The ocean seems no greener, the air smells no sweeter, and the sun may have shed a degree in places other than here, as it twirls and spins its way toward a scene shift and seasonal change, but the one constant in American lives…hey, I happen to have Terrence Mann over for cocktails today, let’s ask him. We’re out on the back balcony as the sun at its zenith continues to broil the dead butterfly laying prone in the corner. A race between the nighttime cockroaches and the death lizard awaits. Terry swirls his chilled, sweating green bottle, then swills his beer as I suck on the sweetly-tart lime that floats lonely in the iceless, nearly-vanquished V&T. I digress. Terry peers over the line of swaying palms below. I think I hear him utter, almost breathlessly: The one constant through all the years, Father Shmuck, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This backyard, this game: it's a part of our past, FS. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again…Noble thoughts, indeed. And, for a moment I buy in. Why not? We’re spinning out here, just as the first of a landslide of playoff baseball is about to bathe over us for the next two weeks. Mute out most of the whining broadcast newcomers - sycophantic back-chattering Vin Scullly clones whose voices now mar most broadcasts (not you Joe Buck) - and envision the picture of competitive ballplayers dancing their ballet to sounds laid down by Thelonious, or Miles, or Chet, wafting from the Bose Bluetooth. You get the picture.
Then…breaking news; real news this time. It’s a true reminder as our past continues to roll over us ‘like an army of steamrollers.’ And, it’s not even close to baseball, or any sport for that matter. No, sports freaks, the ‘real reminder’ is more akin to an unwanted pandemic; a feared outbreak of Ebola or pneumonic plague. You know you don’t have it, but you also know it is coming. This time it’s the massacre of random individuals at an event in Vegas no one suspected, and which gets rung up in the books as another act of home grown terrorism. Which of course, is a load of happy horseshit; ‘cause let’s face it, we’ve been expecting it – hello Orlando, Santa Barbara, Boston, [your town here]. When? That’s the only missing piece to this perpetual crazy quilt that continues to get stitched across the fabric of America. Why, because people have a built-in craziness. The quilt gets habitually stitched by any of a number of insane members of this society who happen to have a strong penchant for the possession and use of weapons. Well, as Neo allegedly spoke: “We need guns; lots of guns.” Whatever. Keep
them; confiscate them, drop them in the deepest part of the ocean and you still won’t have removed the source of the problem. As much as FS has a love-hate relationship with weaponry (he can make a distinction between the beauty and mechanical design of a Walter PPK vs its purpose), the answer is not one of ‘banning’ guns nor is it, as one smart fellow opined in a recent op-ed piece in the Times, found in repealing the Second Amendment. No. The answer lies in us. And, at the moment, there is no technology in the universe capable of rewiring the hard drive of the brain’s infrastructure. We are lovers and haters of ourselves, and hence, each other. We seem to be incapable of securing the peace and contentment that comes in establishing balance in our lives. Oh, FS, how very fucking Zen of you. Maybe so. And, frankly, this craziness runs deep and is not just limited to massacring each other. Although we chronically weep over the dozens who get mowed down intermittently, the quilt is also being stitched by anyone in need of a good anti-psych med. And, so we can be found otherwise reeling in a state of shock when we learn that one of our ‘finest’ citizens has been serially sexualizing easy prey in the film industry for, oh, going on about 40-fucking years now. Why? And, for what? A goddamned shoulder rub is what. Harvey, Harvey, Harvey. We hardly knew ye, and no truer words have been spoken.
Commence the rewiring.