2019

Dumb

If you have yet to read the recent letter Donald Trump wrote Nancy Pelosi, trust me and do so.

It’s terrific. Truly. Because it will make you feel extraordinarily intelligent. You’ll read it and think, “Wow, it’s true. Anyone can be president.” The document—written from the same perch occupied by Washington and Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan—is penned at a fifthfourth-grade level, with the angry snipes of a pigeon stuck in an oil slick. It has 0 percent grace and even less elegance.

If the White House was once a sight to be accompanied by a symphony, it’s now a hovel to be accompanied by the theme to “Hee-Haw.” It’s the land of grifters and squatters and people dumb enough to think they’re sophisticated and smart enough to fool the dumb into thinking they are sophisticated. It’s a log of poop in a puddle.

Donald Trump’s letter wasn’t sleek. It wasn’t thought-provoking. It was the honking of a horn in morning traffic. It was a goose screaming at a passer-by. It was idiocy. Pure idiocy.

Read it.

This is our president.

A petition without apostrophe (or smarts)

So I’m from a small New York town, Mahopac. It was a pretty excellent place to grow up back in the 1980s. Trees. Pools. A big lake. Biking to town, buying bubble gum and a soda at Rodak’s Deli, coming home to catch fireflies in a cup or play pickup hoops in my driveway.

Ideallic.

But there was always this thing. This uncomfortable thing. And it was that Mahopac—my hometown—was sorta narrow. There were very few Jews, and even fewer African-Americans. A couple of Asian families, a couple of Persian families. But mainly white, Catholic, working class. That came with certain things. Beliefs. Expectations. A strict right v. wrong ethos that—to be honest—never really coincided with my family’s right v. wrong.

I digress.

Over the past few days, there’s been a petition going around suggesting that Mahopac High School (where I graduated in 1990) change its nickname from “Indians” to something else. Here’s the link. And, really, it’s a hard case to argue against. “Indians” just isn’t a thing any longer. They’re “Native Americans.” Or, if not “Native Americans,” the specific name of a tribe. And that’s a positive development—both in terms of historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity. Truth be told, it’s a long time coming.

But, of course, in 2019 the ignorant and sheltered among us feel more empowered than ever. Hence, there’s a follow-up petition headlined DO NOT CHANGE MAHOPACS MASCOT OR TOWN LOGO. And—because God is great—whoever started the petition doesn’t know that “MAHOPACS” requires an apostrophe. (I’ll take a stab that said person isn’t super well-versed in the history of the Native American people.)

But I digress. The anti-petition petition is a thing of beauty. Let’s count the reasons …

•••

1. If you’re going to make an argument on the value of a nickname and its relationship to a place for learning, don’t, eh, straight-up rip off a Wikipedia entry and pass it as your own

•••

2. If you’re one of the three people who decided to LIKE a post, at least make sure the post being liked: A. Uses “their” correctly; B. Uses “then” correctly; C. Doesn’t involve the image of a child who died tragically—while simultaneously saying “FU crybaby liberal.”

•••

3. Argue that “tradition matters” when you’re debating the tradition of a less-than-a-century-old school vs. the traditions of a peoples who were here looooooong before you were.

•••

4. This one I’ll just allow to speak for itself …

•••

5. My favorite argument—one that spreads across the petition—is “people need to stop being so fucking sensitive!” Um, you’ve started a petition because it’ll hurt your little butts to change the mascot of your football team. Let’s reconsider this one.

•••

6. I’ll let this one speak for itself, too.

•••

7. I’ll mention this again: At last check nearly 1,500 people took time from their busy days to sign a petition over a sports team’s nickname switch. Who’s triggered here?

•••

8. So here’s one that gets me. I can say, with great confidence, that 98 percent of the people signing this petition are either full-throated #MAGA or just Trump supporters who picked him because he wasn’t liberal. Either way, this idea that the potential changing of a mascot is somehow “losing our country”—while the sitting president has undermined both the FBI and the CIA while placing pressure on another country to dig up dirt on a political opponent while repeatedly lying about his role on 9.11 while spending 4 1/2 years insisting the sitting president of the United States was a Kenyan-born Muslim … well, um. Yeah. No.

•••

9. This actually makes a strong argument, unintentionally: Change the nickname to the Wappingers. Case closed, problem solved.

•••

10. If you don’t like the school mascot, don’t live here. Simple as that. Yes, you bought an affordable house with nice neighbors and proximity to your mother’s home in nearby Brewster. But no Indians, no Mahopac for you! Motherfucker!

•••

Anyhow, I’ve decided to take action into my own hands. Please sign my petition, giving anyone who signed the pro-Indians petition a free cookie!

God’s Got You

So my daughter Casey just texted me this image, taken of her high school locker.

The note was placed there by members of the school’s Cookies for Christ Club, which is—apparently—a real thing.

I am not happy.

But I am inspired.

I’m going to encourage my daughter and her friends to form a new club—Cookies for Christ’s Younger Gay Brother, Irv. They’ll bake cookies, place notes on lockers, talk about Christ’s younger gay brother, Irv. They can spread the word all around campus—that the lord and savior, Jesus Christ, had a younger gay brother named Irv. And that he was, well, young. And gay. And also liked cookies.

Of course, I’m guessing the members of Cookies for Christ wouldn’t feel so hot about Christ’s younger gay brother, Irv, walking campus and claiming to be Christ’s younger gay brother, Irv. But if people are willing to not only believe—but post locker notes!—about a virgin birthing an eternal-life child with a beard, well, I can believe he had a younger gay brother named Irv.

And Irv loves him some cookies.

Is there a school shooting?

Last night the daughter showed me the above image, which was making the rounds on Tik Tok.

I used the squiggle to hide our school district, but it’s a shooting threat aimed at her high school.

And here’s the crazy thing: We sorta yawned.

I mean, we asked about it. I tried calling the local police department, but then found out other parents already had done so. But were we absolutely freaking out? Were we wondering whether it’d be worth Casey staying home? Did we consider big action?

No.

Why? Because we’ve all become sorta numb to this shit. The school shootings, yes. The do-nothing response to school shootings? Yes. But also the LOOK AT ME! social media postings of kids who think it’s an absolute riot to scare old folks (like me) into freaking out. This isn’t the first time a classmate/peer of my daughter has posted some sort of I’M GONNA KILL EVERYONE message. Which is weird, because why would anyone actually post an I’M GONNA KILL EVERYONE message?

But they do.

And we nod.

And we shrug.

And we continue with our lives.

Until the day when it’s not a joke.

What 100 looks like

The above photograph features Norma Shapiro, my wife’s grandmother.

She’s 100.

Yes, one hundred.

Really, Norma Shapiro is 100.

You wouldn’t know it. Not by looking at her, certainly not by watching her. Norma drives everywhere. She works out with a trainer several times per week. She’s a voracious reader with an active social life (She did a Quaz back in 2015 that was very well received).

Two days ago, we were in Florida to attend her 100th birthday bash, and it was a four-hour ode to the power of moving forward. Of not stopping. Of refusing to pity oneself. Of drive and determination and a zest for life. Or, put differently: On a night when one of us was 100 and the other was 47, the centenarian was out on the dance floor. The guy half her age sat and ate cookies.

Norma has not had it easy. Lost a son. Lost a husband. The vast majority of her friends have passed. But … I dunno. She keeps making new friends. Keeps finding new adventures. In February she’ll be flying from Florida to California for my son’s Bar Mitzvah—because that’s what Norma does. It’s that simple.

I actually had a chance to chat with Norma’s trainer. I asked him to explain the phenomenon that is my kids’ great grandmother. He didn’t pause.

“Look,” he said, “it’s pretty simple. It’s 33 percent lifestyle. It’s 33 percent genetics. And it’s 33 percent luck.”

Makes sense to me.

They persisted …

They knew Donald Trump was a former Democrat who had praised Hillary Clinton and even donated money to her.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump called for the death of five black teenagers who were proven innocent of a crime they didn’t commit.

And they persisted.

They knew, when he was trying to acquire an NFL team, Trump (owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals) met secretly with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, and made promises of throwing his own league under the bus.

And they persisted.

They knew the man who routinely bashes #FakeNews hung fake Time magazine covers in his golf clubhouses.

And they persisted.

They knew the man who routinely bashes #FakeNews created a pretend publicist—John Barron—who was actually Trump disguising his voice over the phone.

And they persisted.

They knew, when Donald Trump was caught on tape boasting of grabbing women by the pussies, he wasn’t merely engaging in clubhouse banter.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son via his third wife.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump had five phony deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam.

And they persisted.

They knew Donald Trump cheated on his taxes for years.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump said Ted Cruz’s father had been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he was lying about one of their peers.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump called John McCain—a 4 1/2-year Vietnam POW—”not a hero,” he was spitting in their faces.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump said he had the biggest inaugural crowd, and that a Boy Scout leader had called the White House to praise a recent jamboree speech, he was lying.

And they persisted.

They knew—at the same time Donald Trump was leading a nationwide crackdown of undocumented immigrants—he was employing scores of undocumented immigrants at his clubs throughout America.

And they persisted.

They knew when Donald Trump ridiculed a Gold Star family he was wrong.

They knew when Donald Trump stood before troops and told them he was responsible for a (nonexistent) 10-percent pay raise, he was lying.

They knew when Donald Trump said the Russians had nothing to do with election interference, he was full of shit.

They persisted.

Why?

Truly, I don’t know. Honor matters. Integrity matters. Maybe not now, at this precise moment. But when it comes to our nation, our future, virtuous behaviors seize the day.

Persist.

The one thing I sorta kinda like about Donald Trump

I think Donald Trump is a conman, a crook, a thug, a liar, a cheater. I think he lied about helping with the Ground Zero recovery. I think he lied under oath during the USFL trial. I think he called for the Central Park Five to be put to death, even after they were innocent. I think he spent 4 1/2 years insisting Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim. I think he fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son (the one he pretends doesn’t exist), then paid said porn star off with hush money.

Truly, he’s awful.

That said, Donald Trump has done one thing that I like, and I hope continues once he’s in prison gone from office.

He has walked through nonsense.

Now, this is a hard-to-explain concept, because so much of what he does is nonsense. But what I mean is, well, he just crashes through stuff in a way that screams, “Yeah, I don’t give a shit.” Example: What if Barack Obama has crashed through the Reverend Wright bullshit? What if Michael Dukakis had crashed through the Willie Horton bullshit? What if John Kerry had crashed through the Swift Boat bullshit? Hell, what if John Edwards had crashed through the kid-out-of-wedlock bullshit? What if all of them had just said, “Yup, you’ve got me. But here’s what I’ll do for you …”

What if they’d simply refused to absorb the information. Pretended as f it didn’t exist. “Yeah, I’m Gary Hart. And you’re damn right I had sex with Donna Rice. She was hot. So?” and “Yeah, I’m Geraldine Ferraro. And you’re damn right my husband was corrupt. He’s not me. So?” and “Yeah, I’m George H.W. Bush. I know I promised no new taxes. But fuck it, I was wrong. So?”

I dunno.

I sorta dig it.

The bloody fetus poster

This morning I dropped my 16-year-old daughter off at high school. While rolling down the street toward the final destination, we passed the above man, holding the above sign.

I wasn’t furious, so much as I was annoyed. My daughter said, “Are you gonna say something?”

“Yes,” I said. “I will.”

So I rolled down the window and said, “Just not the right place, man. Not the right place.”

I immediately regretted my choice of words.

What I should have said—what I wish I’d said—was, “Hey, buddy. Can I ask you a question? How many kids have you adopted? I’m just wondering, because I assume—as a pro-life guy who stands in front of my kid’s school holding a bloody fetus poster—you’re adopting a whole slew of children who were born. Right, buddy?”

Silence.

“So … buddy. Those kids. How many? And since you’re standing here—bloody fetus sign in hand—show me photos of your kids. I’m sure you’ve got ’em. iPhone technology and all. Lemme see the photo you took of your adopted son, who was born to the 12-year-old girl who was raped by her cousin. Because, I mean, you insisted she deliver the baby; that God wanted it that way. So show me, buddy. Show me.”

Silence.

“How about the baby who was born without working lungs. You said it’d be a sin to abort, because all humans are perfect in God’s eyes. So lemme see. Show me the photos, Daddy. I’m sure you’re doing as God and Jesus demand, and are taking in the poor, the needy, the downtrodden.”

Silence.

“Right, buddy? Right?”

Silence.

“Oh, wait. You’re just some dick with a sign.”

Blood

Had a needle inserted into a vein this morning.

Blood was extracted.

I love it.

Weird, right? As a kid needles absolutely terrified me. I think some of this had to do with a general fear of objects cutting through my skin. But I also happened to be raised by a (otherwise wonderful) mother who didn’t much care for needles. So I felt her fear, fed off it, developed my own.

Now, all has changed.

I love needles into my arm because it combines 1,000 different emotions. The terror flashbacks of youth. The curiosity of whether it will hurt. The rush of doing something generally unusual. The period of waiting … waiting … waiting as the blood leaves my veins. I even dig the aftermath, when a wad of gauze is taped to my epidermis.

Hard to explain.

But true.

Scot Brower says the joke is on me

The above photograph is of Scot Brower, Honolulu-based attorney at law.

Earlier today, in response to Anthony Scaramucci Tweeting out the long-ago John Bassett letter to a young, USFL-destroying Donald Trump, Brower wrote this …

And, in one sense, Scot Brower, attorney at law, is right. The joke is on Pearlman and Scaramucci. A lifelong conman neither of us can stomach is the 45th president of the United States. He holds the grandest position in the land, and—to the delight of men like Scot Brower, attorney at law—he is absolutely owning the libs. Fucking owning us. Trump brings true misery to my life. His presence exasperates me. His speech patterns infuriate me. I loathe him as I loathe foot mold.

And yet …

Scot Brower lives in Hawaii, a place being impacted by climate change like no other spot in America. The research is clear on this, but if you need some refreshers check out this, and this, and this, and this, and this. Or just Google “climate change” and Hawaii. It’s horrifying. Personally, I loooooooove everything about Hawaii. So to see what’s happening—and what’s going to happen—brings me no joy.

Scot, however, doesn’t seem to mind. Or doesn’t believe the science. Or something. Because while, yes, Trump owns the libs, he also has done everything within his power to make certain the impact of warming planet is as pronounced and devastating as possible. Pick a protection (any protection) and he’s wiped it off the map. Pick a scientific consensus (any scientific consensus) and he’s ignored it. The EPA—founded by Richard Nixon—is now staffed by former oil and coal execs. In case you’re hoping the devastation can be avoided, well, it can’t. We’re screwed. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Anthony Scaramucci. Jeff Pearlman. Scot Brower, attorney at law. All of us.

But, again, that probably doesn’t matter to men like Scot Brower, attorney at law. I mean, he voted for a man who lied about helping with the recovery at Ground Zero, then lied about sending men to help at Ground Zero, then lied about donating $10,000 to the 9.11 Fund. He voted for a man who created a fake “university” to bilk people of their money. He lied under oath during the USFL trial. He mocked a Gold Star Family, a 4 1/2-year Vietnam POW. He received five phony war deferments, discriminated against African-Americans in his Queens housing developments, fucked a porn star 10 days after the birth of his son.

So, when Hawaii is beneath water and Donald Trump is serving his fifth term in office, I’m sure Scot Brower, attorney at law, will be smiling.

The joke is on me.