reading Tuchman’s “Guns of August,” and it’s become kind of apparent that claiming victimhood as political strategy is hardly a market cornered by Trump and friends. Victimhood justifies all reprehensible behavior…especially war. But that may not be what’s going on with Trump, because conjuring a strategy requires even a minimum of intelligence.
Sarah Huckabee-Sanders should:
1. Use bigger doses of Botox before Sunday talk shows (the ugliness of her soul completely supersedes the effects of the drug).
2. Wear simple black dresses more often (her usual Bo-Peep/Goose-Girl “looks” don’t serve her well).
3. Admit that the two words, “president” and “Trump” are a monumental moral transgression.
Barbara Tuchman described Kaiser Wilhelm like this: “The flashing, inconstant, always freshly inspired Kaiser had a different goal every hour, and practiced diplomacy as an exercise in perpetual motion.”
I did. It needed to be 800-900 words. Check. It needed to be place specific. Check. It needed to be edited. Um… It needed to be centered around difficulties/successes as it related to the online component of dating. check. It needed to be aphorism free. Check. It needed to not be breezy. Check.
Here it is:
I keep asking myself: How much older will I need to become until I can finally push dating into irrelevance?
I’m 67. I’m a gay man. I have HIV. I’m in recovery. I was involved with a man for 21 years once, but that ended. We lived in West Hollywood and Los Feliz. We looked happy, but never were. We’re still friends.
I now live with my dog Duffy in an elegant Long Beach building that stands quietly, majestically as an Art Deco barricade against the incessant urban cacophony of emergency vehicles on their way to emergencies. There are oceans of distressed people on the street below who’re barking particularly loudly this morning. The building is full of mostly interesting and involved people, like rocket scientists from SpaceX, cops, young acid freaks and online celebrities; a fairly even distribution of young and old. I’m a Democrat. My new neighbor is a Republican. He seems like a nice guy, but he’s treacly. No other word to describe him. My apartment is quite small. I figure it’s kind of like living on a boat, especially the kitchen, which is actually just a repurposed narrow hallway. I’m lucky to be living here.
I check online hookup sites dutifully, much like reading the news every morning. This rarely exceeds the bounds of admiration though, because honestly, I like looking at pictures and profiles of younger guys – you know, forty something. This has created an unkind truth about aging: even though it seems that objections to dating an older man would begin to vanish the closer to your age the prospect finds himself, the inverse is actually true, at least after the age of 39. Once that threshold is crossed, the 40s become the last stronghold of youth, jealously – maniacally – staking claims to those in their 20s or 30s while resisting the irresistible invitation to move forward toward…moi.
I work out at a gym very regularly. I use the adverb “very” because I’m currently enjoying a rare six-month spurt of religious commitment to exercise. I look pretty good for a guy my age. But I’m still 67, which I’m learning pretty much guarantees that my belly will prove to be monumentally difficult to disappear because, apparently, metabolisms slow way down at a certain point. That and I like bread.
Being HIV positive creates an added level of complication when looking for a date. Happily, though, most hookup sites have disclosure sections that allow you to just check a box so that prospects will be able to see your status, and you theirs.
I don’t insist that other guys be sober, as I am. It doesn’t freak me out that some guys insist on being high during sex (mostly meth, but sometimes other stuff too), it’s just something that not only makes sex uninteresting, but pretty much the rest of life too. I’ve tried to date sober guys in “the program,” but that’s often like dating somebody in the Taliban: every facet of existence is tinged with dogma.
Then there was Dave (not his real name) whose Adam4Adam profile seemed just right: close proximity, similar age, really great shape, HIV positive, and injunctions against using meth. I took the plunge and pitched him a “smile.” He responded with actual words, my reaction to which was: We’re going to be happy for the rest of our lives! We decided to meet in person before the dreaded flesh-market assessment preceding any prospective “activity.”
The hour arrived. He looked great as he approached. I was kind of giddy.
We headed inside a restaurant on First Street and each ordered a Poké. We sat. We commenced communication.
Dave had an awareness of carbs and diet in general. He worked as a phlebotomist in a local hospital…and god, what a body! He inquired about me. Disclosure: My debut novel was published earlier this year, something I’m quite proud of, so I quietly brought it up. This apparently was a mistake. Dave’s not a reader, which only became apparent after I’d explained that it was difficult to find part of the book that wasn’t too salacious to read in public. I didn’t care that he didn’t know the meaning of salacious. But it created a dissonance. I was still hopeful, though, and I tried to draw him out. “Phlebotomy sounds interesting and challenging.” Bingo. The floodgates of discourse had been flung open. I learned a lot about drawing blood from reluctant veins inside difficult people.
I also learned a few things about Dave, including this: He has debilitating back pain and he fears his prescriptions for Oxycodon from various doctors will be discontinued because his health insurance is in flux. He freely admitted to being strung out on the stuff.
If there’d been cartoon evaluation gauges above our heads, the needles would have been diving toward zero.
I got up to refill my glass of water. When I turned to return to the table, Dave was on his feet, heading in my direction where the trash can is, empty plate in hand.
Apparently the coda had just been performed, and I missed it.
Before shaking hands good-bye, Dave patted my Poké-filled belly. “Nice meeting you.”
This episode would have been much harder had I not had my dog Duffy at home. He will dutifully wait at my feet while I boot up Adam4Adam once again.
Barbara Tuchman Barbara Tuchman Barbara Tuchman.
What a w r i t e r Barbara Tuchman is! I would love to have met her. I image she
enjoys a nice bowl of broth, and for excitement on weekends, maybe a fig cookie;
someone for whom the concept of “entertainment” made her eyes glaze over, but
because of her generous heart, she simply demurred quietly.
It doesn’t matter though, because, apparently nothing matters anymore.
Because mediocrity is necessarily the ultimate byproduct of a market-driven economy.
It’s been a few days since I’ve visited. So I’ll jump in with another flaccid assessment of American culture, at least TV culture.
There’s a new TV show that premiered last night, “Salvation.”
Here’s my premise:
Artistic endeavor won’t be starved to death from outside, it will starve itself to death due to greed and cowardice. And it doesn’t matter whether greed precedes cowardice, they’re part and parcel of the same thing.
This isn’t any sort of new revelation. It’s actually been portended for decades.
It’s just that this new show really has potential to cover new ground. But there’s that scary word “new.” New is really really dangerous, and involves risk, which shareholders don’t care for.
So best to keep it safe.
So here’s the story: Discovery of errant asteroid heading for earth in six months’ time.
Will they: divert it à la Bruce Willis? Probably not.
Will they: build a space arc so big that it will hold everybody on earth? Probably.
The star: Jake Gyllenhaal kind of guy: dorky persona (wardrobe/affectations/physical stature/academic genius outsider but humble like the best of ’em)
Love interest #1: Ingenue, pretty, worldly, sexy, curious, talented but outshone by Gyllenhaal b.f.
All of everything is derivative because derivative is safe.
I’m boring myself to death.