Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Cruelest Month 

image via Boston Globe

I've heard that November is the cruelest month. This year, a span of a week in April has been beyond cruel, landing somewhere around vicious. Wars and time shook off more than a few mortal coils. When Roger Ebert succumbed, it prompted Dick Cavett to muse, "Why isn't ever Dick Cheney?" It may never be it seems, as the former vice president watched Margaret Thatcher put to ground. Then Jonathan Winters faded from light and bowed out. Still no sign of Cheney's demise. Also with no sign of Spring in sight, we buttoned our top button and slung our scarves and leaned to the wind. The wind blew back when two bombs killed three and wounded hundreds in Boston. Poison powder was sent to two US senators, a judge and the president of the United States. A fertilizer plant explosion blew a hole in the heart of Texas killing 14 and injuring over 200 people. Simultaneous car bombs blasted away 30 or more lives in Baghdad and when you weren't looking the Syrian civil war worsened. You wouldn't blame someone for waxing poetic for the time when news had to be printed on paper and delivered the next morning. You couldn't turn it off. The "feed" of information was gluttonous and spewed forth bile with fierce purpose. As though the Universe was trying to teach us all a lesson.

Pardon me for being glum. To cheer ourselves we watched cat videos. Others apparently don't need cheering; they were already oblivious. Those Americans who complained when a game show was interrupted by a Presidential speech. Yet others were too busy crafting viral memes from the misery to notice what assholes they had become. When no one will give us our bread and circuses, I guess we'll make our own.

This does not help the ailing heart, nor the spirit. You want to give up, or alternatively don a heavy pair of steel-toed boots and put said boots to any jeering, spitting, careless twit who comes between you and solace. Not that I'm complaining. I am blessed. I am privileged. I am fine. I guess. It's all just a bit withering though isn't it? I'm made weary by it. My pockets are full of stones and I'm already up to my waist in a cold fast-running river. If my knees buckle I'll go under. But there is no river to take you away. The news of the World is so in your face, you wish you could just punch back, breaking its nose in three places and send it crying home to its mother.

You can't do that either. I'm not asking for a bad news shut down, I only want to tighten the tap a little and reduce the flow. Why does it seem that bad news clusters so? When it comes, it's an open fire hydrant gushing out. Not to exaggerate the trivial, but Toronto feels like a town at the nexus of pathetic fallacy. We live under a solid grey sky amongst stunted plants and walk on frozen mud. We'll take a pass on extravagance, thank you very much. No bike-share programs for you, forget a winning team to support and the only thing our thick oaf of a mayor can offer is the dismal opportunity of making depression and addiction a worthwhile pursuit in the form of a casino. He does however make an excellent clown and that's something to applaud I suppose. At least he's trying. I for one appreciate Rob Ford's slapstick. Walking into things only to bawl that someone hit him. Well, even he can laugh at it now. At least I think he's laughing? He might just be thinking about a bucket of fried chicken.

Sorry. I did it again. Just another thing to be depressed about. To cheer me up and in an attempt to lose weight by switching from beer to grain alcohol, I tried my hand at a cocktail tonight so here's a recipe for a Manhattan:

2 Oz of Canadian Club rye whisky
1 Oz of sweet vermouth
several dashes of a bitter
stirred with ice
garnished with a cherry

It's like an hot water bottle for your soul.

Weird April Time line:
April 4, 2013: Roger Ebert dies.
April 8, 2013: Margaret Thatcher dies, triggers Tory tributes and death parties.
April 11, 2013: Jonathan Winters dies.
April 15, 2013: Boston Marathon Bombings kill 3 and injure hundreds.
April 15, 2013: 31 killed, over 200 injured in Baghdad bombings.
April 16, 2013: Ricin-laced letters mailed to US president, senators and a judge.
April 16, 2013; Rita MacNeil dies.
April 17, 2013: West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion kills 14, more than 200 injured.
April 19, 2013: MIT police officer, Boston Marathon bombing suspect shot dead, 2nd suspect arrested.
April 20, 2013: Dick Cheney still living.

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