Screw You (And Other Terms of Endearment)


I can’t help but notice that the last month or so seems to have Made America Irate Again. Not that Americans aren’t normally disposed to being easily put-out by anything that temporarily upsets their carefully choreographed lifestyles. All one has to do is recall the last time Starbucks removed pumpkin spice lattes from the board. I was there and it wasn’t pretty.

No, this is something far different. People have suddenly devolved into a state of prolonged and chronic peevishness. This is far more insidious than mass mood swings of the past. People can be seen clumping together in both ruly & unruly crowd patterns, often seen wearing poorly-knit headgear named after cats. Actually, as symbolic gestures go, you could do far worse than a kitty hat. I, myself, was quite taken with the idea of wearing animal ears as a statement of my latent activism, until I realized I simply do not have the face for it.

But even scarier is how, well… scared everyone appears to be. Not since I was a kid and we were instructed to keep emergency food stores (just in case of an apocalyptic event) have I felt such a general sense of dread. It was especially stressful to watch our basement box of food dwindling, as my mother ran out of stuff for dinner. If the bad guys really wanted to take us out, they could have done it without a shot fired. Just wait until we were down to our last can of fruit cocktail and we’d have gone quietly.

Nowadays, our news cycles are relentless, our fuses shorter. Piss me off once, shame on you, piss me off twice…I will murder you in your sleep. I swear to God, I will.

We live for the next day and the nearest exit. Even the lowly ant has, apparently, taken a page from the human book of “I Hate You More.” Researchers have recently discovered that ants send out gangs of ant-thugs whose sole job it is is to track down law-breaking brethren and basically rip them to shreds. After watching recent political conventions, I’d say were about one antenna short of full-on ant justice. (Ant-archy?)

So what’s the solution? You can’t send an entire nation into anger management. We tried that once in The Sixties. It didn’t work. Maybe we just let all this crazy peter out on its on? When push-comes-to-shove (an act we seem to be especially enamored of at the moment), people tend to get tired of everything, eventually. This too shall pass. But not if I see you first.

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