My 80-Year-Old Brain Ain’t What It Used to Be


More than 39 million people in the country live below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau. The poor know this. They live it. “When you are poor, you substitute time for money,” says Randy Albelda, an economics professor in Boston. “You have to work a lot of hours and still not make a lot of money. You get squeezed, and your money is squeezed.” When squeezed there is a danger of collective depression, collective anger, collective fear. Standing in line becomes more like standing in a cesspool. I see the anger. I sense the fear. I smell the cesspool.

I wake up. I do my normal pre-coffee things. Then I sit and sip. As I become nearer to being myself, thanks to the coffee, the morning light, the letting in and out of Nada, our tomcat, and Patches, our border collie, I stretch and, and it dawns on me. What is going on in this reality? Really?

Russia has been my country’s enemy my whole life, yet it’s seems to be Putin pulling the U.S. President’s strings. And, the U.S. Senate’s strings are being pulled by the President. Here it gets a tad bit confusing. If Putin is pulling the strings and the President is pulling the Senate’s strings, the argument could be made that Putin is pulling the Senate’s strings. See? I told you.

Wait! It gets better, er, I mean worse. I live in Buckhannon, County Upshur, West by God Virginia, the Mountain State. Some pundits from inside the Beltway declare Buckhannon /Upshur as the reddest place in West Virginia which they declare is the reddest state in the Union. We are riding the crest of the red tide!

Do you have the picture?

Now, get this. Three West Virginia State House of Delegates members, all representing parts of Upshur County, have recently introduced a bill that would take $10 million from our tax money to help build the wall on the southern border of the United States. And West Virginia is full of squeezed, depressed, angry, fearful Poor People.

Yet, those offering up such a bill claim that it will keep drugs out of WV, and it will save us money. Whenever I hear such words in one sentence, I become suspicious.

Here I was thinking the pharmaceutical corporations were responsible for dumping pills here and that meth was a backyard industry.

Then Putin was saying, er, Trump said, some 30 times, “I’m going to shut down the government” over the border wall, and he did.  

And now he blames the Democrats, or was that the Mexicans? No, no, they were the ones we were sending the bill to for the wall. You can see how this is confusing for my 80-year-old brain. Why is West Virginia paying Mexico’s bill for a wall? If it’s Mexico’s wall, why are we even building it? If they are paying for it, let it be on their side of the border. Or better yet, if Putin is pulling all the strings, let Putin build his own wall. Oh. That’s right. There used to be one, The Iron Curtain.