Uncle Wild Hair
by Flynn Washburne, February 1, 2017
You know the feeling you get when you casually flip on a light switch—the manner in which all of us nearly always do it, nonchalantly brushing it with the back of the hand or the edge of the index finger as we walk into the room in a gesture as automatic as breathing—and the bulb, unbeknownst to us having already all but exhausted its ability to illuminate, emits one brief dying flash before going dark forever'? The feeling that the carelessness with which you addressed the switch, born of repetition and familiarity, has resulted in your currently lightless condition? And you think something like, if only I'd paused a moment to consider the gravity of my action! I was, after all, bringing light to the darkness, the very transformation that got things kicked off in the Bible! Had I only considered the massive infrastructure behind the wall plate I was accessing—the coal mines, power plants, and substations— and the scientific arcana governing the operation —the hustling about of electrons, the excitation of molecules—I might have hesitated and given the procedure the patient and careful attention it deserved, addressed the switch squarely, grasped it securely yet gently and impelled it decisively but not rashly into the on position. Surely then I'd have been able to coax some more life out of that bulb.
And you flick it back down, fast!, hoping that somehow, in defiance of all science and reason, some sort of regret-based time-travel will actuate and permit you another shot at it, now that you've realized your error and are ready to atone by properly and respectfully turning on the light, but no. You impotently manipulate the switch several times before giving up and going for a fresh bulb, vowing then and there never again to cavalierly flick a switch as if it were of no more moment than scratching your earlobe — and then instantaneously forget that vow.
That's exactly how I've felt since the election, that we were all just a little heedless and haphazard in our approach to choosing a president. We flipped the Clinton switch just as lackadaisically as you please, not paying the slightest attention to whatever else may be piggybacking on and overloading the circuit, and now the whole freakin' system's blown and we're going to have to sit in the dark for four years until there's another sale on bulbs over to the Gov-Mart. If only we had realized the import of what we were doing and the potential ramifications of erring in our process! But now that we all understand what we did wrong I'm sure the universe will briefly reverse so we can set things to rights, right? Right?
No? Aw, shit.
With the election now having had six weeks to set and settle in all our respective consciousnesses, to go from bizarre dystopian fantasy to cold, sad, fact. I still have a difficult time wrapping my mind around the concept. Donald Trump is president? Alright then. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to catch the 7:30 Poland China down to the underworld to watch the ice dancing finals, assuming a rain of frogs hasn't shut down the pigport. I'm still firmly in the ineffectually-flipping-the switch-phase. Somehow feeling responsible for this mess even though, as a prisoner, the only people who had less to do with the outcome of the election live in a place ever stonier and more lonesome than mine, the boneyard. Actually, that's probably untrue. The dead likely voted Trump and you know why I think so? Because the Donald is, for all practical purposes, seven, and when a seven-year-old commits an offense and gets caught he can either a) come clean, not likely—b) deny everything, a popular choice but generally ineffective to withstand the probing of a seasoned interrogator like Morn, or c) blame it on his brother. In prison we call it “getting off first,” or reporting to the Man to deflect suspicion from yourself. Trump having loudly and insistently claimed that the delegate from Forest Lawn cast his vote for Hillary, I am 100% certain that a large bloc of his voters are significantly dead. Maybe also the “walking dead,” zombies, “braindead,” or those in a persistent vegetative state, which makes perfect sense, and Deadheads, which doesn't, but you never know.
I don't want to be the doomsayer crying Armageddon, mainly because I don't think Trump has the wherewithal to effectuate any significant change in either direction, but it really feels like we're in the opening chapters of a paperback thriller about the end of the world. Populist demagogic plutocrat elected? Check. Cabinet packed with rapacious capitalists and vicious warmongers? Check. Bonds with enemies being forged while alliances are weakened? Check. Plans being made for the systematic dismantling of every bridge, lifeline, safety net, and landing pad established by the previous administration? Check. Lucky for us he has neither the wit nor the sanity to pull off any of his grandiosely villainous schemes.
'Ihis whole mess feels not only surreal but deeply, intrinsically wrong, not from a partisan perspective but from a human one, and contrary to our goals and mission as a nation. I know that dipshit Calvin Coolidge said, “the business of America is business,” but is it really? I seem to remember something about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness being mentioned when this whole enterprise was being conceived. Granted, the phrase is fairly vague and open to interpretation, but I don't think that the pathological acquisitiveness evinced by Trump and his ilk is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind.
I'm certain that we will weather the upcoming administration with minimal lasting damage, and in weather terms it's no ice age nor drought we're facing, only a passing squall. After four years of bungling, scandal, and aggravated Trumpery, we'll throw the rascal out, lick our collective wounds and as one clamorously and rhetorically ask: what the hell were we thinking? The topic will be much discussed and exhaustively analyzed, and eventually determined to be a case of “wild hair,” as in: America Gets A Wild Hair Up Her Ass, Elects Bozo President. No offense intended to the former TV clown, who I'm sure is no Trump, who is not the Bozo but only a bozo.
I personally am no stranger to the wild hair phenomenon, and in fact at times rely on it to give my life purpose and direction. I just sit around, wait for one to sprout and do its legendary thing, and I'm off to the races doing something I shouldn't be doing, someplace I shouldn't be, with something that isn't mine. Or something.
Those of us with the wild hair gene, and I think it must be genetic, know there's no point fighting it. Once that freakish follicle germinates and makes its mischievous way up your fundament, you may as well lay back and enjoy it, because the hair will have its way. And if you think you can acclimate yourself to its whims and make the necessary adjustments to your life to maintain some semblance of decorum, there's a little something called an ingrown wild hair that'll pretty much put any such ideas to rest. Once the wild hair gets ingrown, i.e., reverses direction and replants itself into the dermis, the characteristics it engenders exponentially dilate in an ever-increasing cycle of impetuosity and that's when you start to make really poor decisions. You know the kind of thing I'm talking about—getting married on a whim, racing for pinks, drunken night-surfing, combining various dangerously toxic substances into one super-toxic super-substance and ingesting it, bicycle bank robbery, unprotected sex with people of questionable hygiene/mental health/species, picking a fight with Sting, Christmas shopping while the mall is closed, or driving off with the postman's jeep. Standard stuff, really, and all things I have done, except I'm almost positive all my sexual partners were solidly Homo sapiens sapiens. All that and more, and worse, in a litany so lengthy and debauched it becomes tedious. But you know what I never did'? I never elected, nor was I ever complicit in electing, someone completely unsuitable to the White House, and this is why. Because there have to be limits to all this fucking around, and make no mistake, that's exactly what this is. I can see, and could definitely get behind, some political whimsy like electing a dog for mayor or something, but this is the presidency. This is for keeps, this is for real, and this is tomorrow's history. This is not a place for caprice or whimsy or irresponsible experimentation. And it is especially not an arena in which the lowest common denominator should be allowed to predominate, and by the LCD I'm not referring to a specific group of people but a group of low, base ideas and concepts which have carried the day: ignorance, lies, intolerance, bullying, and hate.
I would not be an accessory to this sort of crime because, critical though I am of our nation and government and many of the choices we've made over the years, I believe in the fundamental principles on which the country was founded. I remain optimistic about the future and I believe that, regardless of how bad things get, we will take care of one another as needed — as Americans, as Californians, as Mendocinoans (or wherever you call home), as family, as individuals, and we will thrive. I would like to point out one glaring example of the current tone of governmental policy, and you can ask yourself: is this okay?
There is a large group of people on the other side of the world who are suffering extreme and horrific violence, privation and depredation at the hands of unchecked revolutionary bands. These people are being blown up, beheaded, starved, savaged, ravaged, and otherwise treated in unspeakably inhumane ways. In order to escape this treatment, they are casting themselves out on the ocean aboard planks and beverage coolers. They are venturing off barefoot into extremely inhospitable climes and conditions, into nearly certain death from exposure and hunger, for the remote possibility of escaping the horrors awaiting them at home.
It is entirely within the power and ability of the United States to alleviate the suffering of these people, but the reason Donald Trump doesn't want to is that their invisible man in the sky has a different name than his.
I don't know what more I can say. Maybe get your butt waxed, America, try to curtail wild hair production. That, or just try and think things through.