Friday the 13th!

By contrast to what I suspect is more standard – especially during this beastly pandemic – my current state of affairs is anything but distressed.  Indeed if I were compelled to render an exact account of my status it is a subject willingly approached and with decided gusto. Such is the tincture of life that its detail is for me almost one of a fairy book mock-up. I suffer a flagrant and barefaced self-satisfaction.

The frequency is however neither timeless nor pervasive. There are moments when for example I find myself shouting obscenities into the car radio as I listen to yet another tarsome issue of personal victory – “perhaps the greatest in the history of the nation” –  by the lame duck president of the United State of America. Trump has made it impossible for the rest of the world to depart from his monotony.  He threatens to infect every citizen of America with the questionable label of his inanity. Trump is like yesterday’s lobster- he stinks and should be thrown out.

Apart from this shameful lapse into the vernacular I have maintained at least a measure of comportment. Nor is this a small compliment. The imperceptible accommodation of the pandemic was at first I imagine similar to the sensation experienced by a baby whose candy is abruptly withdrawn. It was as though we’d turned 180 degrees.

By slow though incremental progress I have re-invigorated my perception of terra firma. It has required an unaccustomed dissection. Historically my observations have been less encumbered by immediacy – by which I mean daily, repetitive and inescapable boredom. To dilute that uncharitable generality I focused instead on those everyday things we so often accept without notice or thanks.

This Polly Anna trend of mine has not been entirely easy. There is an uncommonly energetic ingredient of old age called the curmudgeonly feature. It succeeds to contaminate the most desirable disposition with rude vulgarity such as reason and foresight. Understanding as I do that the underlying offence of old age is frequently as inglorious as pain, I have unwittingly garnered defence from the erstwhile Victorian custom of laudanum.

Leaving aside for the moment the innumerable joys of home – and trust me I could easily vocalize them, I must share my latest and disturbing conclusion about Trump. This evening I listened to activist Michael Moore; it was he who propelled my thoughts. To my surprise he said on national television something that set me back. His comment – though delivered in the most flavourless terms – was an allusion to the approximate 50 per cent of Americans who voted for Trump. It first had the appearance of acknowledging the inexplicable differences that exist. He quickly bypassed that harmless detail when he observed that notwithstanding the election of Biden the United States of America is still facing an uphill battle for change. This too was an acceptable fact. Where he hit it out of the park was when he remarked that until the racism, misogyny etc. of that Trump crowd is altered nothing will change. Moore then drove the sword in deeper by saying that the only hope may be the children of those people, children, he said, “who could read“. In a matter of seconds he had shifted the blame for American immorality from Trump to his supporters  –  pointedly characterized as uneducated scoundrels. It is notable that only moments earlier Moore had described Trump as “insane”.

The ramifications are equally intense. If Moore is right then the mystery of Trump is more fathomable when seen not as a product of artistry or cleverness but rather the blunt sequel of calculated greed by similarly inspired Republicans. This in turn explains the curious importance of alliance between an insane leader and a rabid and uneducated mass.

it will require more than laudanum to dispel that particular discomfort.