I am so bad at Overwatch that even if I cheated by using automatic aiming software, I would never be caught because my team would lose anyway. This is embarrassing. It would be like if someone cheated to avoid an F in Chemistry but could only get a D. Not that I ever did any of these things. But I try not to judge others. Actually I do judge others but claim that I do not because I think not judging others is the right thing. And I need to set a good example for young people.
I was looking in the mirror this morning because my face has to be groomed before being allowed to venture out in public. As much as certain features have deteriorated, experiencing them in a harsh light renewed my eagerness to live to be 80 or even 90 years old. I am extremely curious to see what I would look like. Logically I should become even more wizened and grotesque. But that is actually hard to imagine. It feels odd that so many people do not get to see themselves at the full end of their potential being. Most people I know have pictures of themselves as very young children even though they cannot remember those days. But so many of us are deprived of viewing ourselves at 90 or 100. I wish technology could provide me an actual future photo of my wife at age 110 in case I am not around to witness it myself. I am confident that she will look good. And I would also like to complete the family photo album in advance while I still have the energy.
On Memorial Day weekend, my youngest son grilled salmon for six of us. I tried to recall my childhood Memorial Days but could not remember any big trips or traditions, although there could have been some. My only specific memory was the time my Dad was working in the backyard while the Indianapolis 500 blared on the radio. All other recollections have faded into the general collage of life back in the 1950’s. I have two other vivid memories of my Dad working outside. In early October when I was eight years old, he was washing the car in the driveway and my Mom reminded him he was not supposed to work on Sunday. Was there more to the story? Did she want him to relax because he was a workaholic? Did she want him to play with the kids or help her in some other way? Was she really that religious about our version of the Sabbath? That mundane incident was imprinted because I was simultaneously relaying a message from the television about Duke Snider’s second homer in a World Series game. In football season, a Detroit Lions game on the radio accompanied Dad’s yardwork. That memory stuck because of the announcer’s enthusiasm over a tackle made by Jack Christiansen. Why do I remember these relatively insignificant incidents clearly while forgetting most everything else? And what will my grandchildren remember of this past Memorial Day. The seven year old toasted my Dad because she (surprisingly) knew he served in the Navy. But will her memory be that she helped debone the salmon while a Seattle Mariner stole home? Or will the day be lost forever?
I receive quite a bit of fan mail. Some readers wanted to know why and how I was cooking an omelet in the toaster oven (5/20/19 Blog). Anything can be heated up in a toaster oven. I recommend using one on anything from your freezer if you like your food burned on the outside and frozen on the inside. One reader gave me a phone number to call but I responded by email because I have a phone phobia. She did not believe me which is usually a winning bet. But I actually do hate phones. They enslaved me for decades at work. The ringing is always a harsh interruption. The caller usually notifies me of bad news, complains about something, or tries to scam me. A typical call notifies me that too little was deducted from my paycheck for moving expenses the previous year and the Company will be erasing my current paycheck with deductions to rectify their error. No one ever calls to tell me I am being reimbursed for an overcharge, promoted to vice president, or awarded a Pulitzer Prize. My cell phone has also been polluted, so I keep it turned off most of the time. I get messages in foreign languages. I assume they are calling to notify me that my house was burned down by a frozen omelet left too long in the toaster oven. If I do make a call, I become the dreaded caller annoying a listener on the other end. Phone plans cannot be trusted, cost lots of money, and most require you to like them on Facebook and Twitter.
I have always admired friends and friends of my parents who have kept spotless homes. Often they accomplish this feat without hiring much outside help, probably because perfectionists tend to do things for themselves. No one else can be trusted to do the cleaning exactly right. I give due credit to these people and wish I could be more like them. But I do want to point out that it takes a great deal of effort just to maintain a filthy house. So I think something worse than filthy is on the spectrum. I could find out by suspending all efforts at maintaining my home. But I am afraid to find out what that looks like. My wife is already going to be really upset when she reads this and I am also afraid to see what that looks like. So I should stipulate that none of the fault belongs to said spouse who has for half a century valiantly tried to clean up after me and hide my deficiencies from the public. My own Mother once called me slovenly which was strong language indeed coming from her. But I cannot take all the blame. Grandchildren and all our pets contribute to the disarray. We house an unusual mix of exotic animals, including spiders, spider food, ants, moths, mold, dust bunnies and elephants. The elephants seem to plunder the house only when our fifteen year old grandson is home alone.
Stephen Hawking said, “We are not down to a single, unique universe, but our findings imply a significant reduction of the multiverse to a much smaller range of possible universes.” Astrophysicist Ethan Siegal is even less sanguine about the possibility of parallel universes. Larry Doyle has fewer scientific qualifications but he claims that a thousand alternate universes have already been detected. Apparently most are post apocalyptic, but only three have Hunger Games. Doyle told me: “You’re in the one where everything Trump says is true. I’m so sorry.”
In the movie Rebel in the Rye, a young J.D. Salinger is obsessed with getting his stories published. He is inspired by professor Whit Burnett and Zen Buddhist Swami Nikhilananda to decide if he is a real writer who cares more about writing than publishing. If so, rejection slips should mean nothing to him. When Oona O’Neill dumps him in favor of Charlie Chaplin and the horrors of serving in World War II envelop him, Salinger takes those experiences and breathes life into his character Holden Caulfield. Unfortunately rheumatic fever medication kept me out of war and Mollie Hendrick thought I was enough of a clown not to dump me for a Charlie Chaplin. So my Holden Caulfield was stunted and never grew to populate a Catcher in the Rye. But I did end up in a happier life than the one Salinger appeared to live in the movie. I wonder if we would have traded our two lives. Perhaps I will find out if someone makes a sequel to Rebel in the Rye. We could call it Bozo in the Blog.
“Don’t judge me” is a battle cry I hear often. For good reason. Those words are usually directed at me. Because I am always judging everyone. Accusing me of judging others works well, especially if uttered by someone squirming to evade defending questionable practices. An added bonus is the shame cast upon me. Funny thing: Many of those demanding that I cease and desist judging are actually very judgmental themselves. I usually agree to cease but not desist or vice versa. Going into a Pigmeat Markham routine provides opportunity for tension to escape. I wish I had worked harder to pursue a career as a judge because then I would be getting paid for doing what I do every day for free.
William Barr graduated five years behind me at George Washington (GW) University Law School. I scored only 6 out of 10 on the Bar Exam’s Ethics question, partly because GW Law did not require graduates to take an Ethics class back then and partly because I cheated off the paper of a total idiot. Lack of formal Ethics training may explain some of the Attorney General’s recent actions. My problems run deeper, of course. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt ’94 is a fellow GW Law grad whose career as a lobbyist has prompted an investigation by the Inspector General into conflict of interest accusations stemming from his career as a lobbyist. Christopher Scolese has two degrees from GW and has recently been nominated as Director of the National Reconnaissance Office which builds, launches, and maintains U.S. spy satellites. Six current members of the House of Representatives (four Democrats and two Republicans) earned a GW degree (two JD’s). Senator Elizabeth Warren attended GW from 1966-68 but dropped out and moved back to the reservation, presumably in protest over a lack of ethics at the school. Michael Avenatti (GW Law grad in 2000) has been indicted for defrauding clients, including Stormy Daniels. So apparently Trump and Avenatti were both screwing Daniels. I am making factually naked assumptions with the following query: Does my alma mater select students who demonstrate unethical traits or does the school develop those traits in the students they admit? I am confident that posing that question without more research is unethical.
I have historical obsessions with both receiving credit and avoiding blame. I crave more of the former and less of the latter. I do not spend much time strategizing on how to improve future creditable actions or eradicate ones that bring blame. Instead I invest great energy in crafting elaborate rationalizations that recast my past activity in a more favorable light. Logically, I should admire others who are talented at doing the same thing. But I find Donald Trump shameless and regularly criticize those who do the revisionist tap dance. The explanation for the contradiction is not that I am unaware of my own tendencies which I have acknowledged above. I cannot admit to being jealous that others are better than me at these absurd mental gymnastics. I cannot admit that I am envious or hypocritical. And a previous posting that capped my audience at 1,191 severely under counted the undocumented immigrants. Bernie Madoff has finally admitted that I have broken Lance Armstrong’s Word Press record for crowd size by passing the huge billions mark.