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Digressions from Democracy

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DIGRESSIONS FROM DEMOCRACY

In the Pink

My mother used to use the phrase “in the pink.” I like it. It conjures up chubby chortling pink babies with kicky legs. It’s a happy, healthy phrase that’s defined as “being in robust good health and spirits; physically and emotionally well.”

The phrase actually isn’t cute at all. It comes from the cruel tradition of English foxhunting. The hunters wear scarlet jackets, the color of fox’s blood, and they are called pinks. So being in the pink means that you are about to gallop across your estate and kill hapless creatures. (Though banned, the “sport” continues in England.)

Not surprisingly, given the coarseness of our society, “in the pink” has also come to mean something sexual and demeaning to women. But I’ll leave those references to the boys in the middle school locker room.

Speaking of President Tweet, I am beginning to suspect that he is not ‘in the pink.” Obviously he is a heart attack waiting to happen, despite his golfing (which I wish liberals would quit complaining about — democracy is safer when he is distracted). But I’m talking about his mental health. The golfing therapy doesn’t seem to lessen the man-child’s obsessive paranoia and vindictive, impulsive furies one bit.

Orange Lava

By overeating, drinking wine, and doing crossword puzzles, I have managed to stay in denial about the imminent threat of nuclear war with North Korea and the even larger threat of climate protection programs being dismantled.

Sometimes I go to a march and wave a sign. That helps. I think I might survive until the impeachment.

But then every once in a while, the man-child’s whacko behavior erupts in such a way that his toxic orange lava from hell spews into my consciousness and scares the bejesus outta of me, as my father used to say.

Most recently, his petulant fury led him to fire FBI Director Comey for refusing to confirm Tweet’s paranoid wiretapping fantasies and for trying to protect the country from a foreign government’s interference. Pizza and a crossword won’t make that go away.

Beyond the Pale

Tweet’s personality disorder(s) have now taken our nation entirely “beyond the pale” — another phrase coined by the British and meaning “unacceptable; outside agreed standards of decency.”

The phrase “beyond the pale” comes from the common disease of de-humanizing other people and erecting fences to keep them away. (Fortunately, we in America are over that.) A pale is a fence post, and Catherine the Great built a pale fence in Russia to keep the Jews away from “decent” Russian people, and pales were used to drive away undesirables in Ireland and France as well. The phrase first showed up in a British poem in 1657 where young lovers wandered beyond the fence and were murdered. No doubt by “illegal aliens.”

But I digress. Actually I don’t digress. I’m not at all sure what this post is about.

Watergate Memories

I think it might be about the fact that our democracy is in grave danger. My ADD mind is just flitting about, lighting on fun phrases and researching etymology, trying desperately to escape the obvious: either the president goes or our democracy goes.

I remember this gut-churning feeling from Watergate days, and coming to the realization that it’s either him or us. I am not being hyperbolic.

Incidentally, isn’t hyperbole a great word? It comes from the 15th century and means “obvious exaggeration in rhetoric” — which brings me back to the White House.

Didn’t you love the part where Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in the bushes the night Director Comey was fired, refusing to talk to reporters until they turned off their lights and cameras? His talking points only worked for FOX News, and he had already given them their marching orders.

I also liked the FOX headline, “Comey Resigns.” Alternative facts.

And boy is it good to see Kelly Anne Conway back in the mix! Saturday Night Live has missed her. Although my God I wish she would get something to eat. She’s seriously not in the pink.

Nobody over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is in the pink. And so, neither are any of us.

#Resist

Today’s word prompt: pink

Daily Prompt – And Sometimes Nada

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The Challenge is to write an entire post without the use of a particular letter. Eschewing a vowel is extra brave, it’s said, so I’m going without the “sometimes vowel.”

The Alphabet Without the Sometimes Vowel

A is a dependable letter. It can stand alone. It is faithful and valuable. Nothing spectacular, kind of quiet about its business, but there, all the time. There are 33 A’s in this short paragraph alone. Important words don’t often start with A. America does. As do absurd and asinine, both useful descriptors as we witness the workings of America’s government (or lack thereof).

Absurd and Asinine

B is the opposite, bustling in behind A, it is an assertive letter. Like a bull in a china shop, it busts into a sentence, blustering and being big. People whose names begin with B are Buds and Burts and Berthas– with big voices and boisterous laughs. An aside: this video of a bull in a china shop belies the metaphor.

C is complicated – schizophrenic. At times a nice, soft sound, as in nice or citrus. And at times a callous, uncompromising letter used to scare people — Communist, Corporation, Cholesterol. And, of course, Cancer. Still, it’s a cooperative letter, and works well with others, acknowledging that it could be lacking on its own.

D still brings back dismal feelings of defeat. It is what I got in a high school math class (starting with G and having do with triangles and such), and that was *after* Mr. Griffin went and asked Mr. Williamson not to fail me.

E is an excellent letter, relating with ease and connecting to each letter like a sociable aunt. It is also the first letter in elephant, this writer’s all-time favorite animal and a cool word in itself.

Nothing Cooler

F – back to high school. I got them twice, both times for failing to attend classes that were rude enough to be scheduled during sweetheart of the week’s lunch break. One of the classes I failed was Band, and the other was the class that taught me how to find and use letters on a machine used for writing. What I’m doing now.

G begins Griffin, which I used to hate, but which I have grown to respect. I used to think it too serious. Solid, a tad masculine. But it knows how to have fun. It’s Welsh, which isn’t as fun as Irish, but still…

H. Hmmm. I haven’t much feeling for H. I suppose it’s cooperative like C, changing and morphing and toughing it out when it’s not in the place of Honor.

I is all about me. And I like that. I like to write I. I. I. Don’t we all? I could not write a post without the letter I.

J has got strange juju – like juju, it can be good or bad. As in Scrabble – nailing a triple-letter score, J rocks. Left over at the end of the game, it can cost eight points. Jam is good. Jasmine tea is evocative. Jazz can be nice, depending…

K is not a letter for kids. It can start out kind, but is a trickster and can end up knocking a person over or even killing them. Like a King, it can be capricious. I think it suffers from serious codependence with C, and is also just a grump because it doesn’t get to take the lead often.

L stands for love, and that is all we need.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono - the-70s Photo

M starts Melanie, which I like better than Griffin. The best friend from childhood is the sole person who gets to call me Griffin. M is melodious, musical (are those the same?) and begins cool words like maestro and magician.

N. I have no opinion. It is a non-sound, a nothing, a neutral letter. Nada.

O makes me laugh. It can be opinionated and official, but I don’t take that to heart. It’s the shape of a surprised mouth and round, surprised pupils. And that is simple lightheartedness. October, too, is light — bright and crisp.

P presents a preponderance of paths to explore. Lots of words start with P, and the letter, like A, is applicable to the opposition of the political parties in D.C. at present. Apoplectic parading before the press and parsimonious pissing matches proliferate. Plus pandering.

Q. Talk about codependence. I don’t even want to mention U in this paragraph, because the Q will get all quiverish. Of late, we are seeing too much of Q as the queen of “Sequestration.”

R – I like R. It is rich and round and rolls off the tongue. Rambunctious at times, it gets riled up and romps ‘round the house, rousing drowsing folk. Then out of the blue, it relaxes and becomes more reserved and reticent, even sometimes bordering on routine.  But a reassuring routine, not a boring one.

S, for me, is one of the most sublime of all the letters. Such sounds! How it sings to us and sanctifies our speaking and listening. It can hush – Shhhh — or it can scream, if pressed. It has spirit. Scarce it is not, as it signifies pluralism and adds abundance wherever it lands.

T, like dependable A, deserves our trust. It is tough, but lightweight; there in the past, the present, and the future.

U is unobtrusive, but ubiquitous. Thank God for it. Otherwise, where would Q be?

V is a venerable letter. It is old-fashioned, in a sense. World War II old-fashioned, as in valor and victorious. Vacuous and vapid ought not to start with a V; it is not appropriate. And I wish that vicious did not either. Oh, but now I’m off on the D.C. villains again.

W – Words with weight owe their being to W. Wisdom, worth, world. But also wild and whimsical.

X is fortunate that the word “oxen” exists, or Scrabble mavens would despise it. It is an extreme example of the “weird letters.” Unless it can persuade an E to lead it around, or a chemist to name a food additive after it, it’s stuck with the instrument that ends with “ophone” and those medical imaging thingies – neither of which I can mention because each contains…

The unspoken letter, the lack of which isn’t so bad, except that I cannot speak to the reader in second person, and I miss – the other person.

Z we love because it is Z. It’s a zealous word, but Zen at the same time. It’s nice that someone thought to start a flower’s name with Z — the Zinnia.

Photo From Wikipedia Commons

There – I’ve done it. No “wise.”

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