Now I'm All Serious

Humans need to have some work done on their stupefying human brains.

Here in Brunswick, Maine, we are out of oil, with perhaps a thimbleful remaining.

Anyhow, I've just adjusted the thermostat upwards by 20% to 60°, so that my wife and children don’t feel like they’re hostages on an involuntary sojourn to a distinctly frostful hinterland. It’ll definitely drain what remains in our tank, which had been relatively plentiful prior to a polar yestereve. But, consequences be damned, say I, when it comes to my family knowing at least a semblance of comfort in their shared slumber. I’m staying awake in preparation of the emergency-refill call that I know that I’ll have to place sooner than later, even though I’ve no means of paying for a delivery (due to a succession of foibles that is keeping the money that I’ve earned at arm’s length). People say that compensation is forthcoming, and I hope that it is.

Granted, the party (where’s the party?) line is that a person should lie in the bed that they made, which is perfectly aligned with the puritanical and punitive notions that founded this intermittently great land. “Serve the heavens with your deprivation.”

This is all well and good, but why do we live in a country that appears to be allergic to alternatives, even as it is ruled by profiteering? It is actually, legitimately preposterous. To fill our oil tank would cost—and this is no joke—$974.00! Without the $50 in fees that we’d be obliged to pay. Per month, at this rate. How on earth can a person afford that in addition to everything else? There is assistance available, but Governor Paul LePage has decided to cut the amount by 70% so that he can provide tax cuts for wealthy people. He says that this spurs job creation, but it does no such thing. What is does do is let people be cold. We won’t freeze to death (I am, as I've stated before, famously exothermic), but there are heaps of impoverished people in the middle of nowhere. Many of them are ancient and proud, and what will become of them in all of this? What will happen? We’ll have a sudden onslaught of AARPsicles, that’s what.

Research into alternative heating has proven to be a fruitless enterprise; a summer visit from a Solar-Power consultant confirmed that a switch away from oil is, more or less, cost-prohibitive ($20,000) for people like us; we could finance it, and there are (rather piddly) tax credits, but they don’t outweigh a bleak employment and income scenario, and they won’t defray initial costs to any appreciable extent. So, in this very nasty meanwhile, we have to continue to “shell” out for heat, which mandates that we’ll accrue no savings.

And this is how the Great, Big “Them” works. I don’t think that it was ever really possible for me to appreciate before this cardboard-salad sector of my life, just what a joke the notion of class mobility is for most people. I would not be writing this post had I not been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during my final semester of graduate school, only to be shunned on multiple occasions by Social Security and others like them when I sought assistance regarding my disabilities.

It happens to people all the time—gradually, momentum is lost, and you’re suddenly embalmed in the formaldehyde of class rigidity. It’s assumed that you have nothing to contribute, or that you’re cognitively incapable, or that you’re unable to manage adult life. The people that think thus, and strive to impress that upon you so that your limitations are bandied about constantly, don’t see the OTHER, more pernicious, set of limitations—borne of the fact that this culture is fueled by judgment and hierarchy, and that that's the default that every one of us is beholden to examining. 

With a chronic and (supposedly) terminal disease like MS, it’s so often the case that nobody believes in any chance of your improvement, but they’ll placate you when you talk about it by refraining from yawning when you speak. But then, when you are experiencing wellness, expectations of you are frightfully unrealistic, like your health is a bank account that you MUST empty whenever possible—usually by way of exposing yourself to the same stress-filled nonsense that begot this whole cycle in the first place.

And now, there are my wonderful, wonderful children and my stunningly excellent wife, who is my best-ever friend. They’re so, so important to me. And, truly, the love that we have for each other serves as a barometer for a life that is lived harmoniously with my self. That is precisely why all of this tedium has got to, and (I hereby declare) is going to, STOP.


  1. As they say on the internets, "I know that feel, bro."

  2. Dress the children like lions, and pretend you're taking an extended vacation to Narnia?

    Regarding beds, making them, and having to lay(lie? i hate this) in them i purpose the following analysis. The aphorism (is it an aphorism? I can't be bothered to look) follows "You have made your bed, now lie (lay?) in it" This means that by making a bed, you become owner of that bed (which you must then be supine and/or prone in). If the making of a bed grants ownership, then you merely need to make all of the beds. This is how you will start your mattress and bedding empire.

    If, in fact, it is not the making of the bed that grants ownership, but rather that making the bed is the only thing that permits for, nay, demands, the laying of in or upon, then we can handily disprove the aphorism by not laying in made beds, or laying only in unmade beds (which by laying in, is necessarily unmade, becoming at best mussed). I've often laid (lied?) in unmade beds.

    So, when confronted with that kind of smugness you can use the following replies:
    1) I'm already in bed.
    2) That's your bed I just made, and you are welcome.
    3) You're not the boss of me, nor king (or queen) of beds. (i would not use this with your actual boss...but why is your boss talking about your bed? Is he or she hitting on you?)

    Levity aside (seriously, I wasn't joking) I understand the gravity of your situation. Not having children, and not having an immune system that freaked the fuck out and decided to eat my brain, I can't understand the specific frustrations and anxieties.

    I can understand being under the thumb of some other entity that merrily extorts whomever it can for whatever it can. The worst thing (not objectively worst, but pretty close to objectively worst) is the total impotence of being able to change the situation from the source. It's the reduction to words and only words, and words that do so very little - while ham-fisted, ham-jowled plutocrats bilge shit from mouths stretched wide by the corporate cocks they suckle like teats - that makes all of this vanity feel especially vain.

    I suggest that you create a serialized satire of local politicians and business folk. Yanno, something to capture the sentiment of revulsion. What's that old saw "If you can't beat 'em, immortalize their hubris and wretchedness in scathing and biting commentary"? Worked well enough for Socrates (ala Plato).