase in monthly cost I am going to see under Obamacare. That extra cash isn’t going to feed those kids you are whining about, it will give some illegal alien free health care. Screw you in the anus with that sandpaper covered baseball bat for being so blind to reality.”
I almost posted it on the blog proper, but after thinking it over, figured giving it my full attention would be more fun.
It has been said you can determine a lot about someone’s character using something they’ve written, so I’m going to glean what I can from this snippet they offered and make a judgment call.
I would say this person is: brave, smart, and compassionate.
Let’s break that assessment down.
By posting anonymously, they really showed the mettle of their character. They stood up, said, “This is what I believe!” and made sure not to leave a name or valid email address to back it up.
Noble! Self-assured! Confident! These words well-describe the brave souls of the Internet.
Instead of challenging my post on any factual grounds, this person went straight into untruths and insults. If the person currently has no health insurance, then yes, under Obamacare they will have a new monthly expense. But hey, they’ll also have… *drum roll* Health insurance!
Otherwise, nope! You won’t be paying more. Across the board rates have been dropping. I’m sure there are a select very, very few who will see an odd increase, but that is as rare as a freshly dead cow.
As to the illegal aliens getting free health care from the new legislation, that’s pretty hilarious. Or, sad, actually, if you take into account the person who wrote that probably votes, and thus does so in a manner that suggests a great hatred for America. It was Mittens Romney who said the uninsured can “Go to the emergency room” if they need help, and that’s exactly what illegal immigrants do now. It both clogs up the emergency rooms, and, as a lovely bonus, gives taxpayers a lovely hit to the pocketbook.
(Because guess who picks up the tab after the illegals leave the ER)
Either way, no. No illegal immigrants will not suddenly get free health care on your dime.
My last blog was written from a point of great anger regarding the thought of any child going hungry in America. This wonderfully caring person summed up that concept using the words, “those kids you are whining about.”
Obviously this person is someone well on their way to Sainthood.
I bet the author of that note has a lot of friends, everyone at work loves them, and they exist inside a very loving relationship.
Boy, I sure do hope they never get cancer.
Of the rectum.
I should have written this in the moment, when I was inspired. Trying to re-create my emotions hours after the fact is proving difficult, which may or may not be a good thing. Re-living negative moments is probably not all that healthy to the soul.
On October 3rd, 2013, I stopped off at the local food pantry.
One day earlier, October 2nd, the food pantry had put out the call: “With government funding on hold, we require more community support than ever. Formula, diapers, and baby food is desperately needed.”
My 13-month-old daughter Hilly turned her nose up at puréed meals several weeks back, and because I am too dim to think of anything on my own it took the food pantry’s prodding to jolt me into action.
I rounded up everything gathering dust in our cupboard, an amount that filled a cloth grocery bag, and set out on my daily errands. The two other times I had stopped at the pantry, it was closed; operating hours are limited and I was never got an exact handle on what they were. The pantry is attached to a church, however, and those generally have unlocked doors during sunshine hours. I would always leave my donation with the church, as commanded by a sign out front.
On October 3rd, however, I arrived one minute before the pantry opened. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a line of women, several of whom had either an infant or a small child with them.
In an instant, I was enraged.
Absolutely 100% livid.
My daughter has yet to find her words; when she is hungry, she cries. I will hand her a cracker, and in response she smiles and starts munching away happily.
Just like she should.
A child does not know reason or logic, a child simply understands what it needs. When a child is hungry it wants food, not an explanation regarding why it can’t be fed.
Ah… Here comes the emotion. Just needed to jostle it a little, like a door handle you have to twist just right.
The reason I was outraged by the line of women and children is because I am neither heartless nor completely fucking stupid. If you are, tune out now, for it is not my intention to offend you.
This government shutdown is complete and utter bullshit. Parks and museums are closed? Fine, who cares? Oh, your vacation was ruined? Poor you; sign up for the military and head to Afghanistan. There are soldiers over there that would be happy-as-fuck to go on vacation. And by the way, be happy you have the extra cash and can afford a getaway.
But the idea any child should feel hunger because Republicans don’t like a law passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court?
Oh fuck you.
Fuck you so very hard.
Fuck you with a baseball bat wrapped in sandpaper and without lube.
I personally don’t know any story of any woman I saw waiting in line. I don’t know if they are hurting because they are single parents, I don’t know if they work, if their husband lost hours at his job, or if they’re drug addicts that spend whatever they can scrounge together on meth.
And you know what?
I don’t care.
I don’t care what their story is. What I care about is giving the kids a fighting chance. No child should suffer because of the ignorance of adults, be it that of parents, or politicians.
Complete and total assholes Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell are crying, “The President won’t negotiate with us! He’s not compromising! We’re ready to compromise!” Meanwhile, they’re getting caught on tape admitting they’re using focus-group tested sound bites when speaking to the public. Because the truth would get them lynched.
Besides, negotiate what?
To repeat, the Affordable Health Care Act is a law passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. How about this: you want the budget lowered? All the federal subsidies to your fucking districts get cut. Put your money where your big fucking mouths are, hypocrites.
I saw a Tweet by @JuddLegum that summed the Republican stance up perfectly:
That sums it up.
What’s worse is there are Republican legislators going on record saying they would love to have the government re-opened and fully-funded, but leadership from above (John Boehner) is asking everyone to toe the party line. Anyone wanting party funding come the next election cycle, well, breaking ranks isn’t how you get cash and support.
People can cry “It’s all of them,” but it’s not. This is a Republican quagmire, pure and simple. They said they were going to do it, they did it, and now they’re crying about how it’s the President’s fault; how the Democrats won’t negotiate.
It’s not that the Democrats won’t negotiate, it’s that Republicans are being whiny fucking crybabies because they lost the presidency two elections in a row and the plan they invented in the 1990s got implemented by the opposition. To say “It’s the Democrats fault” would be like watching a drunk driver run a red light while texting, slam into a car driven by a woman bringing her child to daycare, and sneering, “Well, why wasn’t she home taking care of the kid herself?” The reasoning behind the government shutdown is as cut and dried as my hypothetical.
If you disagree with me, it’s probably because you watch too much Fox News and are therefore under-informed. There is no debate here, either. The Fox News spin-cycle is calling this a “Government Slimdown;” Sean Hannity said he didn’t notice much of a difference in his daily life. Because, hey, that’s all that matters, right? How things directly affect you. Who gives a flying fuck about anyone else? I got mine, you fuck off.
I would call Hannity a wart on the inner-asshole of a fifty-year-old transgendered Filipino prostitute, but, naturally, that would be an insult to warts on the inner-asshole of fifty-year-old transgendered Filipino prostitutes everywhere (and I hear they have a powerful lobby, like Scientologists).
Instead, I will simply say that people like Eric Cantor, Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachman and most of the Fox News pundits are amoral children. They shift their narrative constantly to be offensively combative, even if it contradicts the bile spewing from their mouths previously.
(The Daily Show does a great job of catching and showing their contradictions, if you were unaware. Watch the clip I’ve linked you to. It’s absolutely amazing, enlightening, and hilarious.)
In the end, the people listed above are why I wish I could believe in Christianity, if only to know they will end up in hell after they die. To be watching as St. Peter put a sad hand on their shoulder and said, “You did it all wrong, and you enjoyed it… I’m sorry, but you were supposed to help your fellow man, not harm them. Because of your actions, this realm is a place you are not welcome…”
I can think of absolutely nothing that would be more enjoyable.
The worst part of all of this is: when you call Obamacare by it’s legislative title, The Affordable Care Act, people love it. So the government is being shut down because of misinformation, spin, and arrogance.
Skeptics will say, “Yeah, only hippy, liberal Democrat strongholds like California like Obamacare!”
Except for the fact that one state that really embraced the strategy of federal/state synergy, one state that put forth time and effort into educating the public on their options, testing the servers for day one of “Obamacare,” and oh yeah, rebranding it as to not scare the locals, one state shone brightly on October 1st:
Right wing, gun-loving, red-voting, Kentucky.
They embraced heath care early on, and will be helping residents despite the best efforts of their two asshole senators.
Amazing, ain’t it?
Now, if you’ve made it this far, go buy $20 worth of baby food, formula, or canned goods and donate it.
If you see a line of people waiting for assistance, think what I thought: “There but for the Grace of God…”
We’re all in this together.
And every child should always have more than enough to eat.