“chicks, cars and bikes”
Survived another Halloween. Christ when will this fiasco end?
Besides the candy and the chance to see the occasional walking penis (seriously, dude) or other creatively put-together costumes (a Fed Ex box! a goldfish bowl with a cat on top! a McDonald’s chocolate shake!), I’ve never had any use for October 31.
I’ve also never had much use for politics and sports, which – more than trick or treating – have taken up the consciousness of most of America this year, for reasons that escape me at the moment.
But isn’t that why I’m considered an ignorant, goosestepping Bush supporter?
Maybe it’s true that conservative Republicans like me prefer to be left alone to live her life in peace, a life already polluted with taxes, bills, traffic, homeless hand-outs, telemarketers and ER reruns. And maybe it’s true that I’ve already heard the idealistic speeches about doing the White House differently this time – about three decades worth – only to witness another Nixon.
After those three decades, as I’m about to turn 40 on November 22, I’ve realized some truths, whether they paint me favorably or not in the public eye.
1) I don’t care about politics. Yours or mine.
2) I really, really hate sports, unless I’m in the middle of them as a power forward.
In this a presidential election year and the year the Yankees’ winning machine lost out to the end of the Boston Red Sox curse, when the rest of the country is going stark-raving obsessed every step of the way, it’s become quite a struggle to keep out of the fray. Especially since I’ve taken myself out of the fray since my father passed away in December of 1982, a few days shy of his birthday. More or less.
Father used to rule the roost, which included what we watched on TV day in and night out. And on TV, it was Clint Eastwood, Archie Bunker, vaudeville and sports of every kind, hockey, baseball, football, golf, basketball, boxing, you name it, I knew all about it, way too much. He also taught me early to ridicule any politician, because they were all crooked or soon would be by the corporations and the military who really ran the United States behind the scenes.
Mid-way through my childhood, I got sick and tired and bored to death by sports and politics especially, right around the time I discovered boys, love stories and this tingly feeling I’d get just fantasizing about Donny Osmond or Eric Faulkner opening the door to their bedroom out in the wilderness of some Irish countryside. Priorities, my friends and neighbors, priorities.
Nobody said politics or sports could give me a whopper of an orgasm.
(Although I HAVE heard of some men displacing their sexual frustrations on a stray quarterback or center.)
You’d never know it from the way everybody else is acting.
In the political realm, friends have been turning on friends simply because of a disagreement on the presidential candidates. I’ve seen it happen on the boards, where long-time posters seriously have started considering leaving because they felt unwelcome by a certain liberal Gestapo attitude; conversely, said liberal Gestapo are incredulous that posters they’ve known since forever are unwilling to back up their opinions with facts or even bother trying. It was bad after 9/11, what with the patriots going up against the Muslim sympathizers, but nothing compared to the board wars of a few weeks ago... and counting.
I’ve even heard of drive-bys where political signs for Bush/Cheney, posted in front yards, were either removed entirely or shot out. In the Edmonds/Lynnwood, WA area where I live, the yards are a sea of mostly Kerry/Edwards (which, in light of the reported crimes, makes a lot of sense now).
Offline, I found myself in a sticky situation, sitting on the sidewalk three houses down from my block, all eyes focused on me, waiting for an answer: Bush or Kerry? And if Bush, why not Kerry? I simply repeated to my neighbors an old adage of my father’s: Never disclose who you’re voting for, it’s nobody’s business and outré to talk about along with how much you’ve paid for your house and how much you earn. Christina, a mother of two, then chortled: “Oh, for sure you’re voting for Bush! How could you?” The question was posed in a joking manner. Of course. But I felt the sting.
Annie, another Kerry supporter, whose husband uses a manual lawn mower to protect the environment (eyeroll), chimed in, “We have to school you fast!” Then, the kids in the neighborhood, who’d just learned in school early how to vote for liberal candidates (without reading up on their policies), joined in the cause, Operation Convert Carol Back Into A Liberal.
I say “Back” because I used to be one of those bleeding liberal activist types from high school through college. I hated Reagan with the venom of a thousand rattlers, because, at the time, I found him to be a pompous, bloodthirsty, ignorant Republican war-monger, in love with guns, bombs, and the nuclear ability to wipe out all of Russia. He, all too often, simplified the world in black and white, us versus them, with the U.S.S.R. taking full blame. I still want to throw up whenever the conservative media throws out Reagan and hero together in the same sentence, even though he’s now six feet under.
Bill Clinton, receiving the dubious honor of nearly getting roughed up by the Secret Service during one of Clinton’s public appearances (when I was just trying to break through a crowd to go home), and meeting my future husband, Eddie, a card-carrying, unapologetic Republican cured me of my liberalism just in time to see me leave the hard and fast print journalism career and delve into trade magazines and later, online entertainment commentary.
Eddie and I aren’t the kind of Republicans to beat you over the head with what we believe—or else. We won’t even speak up in a group full of Democrats, railing against the conservative agenda. But if asked, we might, and leave it at that. We choose to express our opinions, then return to a better topic, one we’re more interested in – like, when Michael MacDonald’s coming to town – than belabor points that nobody in this universe has been able to settle for centuries upon centuries.
I personally refuse to engage in heated debate with anybody I remotely respect and like over something as – to me – stupid, futile and ultimately far removed from my daily life as politics. In the late 1990s, I lost two dear friends because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, went too far and insulted THEIR political beliefs, in order to feel right about my own. I still miss Lynn, but luckily, Lois took me back after I apologized profusely.
A not-so-small reason why I won’t engage in complete annihilation is that the core foundation of my beliefs, political and otherwise, is to let people be, otherwise known as mutual respect (unless the other person is a complete waste of space, in which case, why am I even talking to him?). It’s why I won’t make someone feel horrible for aborting, openly worshipping, or any 10,000 number of issues of controversy. These are personal decisions, and when acted upon responsibly, remain their personal decisions. I place no judgment, I am not God Almighty, I have no say.
In my world, there’s always color, reasons beyond my understanding or explanation, extenuating circumstances propelling such heavy decisions. To reduce the complex and the often painfully personal into the simplistic YOU’RE EITHER FOR KERRY OR FOR BUSH, for example, is the height of immaturity.
Nowhere else but in sports will you find levels of immaturity rivaling a high school football rally. And nowhere else but in professional baseball will you find the acrimony, the riots, the absolute mindless testosterone-laden loyalties for embattled teams.
Here in Seattle, it’s all about the Mariners and hating the Yankees. To be fair, the Mariners have nobody to blame but themselves for flaking out at the 8th inning. This is a choke team, made up of decent players but not good enough to beat the Yankees, and now the Boston Red Sox. I say all this with absolutely no working knowledge of baseball, post-1982.
It’s just equal parts what I see when I’m quickly changing the channel to avoid the sports report, what I hear amongst guests at a party when they’ve nothing better to talk about after the weather, and burn-out from over two decades of nothing but baseball.
My dad coached Little League every year we lived in Ft. Dix, N.J., every year as the Yankees, and every year with a title win. I tried out for third base, but preferred the camaraderie of other little girls my age in softball. That’s where I alternated from left fielder, pitcher and catcher, but turned in one of the worst batting averages in my league (once, I popped a fly to 2nd base, stood there in awe that my bat actually connected with the ball, and ran only a few steps when I came to, only to be tagged out).
Playing was never a problem. I loved striking batters out, catching high hard ones over the infielders’ heads, and the looks on the boys’ faces when I proved I could catch a slider, a fast ball, and a sinker from the best southpaws in their league, then throw my own line-drive right back without batting an eye.
Ditto for the other sports I participated in. Stealing the basketball for a lay-up, out-serving the competition, holding onto the football in a field full of outstretched arms... In 9th grade P.E. class at Aiea High School, I’d been ignored by my classmates as an invisible geeky loser until we got to the basketball portion of learning. Instinctively, through years of training back in Ft. Dix, I simply picked up the ball and went about my business, only half noticing all the guys had stopped to watch me, staring with their jaws on the floor at how much I resembled Dr. J. Um hmmm.
With sports, been there, done that, would rather make love or at the very least, capture 15 minutes of attention from my baseball-philandering husband to talk about how our romantic relationship has gone to pot, or the fact that our two-year-old son James just went potty in his diapers while hiding in the stairs again, it smells like a morgue and wouldn’t he like to do the honors this time since I’ve been doing it 98 percent of the other times?
I’ve been through years and decades of watching my dad glued to the TV screen or the radio, oblivious to everything else. A bomb could go off in the backyard. The Japanese could’ve decided to attack Pearl Harbor again. Jesus Christ could descend from heaven calling for the Rapture.
And still, my dad ... in my most recent example, my husband Eddie... would still be sitting in his lounge chair, leaning forward, waiting for a hit or a strike in the interminable hours between innings.
God help a tie.
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