Loved It But Left It



There’s a term “race to the bottom” which describes a lose-lose scenario. When everyone selfishly tries to undercut the competition, nobody wins. That’s where we are now in more ways than one.

If the country were a person, it could examine its conscience and trace its thinking and actions back to where shortsighted decisions got us where we are today. We could confess our sins and see a therapist. We could come up with an action plan to regain our equanimity. We could admit our wrongs, repair damages wherever possible, and move on.

But we’re not a person. We’re 330 million people, all of whom find it more convenient to blame someone else for the fix we’re in.

Maybe it’s my own form of historical narcissism, but it seems to this baby-boomer that we started digging a really deep hole for ourselves to fall in about the time I was born. The Korean War was a shameful exercise in bombing others into submission. We repeated the experiment about fifteen years later in Vietnam. Then, about twenty five years later, we created a false flag event to justify invading and destabilizing the Middle East.

None of this was my doing, but I was around for all of it.

I would like to see justice served. I would like to see aging, crippled Henry Kissinger executed on television. I would like to see Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and whoever else was behind the Weapons of Mass Destruction scam sentenced to life in prison.

I would like to see our current president confined to a mental hospital. But what I would like to see happen and what will probably happen almost certainly have nothing in common. This has always been the way it worked for me. I have never voted for a winning candidate in a political race. When I voiced my opinions about the Vietnam War I was invited to “Love It or Leave It.” So now, after living in America for over sixty years, I chose to leave and I’m happy I did so.

No Arguments



When you first become romantically involved with a person who doesn’t speak your language and you don’t speak theirs, you learn that language isn’t as important as you thought it was. “Relationship experts” are always talking about the importance of communication, and blaming the divorce rate on its lack, but verbal communication is far down the list of ways in which couples can interact.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a poet to realize how to take care of someone else. When they are hungry, you feed them, when they want affection you give it. When it’s reciprocated, you notice and are grateful. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Eventually, you develop a common vocabulary you both understand, but those words could be made up, and sometimes are.


I’ve been with Wipa for a year now, and she knew almost no English when I met her. I had studied Thai at the local YMCA, but knew very little. A year later, I still don’t know much. Can’t read or write Thai. My progress as a Thai speaker has been glacial. After a few years of trying I got to speak pretty good Spanish, but I don’t predict the same level or rate of success with Thai. It’s just too damn hard.


When I try to help her learn English, it’s amusing to see how difficult it is for her, and I must conclude that my attempts at speaking are likewise almost incomprehensible. We speak a mixture of English and Thai at home, probably so heavily accented that anyone listening in would have a hard time understanding what was going on.


The great gift of not being able to communicate verbally is that you can’t argue about abstractions. If you’re restless or irritable you can’t take it out on the other person by baiting them into an argument about intimacy or responsibility or a toss around psychological terms used as weapons.


You simply take care of each other and it shows.