Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Getting Old Sucks

" ....Some things you do for money, some things you do for fun, but the things you do for love are going to come back to you one by one...."

                        -Love, Love, Love by The Mountain Goats.

I've gotta be real with you, dearest motherfuckers, I'm not really in a blogging kind of mood today. Not that there's nothing going on, quite the contrary. The Russian Witch Trials are still chugging along with the mainstream media working themselves up into a near masturbatory fuhrer, the likes of which this foul country hasn't experienced since the height of the Monica Lewinsky fiasco. The Saudis are currently engaged in some kind of bizarre "Mean Girls" style tiff with their former flunkies in Qatar for reasons no one seems to fully comprehend. And the United States Military is once again openly committing crimes against humanity by gassing Raqqa with white phosphorous.

No, there's plenty to write about but my heart just isn't up to covering the rest of the worlds problems today. I've got me a serious case of white-people-problems this week. Stage 4 white-people-problems. This week we slapped my grandmother in a home, to put it colorfully and I can't help but to feel like the whole damn world is inside out.

My grandmother was a complicated person. On one hand, she was a Marine Corps officer's wife, a Boho folkie, a tireless civil rights supporter and a Kennedy Democrat. On the other hand, she was also a Marine Corps officer's widow, a rabid Fox News junkie, a casual racist and a Reagan Democrat who practiced passive aggression like a martial art. Truth be told, she could be a real bitch, I suspect that's were I get it from. Our arguments are still the stuff of family lore and our relationship hit the skids on more than one occasion but she always took the high ground and buried the hatchet when I needed her most.

More than anything, though, my Nana (call her grandma at your own risk) was a brilliant artist. Just google Janet Sullivan Turner if you don't fucking believe me. She could do it all: Impressionism, Abstract, Pop Art, painting, sculpture, installation. She could do shit with trash and rusty car parts that would blow your fucking mind. She was a respected figure in the prestigious Philadelphia art scene for over forty years and for good goddamn reason, she did things her way.

I say 'was' because my Nana has dementia, which is why we had to move her out to a home in the sticks, where me and my folks live, from her house of more than four decades in the crumbling Philadelphia suburbs. She's still her but she isn't. Part of her is missing and that part grows a little bit bigger everyday. The home we moved her into is nice but it isn't hers and it never will be. She looks lost there. Defeated. Like a wild tiger in a cage at the zoo. She may be safe but there will always be a faint glimmer of the wilderness in her eyes. A tiny flickering light that screams freedom. It doesn't feel right but it's the best thing we can do for her. It's the only way we can be sure that she's safe. But that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking.

Getting old sucks. There's no way around that brutal truth. I've already been through this once before with my other grandmother which makes the statistical odds of me facing the same fate higher than I prefer to contemplate. It feels tragic that we're all more or less damned to leave this world as helpless as we come into it. But if we're truly lucky, the love that we give to the people who mean the most to us will be payed back in full when we need it most and we'll find it somewhere deep within, from a place even dementia can't reach, to be big enough to let go of our pride and except this gift.

Me, personally, though. I'd rather got out like John Dillinger or Che Guevara, in a blaze of glory. Shot down in the streets by the state I've devoted myself completely to annihilating with a laptop, my weapon of choice, in my hands. And the last words I type will be....

Peace, Love and Empathy- CH

....Somewhere on the other side, my Nana will ask why I had to go out that way. My response: I learned it from you bitch. I learned it from you....

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post.

The Times They Are A-Changin' By Bob Dylan
The Suburbs By Arcade Fire
Landslide By The Smashing Pumpkins
Both Sides, Now By Joni Mitchell
Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying By Belle & Sebastian
Hurt By Johnny Cash
Love, Love, Love By The Mountain Goats
My Way By Sid Vicious

Note to dearest motherfuckers-    With my birthday next week and the Fourth on the next, I'm going to take a brief sabbatical to play video games, eat Thai food and blow shit up. All things considered, I feel like I kind of earned it. But I will be back in July with an anti-Hollywood Summer movie list so stay tuned and blow something up for 'Merica, goddammit!

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