What I’m For

Yesterday, someone who I will not namedrop because they don’t read my blog said, “I’m starting to wonder what you’re for, Bob. All I ever hear from you is what you’re against.”

There’s a whole goddamned world of things to be against and only one of me, so of course I talk about it all the time. The world is such a beautiful complicated onion of stupid, it’s impossible not to peel back the layers and weep.

I almost wished he’d asked what I believe in, because I could waffle stomp any butt nugget down that drain. I believe in a thing called love, justlistentotherythymofmyheart. I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they posheshh insiiiiiiiiide. I believe I can fly.

What am I for, though?

I don’t know how I found Star Trek: The Next Generation. I want to say that I saw LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow episode on the subject, which piqued my interest, but I may have invented this after the fact. Mom has pointed out before, in one of our more tense moments, that I tend to hammer things into my narrative whether they fit there or not. Sometimes I’ve examined memories so much I’ve broken them completely, and there sits a square peg neatly bashed into a round hole. It looks good to me, but it doesn’t quite mesh with reality, whatever that is. For the sake of discussion, we’ll define it as “the situation as the rest of the world perceives it,” or the tyrannical verisimilitude of the masses.

In any case, I was a TNG fan by season three, at least. I had to go back and watch those beardless Riker, no-collar episodes I’d missed, but it was possible to catch syndicated reruns on one of the Memphis stations. I was familiar with the feature films already, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was probably my favorite. It really spoke to me with its 1986 setting. Time travelling by doing a gravity slingshot around the sun seemed absolutely plausible to my adolescent brain, and it was all the more real for being here.

When I was a child, I had a fever dream about falling around a star. The stretching of time seemed incomprehensible, like my mind was trying to compile infinite input. My sister said I had stood up out of bed with a blanket over my head and yelled, “LOOK AT MY CHIN. LOOK AT MY CHIN.” I barely recalled this, but later I thought Stephen King must have experienced something like it before he wrote his short story “The Jaunt” (it’s in Skeleton Crew, which you should read immediately if you haven’t already). If not, then at least he feigned a decent grasp on the madness of forever.

I’d grown up around neighbors and a couple of my mom’s friends who were huge Star Trek fans. Often, I’d hear them lament being born too soon. They’d suggest that maybe us kids would live to see it and, if we were lucky, perhaps our grandchildren would steer great ships amongst the stars.

After the prosperity of the Clinton 1990s, this seemed like a done deal. We had to admit it was getting better, just a little better, all the time (it can’t get no worse¹). It only followed that Al Gore, champion of technology and ecology, would take the reins and usher in a new era of space exploration. Instead, he grew a depression beard, did some PowerPoint presentations on glaciers, and sexually assaulted a massage therapist. In his defense, facing a coup and dealing with the mass denial of climate change can really cause tension around one’s second chakra.

I’ve known my old friend John Weems IV since the early 1980s (maybe the late 1970s), back when we splashed around in the toddler pool at the Trumann Country Club. John’s preferred Star Trek crew is the first one, led by that old space cowboy Captain James Tiberius Kirk, or as you may know him, William Fucking Shatner. This Chris Pine kid does a fine job, but he’s got about half a century to go before he lives up to the legend.

If I’m the chairman of Arkansas Space Communism, John is the founder and CEO of Arkansas Space Nihilism. I consider those two sides of the same coin. I hate to put words in John’s mouth, but I think he’d tell you that while he’d love to travel the galaxy, it’s as much of a pipe dream as thinking your closet might open up to Narnia, or that you’re finally going to get a late letter from Hogwarts (pretty sure they don’t offer Adult Ed, guys), or that Jesus is going to come back (for the first time ever).

Shat had a terrible cold. He let everyone know he was just going to sit there and try not to die. He’s an octogenarian so I’m glad he didn’t cancel. I would have totally understood. To mark the occasion, I dressed like an absolute nutbar.

I don’t know how or where or why we’ll figure all this out, but we’ve been in darker places. Don’t mistake this statement for silver lining. There are plenty of folks cowering under rubble or dying of malaria and to them, it is the darkest place. It is a prison of our making, one from which we could have already sprung. There are issues not as insurmountable as intergalactic travel, or even curing cancer (the catch-all term for a thousand diseases), things we absolutely have the technology for now, and they aren’t achieved because killing is too profitable and saving lives isn’t profitable enough.

American conservatives and liberals, two sides, again, of the coin Two-Face flips to seal our doom, would exploit homeless veterans in an argument against advancement or quote “Whitey on the Moon” and ask how I can be a Space Communist without thinking of the poor. I’d say they’ve been misled on both counts. The machine that bombs hospitals and builds walls has plenty of wealth for carnage and cages, so they could probably spare a pittance for you. Problem is, they don’t give a fuck.

Likewise, we’ve only experienced Space Capitalism, or in the Soviet or Chinese sense, Space State Capitalism (no true Communist!), so I can’t refute Gil Scott-Heron. It is the experience of many that we build billion-dollar machines while humans choke to death in the gutter. Who am I to pitch an idea from a television show while lives hang in the balance?

Whatever our path forward, it has to have something to do with getting off this rock. Whether we end up on asteroid colonies, dug in beneath the surface of Mars, or rocking Heavy Metal style in our cool robot bodies, we have to escape somehow or risk having all our eggs in one basket here, as Space Capitalist Elon Musk has repeatedly pointed out.

While I admire the fuck out of that man’s endeavors, I’m also afraid of what his success will bring. Will we all be able to exploit the freedom of the wide-open solar system? Will we have anarchist enclaves on Titan and hippie communes on Europa? After hearing plans for super-expensive tourist flights around the moon, I’m not so optimistic. We’ll likely face the same pitfalls with a modifier. Space Slavery. Asteroid Miner’s Lung. Interplanetary War. There’s a poetic sequel to be written there, and unfortunately Mr. Scott-Heron isn’t around to do it.

If the Federation could be classified in our terms, it would be Space Communism, and it’s necessary we get the noun correct before we slap a fantastic adjective in front of it. Space Fascism isn’t going to fly unless you’re a fan of Warhammer 40k. Space Capitalism, well. You’ve seen the Alien franchise. I hope you’re familiar with Blade Runner, or the various works of Phillip K. Dick.

If I yell too much about humanity, it’s because it disappoints me. I’ve seen our potential on screens small and large. I’ve read about it in books, fiction and not. Pioneering mathematician women and steely-eyed missile men took us to the stars in reality, while people like Gene Roddenberry took us there in our hearts.

On some hard drive there exists a photo of me standing next to the original Enterprise model from the 1960s television show. Back then, they had it shoved in the back of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum gift shop. They’ve since removed and refurbished the model, but at the time it was almost hidden. When I stumbled upon it by accident, I was overcome by emotion, and it was all I could do to squeeze the flood back into a manly single tear or two. In that place, among experimental jets, space capsules, and the Wright Flyer, I was verklempt over a prop from a cheesy scifi show, but those other things represented our past. This was our future.

Perhaps I am the most virulent virus. More than anything else, I always wanted to be a father. I want my children to fly. Propagation has always seemed important on micro and macro levels. Hell, the fact that a little group of amino acids made little copies of themselves is why I’m writing this. Still, I’m always reminded the monologue Agent Smith delivered when he tortured Morpheus. If we’re nothing more than a complicated disease (I’m going to say probably), maybe it’s best we’re snuffed out on this rock. That’s what I say when I’m in the dark.

But when the Enterprise emerges from a planet’s shadow and glides out into star’s light, I wonder, guys. I wonder.


¹ If you are the special type of fuckhead who wants to grammar Nazi this shit, it’s a Beatles song.

EAT IT

I can write about jizz on a Sunday and get fifty readers, but if I post wholesome Dad Stories on a weekday, I get nine.

It’s Saturday and I’m at work. This isn’t going to be the one that gets me over the top, so fuck it. I’m tired and I don’t get off until eight. I’m going to eat this big plate of fried food Gina delivered and read a book.

I don’t get paid for this, except in the brain (sometimes not even that), so forgive me if I sound a little sore when the dopamine doesn’t deliver.

This is already too long for a “fuck you.” I find it best to have an adversarial relationship with my readers. Stephen King once said, “Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.”

He also said, “Amateurs wait for inspiration. Real writers snort a bunch of coke and write for 18 hours while their family cowers in the next room.”

Here’s what I’ve learned from studying my metrics. You guys love politics unless it’s too long, meta, serious, or weird. You hate shop talk. You despise my family unless someone died or almost died, and you probably won’t click on an article unless there’s at least one photo attached.

You hate clicking anything whatsoever if you don’t have to, even though you share posts by David Avocado Wolfe, and archives? What archives? If you don’t see it the day it was posted, it never happened.

With all that in mind, my new approach should be political stories about death and cum. This is why journalists say, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This is the plot of Nightcrawler. Look in the mirror, folks. Jake wasn’t the bad guy. It’s you.

I just ate twenty gigantic fried shrimp, brought to me by slavery and capitalism, and I don’t care. You don’t either, really, so don’t pretend. I’m taking tomorrow off, and next week is going to be 100% straight-up hot ropy¹ loads, milky yolks blasting all over the page. It’s gonna be a fucking oyster farm up in here, all snail trails and cloudy chestnut sauce.

Goddammit. Now I only have twenty minutes left to read this book about how we’re all meat robots. Forget it. Leave me here in my greasy-phoned shrimp shame. Fifteen minutes. Fuck.

Pretend there’s a photo of my lunch here. The work wifi is fucking atrocious.

¹ I had “ropy” misspelled for over 24 hours, WHO GIVES A SHIT.

Beaventures

Bea and I went to the revenue office, which is what you city slickers call “the DMV.” At the time I tapped this into my phone, there were seven customers at the counter and someone had just called out for number 67. I held ticket 88.

Some Neo-Nazi would have had a fantastic day after pulling this tab.

Right after we got seated, a nice gentleman in the row of seats in front of us turned around and said, “Here, you want this?” He had a piece of paper between his fingers. Was he giving it to me or Bea? I thought he was kidding, so I stared at him slackjawed and dumbfounded until he said, “I gotta go.”

Before my brain could put together the fact that he was about to offer us his spot in line and bail out, the man currently sitting on the other side of Bea snatched the ticket from his outstretched hand. It was number 77. My stomach flopped. I started trying to come up with speed-related clichés to write here, but they all sounded banal except for “He who hesitates, masturbates.” That definitely has a ring to it, but it also sorta implies sexual assault, so instead you can have this metaconversation in its place.

A woman yelped and giggled because she had pulled number 94. She said she was going to have time to take a nap. They called 71, 72, and 73 to the desk, and then 74, 75, and 76 came in quick succession. The impatient crowd had apparently thinned itself out. Swiper (no swiping) startled beside us and lifted his ass from his seat on the call of  “76” before he realized he was one announcement short of freedom.

77! Swiper popped up there like he was in a big hurry. The nausea I’d felt for snoozing and losing had almost subsided. He had been there first, anyway. 78. 79. Bea was playing a Strawberry Shortcake game on Cora’s tablet. We had just been at the assessor’s office and Bea had started crying for a cooking game on the way back to the van. 80. She didn’t have one downloaded, but Cora had left her tablet in the backseat, and she did. 81. 82. Thanks, Cora.

Bea’s cake. Also pictured, Swiper’s legs, which will live in infamy.

It’s a good thing, too, because there was no wifi in there and there’s no data plan for a Kindle Fire. You iPad folks are spoiled rotten. My shiny new Samsung barely works indoors unless I’m at home. I used to come up with conspiracy theories about bad phone reception (83) but the simple fact is that metal framed buildings are big-ass Faraday cages. Now, whether or not the business owners are glad their engineering is a de facto signal blocker is another discussion entirely.

Bea briefly sang a song about eating cake, and the guy behind us sighed. 84. 85. He was probably sick of waiting, but it was hard not to internalize everything with my Dad Instinct. 86.

To their credit, the employees were cranking through these folks.

87. I’d decided not to run like Swiper. I considered picking Bea up. My wallet had curved my spine on the hard plastic chair and my back hurt.

88.

I shoved my phone into my pocket and set off without Bea. This is where the live dad blogging ended and the adventure began.

“Come on, Bea,” I said. I’d made it halfway to the other end of the long counter. The receptionist had her hand up.

“All the way down here,” she said.

Bea had just left the aisle we had been seated in. “Dad,” she said, “I need to go potty.”

“Uh,” I said, as I stood with my back to the receptionist. Forty or so people stared. Why are people so damned quiet in public buildings and why are going-on three-year-olds so loud? “Let’s get this done and then we’ll go.” I felt a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out, “Bad Dad.”

“Dad, I need to go potty,” Bea said.

“Oh, it’s okay,” the receptionist said. “I can get started on this and you can take her back there, all the way back and to the right.”

“Oh wow, really? Thank you so much. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay, I have a two-year-old. I know how it is.”

I shoved my stack of paperwork at her and threw Bea over my shoulder. The employees behind the desk cooed at her. We busted up into the employee restroom and did our business in a relatively timely manner, ran the coo gauntlet again on the way back, and arrived at the desk to find the receptionist had already finished registering the Dadmobile.

“How old is she?” she asked.

“Not quite three, her birthday is in June.”

“Is this your first?”

“Oh no. I have two others.”

“Oh, I should ask you for tips. We’re having the hardest time getting my daughter to go.”

“I really have no idea,” I said. “They have a potty in the room at day care and they kinda make it happen.”

“Oh, where do you go?”

“Uh,” I drew a blank. She started to give me a weird stare so I made something up. “Um, Helping Hands Day Care. They’re great. They got my oldest one going on her own.”

She mentioned the name of her day care, which I promptly forgot, and concluded our transaction. I thanked her again and we were on our way. Cue more coos from the citizens of Jonesboro.

Like Father like Daughter.

Next, we stopped by Cora’s doctor’s office to pick up records for kindergarten registration. Bea allowed me to listen to NPR on the way there, which was a treat. If Cora is in the vehicle she’d have already flipped out about watching a DVD. Yep, I own a van with a DVD player. I’ve arrived.

NPR’s brain trust had a pretty level-headed discussions about Jeff Sessions and Russia. I realized again why I could never be a politician. Even the representative for the Democrat opposition was interested in fact-finding and procedural investigation. He was obviously concerned but at the same time his demeanor was so even keeled he might have been discussing a questionable speeding ticket. I, on the other hand, am prone to vituperation. I might suggest Sessions recuse himself onto a rocket into the sun.

“Well Steve,” I would say, “it’s a big shocker that the guy who Coretta Scott King said was, and I’m paraphrasing, an inexcusable douchenozzle, turned out to be the entire bag of douche.”

This is some pretty serious cake building.

We acquired the paperwork without too many roadblocks. There was a tense moment when the receptionist suggested the vaccination program might be down, which would have necessitated a future return trip to retrieve the records, but she teamed up with a coworker to find a workaround.

“Are you nervous about kindergarten?” she asked.

“A little,” I said. “She’s already been going to preschool, so I think she has the hang of it, but it’s going to be a new place.”

“Yeah, new places are always difficult when you throw them in there, but it’s good she’s had some experience.”

We got up to leave. Bea was tired of walking, so I picked her up.

“She’s so sweet,” the receptionist said.

“I know.”

Procrastination had been nipping at my heels, and with every task I considered going home and putting everything off until my next free day, but no day is really free when you have three kids. There’s no time like the present. In that spirit, I set a course for The Mall at Turtle Creek, which will never not sound like a battle.

Not pictured: The eight kids to the right waiting for GameStop to open.

Bea and I had to wait a bit for Elite Eye Care to open. I wanted to make an appointment to get some contacts so I can cosplay the Brigadier more accurately. This never occurred to me until last time we attended FanExpo and a photographer requested I remove my glasses because “the Brigadier doesn’t wear those.” I was a bit pissed at the time, but I’ve had time to ruminate and decide he was correct, if not a bit of a dickhead.

A pack of kids hovered in front of GameStop. I’m sure they were hoping to catch an understocked Nintendo device. I’ve been dreaming about a Classic Nintendo since they announced the super cheap $60 multi-game set last year. I could get one today on Amazon for $150, but I’d rather wait. Nintendo has Apple beaten badly on the whole scarcity-of-new-devices front, but they don’t understand that you have to have at least a few to sell instead of banking on the phantom of a inkling that someday, someone might see a Classic set crest a hill under a rainbow like a fucking unicorn and spread its controllers, releasing a spray of Mario coins. As it is, Nintendo can’t properly stock the last umpteen devices they’ve released since last century, so why even bother?

I looked up, and Elite Eye Care had put their easel sign outside the door while I had my back turned. Bea was absolutely done at this point. Her mood was good but her body was no longer willing to mogate, as my mom says, so I picked her up and carried her into the lobby. Somehow, a dozen people had slid in there during the ten seconds I’d been proofreading this very post. Oh well.

There weren’t any appointment slots left today, so I scheduled one for next Wednesday. That’s plenty of time to ship contacts, a process that’s required because I have an astigmatism, so I’m all set. No nitpicky nerds are going to call out my screen inaccurate specs this year. I’m sure someone will find something to pick at, so bring it on, Big Bang Theory. Your criticism is the fire that forges this fine cosplaying blade.

We’re home now. Bea is plowing through my Ritz crackers, and we’ve already done a hundred Bea Push-ups. That’s when she sits on my back and helps me exercise. At 32 pounds, it’s quite a workout.

I’m hoping I can keep that up like Milo of Croton and his bull, but we’ll see. I’m not sure which will give first, my strength or her attention span. It’s still cool to help Dad, and that’s not a thing that lasts forever. Today, though, I’ve got the best errand buddy and workout spotter a guy could ask for.

Decade

Lately I do my best to avoid archival Facebook posts. There’s too much history there best left buried, but today I’m glad I peeked into the crypt. Down at the bottom of the ossuary, so deep below the bleached bones of long dead relationships I almost missed it, was a small messsage apparently unseen at the time of its posting. My pal Christopher wrote, “What up yo?” ten years ago today. I’d just finished my almost daily work lunch of ten Ritz crackers and two tablespoons of Jif (the wrong way to pronounce gif) peanut butter when I noticed it and replied, “Not much.”

I yelled to Christopher, who was seated behind me in his office, and explained the situation. He pledged to reply in ten years. I’d place my bet on the collapse of civilization before then, and I’d almost prefer it to twenty years of Facebook. Still, I’d miss his reply, and that’s something to look forward to.

Where the magic happens.

Ten years ago, George W. Bush was in office and I’d been working here for about a year. Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and Prince were alive. So was my father. I was on my first marriage and would be for three more years. I usually don’t talk about that, because it’s ancient history, but how many lifetimes ago was it? Three? Four?

Ten years ago I wouldn’t be a dad for five more years. Ten years ago I thought it was still okay to call things gay, and I definitely wasn’t referring to actual sexuality or the 1890s. I hadn’t been to Alaska, Mexico, France, or the UK. I’d never been to civil court, which was fun, and I’m not talking about divorce (although that was a wild ride as well).

Did you know you can sue someone over some land they never owned, represent yourself in court, and be allowed to cross examine the defendant with nonsense questions for way too long before the judge stops you? You’ll definitely lose, but if you really want to ruin someone’s fucking day/week/month and you have the time, go for it.

Christopher just read aloud the financial report from last quarter. The company cited Adele’s disappointing sales and coloring books (we always miss the tail end of a fad, see also: Sudoku) for our most disappointing holiday season since 2005. Civilization may survive, and Facebook along with it, but Amalgamated Books & Coffee, Inc.? Doubtful. I blame Adele for a helluva lot of things, but our downfall isn’t one of them. The billion dollar e-reader debacle was full-blown cancer. We’re in remission now, but we may not last ’til the current administration has time to cause an economic flu epidemic.

I’m severely tempted to outline the thousand cuts that’ve bled us dry, but it wouldn’t make much sense in this format. Some of the issues are simple enough, but others are such a Catch-22 style clusterfuck that even I barely understand them. Such things are best left for a corporate post-mortem book, which you’ll have to get on Amazon along with all the board games and shitty romance titles we don’t carry.

I hope I’m here in ten years, but my headache and heart rate say, “Mmmmm, it’s a possibility!” in Mel Blanc’s 1940s Bugs Bunny voice, you know, back when he was still shooting dogs in the mouth. Nothing’s ever quite as funny as it was.

If fate grants us, and me, a reprieve, I hope I’m at least tapping this out from the office (or an office) instead of writing it on my lunchbreak and proofreading it while I take a piss. It’ll be much more sanitary, and I won’t have to keep flushing every time someone walks in. It’s easier than saying, “Don’t mind me. I’m not masturbating, I’m working on my blog.”

“Dude,” they’d reply. “You should have said you were masturbating.”

The Response

I don’t know what I expected from last night’s charade. It’s not like the Democrats were going to sit on their hands and scowl the entire time. There were moments of stillness, but it was punctuated by flurries of activity. I’d tell you to pause the video and identify the sellouts who kept rising to their feet, but ass location isn’t a measure of corruption here. Waving free or sweaty and seated, they’re all bought and paid for.

Did I think they’d protest their own government? Did I imagine they’d rail against themselves? It’s an absurd notion, as if I’d make a sign and stand in my front yard picketing my own existence. “NO BLOG, NO BOB! THIS IS WHAT BOB TALBOT LOOKS LIKE!”

Maybe one of the neighborhood cops would notice me on his way to Panera. “No more Dunkin’ for this Higleytown Hero,” he’d mumble to himself. “Gotta cut down, Captain’s orders.”

Then, he’d catch something flailing out of the corner of the cool Oakleys his wife got him for Valentine’s Day. The patrol car would squeak to a halt on the street in front of my yard. He’d roll down his window and say, “Hey pard, everything alright out there?”

“Yeah man,” I’d say between breaths, “I’m just engaging in my right to free speech and assembly against the TYRANNY of BOB TALBOT.”

“Who is Bob Tal-”

That motherfucker.”

“Wait, what? What did you say to me?”

“I said Bob Talbot. Is. A fucker. He’s fucked mothers. It’s proven.”

“Okay. Well, can I see some ID?”

“Oh yeah, sure man. Sure,” I’d say while violently whipping my wallet out of my back pocket and jumping into a taekwondo stance I learned thirty years ago.

Officer Panera, unperturbed, would slowly blink twice under his shiny new orange specs. “Identification, please.”

I’d struggle to get my driver’s license out of the too-small slot for upwards of 45 seconds before thrusting my fingers in and ripping the sleeve free of the stitching with my Hulk-like power, then I’d toss the card at the cop’s face like a shuriken. He’d pluck it deftly from the air, glance at it in the time it takes him to yawn, and toss it into the spring weeds that bloom at the edge of my lawn.

“White and American. Checks out. Have a nice day, Mr. Talbot.”

“Down with Bob Talbot! Down with tyranny!”

“Sic semper tyrannis,” he’d say while unfurling a Gadsden flag out his driver’s side window. Then he’d floor the gas peddle and peel out for 100 yards, Tokyo drifting onto Caraway Road. I wouldn’t be certain, but I’d swear I hear a car horn blast out the first few notes of “Dixie” as his engine revs into the distance. Our tax dollars at work?

Even Bernie found the strength to lift his withered old palms and set coordinates for a collision course. Where’s that little bird? Not a raven, “Nevermore,” or a sparrow, the harbinger of death, but a house finch, previously without portent, now the augury of impotence, the omen of life continued long after the thrill of livin’ is gone. Now walk on.

Some keen fact checker will have to dig into the last 90 years of transcripts, but when is the last time the President of the United States of America spoke the word “savages” in front of the assembled Congress, justices of the Supreme Court, and their guests? Does it hearken back to an even earlier time, when the US Cavalry blazed across the Great Plains and sowed the seeds of destruction that blossom yet today? Has it even occurred since the early days of the 19th century, when it couldn’t have been uncommon to hear “savages” or worse shouted in the halls of government?

RICH PEOPLE AREN’T PEOPLE

When I heard the phrase “merit-based immigration policy,” I couldn’t help but wonder why a foreign professional person of color would want to bring their precious life, and their years of experience and education, to this country only to be gunned down by a berserk bigot follower of the very monster who uttered the words and stoked his Republican compatriots to make that system so. Sure, let’s eschew refugee admittance from the nations we’ve destabilized. Trump can hand-wave the situation away by saying, “Obama left us a mess,” and better yet, we can’t argue with the notion, because he did. His administration continued to dabble in regime change. He embraced Forever War the way Democrats do, with special forces raids and missile strikes. Syria is a disaster laid at his feet, and Clinton’s, and Kerry’s (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, we can keep going). What a boon. What a casus belli for an a tin pot wannabe who’d love to put boots on the ground en masse, Republican Style, under the guise of fixin’ shit.

And now I tread lightly, because we’ve come to Ryan Owens. This echoes something I’ve seen before. It rhymes with Chris Kyle and other men who were led to commit war crimes by oligarchs who beckoned to them with the lies of patriotism and justice. Some of you have made careers out of military service, and I learned long ago that fucking civvies should have no opinion in these matters. I’d not drag out any phantoms of Vietnam era spitting airport protesters (if those even existed). Nevertheless, if we’re not court-martialing, but honoring men who machine gunned women and children (one of which was an eight-year-old American citizen), is “baby killer” really unfair? At least it applies to that dead hero, to the men on his team, to Chris Kyle, and various other sociopaths, nature’d or nurtured. I would not paint you with such a broad brush, but if I cannot admonish your coworkers for murdering kids, who will? The Commander-in-Chief said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”

When it comes time for you to “secure our nation,” and that means firing into a pack of little girls, will you? If you’re in the rear with the gear, will you high five those warriors when they make it back to camp? In the case of Owens, I think God, chaos, or whatever, may have saved the Marines some work down at the range.

I’ll leave it to the economic alchemists to divine the rest. I can yell about the human factors with some confidence. The ACA may be saved yet by tumultuous town hall meetings. Nothing frightens a career politician like the specter of unelection. You may take care to focus your efforts on those up for renewal in 2018, though. Villains like Tom Cotton, who are secure until 2020, will steadfastly bow to their financiers. He’ll count on America’s short attention span, and he’ll probably be right.

It is at least a bit ironic, though, that Trump drags Obama through the dirt when Barry’s done such a good job propping him up. BHO obviously cares for the status quo survival of our system more than the individual humans who labor under it. Again, it’s not shocking that a person would not seek to dig the ground out from under themselves (Minecraft ProTip), but after orchestrating Tom Perez’s appointment to DNC chair, it’s pretty clear that Barry doesn’t have a problem handing a drunk the keys to the Americamobile and clearing all the roadblocks.

“If Trump doesn’t total it, we can get back in the driver’s seat in four to eight years. Now watch me hang ten.”

As the founder and Chairman of Arkansas Fully Automated Luxury Pansexual Polyamorous Space Communists Not Yet Incorporated, I’d ask you not to give in to fear. The capitalists on both sides of the aisle want you shaking and shitting into your sneakers so they can steer you toward their intended outcome. Maybe I’m the accelerationist BernBro they warned you about, the straw Brocialist in the closet, but I don’t think so. There’s work to be done everywhere that doesn’t involve casting a vote. I’ll leave what you do in the booth up to you.

There are still people to be protected, faxes to be sent, and representatives to be yelled at. There are missives to be written and experiences to be recorded. Don’t let them whittle you down to a vote. You’re a person with a message. Americans love a good story. Let’s give them one.