2021 RANT

So, another incredibly fucked up year in the books, I mean come on seriously this isn’t even fucking amusing anymore… I just knew I was tempting fate publishing a week early last year… “oh what’s the worst that could happen…” I asked myself… fuck me dead 2021. Usually I sit down, listen to some good music and crank out a rather nostalgic look back interspersed with some classic rant material… this year I’m cranking the blues and drinking whiskey out of the bottle. 

I mean seriously where to even start; I’m not doing the Covid thing again or that shit will never go away… and it’s already cost me three needles this year and I fucking hate needles. By the way, thanks for the heads up, nobody told me I needed a fresh mask once in a while – so this one looks like a fucking picture menu… I’m not having the vax / no vax argument either – do what you want – I personally know people that have died on both sides. 

Look I wouldn’t say there haven’t been any bright spots this year… simply wouldn’t be true. I’ve got four wonderful grandkids that have inspired a year-long comic strip – Drive By Grandpa… Finished up the latest Jessie novel, even with this pandemic mess slowing me down; and I’m pretty pleased with this one. Our Seattle boys have made a couple trips this year – including an epic surprise Mother’s day and another at Thanksgiving. Chris and Tara bought a beautiful new house – plenty of room and they love the neighborhood – bonus they are still close to PaPa and GiGi. On the West coast Kyle opened his own massage therapy practice and is doing great… Kiersta landed a new job working with homebound kids making sure they get all their educational needs met… incredible work and such a huge impact on these children and perfect for her. Cory continues to build amazing stuff including a new back porch swing for dad. I have to smile though – the original rants were a sarcastic and acerbic response to those sappy letters people tend to send at the holidays bragging about their kids and all the wonderful things they managed to pack into the year… Mine were quite the opposite, but I find myself bragging on progeny pretty regularly these days; and my grandkids well now let me tell you… 

Tammy and I are renovating the house… I think this was partly driven by being locked in here for the last two years… we just needed a change of scenery. No surprise it’s taking about three times as long as it should and four times as expensive… let’s go Brandon! (you don’t know, that might be my contractor…)  – what’s finished so far is great and the kitchen will be incredible when it’s done, let you know next year how it turns out. Been a challenge though, there’s no explaining the materials we can’t seem to get ahold of, tile, paint, doors! Probably the largest renovation we’ve done since actually building our first house thirty years and eighteen houses ago – what, we moved a lot! 

There was a little positive interlude for you, now where was I? Oh, have you noticed how rude the general public has become? I am not getting on an airplane again until TSA starts letting me carry a taser… you get up in my face or God forbid think you’re sitting in the seat next to me… yep I’m gonna tase you bro… I remember the days when all you had to worry about was the occasional drunk traveler or someone too friendly with their Twizzlers, but now… it’s like people are taking a dose of “idiot” before boarding a plane… It seems to be everywhere though, are we all just exhausted, out of patience, or have we been inside and isolated so long nobody remembers how to act? I don’t get it even the three-year-old next door flipped me off yesterday… something has to give. Of course, there is the inverse as well, some really lonely people that just want to talk to you no matter what… need to back their omicron shit up though… this is my six-foot circle, and I’m thinking about extending it!

There are some things that just have me shaking my head this year though. For instance, have you been to a car dealership lately… um they don’t have any cars – lots are empty it’s just odd. Or this cream cheese shortage… where the fuck is all the cream cheese… plenty of bagels – no cream cheese. Dropped by the store for some Fritos today… can’t have Frito pie without Fritos… not one single bag – bare shelves! Now you can live without Fritos but more than once I’ve had the pharmacy tell me prescription meds are on backorder… if that doesn’t terrify you… well you’re probably too healthy. Even if this is the temporary “new normal” it’s just not cool. I would include politics in this mess, but I can’t even this year – what a depraved, inept, self-absorbed bunch of people; and if you serve on a school board just go ahead and resign cause it doesn’t matter what you say all of the parents are coming for you. It’s all just perplexing, or vexing, or I don’t know exasperating maybe – I can keep rhyming if you want.   

I have to admit as we exited 2020 I didn’t expect to be reliving those challenges for another year and I am hoping against hope that we are not entering another twelve months like the last ones… It’s not just Covid, I think if we look at it objectively we understand that the statistics aren’t the issue, the vaccination isn’t the issue, the politics aren’t the issue, the distinct impact on humanity is where the real pain is… we fight and argue about what we think is important – all sides of the “issues” if you will, but what do we gain in the end? We’ve been given a license to abuse each other; wielding this virus like some club we should bludgeon each other to death with. Doesn’t it feel like some cosmic psychology experiment gone wrong? A worldwide “Lord of the Flies” moment… and don’t for a moment think I don’t understand the liberty vs public health arguments from both sides, I think most of us can see both points of view. It’s the acrimony of the discourse that’s the real disease in my mind and there is no vaccine for that. 

As is usually the case with these rants I don’t have answers for you and maybe your experience is different; I hope so. For me I work to make quality efforts to fill my space up with some light, some positive: family, friendship, art, food, music, experiences that give me a little something to hold on to… I encourage you to do the same… maybe it won’t solve the big problems, but I am convinced life gets just that much brighter every time we invest in those things that elicit a true and honest emotion or experience. I was thinking about my mother the other night, reflecting on things if you will… we talked for a while, she may have left this physical plane long ago; but that didn’t end our conversations: 

I spoke to my mother tonight… 
we reminisced on things that never happened… 
grandchildren never held 
wisdom never imparted… 
smiles never shared
 I spoke to my mother…
 of lessons I finally understand
 pain I never knew…
 apologies I meant to say
 I spoke to my mother…
 she filled me with light
 held me tight
 and sent me back into the sleepless night…

Friends find whatever “mother” means to you; God, a friend, husband or wife, sister or brother, or maybe just your mom… it doesn’t really matter, but have a conversation – say the hard things, the meaningful things, the things that matter and maybe we can all go into that sleepless night with a brighter light…

Joe

Poems…

Storms…

It’s one in the morning
And your heart’s storming

Rain in steady streams
Haunts your dreams

The lightning races 
The thunder chases 

Embracing silent fears
tasting salty tears

Morning’s distant glow
Marches too slow

It’s one in the morning
And your heart’s storming



Prairie Winds…

Prairie winds blow
Rain, sun, and snow

Endless milky way
Shooting stars play

The seconds crawl
I’m lost in awe

No future no past
Let this last

The clock winds
All left behind

Prairie winds blow
Rain, sun, and snow




PaPa Stories…

When I’ve grown old
What stories will be told

Will little ones sit to listen
With bright eyes that glisten

Long ago and far away
Seems just the other day

Was it a life well lived 
Now only stories to give

An old man’s wisdom
Last gift to give them

When I’ve grown old
What stories will be told

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 44

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 43

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 42

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 40

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 39

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 41

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 38

Drive by Grandpa – Episode 37