Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happiness Rationing

I felt like a jerk and twerp yesterday morning during mid-rant at the cable tv company.  They failed to complete a promised, somewhat involved, piece of work for us, and also to keep us apprised regarding the job’s status. The only way, it seemed, to advance the matter was to abuse successively higher levels of the organization.  But given that it was Good Friday morning, it seemed, felt and was wrong.

     Supplementing that feeling was knowing that a friend had been grievously injured two days before in a pedestrian knock-down automobile accident on the West Coast.   He’s surviving (apparently by miracle), but isn’t out of the woods yet.  The driver was per se legally and in plain fact totally at fault, but at this point that’s simply information to keep to hand until there’s time to consider secondary and subsequent actions, factors and consequences.   

Then, while still in momentarily soft-spoken, but quite mean tirade mode (you need to vary the rhythm, I’ve found), I learned that a friend’s step-father had been taken seriously ill, worsening what seems to be a fading situation for him, his wife and his children, whom I’ve known since childhood, and who are variously and complexly affected because we’re none of us children any more, except in a branch-on-the-family tree sense.

     So, I and my cable TV problems both suddenly seemed Small.  

    Earlier this morning, just after 6 am, Caroline asked me to drive out to find a patent medicine for her.  She was up all night (I sort of knew this when I reached over for her during a peculiar dream last night featuring an English cottage, a musician named Jim Rodford, and tea drinking) with food poisoning (something we both used to laugh about when others alleged its occurrence, but have now both experienced twice recently after eating at the same establishment, which recently made some kitchen staff changes), and she was desperate for a remedy.


Leaving our driveway, I was at first annoyed to find that Jane had changed most of my satellite radio pre-sets to her preferred stations.   However, she left the World News Radio channel alone and during the journey I listened to Radio Romania.  Two speakers, a man and a woman with light, charming accents and perfect modulation and diction, were speaking  about Romania’s Olympic 2012 activities (I had no idea Romanians  played polo; there’s a lot I don’t know about Romania) and Chevron’s plans to explore and exploit the country's natural gas reserves.   

As in the US, there are competing views concerning energy planning and strategy and the subject of hydraulic fracturing technology (aka “fracking”) came up.  I was surprised to hear the Romanian announcer state definitively and dryly, with no change at all in intonation or (what might seem appropriate) alarm, that fracking directly and conclusively leads to polluted groundwater and earthquakes.  I know this is an oft-cited fracking concern, but I’m used to hearing the charge raised conditionally and conjecturally and then hearing the counter-view stated, and I must say that I am unaware of any historical Romanian earthquake activity.  

     Fracking is, of course, discussed all the time on US tv (Canadian television too, I expect, in view of the large-scaled shale fracking activities in Alberta), and I thought either that the Romanians were very, very calm people or they were “on something,” which caused their unvarying perfectly formed speech and eerily calm tone in the face of their country’s just-announced impending poisoning and seismic doom.  Listening to the two announcers was exactly like hearing a science-fiction drama on the Radio Classics network where early 1950s somnambulist characters regularly recite nightmare scenarios, pausing occasionally to read cigarette ads and Geritol commercials.

But I really knew the wheels had come off the buses, trucks and trains, and that the various chassis were sliding toward oblivion yesterday morning when I heard a long panel discussion on the Morning Joe television show (repository of Lord Haw-Haw-ish evil and home to 1 %-er cheese-eating entitlement monkeys ) led by the fraud, huckster and obvious refugee from the remarkable, forward-looking “V” television mini-series (original version), Deepak Chopra, on the subject of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s  “tight sphincter,” a condition  Chopra (apparently a medical doctor skilled in the arts of remote patient examination and, for all I know, phrenology and palmistry) stated was the root of all Romney’s obvious personal discomfort and unforgiveable (Chopra can say this; as we all know, liberal hate speech is a protected class of discourse) nastiness.  

    The only redeeming moment of the show was that Deepak did not draw a speculative sphincter comparison/conclusion involving  our incumbent president or directly discuss his own sphincter's condition and posture.  Perhaps Deepak The Unspeakable And Illiterate  knows that comparisons are invidious.   The MJ panel – the usual gang of senior media useless idiots -- sat in rapt silence, by the way, during this unbelievable disquisition, although Donny “Sasquatch” Deutsch did engage in uncomfortable and nauseating rear-end pantomime movements.  If you missed this, thank your lucky karma.

Happiness seems to be rationed asset.  They say you can make your own happiness and I’d like to think that’s true.  It’s been a brutally challenging period involving,  among other things, what they used to refer to (it seems like a joke now) as the “job market.”   I’ve been searching everywhere for that bright line of happiness, but all I see now are white paint markings drawn all over my property  by the cable company trying to avoid other utility mains as they restore expensive service, which they never stop charging for. 


  Ride Through. 

  Up Periscope.

NOTE:  I would just like to add that I am now aware of the terrible devastating earthquake that struck Vrancea, Romania in 1977 and also found this fascinating little blog detailing recent minor seismic activity in Romania (link).  Which still doesn’t explain the android-esque calm of the Romanian newsreaders, but perhaps they’re simply great professionals.  It was a terrific broadcast.


  1. A beautiful evocation of a difficult 24 hours. Sedated Romanians hold forth on fracking -- it's so bewildering. However, please don't feel obliged to listen to Deepak Chopra. While a moment of witnessing will be lost, it's OK. Think of how well you've done without him.

  2. I sometimes feel unentitled to feeling unhappy when comparing my circumstances to, let's say, a victim of acid violence in Pakistan. Of course, the example need not be that extreme. Someone often reminds me, though, that my own unhappiness is genuine and important. Up periscope. It's out there somewhere. I probably haven't mentioned that Barry is an enthusiast of all things submarine. Also, I can only watch Morning Idiot muted. Nell

  3. Thank you. Deepak's a real piece of work. A friend of mine from law school, who later became a rather talented director and producer of commercials and other filmed material recently worked with him for an extended period and reported back, with disappointment (because my friend is pretty New Age-sympathetic) that Deepak is the usual, to-be-expected embodiment of the sharp end of the stick. His political writing, if you can call it writing, as opposed to ranting, is simply cruel, crude and witless. The MJ eschatological remarks were simply beyond the pale. We're all feeling a little dazed and confused this weekend. Caroline's lying in a bed of pain on this beautiful day. But tomorrow will bring Easter eggs and all sorts of good things, I trust. Curtis