by Bodwyn Wook
It is the fifteenth of November, 2010.
This is the birthday in Heidenheim, Germany, one hundred-and-nineteen years ago of a German soldier I used to admire as an adolescent and young man. Today, all German soldiers are off, including those who valiantly but belatedly died while opposing Hitler. Today such coincidences have resumed their proper non-synchronous insignificance. Today, too, as I write two grandsons, seven and eight, are on their way to Colorado with their father. It is a bright and frosty morning up here in southern Minnesota at the top of the Great Plains and he is going off across them in search of work, in fact he has a job lined up, and I do not and cannot begrudge him that. We are at the end up here of a very heavy early snowstorm, there have been many power outages and it all seems to me like a pretty cold start to Winter.
They are going three states away.
It is as bad as when my best friend in third grade, Mark, was taken away by a family move from south Minneapolis to Omaha, and that was only two states.
To one who no longer cares to travel, to one who realizes that everywhere is as awful as everywhere else and only in details different, to one who really truly wants all those he loves to stay in one place, too, where he can get at them regularly and easily, this is upsetting and very sad to have happen; it may as well all be three universes away.
The big difference naturally is the onset of old age; I am sixty-one and all this ramming around is just no longer the right thing. I am a former cosmopolitan, of course. I went to Morocco, to England and Europe twice, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada at different times when in the first part of life, and, when very small, I was bounced up and down on a New Guinea chieftain’s knee while that “fella” made jokes to my dad about having a “sa’wich”. That was pointed humor because my dad, as a trainee in the New Guinea Territorial Police at the time of my birth, had worked to end warfare cannibalism in those steaming mountains. The “black fellas” took the Australian mandatory government largesse, the seed and hoes and prefab houses, and then, when the police inspectors on horseback had ridden away with the leeches clinging to their legs and the small of their backs, went cheerfully back to mayhem and Julia Child. My dad returned to Minnesota, promising my mother who was from there, and who did not like iguanadon lizards sunning on the morning porch rails where she waited in Queensland, nor brown snakes under the house-legs, nor the cane toads in the weedy grass that “the baby might lick,” to be a respectable accountant and that is where my parents now drop out of the saga….
The choices now, to keep up this pale, watery, postmodern and altogether disgusting imitation of family life, are to drive. That is alright if you are completely morally pixelwhacked, but it puts too much money into the wrong pockets for gas and oil. Or else it is to fly, which my generation has ruined completely along with the Constitution and the great news networks of ABC, CBS and NBC. Flying, alas, also puts entirely too much money into wrong undeserving pockets….
We have underachieved all this with our weakminded taste for fads, the latest being this made-for-Tee Vee “terror war”. The results once more, like with the ruin of liberty and the networks and “proliferation” of “information,” are bad:
You get to be insulted and herded around in airports by people who are, if anything, even more dumb and gullible than you are.
And anyway, since most people today are more dumb and gullible than you are, the airplanes of postmodernity crash, burn and fall out of the sky with hairraising hellish regularity. It is because the dumbshow of “let’s pretend” at the airport is a gag. The halitosisy patdowns are all a huge “put on” as we used to say. It is just of another endless putdown, too, of America’s Most Godawful Generation. The imitation of “security” is meant to fool “the people,” fool them into feeling that the government is “really” keeping them “safe.” Or in fact that the government is even any good any more at all.
Cheapo carriers notably engaged in hauling the aged & impaired & dying American baby-boomer God-damned through the sour stinking airs to earthquake- & volcano-doomed ratholes such as Cost Rica are most implicated in the sleazy, offshore, cheesy & bad, and above all hideously dangerous, engine-maintenance gyp & swindle, while TSA morons “back home” stammer, shamble, drool and then, with saliva-strings in green and yellow swinging at their nostrils, irradiate & leer at Grandma’s snatch, and then Taser Grampa right smack dab in that old codger’s aged & dangling, and above all, useless balls, when he starts to cuss & prance & bitch about it…oh, Holy Safety !
Meanwhile, the corporations who own “our” government ship out the jets for engine-maintenance to Mexico and other “globalized” pestholes, where they get to “maximize profits.” It is because abroad the airlines don’t have to spend as much money at all on carefully tracking the FFA-required paperwork within the US, when “rebuilt” engines for example are “modularly” swapped. A frequent complaint in Thither America is that there are no maintenance instructions in Spanish and so it goes. Nothing so far has been said in “the media” about how wide-open these overseas hangers are to any wandering “terrorists.” The casual resemblance of Semites and Hispanics to each other to the untrained eye is no doubt derisory, but derisory here as a term only means “some more stupid confusion.” It does not mean that somebody who shouldn’t, and who is up to no good, probably can’t easily sneak in. So, no doubt about it, if there is anything whatsoever to the whole self-adoring “terror” hoax by the nincompoop federal career-bureaucracy, we’ll all have some “breaking news” here in Hither America one of these days.
With 3 turnbacks with engine trouble at the weekend after this posting, even ‘respectable’ carriers like Delta now appear to be using vicious and criminal, morally insane, filthy, greedy and murderous ‘Mexican’ engine servicing cheapcuts ! I thought it was supposed to be “God bless” and not “God damn America !”
It is the kind of Straussian “noble lie” — and perhaps sometimes deliberate “oversight” — needed to jack up “the people.”
That leaves taking the train, and since Grampa is a big railfan, we shall have to see…only the Hell of it is — you have to go through Chicago!
So what does this all mean?
Well, underlying all the rest of the disappointment that becomes clearer and clearer. with the loom like ice at sea of old age, is the realization that like it or not the World now is starting to go away from you. As with the man in the water in the January 1982 crash in Washington, DC:
Only the slow leavetaking of the World is not usually that focused and acute a demand for love’s sharp urgent heroism, “right now.” It is not a matter of immediate dogpaddling and passing the helicopter immediate life ring one-by-one to the immediate others until the cold and hopeless shivering pulls you down to that last immediate knife of icewater into the lungs.
There is only a slow growth of coldness in the chest to say that, now, the departures are beginning, the going away into the World of all that one has loved; the only immediate “heroism” needed is not to obviously cry about it.
It is ten-thirty and they are just now starting out.
[all rights revert holders
[15 November 2010]