Point-and-click my way through the Internet and across Facebook I see a picture of a guy who seems unaware his shirt is three sizes too small and then another shot of an old man whose eyes are closed in almost every picture I have ever seen of him.
I mull over leaving comments that a larger shirt will help eliminate the stuffed sausage look and an offer to buy a cup of coffee or confiscate the weed for the other but I do neither.
Not because I know I could lose a couple of pounds or because some of my pictures aren’t stellar but because I recognize this as anger from grief.
I am sad but pushing that aside with anger and tempted to start fights and blow off steam by being unfiltered in every way.
It would be a lie if I told you I didn’t think about telling some others they married an idiot and stayed married because they are foolish or that I hope they eat Ex Lax brownies laced with Carolina Reapers for voting for clueless nincompoop.
Two days ago an older woman sped through the parking lot and got upset that I yelled at her to slow down.
“You saw me coming so you should have gotten out of the way you crazy asshole.”
“Yeah, I am the crazy guy who stood there and waited to see if you would notice me. There was a mother pushing a stroller with two young kids on the other side of me.
Maybe I should have let you fly through here to see if hit them because you get bonus points for hitting the pregnant lady, stroller and kid.”
“Move out of the way crazy asshole!”
“I’ll move when I am ready. Crazy assholes like me love not being in prison anymore because we don’t have to ask permission to walk the yard.”
She stared at me and blanched as I took two steps towards her car not noticing I was moving at a soft angle towards the sidewalk and away from her.
A moment later she gunned her engine and flew by me leaving me shaking my head as I watched some of muppet fly across her rear windshield.
A few days ago I learned my father’s first cousin fought in the D-day landing on Utah beach. I don’t know if I ever knew that about him which is kind of funny because I knew he saw combat in Europe during WWII.
It wouldn’t surprise me if I found out I had been told about his participation in D-Day and forgotten about it because as a kid it probably wouldn’t have stood out beyond.
I knew he was a soldier, had been in combat had earned medals and the specific details probably would have sort of gone over my head because I was too young to really appreciate it.
Too young to understand how tenuous our grip on life is and how crazy it is to place ourselves in a position in which we seriously jeopardize it.
At 19 I wasn’t storming the beach to do my part to help my country survive and build a future that would allow for the luxury of tapping away on a keyboard musing about bullshit.
It is because of the real sacrifice and service of others that I can sit here and regal/bore you with these rambling thoughts and I am grateful.
Given the rise of antisemitism it is even more poignant to me think about my cousin and fellow Jewish soldiers who helped fight Hitler.
That doesn’t take anything away from my gratitude to their fellow non-Jewish soldiers and their part.
But it is impossible for me not to recognize the focus of his final solution and the luck of having had great grandparents decide to get the hell out of Europe prior to the war because some of their family members didn’t and they are gone now.
Sometimes I wonder how they made the choice to leave and think about the stories I have heard about secular Jews who were shocked when their neighbors turned on them.
Jews who were proud citizens of the countries they lived in and didn’t believe that things would ever get as bad as they did so they stayed.
Some of my Persian friends talk about what life was like in Iran before the Shah was deposed and the revolution.
And it occurs to me how lucky my family has been overall. We weren’t forced to flee the land and places we knew.
We didn’t give up everything because we feared what could happen.
My friends talk about having children who are technically first generation Americans with pride. They love living here and I understand.
Every now and then I stop to think about it and realize their story is one that my family shares and that I am not that far off.
My great-grandparents left the old country but they came as single people. In some cases they weren’t the first of the family to come over, but they still left what they knew for somewhere new.
It is times like these that I wish again my grandparents were still alive so I could ask them questions. It is times like these that I wish my great-grandparents were still alive so I could go direct to the source.
A while back my cousin, the WWII vet told me he recognized the antisemitism of the day as the same from his childhood.
He told me it never goes away and I should be aware. “We fought Hitler.”
Echoes of the past leak into the future and conversations once had feel like they might be revisited or might not.
In my mind’s eye I see and hear them play as if brand new.
The girl who told me to take a walk and showed up again and again anyway is followed by the girl who wouldn’t go away.
“Why are you so mean?”
“Why do you think brutal honesty is mean?”
“Could you be nicer?”
“I don’t know how.”
“That is some kind of defect.”
“If it makes you feel better to say so be my guest. There won’t ever be a ring.”
Another fragment flows forward and the film plays.
“This can’t work now. You have my heart but you can’t have me now.”
“Fine. What do you want from me?”
What do you want from me is a line that repeats itself over and over.
I sit back and wonder about the accuracy of memory and whether the proverbial winds of time have sand blasted the neurons into submission and left me with a myth I think of as reality.
Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
But I know “what do you want from me” to be a question/comment I have voiced more than once and with an edge in my voice that makes it clear it is voiced as a reply to something I am irritated about.
Is it because I believe the request to be ridiculous or stupid?
I don’t know, might be both, might be neither but probably not.
Tonight I am fed up and tired of being forced to deal with profound stupidity. Tonight I am likely to respond to inquiries with venom because I have answered the questions time and time again.
And because I am tired of carrying the world on my shoulders. Our time is limited and I am ready to be a little bit more selfish about some things again.
Ready to do more to recharge my batteries because I am depleted and if I don’t it will be a real problem.
Echoes of muppets flying across rear windshields and squealing tires push their way up from the muck and make me wonder why I grant them free rent.
Time to kick them out and stop wasting energy on nonsense.