Another good friend is gone. Jim Breasted was the coolest of the cool. We enjoyed talking about many subjects from hiking to history to dive bars in Aspen… but the one thing we would always circle back to, and agree on, is that they don’t make Republicans like they used to. Hell, I don’t think they even carry the parts. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and our own Lauren Boebert have all voted against halting trade with Russia. These are not our grandfather’s Republicans.
Republicans used to want to buy, sell and process everything right here in our own country, but these new-fangled ones actually want to keep doing business with Russia, thereby funding the terror happening in Ukraine. Either they have no conscience, or they’re just doing what circus clowns do when the ringleader needs to drum up some gas money. Personally, I have nothing against Russia, but I do have something against killing innocent people who, like the rest of us, are just trying to live their lives. Here’s what I know about Russia: beautiful architecture, cold winters, Mikhail Baryshnikov, most people have seen a UFO and vodka means “little water.”
Watching Putin keep his tiny scowl and carry on makes one wonder if there isn’t something in the water that breeds narcissistic delusions of grandeur. The world has watched enough of Putin’s War for Better Business model. This is obviously the mission of a deranged man who is a direct product of the Cold War. A man who knows nothing of mercy or humility, a man who has not been told “no” in an awfully long time (ever?); a man who wants to be like Ivan the Terrible, but risks going down in history as Vladimir the Petulant.
These last two years have felt a bit like Russian literature for all of us, I think. Lonely, desolate, endless. COVID has made me feel like an old Russian who can only see the world in blacks and whites, i.e. births and deaths. This virus sent us all for a loop and the whole world was caught off guard, but I am not the only one who thinks that overpopulation is the reason we have COVID.
Nature is all about balance, and we are out of balance at almost eight billion humans on the globe. I’m not saying breeders shouldn’t breed, I’m just saying that it is not sustainable for 140 million people to be born each year, when only about 50 million die. It’s simple, brutal math, and we’d be better off if life on Earth was more like the bars in New York City when I was in college; one in, one out.
These are the kinds of things I could talk about with Jim B.
I recently saw a lone lobster in the tank as I walked past the meat counter. I almost started crying at the sight of the creature just sitting in the corner, waiting to die.
When I remarked on how sad it was to the clerk, she said, “Yeah.” Then, “But this way he gets to live longer.”
Sure, all alone with an abandoned sea castle, I thought. Putin of the crustaceans.
Does something hormonal happen at a certain age to make life seem better than it is? Something like the opposite of menopause? Don’t get me wrong, we should celebrate life ‘til the end and then rejoice in the fact that we made it that far, like getting close to — or actually finishing — a Dostoevsky novel. Jim B. and I agreed on what it takes to keep the party going: the attitude, the guest list, the refreshments; all important factors when it comes to living your best life. (Jim was the one to show up at my 50th with a cowbell.) Because wherever we go, there we are, and, despite what the war mongering Republicans would have us believe, the memories we create are worth more than gold, or oil. Like Jim B., I am having a great time at this four-story club in NYC in the 1980s, with a completely different theme on each floor, and when it’s time to leave, I plan to go just as gracefully as he did.