I haven't paid attention to anything at all of late, being so preoccupied with all that is right and wrong with the world, my cholesterol and blood pressure, how the newspaper and magazine industry is faring, why it is I've gained weight yet people keep saying, "Wow, look how skinny you are" and why it's a year later and Donald Trump is still president. It's been a confusing year to be sure.
I don't remember winter. We did have a winter, didn't we? I used my snow shovel just twice and never cranked up the snow blower. The only true winter images I saw were on the television where I watched stories of how cities like Boston and New York kept getting whacked by some kind of snowball cyclone. I don't have any love for Boston, so if it gets blasted, whatever. But geez, New York City has to be saved if only for the Yankees and The Pickle Guys' pickles down on the Lower East Side. Now, those are some good pickles! The kind you want to have in your secret storage or to eat as your last meal if the end of the world is nigh.
Speaking of, I'd like my last night on earth to be sitting behind the dugout in Yankee Stadium, a smuggled in Pickle Guys new pickle in one hand, and one of their sour pickles in the other. Should a foul ball come my way, I'd drop neither of them for it. I once touched a foul ball struck by Derek Jeter, aimed dead center on my seat and would have had it if not for my cell phone—a real Sophie's choice I'd gladly relive. It's one of my saddest memories; that I cradled my phone, among the most miserable inventions ever, instead of properly cupping my hands and catching a once in a lifetime Jeter foul ball.
It caromed off the head of my cousin sitting next to me, bounced back a few rows then trickled back toward us. I nearly had it again—I can validate the existence of a greater power because God did indeed give me a second chance—when some chubby guy, pushing women and children out of his way, grabbed it and let loose a scream that would have passed a Braveheart audition. Everyone marveled at the portly guy's good fortune, patted him on the back and begged him to let them touch the ball. It was like the Ark opened or something. Just 100 feet away, Jeter smiled and tapped dirt out of his cleats oblivious to the commotion he'd caused when he swung at, and barely missed, a trailing slider.
For another Yankee foul ball, I'd drop my phone, break it even, but I still wouldn't drop a Pickle Guys pickle. If you want a quality New York-style pickle and don't want to pay shipping, head up to Feldman's Deli here in Salt Lake. Mike Feldman knows what he's doing when it comes to pickles. And guitar and pastrami, too. Just sayin.
There's a fellow I know from Facebook who occasions at Feldman's. There's no point in letting you know who he is because he doesn't use his real name on social media anyway. I only learned it by doing some amateur sleuthing—nowhere near the level of privacy invasion done by Cambridge Analytica, just your basic larger than a loaf of Wonder Bread, smaller than a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado kind of stuff. I became attracted to this guy's posts because he writes in a most esoteric, thoughtful and poignant way, especially as it relates to current political affairs, and well, just breathing in general. I imagine the latter is due to the many opportunities to have his breathing stopped altogether by an incoming AK-47 round as he developed a particular set of philosophic and life skills while serving as a combat Marine in Vietnam.
As such vets often say, he saw some serious shit. Most Marines did. Among his haunts in Vietnam is a battlefield that we won and abandoned multiple times. Starting in 1966 and through 1969 at least, U.S. Marines fought and died along a cluster of hills known as Mutter's Ridge. It was a strategic position overlooking enemy supply routes, and brought to life in the book Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. I've read scores of Vietnam books; this is a very good one. Among the Marines traipsing Mutter's Ridge was Robert Swan Mueller III, currently the head of the Special Counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
I'm on a limb here, but it occurs that many people pooh-poohing his duties as a nothing burger and the president calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and worse, were never on the receiving end of what Soviet interference really looks like. Mueller was wounded multiple times, possibly by arms supplied or paid for by Russia. My Facebook friend perhaps similar, plus 58,000 dead soldiers more. At the time our leaders said, "better to fight them over there than over here." OK.
Mueller needs to finish his investigation. Talk from anyone otherwise, from Donald Trump on down, especially inclusive of his private Pravda, Fox News, needs to stand down. If nothing's there, fine, we move on. If there is, fine, too—we move back to a distant spring, reset the clock and get rid of the bastards who have wronged this course of American history.
A vote is the same as a bullet, it can change the course of one life or many, a county or a kingdom. The fight is no longer "over there," it's here.
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