Every Day in Every Way

“I have been reading the morning paper. I do it every morning–knowing well that I shall find in it the usual depravities and basenesses and hypocrisies and cruelties that make up civilization, and cause me to put in the rest of the day pleading for the damnation of the human race.” – Mark Twain
I’ve been bad, even for me, letting way too much time pass between posts. But I’ve been pretending to take care of my mother and aunt for a while, which does take time and energy. As part of keeping the ladies occupied with something other than their health, we have watched a lot of television. A lot.
(Which reminds me … can I deduct my outrageous music and earbuds purchases as essential mental health expenses? Just a thought.)
And, taking the bitter with the sour, we have also endured hours of egregious commercials. Drugs and insurance ads mostly. Also pitches for junk food … alternating with diet plans. Exciting stuff. Perhaps such demoralizing shit helps my elderly relatives accept the idea that they won’t be here much longer, convincing them they won’t be missing very damned much? I’m sure that’s why my otherwise sensible uncle wallowed in Jerry Springer and similar depravities before he died. And this is nothing new — at least since the penultimate ice age, we boring old farts have been shaking our heads, bemoaning the ccurrent sorry state of damn near everything, and gloomily anticipating still worse to come. But damn, what if we are right this time? You have to admit, it’s not easy to find much good news these days.
Wait, who said that? Oh dear, sounds like my own will to live is getting pretty puny too. Okay that’s it, no more television for Linda, that should help … and I sure as hell won’t miss it!
“The only very marked difference between the average civilized man and the average savage is that the one is gilded and the other is painted.” – Mark Twain

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About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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20 Responses to Every Day in Every Way

  1. sojourner says:

    Linda,

    First, I understand what it is like to be a care giver; I was an only child, so when my parents became old and ill, I was it. I do not resent this, by the way, but it was very difficult to deal with at points. So posts, as far as I am concerned, are not the most important thing right now, as you know all too well.

    On the subject of tv, I hate tv, but in the evenings, it is all I have, since I live alone. The sound of silence can drive me mad after a while. and I live in an apartment, so I can’t play music all night long.

    But what I am finding is, being on line and blogging seems to be more detrimental to my mental and emotional well being, at the moment, than watching the mindless boob tube. I know the mind control bs going on on tv, but I’m not so sure about the mind control going on on line. And I’m even referring to the so called “alt news” here. I find out almost every day that those I thought I was aligned with, on these issues, are not on the same page that I am.

    Anyway, I sense my days of blogging are nearing an end. I see no point in it anymore. No one reads the entirety of the articles I post (I can tell by how quickly the “like” button is pushed after posting an article), and I find I am just repeating, over and over again, everything I have already bitched about for the last eight years plus.

    I can empathize with being a care giver, Linda! You are appreciated!

    Sorry I went on here!

    Have a better year this year!

    • Sojourner, Raving and rambling are never a problem here! You endure mine most patiently, after all. And thank you for all your kind thoughts and compassionate comments — which could well be my main reason for blogging, provoking the wit, wisdom, kindness and snark of folks who never feel like strangers, who remind me there are a few sane souls on the planet. Relatively sane, anyway. Although, I still plugged away at it for years with no readers… except for one semi-stalker I had dated briefly decades ago … and he was all right too, as it turned out. My mother talks to herself much of the time now, even with others present, so the drive for monologues could just be a hereditary failing.
      And yes, perhaps ranting is about all we do. Maybe it’s healthier than going on tranquilizers (I’m sure that’s not the current term, but I can’t keep up despite all the big-pharma blurbs), and better than blowing up shopping malls. Maybe … though Steve Earle’s little fantasy of torching a WalMart does appeal to me at times.

      [To be continued, if you can stand the suspense — when I have the time to ramble more on television and technology. Stay tuned! – Linda]

      • sojourner says:

        Let us hope for a better year ahead, for us and the rest of humanity!

        And thanks, Linda. We need to know we’re not alone in this messed up world! Feel free to ramble here anytime you please! Always welcome!

        According to family and friends, I’ve made a career out of rambling!;-)

  2. tubularsock says:

    Well Linda you can’t go wrong with a steady dose of Firesign Theater! Tubularsock isn’t a very good caregiver and is not good at being an invalid at all so Tubularsock just doesn’t do it!

    And forget TV …… mind dead blather and not helpful for one’s health at all because the distraction makes you sicker!

    Maybe you could roll them out to the rifle range and let them shoot all day.
    Tubularsock will think on the matter and come up with a “lesson plan” to spice your task. A little pot could send all of you to a different level but people do react differently so that may not work for the positive.

    Anyway, have a great new year and see what happens next. Is it over yet?

    • Tubularsock, ‘Is it over yet?’ Too soon to tell!
      Funny you mention pot … my mom isn’t eating now, after shattering her femur recently (not a good thing at all) and I’ve thought of hash brownies and such for her, she was so tiny anyway. But then, she’s been super-bitchy on morphine, so yeah, that might not go well … especially if she’s holding a loaded weapon. Maybe I should order your estimable Emporium’s top-of-the-line full body armor?
      I too suck as both invalid and as caregiver, but I’m here anyway, sometimes acting like a grownup. Only sometimes.
      You have a good new year too, and thanks for your always-welcome comments! – Linda

  3. Kudos to you for shouldering such an important and difficult job, Linda, and for doing so with an irrepressible sense of humor despite the glaring absence of “good news.” Sending my best wishes to you and your family. 🙂

    • Carol, Thank you for your generous thought! But … it’s more a matter of not finding any good way out of what was supposed to be a ‘just temporary’ gig. I should know better.
      I also wish I knew better ways to help. I mean, I don’t feel endless reruns of Bluebloods or Perry Mason offer much quality of life. But maybe it’s just me, Mom and my aunt seem to love them.
      Thanks again for your kindness and support, and I wish you all the best for this year and every year! – Linda
      f

  4. I remember a couple quotes from the days when I worked with elders – “the dignity of risk” and “the right to folly.” So many social workers those days were eager to save elders whom they judged as making poor choices in self-care (e.g., they had too many cats) by placing them into nursing homes. There, elders were often tied in chairs or wheelchairs to watch TV. They didn’t even get to choose the program. Respecting people who are competent to make their own decisions isn’t always easy when we don’t like their choices, and it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish where the line of “competent” begins and ends. (Think of the orange one…)

    Your mother and aunt are so lucky you are their caregiver, but I’m sure it isn’t easy for you. Despite continuing cuts to government services, there may still be some in-home services available from “Area Agencies on Aging” or “Aging and Disability Centers” with minimal cost to elders – senior companions, meals-on-wheels, senior center noon lunches, transportation, etc. You may already know if there is any available support – but I wanted to mention it just in case…

    • Thanks Carol, Yes, I’m aware of available services and I’m in the process of getting more help … if they don’t all get axed in the name of free-market ruthlessness before the week is out … but thank you so much for reminding me — it’s just been very busy and intense the past few weeks with the holidays and Mom’s last fall.
      And hell yes, I try to respect their wishes, though my mom is so contrary we almost have to Br’er Rabbit her at times … “no Mom, whatever you do, don’t use that walker or grab bar!” … and that’s manipulative and disrespectful too. Yet I do hate seeing her make her life harder than it must be. Guess it’s a bit like parenting, allowing children to make mistakes in order to learn and grow. Only with elders it seems their lapses in judgment may not merely ruin their lives, but end them painfully as well.
      Like I said, I’m not good at this stuff! Wish me luck, and more patience and persistence than ever comes naturally to me!

      • I do send you wishes for luck, patience, and miracles. I send virtual hugs as well 🙂

        • Thanks – those are always welcome! Unless … the Ojibwa do those lethal, crushing bear hugs? What the heck, I’ll risk it!

          • Even if some do, I promise it’s well beyond my level of physical strength. 🙂

            • Strength aside, deadly force from you would surprise me! Of course, people do surprise me now and then … even in delightful, good ways!

              • I did once punch a guy on the airport transit bus in DC. He was oblivious to the world around him as he jauntily swung his briefcase back and forth. My grandson, sitting in his stroller, was right in his line of fire. The briefcase was going to hit him in the head if I didn’t do something quick. The trajectories ran through my brain as quick as lightening. If I yelled, the arm holding the briefcase would probably lurch forward. It would definitely hit my grandson. We were packed in like sardines. I couldn’t budge to block it, but I could swivel and move my left arm. The only way to intervene was to punch the man in the stomach, causing him to pull his arm back. Trust me, I didn’t hesitate, and I punched hard. “You punched me,” the man cried as the briefcase came to a halt just inches from my grandson’s head. “Damn straight,” I replied. “Wake up to the people around you!” He did pay attention after that. I choose peace when it’s possible, but there are times when it just isn’t an option… So now you know – hugs are a choice reserved for friends. 🙂

  5. Jeff Nguyen says:

    When I sit with my 92 year old grandfather it’s pretty much we’re eating or we’re watching tv. I don’t have tv at home so I tend to get sucked in. That being said I visit my grandfather but am not his primary caretaker. They are lucky to have you, Linda.

    Glad to see so many familiar faces out here in the blogosphere making our own alt-reality. Maybe this is where we really belong after all.

    • Jeff, It’s so good to hear from you again! So … is “alt-reality” the opposite of reality-show reality? After years of the latter, no wonder people can’t tell fake news from facts. Orwell would be so proud of us! I don’t always seem to have the strength to face every breaking outrage … is that disinformation overload? It does drain one’s energy and enthusiasm, I find. But then something or other will make me furious, and I get over it. And it is comforting to know I’m not the only dissatisfied soul out here, crying in the wilderness. I’ve just about quit worrying whether what we do will make much difference, though I do hope so. My mother seems desperate to regard her life as memorable and IMPORTANT in some way, which makes me sad, and angry. Only the lives of the rich and famous count, we’re constantly told. We have been conditioned to regard ordinary human life and human needs as contemptible, of no value save as commodities to be exploited. Which is wrong, if anything is wrong. It’s hard to see how such a heartless, unfair system can continue too much longer, but people have quite a capacity for enduring what they believe cannot be changed. Maybe that is where we can work, spreading ideas of better possibilities. My mom is now actively hoping to reach ‘heaven’ … at 89, in shaky health, no longer expecting much joy from this world. I have little faith in heaven myself, and prefer to work toward a more just and humane system right here. Maybe I’m just short-sighted? Tough shit, it’s where I am, and what I do.
      You are most kind, as ever, and I thank you for taking time for reading and comments. While I was in school, I remember looking forward to housework in a way, as an entirely different sort of grind, a respite from study and the panicky awareness that I should have started work on something a week ago. You are no doubt more conscientious and know nothing of such anxieties, I’m sure. Best luck with law school … after all, we may need a really good lawyer, at any time! Yours in solidarity, – Linda

  6. Jeff Nguyen says:

    There are many good points you’ve made but one in particular I’d like to respond to. I can relate to the feeling of info overload and outrage fatigue. I would argue that the media’s 24/7 vomiting of info is designed to elicit this reponse. It’s a variation of the tune in, turn on, drop out credo used to neutralize the anti-war movement. The bottom line is if people check out they become neuteralized politically.

    The constant grind under corporate-capitalism to make ends meet and have sone semblance of work/family/life balance also makes it difficult to engage politically as much as we’d like to. Taking care of our families is a political statement and should not be diminished as less than walking in marches or holding signs. In many ways, the things we do on a daily, consistent and conscientious basis speak far louder than any sign or slogan.

    It’s always good to discuss and dissect issues with you, Linda. Your compassion for others is evident in your writings and comments, and something that seems to be quicky sacrificed in all of the “debates” taking place in certain media outlets.

    • That is what keeps my outrage refreshed — knowing that so much of the misery and irritation we experience every day does not just happen, but has been deliberately crafted, as you say, taking our time and energy, to keep us from stirring up trouble. Confusion and consternation to our enemies! (And we know who and what they are … even those we refuse to name.) Be well, and join me in our everyday subversion! – Linda

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