Well, sorta. I’m not Harry Kemelman and this isn’t Barnard’s Crossing. And it’s not 1964, though on some levels it feels like it. I mean: there are a zillion right wing nutjobs trying to repeal the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and deport 15 million people, and somehow those terrible ideas aren’t even being greeted with even the vituperation Barry Goldwater got when he suggested carpet bombing Vietnam back into the stone age (as if that were possible without killing everyone on Earth). On the vituperate scale, Barry G got a 6. The current mischagas gets about a 4. Or less. What I’m talking about is a country gone insane. Just like 1964.
I know. It’s hot. Very hot. When it’s August, all of the psychiatrists go to Martha’s Vineyard for the month, leaving behind voicemails that tell their distraught clientele to go to the emergency room if they need to. If I were having cocktails right now in Chilmark, and I hasten to say that I’m not, I’d probably think that such a message was a good idea too. But it’s not. It doesn’t take into consideration the overwhelming, gigantic epidemic of mental disease and delusion now festering in America in the form of amnesiac tea baggers, Glenn Beck devotees, birthers, racists, kooks of all stripes, dittoheads and a Republican Congress that for all its orange skin and blow dried hair should have its own chapter in the DSM IV. Yes, I know. These loons don’t have shrinks who are on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Correct. The people whose shrinks are in Martha’s Vineyard, people like me, living in New York and Boston, are in far worse condition: they’re sweltering in an apartment that cannot make it cooler than 80 degrees, the air is awful, and the only thing on the tube is the constant, annoying blathering of people so deranged that they throw even those like me, those with minor, urban, post information age neuroses into serious crisis. You could take me for an example.
Let’s look at one thing, ok? I heard today that the oil from the BP spill is all but disappeared and that soon Louisiana fisherman are going to start fishing and shrimping again. Because, allegedly, that’s now safe and we all believe the Government and the pants-on-fire team at BP about that. It’s safe? I’ll believe it when I see BP’s executives eating oysters off the halfshell. Till then, I’m sorry, I can’t accept that. Oil and all that Corexit, all gone now? Nonsense. In fact, these stories enrage me. They are, to me, like tickling dynamite with a blowtorch. If I had a shrink, I’d be speed dialing already. “Help me,” I’d whimper, grasping the Blackberry in icy, flinching hands, “The most violent, greedy, despicable inmates have taken over the asylum. And I need your help to deal with it.”
I know Obama and the Democrats were supposed to be able to play 11-dimensional chess when they took over. Right now, I’m wondering whether they can even play checkers. It’s too hot to be charitable, and the neighbors, that is, the other occupants of this country, are becoming louder and more deranged every day. The summer heat is making the country even more insane.
Maybe what I need is a cocktail and a new outgoing message.