Let’s set the stage. I’m a man. I’m married to a woman. She is caring, intelligent, compassionate, beautiful (insert more superlatives here) but ultimately she is a woman. For my younger readers who are just starting out on the first of their many relationships you may learn from my experience. This is my third marriage. This one has lasted over twenty years. The first two? Not so long-lived. Why? Because I had not perfected my mental editing software. Just like I try to go back over these posts and check for glaring errors, so men must check the words that are about to tumble out of their mouth for glaring errors. To continue the analogy, when I’m typing this post I know I won’t accidentally type great profanities or libelous sentences. That’s the easy part. But little errors of grammar and syntax slip through that might to irritate some peoples to see. (See?)
Warning: This is not a humorous post.
I love democracy. I love our constitution. I love the aspects of our country and our culture that allow the many voices to join together for change. I don’t like it when the voices are owned by shortsighted idiots.
We live in a dangerous world. Gone are the good old days of war by the rules. Even a loose set of rules. Thanks to the advances in technology that allow you to read this from anywhere in the world, small groups of unstable people can communicate over vast spaces and wreak their own particular kind of havoc on the unsuspecting.
There are times when I wonder how I should label myself regarding my politics. One day I feel like a liberal democrat and the next I find myself agreeing with Cecil. (That’s a reference to being a moderately sensible republican.)
Today I’m feeling like a libertarian/anarchist. Holy crap Batman, the feds are mandating graphic anti-smoking pictures on cigarette packages.
From the FDA website: “Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking.”
My friends and loved ones gathered around me. I could tell they were gravely concerned. Their looks were changing between love and pity. Concern and frustration. They whispered about my obsession with doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Insanity was mentioned.
I knew the subject of this loving confrontation. I knew what they would say. I had said it quietly to myself so many times. I had to quit, to give it up, to begin my life anew. But I couldn’t. Just couldn’t. It was a thirty year journey that would end. It was a thirty year love affair with an inanimate object. I thought of the pain of withdrawal. The pain of losing my “friend” and constant companion.
Looking into my daughter’s eyes was the hardest part. There was pain in her eyes, but also love and understanding. “We’re all here for you, daddy”, she said.
My wife looked on a bit bewildered. Never acknowledging that there even was a problem, but knowing at some level that things weren’t right, that not everybody lived their lives like this.
My always supportive friend, Andy and his wife Paula had initiated this intervention. He was a close friend, but objective enough to say what the family couldn’t face up to. “I’ll be there for you buddy. Whatever you need, I’ll walk you through it”, he said. His wife Paula grasped my shoulders and looked into my eyes. “Alan,” she said, “face up to it, accept it, you’re an idiot!” Her deep blue nordic eyes said “idiot” but I read compassion in them, carefully disguised as contempt.