Right now, that’s all I want to do, and in point of fact, that’s the plan, Stan. Believe it or not, when it comes to the content of this column, I always make a plan. I may not always …
Right now, that’s all I want to do, and in point of fact, that’s the plan, Stan. Believe it or not, when it comes to the content of this column, I always make a plan. I may not always stick to it, and the topic often morphs into something else altogether, but still—it inevitably begins with a plan.
Take this week, for instance. As is often the case following the New Year, there is a dearth of entertaining events to cover, attend or review, so “the plan” was to write something whimsical, tentatively titled “A writer’s life for me.” Thinking that a riff on the pirate ditty (“yo-ho, yo-ho”) would be hilarious, I proceeded to spend hours (hours!) photographing pens, pencils and assorted writing implements scattered throughout my home, housed in an array of containers ranging from old soup cans to coffee mugs and, well... you get the idea. Hilarious, right?
That said, the world “went to hell in a hand-basket” (as my mother would say) last Wednesday, and like most of you, I spent a good deal of time glued to the television, watching the horrific drama unfold. After hours (hours!) of nonstop news, all I wanted to do was climb into bed, numb myself from what I was seeing and hearing, and pull the covers over my head. Not in the metaphorical sense mind you, but literally. Bed, covers, head.
I did just that, but when I dared to poke my noggin out again, I discovered that it wasn’t a bad dream after all; it was an honest-to-god real nightmare, one which continues to unfold. While some of the plot points are already written, the ending is still up in the air, and being something less than a political pundit, I leave the coverage of that story to others in far more capable hands.
Still, blathering on about cup-holders and pens while holding discourse on the idea that I have pencils older than dirt seemed slightly less hilarious (IMHO) than previously thought, so I scrapped it. “Well that’s a few hours (hours!) of my life that I’ll never get back,” I whimpered to the dog, who wagged at me from the bed, which was once again freshly made—but beckoning.
“I suppose I could just shut my eyes for a minute,” I said in response to the wag. “After all, the country will still be in shambles two hours from now. A break might do me good,” I said, as if I needed to defend my position to the dog. “Move over girl, I’m comin’ in.”
After a while, I got up again, made dinner for Dharma and scrolled the internet for hours (hours!) until I was bleary-eyed. The news was bleak and disheartening. Frankly, it still is. I’ve been on the planet for a few years—long enough to have been alive when JFK was assassinated (November 1963), then Martin Luther King Jr. (April 1968), which was followed almost immediately by Kennedy’s brother Bobby being shot and killed in June of that same year. In the ‘70s, I watched the escalating war in Vietnam unfold from the illusory comfort of my parent’s suburban home.
I may be a lot of things, but “idiot” is not one of them. I get it—horror has been around forever and death is a part of life. Still, the death of democracy in the U.S. was not a threat I saw coming, nor is it one that I’m willing to accept. Uh oh—I’m pretty sure I just wrote that I was opting out of political commentary, so I had better think of something clever or downright hilarious to insert. I’ll even settle for mundane at this point, rather than have you consider that I occasionally have thought deeper than making dinner for the dog or writing about old pens that ran out of ink during the Kennedy administration.
The fact of the matter is that I don’t want to think about anything else. I’m tired and scared and freaked out by the news. I feel helpless and alone (thank god for Dharma) and want to run and hide. Since there’s no place to run to and nowhere to hide, I’ve chosen to pull the covers over my head, which doesn’t accomplish much. But it does provide a too-brief respite from the endless sea of escalating bad news, exacerbated by morons who think it’s okay to take matters into their own hands.
One thing is sure: Life will never be the same. For all I know, next week’s topic might just be pens and pencils, but for your sake (and mine) I hope that’s not the case. Meanwhile, I’ve done enough “adulting” for today. Yo-ho yo-ho, it’s back to bed for me. Don’t forget to turn off the lights on your way out.
Fun Fact: What is the meaning of “That’s the plan, Stan?”
According to www.wordreference.com, “It most likely doesn’t have any meaning at all. It’s a kind of old game some people like to play with speech: “What’s the plan, Stan? I haven’t a clue, Stu. What shall we do then, Ben? Let’s make a cake, Jake.”
The game resurfaced in 1975 in the Paul Simon song, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” which includes this reprise: “You just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan. You don’t need to be coy, Roy, just get yourself free.”