The cursed gene

The eyes of my Aunt Nura are wise eyes, whatever that means. Perhaps what it means is I could never lie to those eyes, for they slice right through me. This is true so surely it must be what I mean.

My Aunt Nura has always been perfect in her auntly duties. For all I know she might even be my godmother. She lived on a lake once and there were ducks and she told us stories like about a time she found some duckling orphans and utilized a kiddie pool to teach them how to swim.

The illness came on swiftly, in 2008 or so. We’d be talking with her – perhaps it would be concerning work or city traffic or the price of milk – and all the time expecting stories and long, piercing looks in reply. But no stories and no long, piercing looks would come now.

Instead, my Aunt Nura said, “This is Obama’s fault. Let me tell you what he did to cause your problem…”

I admit it became a bit of a parlor game for us. We’d crowd around the dinner table at Thanksgiving shouting out topics and my Aunt Nura would connect them all to the many faults of this horrible yet omnipresent Obama person. Any topic would do. Rap music or long lines at the grocery. Grandfather’s stroke or Rihanna’s nipples. The dearth of lightning bugs in the city.

“…Obama…”

“…Obama…”

“…Obama…”

It was amazing and tragic.

Some time went by and then, last week, I went on a visit to my mother, who does not have wise eyes and does not tell us stories about duckling orphans. I greeted her nonetheless. I told her of a rude driver with whom I’d crossed paths on my way to her house.

My mother said, “What do you expect? Look what we’ve got as President!”

“…Trump…”

“…Trump…”

“…Trump…”

And with that, my Aunt Nura’s amazing and tragic affliction had been revealed to be genetic. H.P.O. Hamid-Pattern President Obsession. Even I might have this gene! It could be right here. In me. Waiting. Triggered by the next flip of the remote control.

I have decided to get proactive. I will stave off H.P.O. I have always been an excellent staver. Watch me.

For the next thirty days, I shall not bow to these genes. I shall not speak of this Trump at all. Where others speak of Trump, I shall speak of music. My loved ones. Engrossing fictions. Bats.

Thirty days. 

I vow to beat H.P.O. and the battle begins tomorrow. 

Comments

  1. Good luck with that. Some things are hard to ignore.

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    1. I've just realized that my 30-day vow has now begun and I can't really disucc the very topic of the blog post now.

      I should have planned this out a little better.

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    2. better planning! - your failure gave me a good laugh - thanks

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    3. Haha... My failures are generally hilarious.

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    1. Thanks, Jono. It's going to go great. Think of all of the extra time I am going to free up. And since yelling at the television doesn't actually do anything to change things anyway, the world is going to be a better place because of my vow.

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  3. 30 days without "The Donald"... Maybe you have a point. Yesterday I read the Art of the Deal, click a bunch of "The Donald" links and laugh at a bunch of "The Donald" memes

    BTW - Did you know "The Donald" suffering with acute Anatidaephobia. It's true, I read it on the internets!

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    1. There are some legitimate reasons to be scared of ducks.

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  4. Spreading like wildfire, is this disease. National mental illness. Keep your eye off the ball type of thing. A mental bubble that can't be penetrated. Ever forward, across the cliff, like the buffalo hunted by Indians... driven by fear of the unknown and simultaneous ignorance of both the unknown and what could be known. Help us.

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    1. Bread and circuses.

      Maybe without the bread this time.

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  5. Jumping blindly backwards into the abyss, Harry continued eating hot peppers and laughing, laughing ... Rome burned and Nero called it a day.

    It's too late it doesn't matter now, nothing really matters.

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    1. I have ceased having confidence in being an actor in all of this. My best hope is to be a spectator with a reasonable chance of longevity. The best outcome would be to be amused by the folly. The worst outcome is to die a slow death with everyone else controlling the narrative and the activity.

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    2. Yes. Be kind to yourself and your neighbor. There's not much anyone can do. Live each day to its fullest.

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    3. What would Dan Quayle do in this situation? Focus on that.

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    4. He would blame Obama, what else?

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    5. I hope I'm not giving up. I might just keep my social change focus a little closer to home.

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  6. I never used to pay any attention to presidents, there was work to be done and guitars to be played and presidents just didn't seem to be much involved in those things. Then one day I was riding the bus home from work and some guys who turned out to be union machinists were all laughing with one another and having a good time and bragging to each other about how good the work was just then, what, with the pay and the overtime and as much of it as you wanted and on and on and then they all stopped and looked at each other and in unison said "Clinton!" And I thought "Clinton? Like president Clinton? What's up with that?" but I didn't say anything to them. Later, it dawned on me what was so strange: they liked the president. I had never heard of anyone liking a president before. Presidents were things people complained about, at tedious length, about things I couldn't be made to care about at gunpoint. And what's more, they seemed to believe that the president had something to do with their prosperity. I was baffled, but still not interested enough to think much about a president.
    I really only changed my approach to presidents after 1) the internet 2) the Bush administration and 3) I became disabled from a stroke and couldn't work any more. That created a "perfect storm" situation that included both the time for and the motivation to know about presidents.
    I've been this way for nine and a half years now, but I was the other way for much, much longer, so I don't find it too difficult to tune out any particular president when they become annoying. As long as I stay tuned in to the awful things that may be happening specifically to my life, the rest of it can do whatever. It's not like I don't know what they are doing, I have spent hours and days figuring that out. Probably too much time figuring that out. Hard to tell, really.
    So good luck with your thirty days. Your lack of attention will have the side benefit of being the thing that seems to drive this president crazy, so perhaps more of us should take it up...

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Yeah, I believe the internet could have had a lot to do with it all.

      Most of us don't watch the same television shows or listen to the same music anymore. National politics might be the national pastime now. The big topic for water cooler talk.

      I don't know anything about anything. But it could be true!

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  7. That damned Obama. He done stoled my truck, shot my woman, and kicked my dog.

    And that damned Trump. He done stoled my woman, shot my dog, and kicked my truck.

    If presidencies could be country songs...

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    1. Some people would be outraged by that song. I'm sure of it.

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  8. My very long comment was eaten by Blogger. Screw it.

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    1. Normally, I'd have some very insightful clues into who is responsible for your missing comment!

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  9. The most important battles have already started by the time you declare war. So it seems you have already lost.
    In a world where the western internet is predominantly American, and where Americans are highly concerned with politics, I think a less political internet is a good thing to strive for. And in real life? Mirroring that seems sane. It's a democracy, after all, your vote only really matters if it's fifty to fifty-one.

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    1. I agree with this. There are so many other things to think about anyway, and if I am not actually out there fighting for change, then it doesn't seem like much is being lost by my watching cartoons.

      I will do my part to decrease the amount of American politics online, making the internet all about cats and lesbians again.

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  10. I have been trying to avoid politics for some time now. I will admit to relapsing on occasion, but I'm sure that I can conquer it. Good luck.

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    1. Hi, Cal! I do politics, but there's a line, you know? I refuse to lose friends over it.

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    2. That's exactly why I quit doing politics. This country has become so divided that you CAN actually lose friends over it.

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    3. My dad doesn't talk to his 74-year old sister (the sole surviving member of his childhood family) because of politics. It's ridiculous.

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  11. Very clever post and analysis, Harry. But to succeed in your "cleanse," I think you'll have to go on a complete "media fast" for those 30 days. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, Debra. I'm going to do what I can. I bet I'll get a lot more reading done and my blood pressure will probably drop.

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  12. I listen to the news on NPR as I drive home from work in the mornings. After that I watch the news only if something really bad happens. Personally, I've hated Trump long before he entered politics.

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    1. Apparently I did, too. I just found an old blog post that indicates that, anyway, but I can't talk about it for 29 days.

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  13. Trump has an emotional age of 3, which means you can't actually blame him for anything.

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    1. When I can talk about that person again, I'd love to quiz you on an animal kingdom analysis of him.

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  14. I was just thinking about Rihanna's nipples the other day actually when I was watching her video to the song "Wild Thoughts", and I said it out loud "Summer wouldn't be summer without Rihanna's nipples".

    I find it easy to ignore politics, who cares when you have Rihanna's nipples to think about?

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    1. That paragraph got a little bit like a Rorschach ink blot test for me and I might have revealed too much about my brain. But I'm still going to watch that video on youtube now.

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  15. All politicians r crooks .you people just seem to have social concern.ha ha everything is interconnected.So trump and obama is connected to the price of grocery things. i would hear to like the stories of ur aunt nora about ducklings.Hmm i remember u telling me about that fight with a truck driver .Is it the same.

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    1. I will probably end up writing a blog post about the duck thing because it's fairly weird. I only have so many stories in my head, so I'll save it for later.

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  16. Good idea and good luck. Now I would imagine your abstaining includes his family too. I suspect we are about to get hit with a spinning torrent of his daughter's and son's activities.

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    1. Yes, definitely. I don't think I'm allowed to go into more detail than "yes."

      This is hard.

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  17. I don't know, maybe it's George Carlin's fault.

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    1. I saw George Carlin on Bill Maher's show shortly before he died. He seemed a little obsessed with Bush. Kurt Vonnegut was on the same episode, and he did, too. So it might be his fault.

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  18. Bats are very interesting creatures. I heard that there is one, a broody one, who is even a superhero. Maybe, you can talk about him... for therapeutic purposes.

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    1. We have a large bat cave under a bridge less than a mile from my house. In the evenings, at sunset, they come swooping out all at once and fill the area, chasing away the birds. The birds leaving the area is visible on the Doppler thing on the news.

      They seem pretty fantastic.

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  19. Talk about art and MORE ART! :-) It's been working for me lately.

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    1. Music is sort of the topic that takes me off on a tangent. There are a couple people - my brother and my college roommate - who are generally willing to try and follow me through my trail of thoughts regarding music. And neither of them will begin suddenly launching into politics at any point.

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    2. I can completely relate (despite being deaf now). Music and talking about it) can set me off on rapturous tangents. Hey, just curious and shit, did you ever catch Concussion Ensemble? Dunno if this video's sound is worth a damn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIpDZ8FQOh8 but these folks – DAY-um I wish they were still together and gigging. I know that, though my sound system's crapped out, I could still "hear" (feel) their music.

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    3. I'm not familiar with Concussion Ensemble, but I have the clip going right now, and thank you!

      It seems like an album you'd be able to lean against a speaker and FEEL most of what is going on.

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  20. Good for you Harry! I'm proud of you! When we concentrate on more of ourselves and what we love to do, everything is much better!

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the ehad here. So much of what I see of what passes for politics is people being negative and thinking the worst about other people. If I pay more attention to what brings people together and brings love and happiness, things have got to get better, right?

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