Oct 6, 2008

Pundits on the radio; John and Sarah Doe; fools on the Thorazine ward keep asking, "well yes, it is to hell in a hand basket and I'm already living below my means. But I don't feel anything; what's it go to do with me?"

It's Cuervo time for the cockroaches in Almogordo, in the still branches of 'fat cottonwood', when all of a sudden the big banjo will play, and the earth will start disemboweling itself, but right now it's that second before the wall's vibrato and all things disappear.

In that second, in Akron, a 90-year-old woman shot herself, twice, in her mortgaged chest, rather than be evicted. Neighbor came in and found her, looked like she was asleep on her bed with a long barelled handgun at her side. Touched her shoulder. "Then she kind of moved toward me a little and I saw that blood, and I said, 'Oh, no. Miss Polk musta done shot herself,'".

She had. And that was before the woman in Redwood Shores, on the sidelines of a U-15 soccer game, on Saturday. She turned to her friend and said, "I just can't spend the money. But I know it looks bad so we've decided to do the minimum. You know, $10,000, just to make the front (yard) look decent and leave it at that."

On 47th Avenue and Judah, outside 7-11, in the nightly drizz, just last night, a homeless man and woman huddling with a fake baby. He would like some change, and in his tone you could hear that the business of being homeless is getting serious.

And so the president is going to tell people: go out on a shopping spree. Buy anything you can! Ross will fill up and there'll be a couple of people in the sweaters aisle at Macy's. Some people will buy an extra large popcorn before the movie. I'll buy a five gallon container of Lupine.

But then there was this story from last weekend...

"This is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed," said a chief from LAPD, standing in front of a house at 20644 Como Lane in Porter Ranch, a gated community in Northridge, where the earthquake was, in a two story house, Spanish-stucco-beige, probably with a kidney-shaped pool and a garden filled with succulent ambitions. The family was Indian. The sheriff went on: "destroyed apparently because of a man who just got stuck in a rabbit hole, if you will, of absolute despair, somehow working his way into believing this to be an acceptable exit."

And he added, "It is critical to step up and recognize we are in some pretty troubled times."

They got the counselors up to the neighborhood to explain to kids how these things happen and it's okay, the guy was troubled, because these are troubling times, but you mustn't despair yourself, don't believe what you imagine, because you can get caught up thinking about how that could have happened, how the father would decide what the order of slaughter would be. Did he start with his oldest son? That would make sense, threat wise. The boy was a sophomore at UCLA. And then his mother-in-law, and finally his two younger children who he loved to death, as it were. And then himself.

Everybody said he loved those kids and how's the counselor going to explain that? They were all smart people. Sure the guy was a little unstable, a little intense and then you wonder him going over to the next door neighbor telling her to close the windows on the side of the house next to his. He said he's heard there were burglars. He knew fear would work and she closed those windows and he killed everyone sometime between Friday night and Sunday. No one knows for sure. Hardly anyone heard the shots.

And so is this one of the lessons of troubled times? The ballad of smart people. And now the world is left to the stupid. How will you ever trust smart people again, no matter where they went to school or what their SAT scores were.

That's Palin's real appeal. Not the fuck-me wink, America's Mary Magdalene willing to take all the men, and women, in the country if that'll do the trick. Don't-cha-know'd it! Smart IS dangerous. Stupid IS safe.

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