Snippets

It’s my birthday in a few days. It will be celebrated on Sunday along with Mother’s Day and the spouse’s birthday, which is a few days after mine. (Don’t send any presents . . . unless it costs over $99.) Just the NBP, the spouse, and me for a simple dinner and some smiles. But the oncoming birthday had me thinking back to more than a quarter-century ago, when Jeff and I were at the tennis net. He and I were regular doubles partners, and we also played a lot of singles against each other, with him winning at least sixty percent of the time. He is considerably younger than I am, but we had never discussed our ages. For some reason I no longer remember, age came up that day, and he asked, “How old are you?” I replied, “Fifty.” He involuntarily spurted out, “Fifty!!!” Now that he has finally passed that age, we laugh about the interchange. Ah, to be a frivolous fifty again.

          I am not young, and more and more I relate to the wisdom of Woody Allen: “It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

          “No wise man ever wished to be younger.” Jonathan Swift.

          When people refuse to take the Covid-19 vaccine, perhaps they could be persuaded to inject bleach instead.

          Hannity said, “As I have told you repeatedly, you the consumer pay for increased corporate taxes.” He made no mention of another possibility: that corporations would pay lesser dividends. I don’t watch Hannity enough to know who he said paid the tariffs imposed on China and other countries by the previous president, but I doubt he told his viewers that they paid for them. And I wondered, if Hannity were right, why do corporations oppose an increase in their tax rates if they just pass it along? They should then be indifferent to a tax increase, but they don’t seem to be.

          Hector had tracked me down by getting a phone number for me off the internet. His message said that he had found my Covid vaccination card on the subway steps. Sure enough, it was not in my wallet. I had recently shown it to someone a few days earlier who was keeping vaccination records in my Pennsylvania community. It had been hard to get  out where I had put it in my wallet, so I put it back in a more accessible spot. Apparently, it was now so easy to get that it fell out when I took out my subway card. Hector and I arranged to meet at the corner of my block, and he returned it to me. Once again, I was reminded that there are many, many good people in this world, even, maybe especially, in New York City.

As avid readers of this blog know, the spouse did not know who Aaron Rodgers was. Her annual football watching generally consists of half-watching a few plays on one Sunday in hopes that a Super Bowl ad will soon appear. But she does know some players. She went to a doctor for a shoulder problem recently and hanging up in his office is a Brett Favre jersey. Showing off her knowledge, she said, “You’re a Packers fan.” He said no, he had treated Favre when he was with the New York Jets. Even so, he is going to perform on her what we hope is a routine procedure today.

“Today’s Medical Tip: Never undergo any kind of major surgery without first making an appointment.” Dave Barry.

Snippets

I attended a Quaker-style meeting about racial justice. I went believing that I need to know my prejudices to have a chance of overcoming them. The meeting was a personal success. As soon as someone started to read a poem, I realized that I am instinctively intolerant of poetry. Having confronted this inner demon, I have resolved to work on lessening my poetic prejudice. Suggestions?

“It seemed preposterous that there were still poets out there among us.” Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands.

Whoever said that slow and steady wins the race never attended a track meet.

Often after a natural calamity—hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire—a person who pretends to believe in God’s love says that the devastation has been the Lord’s judgment on the United States, usually because we have not punished some people for the “sin” of loving someone of their sex. Now there have been outbreaks of Covid-19 after people have congregated in churches. How now should we interpret God’s judgment?

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift.

          The Christian radio station gave a few brief Bible readings, although where the sacred words left off and commentary began was not always clear. It also presented short inspirational stories and exhortations. Mostly, however, it played music, and mostly that music fell into the rock category. I remembered back to when rock ‘n roll started. (Alas, I am old enough to remember when “Rocket 88,” Bill Haley, and Elvis Aron were all new.) I recalled how ministers smashed 45s saying that rock was music of the devil. This made me think about how powerful He is. In only the relatively short span of my lifetime, He had transformed a genre that would send me to eternal damnation into music that was now for the devout. Hallelujah!

“It is the test of a good religion whether you make a joke about it.” G.K. Chesterton.

I parked downtown the other day at a parking meter. I fumbled for coins but found that there was unexpired time—long enough for me to complete my errand–on the meter. It was not a huge joy, but it did make me feel a bit better. Metered parking, however, increasingly requires us to go to one of those machines and buy a slip with a time printed on it to put on the car’s dashboard. This wipes out that possibility of finding unexpired time on a meter. Those slip machines deprive us of a good feeling, minor though it is. Or does anyone, when leaving a parking place, give the slip with time remaining on it to someone pulling into a spot? If someone handed me such a slip, it would produce joy and effusions of thankfulness. Even so, I have never handed my unexpired slip to another driver.

Will a new generation know what “Rita the Meter Maid” is about?