The Sick President Wanted to Get Out of That Hospital

The really sick President really wanted to get out of that hospital. I don’t blame him. I hate hospitals. They stink of disease and death no matter how much they try to cover it up with all manner of stinking disinfectants. And if you have to share a room you have to share the TV with some stranger. The food is atrocious, and they keep waking you up at night. My brother, who died of brain cancer, really complained about them never letting him sleep. What can you say about a place, he said, that commodifies compassion.

So I understand why the Sick President wanted to go home. It’s much nicer there, in your own bed, all snuggly, with your own remote, and some servant to bring you a nice cup of tea. And why shouldn’t he go home, what with the servants there. He has also his own little hospital room in the White House where he can lie around and tweet while they give him fluids intravenously. All at the taxpayers expense.

After all he is the President. He is not one of those all bent over and smelly little old ladies that you see creeping around the halls of the hospital and that are hard even to look at. (For God’s sake, can’t they keep them out of sight!) Who, you know, can’t breath and have a tube stuck down their throats, and who die completely alone because their children and grandchildren can’t get in the hospital.

So hell, yes, I understand why the sick President wanted to get out of that hospital. And he could because He is The President.

The Sick President Endorses COVID

Isn’t the Sick President endorsing COVID when he proclaims, in yet another buffoonish chest pounding moment, that he has not felt better in 20 years. Apparently, getting COVID is a good thing, not something to be afraid of at all.

I guess I should rush right out and get it. Perhaps I will go to a crowded bar with no ventilation and nobody wearing a mask and I too, with any luck, will get the bug and feel better than I have in 20 years. Maybe they should bottle the stuff as a life giving elixir; you too can take 20 years off your age, just like the sick President.

Maybe I would take it. Given how miserable I feel at this moment I would welcome feeling like 54 rather than my aching and anxiety ridden 74. With my luck, though, I would probably die. I don’t have the doctors he has to give all the drugs he has taken.

Maybe the steroids the doctors gave him led him to this overly exuberant assessment of his health. You would think somebody might have told him that steroids could do that to a person. I mean make them embarrassingly over exuberant. But then I get the feeling that nobody can tell this guy anything he doesn’t want to hear.

My Fellow Septuagenarian: The Sick President

Well, the President is in the hospital.  And I am forced to sit and wait for updates on his condition.  This makes me edgy because, while I think he has been an incompetent and destructive “leader,” I can’t help but identify with him a little.  We are the same age, both born in 1945, both 74 years old.  He is my fellow septuagenarian. There is something to that connection; not everybody gets to be one. So hearing about his condition and how he is doing seems a bit like a forecast of how I might do under similar circumstances.

I mean from the beginning of his pandemic thing, I have been made acutely aware that I belong to the group most vulnerable to death by this plague.  Over and over again, I see that 70 percent of the people who die from COVID are over 65, and the older you get the worse your chances are.  So I identify with the President on this score, and quite irrationally feel that if he being well over 65 and obese on top of that,  manages to recover from this attack of the plague, I too over 65 years of age, but not obese, may also recover should I catch it.  Somehow the thought of his getting well gives me a feeling of hope.

But, as I said, this is all irrational.  Were I to get this plague I would not have the best medical minds of the age on my case.  His getting better will not magically increase my chances of getting better.  And this failure of identification reminds me that I would probably not have to be as anxious as I am about this plague if he and his atrocious crew had not been so completely incompetent and deluded in their handling of the plague in the first place.

So I remain edgy and waiting for the next update.

Inconclusive Updates about the Sick President

According to my phone the Sick President has been in the hospital for three days. During that time a number of medical people and persons on his staff have given updates regarding his condition. Unfortunately, the updates have not been satisfying because of their lack of clarity and at times internal contradictions. They say, for example, the President is only mildly ill, and we are giving him a steroid usually administered to persons whose case is–how to say?–well beyond mild. Or we did administer oxygen though we are sure exactly when. And so on and so forth.

Some of these odd statements were made by doctors, persons with much education and, one would hope, some ethical sense. They nonetheless could not give a clear yes or no to the question about whether the President’s oxygen level had fallen below 80. These doctors were under orders I supposed to obfuscate and not to clarify. Still, one would hope a doctor might have the integrity either to refuse such an order or, instead, tell the truth.

I remain hopelessly naïve.

June 10, 1984

June 10, 1984 was a Sunday and sunny. I remember because that was the day Carol and I got married in the garden of a friend’s house.

The Lakers and Celtics played that day. I didn’t get to watch because I was getting married. The Lakers won, but then lost the series in seven the following Tuesday, June 12.

June 10, 2110 wasn’t a Sunday, but a Thursday. Still it was a sunny day, and once again on June 10 the Lakers and the Celtics were playing.

This time I got to watch the Lakers go down to defeat putting a ruinous cap on an otherwise very pleasant anniversary day.

Man, June 10, 1984 seems like a long time ago. Magic, not the sullen Kobe, was the center of the Lakers and they all wore short pants.

That was 26 years ago.

Rain, Rain

I think it started raining Monday and only now, Friday, does it appear to be letting up. Rare around here to have a week straight of rain (and another week appears on the horizon, a little way out).

People grumble. The rain is an inconvenience, but then they say, “Of course we need it.” Because of course we do. Here in sunny Southern California.

We continue in a drought. Out where Carol and I walk, the grasses are burned out and turn charcoal black in the summer.

In class Wednesday, the row of students by the window of our horribly small room let out a gasp when the one of the trees out in the courtyard just keeled over with a bang. Luckily, it was raining so nobody was sitting on any of the benches the tree hit.

One of those damn eucalyptus. Another much bigger one fell and blocked one of the main entrances to the campus.

This eucalyptus behavior confirms me in my opinion that the eucalyptus is a pernicious weed.

And to think one of the reasons they were brought to this country was to serve as windbreaks. And as possible sources for railroad ties. Did nobody even stop to look at that corkscrew wood.

Sometimes I think the bees people get in their bonnets distract them from what is right in front of their noses. 

Bad Boxes

I received an email informing me that several UC officials had received boxes in the mail containing a white powder. Tests showed this powder was harmless. Nonetheless, forewarned is fore armed, I guess. So the email listed the warning signs of a possible bad boxes as follows:

1. They are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.

2. They are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated. An addressee’s name/title may be inaccurate.

suspiciouspackage.jpg3. They have no return address, or have one that can not be verified as legitimate. It may show a city or state in the postmark that does not match
the return address.

4. They are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.

5. They are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or”Confidential.” This factor is significant when the addressee does not
usually receive personal mail at the office.

6. They have protruding wires, strange odors or stains. It may feel rigid, or appear uneven or lopsided, and is unprofessionally wrapped with several
combinations of tape used to secure the package.

7. They look markedly different than most that typically arrive in your office.

Now tell me who is going to open a box that is lopsided, oddly shaped, strangely stained, has protruding wires and emits odors? Not to mention, appears unprofessionally wrapped!

Not me. I can tell you. 

Cell Phone Hell

My cell phone croaked. Actually, the cell phone is not to blame. For some reason, water doesn’t show on our new granite counter top and, without realizing what I was doing, I put the phone down in the middle of a puddle–perhaps from a piece of melted ice.

So I went through cell phone abandonment anxiety. I kept opening the thing to check the time, forgetting each time that it was dead. That meant I had to use the land line; we have one of those antique wireless phones (that you used while wandering around the house). But of course, it didn’t work because it hadn’t been charged in a month of Sundays. So I charged it. Frustrating.

Then I went to the AT&T store to get a new cell and felt guilty about that because AT&T gives money to incredibly conservative causes and thinks global warming is a fantasy. But honestly I was just too tired to think about getting a politically correct phone. So, as I said, I went to the AT&T store and asked for a phone like the one I had for the last four years, the one I stupidly put in the puddle.

Of course, they did not have that phone; they have “upgraded” way past that. Still, the guy pointed to one that looked simple and cheap too, only 29.95. That’s what the sign said. But that was not the reality. It was 29.95 if I renewed our contract with them for two years, and if I mailed in a thing for a rebate. If I didn’t do these things, the phone would cost 200.

The kid pitching the phone was pleasant. But the false advertising sort of pissed me off. Like what McDonalds is doing right now, advertising you have a chance to win a million dollars everyday if you play some game they have got going. They make it seem like it’s possible to win a million dollars everyday. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think you have a chance everyday to get into the lottery for the million dollars–that is not handed out everyday–but sometime in the future.

To get the rebate, I have to cut the end off the box the phone came in, supply proof of purchase, fill out a form, and mail the whole damn thing to get a Visa debit card. Now why the hell would I want a Visa debit card. I don’t use Visa. I don’t like their commercials. I am a Master Card guy. Damn it. So not only do they make it hard to get the rebate (when the hell will I get to a post office) but they are screwing with my consumer identity.

Just a second ago my new phone started talking to me in my pocket. It said I should use voice recognition.

I told it to go to hell.

I wonder if it recognizes swear words.

Retirement: Who Knows?

I am 63, going on 64. I had thought I would retire at about 65.5. But who knows.

I received a email with the subject heading: Post-Employment Benefits Local Forum.

Just the phrasing scares me. What the hell are Post-Employment Benefits? Is that some attempt to change the definition of “retirement.” Because that’s what they will be talking about “retirement” benefits.

Apparently the UC Pension plan is in significant trouble; and I am of course concerned that these troubles may affect me significantly. That I may have to work longer than anticipated, and that even if I do, I may received reduced benefits, in terms of money and medical.

But something is afoot and it is hard to know what to think, or plan or feel.

This language appeared in the email:

The University’s long-term liability for retiree health benefits for current and future retirees is also projected to increase, from $13 billion today to nearly $26 billion by 2018. In other words, the liability is increasing at a rate of more than $1.5 billion per year. Governmental accounting regulations now require UC and other employers to include this liability in their financial statements. Such a significant liability could affect UC’s credit rating when borrowing money for campus buildings, hospitals and other projects.

If in fact the liability associated with the pension fund might inhibit
the University’s power to build buildings, support hospitals, as well
as unnamed other projects, whatever those might be, then they may do
something drastic. One does not have to look far to get some sense of
how businesses treat their employees these days, and more it more it
appears the University is a business.