Nope. Not the lottery, alas. Although I really should have won that $1.6 billion MegaMillions. Or even the $750 million Powerball. I had plans for that money. What will I do when the bills for the things I bought expecting to be dripping in riches come in?
Still, I will be able to pay a few of them. Because I am about to collect a reward.
It isn’t hard to figure out — where do you think you can find something orange, inflated, and full of shit? It’s at the White House, of course. 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.
Photo credit: USA Today.
That money is MINE!
You didn’t think I would let you go without reminding you to get your tuckuss to the polls on or before November 6 (depending on your state’s laws, natch). Election 2018 is vital. We need a check on the occupant of the White House, now more than ever. It’s not going to come from the Supreme Court. It can only come from the House of Representatives.
So vote like your life, your healthcare, and the honor of your country depends on it.
We all have them. All five of us were born with Mom and Dad’s Irish blue eyes. They light up with laughter and mischief. Especially when we were all together. The last time all seven of us were together, the jokes ricocheted around the room as if shot from an AK-47.
Eva Cassidy. Bob gave her to me.
It’s one of my first memories.
We headed up Wells Street. Bob, my eldest brother who is seven years older than me, was riding me on the bar of his bike. I was about 3, and I sat happily on the bike, watching the baseball cards that were clothes-pinned to the spokes of the front wheel click.
“Lease,” Bob said, “Make sure to keep your feet out of the spokes!” He didn’t tell me why. Maybe he should have.
We turned onto Charles Street, next to St. Pat’s School. Our brother Fred was standing there on the corner.
“It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” Fred has said 3,428 times in the intervening years.
It had never occurred to me before Bob mentioned it, but I was suddenly curious as to what would happen if I DID put one of my feet into the spokes. So I just put one little piece of my sneaker in.
“You guys came around the corner, and all of a sudden, the bike just STOPPED! In slow motion, Bob flew over you and the handlebars, and then you, Lease, flew over too, and landed on top of Bob. The bike followed, and there was a big pile on the corner,” Fred has said, often. “I laughed and laughed.”
The lesson I took from that experience was that if somebody tells you not to do something, think about why they are saying that. They might just be right. It’s possibly one of the more important life lessons I’ve ever learned.
Of course, he taught me many other things. Big brothers do that.
Another lesson is that slapstick is hilarious. Unless you’re the one slapped.
As I write this, my big brother Bob lies in hospice in Florida, dying. His illness and deterioration happened incredibly quickly, and I can’t get there for a few more days for medical reasons. Fred is trying to get there to be with him. Bob is unresponsive, incoherent. Mentally gone.
As Bob is unmarried and has no kids, the decisions for his care have fallen to me, as I was named his medical proxy, and I’ve shared that responsibility with Fred, just as the three of us shared the burden (along with Beth’s sons) when our sister Beth was in Charon’s boat.
Writing comforts me, and you are all my friends, who have read the stories of my childhood, my family. Bob hasn’t appeared in many of my stories, as he was much older. He doesn’t fit into the narrative too often. Moreover, as an adult he has been a difficult guy. Reculsive, introverted, angry. His has been a difficult life.
But he was also a sensitive man, with a big heart that he kept well hidden. A writer’s eye for detail, and a love of eclectic movies. Like the brilliant comedy, What We Did On Our Vacation
Appreciate the folks you have who love you, and whom you love, no matter the differences. No matter how big a pain in the butt they are. Because you just never know.
In spite of the fact that I have been AWOL for quite some time, I will not let my countrymen and countrywomen down. I am aware of my patriotic duty.
And I will fulfill it. Or fill the pot with it.
The Washington Post today ran an article about the Trumps’ request to borrow a painting from the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The painting they requested is a Van Gogh. I can say, that I wouldn’t mind having private access to a Van Gogh, myself. Especially if I had already been exposed has trying to pass off a fake Renoir as a real one.
Anyway, here’s the painting they requested for the White House residence:
Instead, they offered an alternative:
The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.
For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited “America” — the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan — in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.
But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.
The artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” wrote Spector, who has been critical of Trump. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
My friend Mark, at Exile on Pain Street, wrote about his personal experience with this, ahh, exhibit, a while back. But I couldn’t find the link.
No word on whether the Donald will accept the loan.
Every day of my life, I thank my lucky stars when I get up, go into my clean bathroom, and take care of business.
Some days of my life, I’m less thankful when I am somewhere where the only “facilities” have no running water. No handle to push. No way to wash my hands.
Of course, with my potty problems, I guess I’m more in tune to toilet issues than most people.
Why am I telling you this? You see, Sunday, November 19, is World Toilet Day. And of course, I’m (1) telling you about it; and (2) celebrating it.
A toilet stands outside the Llamocca family home at Villa Lourdes in Villa Maria del Triunfo on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
The point of World Toilet Day is actually pretty important. People without access to hygienic facilities risk illness, many women are preyed upon and attacked as they seek out a place to go. Diseases are transmitted, including infections, cholera, well, here’s a picture.
The “F-diagram” (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing. Source Wikipedia
Hope you’re not eating.
World Toilet Day is to help the fortunate ones of us around the world realize that:
2.4 billion people around the world don’t have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations
We in the West are rather spoiled. And the reality of what some folks, many folks must deal with can be eye-opening.
About 25 years ago, my brother Fred got a grant and went to Africa to study something or other. It was his first experience visiting the Third World. When he came back, he talked only about poop.
It seemed that the city he had visited ran with raw sewage. Poop was in the gutters. Children played in those gutters. The sewage ran into the river that was used to irrigate crops.
Piles of poop were everywhere. In the street. Under trees. In the corners of buildings; everywhere, he said. Even inside. Fred described a memorable elevator in the middle of a hotel lobby, that he had seen. The decorative ironwork around the elevator shaft was delicate and beautiful. But the elevator didn’t run — in fact, the elevator itself had been removed. But people would stand with their backs to the elevator shaft, pull down their pants/up their skirts, hang their butts over the open elevator shaft. And they’d poop.
“I realized something incredibly important, “ said my horrified brother:
“Civilization all comes down to what you do with your poo.”
So when you’re thinking about the craziness in today’s world, maybe we all need to realize that part of our problem is that so very many people just don’t have a pot to piss in.
Yup, it’s a rerun. But you didn’t really think I’d miss World Toilet Day, did you?