Everything is Awful

It’s been over 3 years since I’ve written (at least for this blog, I’ve written a few things at my sports blog in that time – you should check it out if you haven’t already…well, unless you’re a Michigan fan), and a few of you have asked if you’ve missed some posts from me. Not many of you, but enough to reinforce my belief that I actually have a writing style that keeps people entertained, if only for a few minutes. That said, there’s a rather simple reason why I haven’t sat down and put the proverbial pen to paper.

Everything. Fucking. Sucks.

It’s really nothing more than that. Sure, there are some excuses other than that. The last time I sat down to write something for this blog, I’d come off a fairly unpleasant year where my mother, uncle, and cat had passed away, and my father had been hospitalized. I was still dealing with settling all of the matters of my mother’s estate, and a project to digitize and organize all of my mother’s photos was taking up much of the time I might otherwise be writing – a project that is not fully completed as of this writing.

Nothing of note has happened since then.

I mean other than the pandemic, the insurrection, constant barrages on the civil rights of minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, the descent toward authoritarianism by a rather significant portion of this country (not to mention one of our two major political parties), a baseball lockout (not a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, but I’m a baseball nut and my team has finally started to spend money), and now a war triggered by a madman that those authoritarians in this country are propping up.

That doesn’t even count the fact that I’ve had 7 jobs since I wrote last.

(Ok, I’ll admit that overdramatizes the situation, as a couple of those jobs were contract-to-hire or reorganizations where there was no actual change in job responsibilities. But I really have had 5 jobs with 7 employers since I last wrote.)

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write. I’ve gone on fairly regular walks in the last 3 years, and on those walks my mind has often wandered to the thoughts I’d like to share with the world. But when I get back to my home I’ve never had the good sense to sit down and write down those thoughts. Probably because I have the attention span of a puppy and get distracted by whatever show I’ve decided to binge at any given time (these days: Euphoria – good but disturbing, especially if you’ve got children…I imagine, anyway).

In the end, the simple fact is that everything sucks. I don’t say that lightly. As I mentioned in my last post, before she passed away, my mother – who had always wanted grandchildren – expressed her happiness that neither my brother nor myself had had children, so dismayed at the world had she become. And that was almost 4 years ago.

So what I’m going to do is offer up my thoughts on a few of the things that are pissing me off, and hope that clears my head and gets me into a better frame of mind to want to sit down more often to share my thoughts with you. This isn’t going to be pleasant for everyone, so now’s your time to bail.

You’ve been warned.

I’m serious.

Ok, here we go. Thanks to everyone who’s still here.

Today’s Political Discourse

Look, when writing about the things that have pissed me off over the last 3 years, it would make sense to start with the global pandemic that has dominated everything since March 2020. And believe me, I will get to it. But unfortunately, a rather significant portion of my displeasure with the pandemic and how we have approached it has been dominated by our differences in political viewpoints. It is a huge problem in this country, and I’m not keeping quiet about it (not that I ever have).

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fairly progressive individual. I believe in abortion, Medicare for All, Black Lives Matter, equality for the LGBTQ+ community, and voting rights, among other things. You don’t have to agree with me on these matters, but you do have to understand that it’s going to impact what you read here going forward. And I am a firm believer that the Republican party is an ongoing threat to democracy in this country.

You can call me a nut, you can say I sound unintelligent, you can tell me to calm down and not think about it because it’s 2+ years away. You’ll be hard pressed to convince me that it’s untrue. The Republican party gave themselves over to a snake oil salesman who admires dictators and attempted to overthrow an election. If you believe Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, just stop reading now. You’re beyond saving, you’re too stupid for me to engage with.

They refuse to disavow him. If Trump says the sky is green, 209 Congressmen and 50 Senators would sign a binding resolution stating that the sky is and always has been green. They have turned into a cult and it will lead us to our downfall. Barring a conviction and prison sentence – something that is looking increasingly unlikely lately – Trump will be the Republicans’ 2024 presidential nominee, he will either win outright or he will follow the Bill Maher playbook to complete his coup and take the presidency in 2025, and he will come up with some excuse as to why he hasn’t exhausted his 2-term limit and run again in 2028. And if he does take the presidency by coup – sorry, but it’s not nearly as ridiculous as some of you believe – then democracy in this country will have died.

The Republicans are going to take the House and Senate in 2022. There’s little chance that doesn’t happen. And they will likely work to advance their abhorrent agenda to take away a woman’s right to control what happens to her body; to take away what pathetic health care we provide to people in this country; to take away gay marriage; to stop just short of saying, “Minorities can’t vote.” If you don’t look at their actions and see that this is what they intend to do, you’re beyond help.

(And don’t tell me you’re “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”. I recently joined Match – more on that later – and this is one of their options for your political preferences.  It drives me crazy. That’s some semantic bullshit. I used to spew that shit when I was young and stupid(er). You are what you vote for. If you vote conservative because it’ll cost you less in taxes, you’re a conservative. You don’t get to disavow their social atrocities because you only voted for them because it’ll save you a couple of bucks that you can probably afford.)

I’m not letting the Democrats off the hook. The Republicans are evil, but the Democrats are fucking incompetent, plain and simple. They’ve got the White House and both houses of Congress and yet somehow can’t get anything passed because 2 Republican-lite Senators bog their agenda down and think that bipartisanship is an achievable goal. I guess we should be glad they don’t flip to Republicans and give the Senate back to Mitch McConnell. Maybe Biden will be able to sneak his Supreme Court nominee through, but I’m not holding my breath.

The one thing the Democrats should be able to stand on as a notable achievement of the Biden administration – the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is one of the only things I ever agreed with Donald Trump on – they fucked up. Don’t get me wrong, his critics are being disingenuous in their criticism, because whenever we withdrew from that quagmire, the Taliban was going to take over. But it could’ve gone much smoother.

And, much as I stand with the progressive wing of the party, they seem to be attempting to sabotage a lot of legislation that would help a lot of people because it doesn’t go far enough. Tough shit! Progress comes in stages. I’m fine with a $3 trillion progressive bill, but I understand why some – even some Democrats – might find it tough to stomach and want to pass something a little more manageable. Get passed what you can get passed and live to fight another day.

I liked it better when I was 12 and had no clue who the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader was. This country is fucking doomed.

The Pandemic

We live in a country where over 967,000 people (as of this writing) have died as the result of a pandemic that kills about 2% of the people who get it. Over 1000 people a day are still dying of the disease. And at this point, it feels like almost every death is preventable.

I have a friend who went into shutdown mode when the pandemic hit. No guests. Didn’t go out to restaurants even when he was allowed to. Got the vaccine as soon as he could. He did everything he should have done. If we had all followed his lead, this thing would’ve been gone in a month.

The trouble is, we didn’t follow my friend’s lead. The leadership in this country knew how bad it would be and ignored it, for fear of setting off a panic. Truth is, they didn’t care about a panic amongst the people, but in the markets. They couldn’t stop that. What’s amazing is the president told one of the reporters that broke the Watergate scandal that the disease was going to be a major problem – before anyone even knew about the virus – and that reporter saved it for a book instead of reporting it.

(I’m not even going to get into the media in this post…it’s a shit show, but I’ve spent so much time defending the media that I’ll need more time to justify my hypocrisy.)

Refusals and/or displeasure with closure of businesses and schools. Ignoring mask mandates and making scenes when confronted. Claiming the vaccines are some sort of government conspiracy or that you’re “doing their own research”. I’m glad my parents taught me to know what I don’t know, because I know that no matter how much research I do, it’s not going to compare to the years the doctors who created the vaccines spent on it. You don’t want to get vaccinated? Cool. My sympathy is gone, and I don’t want to hear any stories about some unvaccinated schmuck having his “Come to Jesus” moment and deciding he should’ve gotten vaccinated as he takes his last breath. I will get a booster every week if they tell me to if it means the world stays open.

Full disclosure, I got COVID being an idiot, as I went to a crowded bar on St. Patrick’s Day. I then gave it to a friend, who passed it on to his family, before I knew I had it. I literally got the call that I could schedule my vaccine appointment the day I got my positive test. Don’t be like me.

The sad thing is that the vast majority of the people who resisted all of the mitigation efforts fall into one specific political orientation, and it’s not much of a surprise which one. The simple fact is that the COVID crisis has shown us that most conservatives don’t care if people die, as long as their world isn’t inconvenienced one little bit.

Sports

Alright, enough about the serious stuff. I think I’d be somewhat more happy if I could have one good sports team to celebrate. But the last time a Detroit team won a playoff game was over 2100 days ago. The last time they won a playoff series was over 3000 days ago, and it doesn’t look like either streak will be snapped this year.  And, to add insult to injury, the Lions traded away their franchise QB, and he promptly wins the Super Bowl in his first season with a new team.  But hey, at least I won a chunk of change backing up my claim that he’d win whenever he left Detroit.

Michigan State’s football team went through a rather significant collapse and their most successful coach in half a century left the program in shambles.  Our new coach has brought them back to some level of national prominence, so that’s a plus. But the basketball team, long a national power, had the season cancelled because of the pandemic just as they were primed for a deep tournament run, and the two seasons since have not exactly inspired much confidence. They snuck into the tournament in 2021 because of a 2-week run that fooled the committee into thinking we belonged, only to lose in a First Four matchup while our fans bitched our seeding. They snapped out of a stretch where they lost 5 out of 6 with a win against the #4 team in the country, so our tournament streak looks to be safe, but this isn’t really a team that seems poised for a deep run.

Sports are not exactly pleasant. And that’s just the on-field stuff.

Baseball is likely to cancel games because the owners have locked out players, refused to negotiate, and claimed they’ve run out of ideas, all while refusing to raise minimum salaries and their de facto salary cap in line with the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, they try to convince us owning a baseball team isn’t a healthy investment as they take public funds to build stadiums and keep all the profits. I realize that any labor dispute between a professional sports league and its players is routinely criticized as “millionaires vs. billionaires”, but it’s never that simple. The fact is that even if the average salary is in the millions of dollars – and it is – the dispute between the owners and players is not much different from any sort of labor dispute with a unionized work force, with the ruling class doing everything they can to give their workers as little as they possibly can. Am I weeping for the players? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean I am ever going to side with ownership.

(Especially since the family that owns the Tigers kinda sucks.)

Simply put, everything is awful and I can’t even take solace in sports. Fun times.

Dating

I’d love to be able to put together another entry in the Date from Hell Chronicles, but the simple fact is that there’s not much to tell on the dating front.

(Actually, that’s not entirely true. While I’ve found that my readers find those stories fairly entertaining, for me they come from some moments that don’t exactly leave me beaming with pride.)

But a pandemic that requires people to quarantine at home doesn’t leave much opportunity for dating. I was seeing someone at the beginning of the pandemic, but it became pretty apparent that she wasn’t as interested in me as I was in her, I said something to that effect via text (it’s 2022 – no one talks on the phone), and she accused me of being threatened by her independence. Good times.

I went out on a couple of dates with a woman who ultimately decided I didn’t live close enough to her and she wanted to find someone in her neighborhood (I live about 15 miles away from her).

I had some encounters with a friend that ultimately came down to us both being fairly lonely and not liking to drink alone, but we ultimately weren’t all that compatible.

I had a few decent dates with a girl I really liked, but after a conversation discussing rather significant differences in what we want, she ghosted me.

I’ve used the dating sites, but there aren’t many matches, and the ones I do get aren’t all that exciting. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that “Happily Ever After” just doesn’t exist for me, or if it did exist it was probably with someone I’ve already pushed out of my life.

There have been some good things.  I managed to lose 50 pounds.  For the first time in my career I’ve found a job with a company I can see myself retiring with.  I managed to cross a few new stadiums off my bucket list.  The housing market has me poised to make a decent amount of profit if I want to sell my house (although any gains would go into another overpriced home).  My brother’s health issues have subsided for the time being and my dad seems to be doing fairly well.  As bad as things are, they could certainly be worse.

That’s it folks. I’d love to sit down and write on a regular basis, but I really don’t have the energy. I work from home, and when I’m done for the day I’ll lie on the couch and watch TV until I go to bed. Occasionally I’ll meet up with friends for drinks or dinner, but that’s about all I want to do these days. I’m fairly certain I’m going through some low-grade depression, but it could also be that I’ve reached that wonderful point of middle-age where men are shown to be as miserable as they’ll be in their entire life (I believe I read that it peaks around 46, so I’ve still got a couple more years before rock bottom comes).

I hope it’s going to get better, but we’ve also experienced a great deal of collective trauma in the last few years and I’m really coming to the conclusion that most people who get ahead in this world do so by treating people like absolute shit, and I just refuse to go down that road for my own success. I’m fine with where I am in life, but I can’t say it’s left me particularly happy.

Sorry that my first post in years has been a bit of a downer. I’m not exactly a “glass is half full” sort of guy.  Here’s to hoping things get turned around and my mood changes. I’m not overly optimistic.

2 comments

  1. “2 Republican-lite Senators”
    I’ve wondered if this would work the other way around. Campaign as a republican conservative, then do a heel-turn and vote progressive. It could only last one term, but a coordinated effort would flip everything for a while.

  2. Rebecca · · Reply

    I also liked it better when I was 12.

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