my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Category: death

bang, you’re dead

bang you're dead-1

Do you really want your kid’s teacher packing in the classroom? Really? Boy oh boy I am neither a sociologist nor an education or behavioral expert but even MJE can see the (literal) fatal flaws in this idiotic idea. The conald has revised his blanket suggestion that all teachers be armed to a vague recommendation that only teachers that are “adept” with guns should carry. Hmmmm. Adept, does that mean someone who can hit a target in the protected confines of a gun range? Or someone who is a pretty good deer hunter? Or maybe someone who is terrific on his or her playstation shooting up all the aliens?

Proficiency with a gun is obviously vital, but what about the psychological ability of an educator to actually shoot another human being, even in a relatively calm situation of danger. Never mind in a chaotic atmosphere of panicked students and staff members wildly running amidst a hail of gunfire? What are the chances that the armed teacher would remain icy calm, take accurate aim at the gunman and hit him (I just say him because virtually all mass shooters are men…another good topic to explore) without harming any innocents? I imagine those odds are pretty slim.

I think perhaps a far more likely scenario might be a student who gets pissed off at another student or his teacher and advances on the teacher, overwhelms him or her, takes the gun or gets the key to the drawer where it is locked and is so pumped up that he just starts shooting. Or say a troublemaker kid starts towards the teacher in a menacing manner, does that teacher have the psychological capacity to take out a gun and shoot the unarmed student? Without the availability of a gun there might instead be a fist fight in the hall or a melee on the playground, leaving some bruises, black eyes and detention slips when it’s all over. No one is dead or mortally wounded and there are no traumatized and heart broken survivors.

And what are the consequences for the armed teacher who may commit murder or inflict grave injury on an unarmed student? Censure, suspension, criminal charges? Even without any punishment, would that teacher ever be able to face going back to teach her students as though nothing had ever happened. I suspect that he or she would be damaged forever from the terrible guilt.

And now we have the news that the armed and trained broward county deputy charged with protecting the students from harm at parkland simply stayed outside the building “in a defensive posture” as he heard the gunfire inside. He couldn’t bring himself to do what he was actually trained and hired for. When the gunfire stopped and the bodies lay dead on the floor he finally summoned the courage to enter. Which begs the question, if this experienced person could not handle the situation, why in the world would anyone expect mr peplum in the department of fashion design and teacher of the wildly popular ap class “from the bustle to the hustle” or mrs cruller in the cafeteria, who can serve up 500 lunches, tray to trash, in under 30 minutes, to be more effective in such harrowing circumstances. The idea is absurd on its face and its being put forth by the president is the highest form of crass political gamesmanship. He glibly throws this red meat to his base, knowing full well that it has absolutely no chance of going anywhere. Then when the next school shooting happens, and it will, he will puff himself up in righteous indignation saying if they’d only listened to me those kids would be alive today. Using dead children to promote oneself politically is truly the vilest form of indecency I know of.


MJE’s persian carpet


So another year come and gone without much to show for it. Fortunately, I have such very low expectations for myself that merely being awake for a time, then being asleep for a time and repeating that every 24 hours or so is enough. It’s great, I am never disappointed. Although I did just read the phantom tollbooth (which was hilarious and thought provoking, but not sure that in this day and age when language is limited to 140 characters it would be understood by most children, or some adults, SAD) and it gave me a momentary twinge about being such a physical and intellectual sloth. But nothing came of it.

As I write, the OB&C is on the phone relating to yet another person the tragic tale of his stolen truck. I would have thought that by now everyone on the planet must have heard about it, but apparently mike in mumbai didn’t yet get the news so is being subjected to the extra long version. He made the fatal mistake of begging the question “how may I help.” If mike’s paid by the call he just blew a whole night’s worth of rupees.

The other day MJE was reading an article from the new york times to the OB&C about melanoma trump’s new cause: cyber-bullying. He looked puzzled. After a long minute or so he turned and asked what exactly is “cyber-bullion.” That my friends, is a question only the gods can answer.

We’ve had the atl circus in town for a bit. Decibelle has made terrific strides and has become a creative and engaging child at long last. And just as forrest gump was always running, she is always skipping, which is a pretty nice thing in and of itself. Anywho, last night she was sitting at the kitchen table with her chin in her hands, musing about something or other and asked me if my mother was alive and I said no (I think knot and alhambra refer to death as being in heaven with the angels, which is surely not where my mother is, that I can tell you), then she asked if my father was alive and I said no. She digested that for a bit and piped up  “you don’t have a mommy and you don’t have a daddy so I guess that’s why you have a husband.” Out of the mouths of babes. Except she has it backwards, that’s why men have wives.

In the spirit of a new year, I thought MJE should try to move beyond a silly blog toward something more substantial . But then I remembered the article in the recent new yorker about ruth draper who wrote and performed short vignettes in the early twentieth century. Later in life she met henry james and asked him if he thought she should go to drama school and pursue a conventional career as an actress. She recalled that “He took a long time to answer,” then lowered his voice and said “no — my dear child. You –– you have woven your own — you have woven your own beautiful — beautiful little persian carpet. Stand on it!” And so I shall.

MJE wishes all of her loyal followers a better than average new year but short of that may the end of 2017 find us no worse off than we are today.

Low expectations.


what can brown do for you?

UPS- %22what can brown do for you?%22

MJE is just back from her pre-op appointment. Nurse Holly was my angel of mercy today. We went through my medical history, medications and bad lifestyle choices, yet again. When she got to the drinking bit, the max option was 3+ a night. She allowed that she sure couldn’t get through life without her daily ration of wine and marked me down as a “moderate” imbiber, bless her heart. From there to drawing blood, a task at which she declared herself to be particularly adept. Well couldn’t prove it by me, (one too many last night Holly?)…holy cow, felt like I’d been worked over by rookie acupuncturist. But then the EKG: perfect! I requested that certified copies be sent to my children who are of the opinion that my heart is a non-functioning organ like tonsils or an appendix. Wrong! it works fine but it just doesn’t give a crap.

Then on to finding a notary to stamp my “Advanced Health Care Power of Attorney.” Toddled over to my bank first where there is a notary who can sign everything but powers of attorney. She helpfully directed me to the UPS store in the Walmart shopping center. There, above the screeching din of the packing tape dispenser, I tried to communicate the need for a public notary who could put an official stamp to my last wishes. The manager, Gomez Addams, declared that for $5 a punch he could do the deed. But I was short a witness. I needed more than the taping fool in the back for this business. The notary suggested that I check the computer game store next door for a spare literate. Well as my readers know it’s not easy to find a literate person in even the most promising of milieus, but a Walmart shopping center is certainly the least hospitable environment in which to search. But search I did. Sadly the game store was manned by a single large lesbian who refused to leave her post. She suggested I try the Mexican restaurant two doors over. Hmmmm, I pondered the legality of the signature of an undocumented resident in this capacity and decided to broaden the perimeter. I spied a slum lord furniture rental place and made a bee line. Some half witted kid was listlessly dusting massive television screens and I asked if he could take a second out of his busy day to come witness my signature. I might as well have asked him if he’d be able to rent a tux and limo and take me to the prom. Tonight. And bring a corsage. Completely baffled, he lethargically kicked it up to management via a second equally diligent employee. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion. After a protracted pow wow in the manager’s office, Thing 2 reluctantly emerged looking like she was about to face a firing squad.

So back to the UPS office with my new old friend Cha-qweeta. I laid out the paperwork, and Gomez, Cha-qweeta and the nameless packing tapist set about our business. In five minutes, in the UPS office in the Walmart shopping center my directives for end of life decisions were rendered legally binding.

death defying decisions

death defying decisons-1

MJE is by nature pretty controlling, not to an unpleasant degree mind you but I just like to be in the driver’s seat as often as possible. So, sticking with the automotive analogy, when my car starts petering out I want to make sure that the mechanic doesn’t do something stupid, unnecessary and expensive when it just isn’t going to make the car last any longer. To wit, I’ve been perusing materials pertaining to end of life (human not automotive) decisions.

Well it turns out it’s a bit more complicated than I thought. Fortunately, there is a 26 page guide and questionnaire put out by the Death, Near Death and Certain Death Society that those of us who are not immortal should consider completing and sharing with our doctors and health care proxies. Given the subject matter the title is catchy and upbeat, “The Tool Kit for a Better Death!” It’s divided into nine sections, or “tools” for you to keep in your “death toolbox. “ For example Tool #2 is “Are Some Conditions Worse than Death?” Hell yes, the OB&C’s family reunion I have to host in May. There are a lot of “What If” questions like “If you are in severe or untreatable pain on a scale of 1 to 5 do you “Definitely Want Treatment or “Definitely Do Not Want Treatment.” Really? Who the hell is going to say I definitely do not want treatment except maybe members of Masochistics Anonymous. Or “How Do You Weigh Yours Odds of Survival” well last time I checked no one is getting out of here alive so I’d say 0% on that one. Tool #5 is “After Death Decisions to Think About Now”, isn’t that an oxymoron, how can I think about them now when I am alive when they are decisions to be made after death? Tool #6 includes a helpful section entitled “Five Times to Re-examine Your Death Wishes…” It’s the five D’s: Decade, Death, Divorce, Diagnosis and Decline. Seems like one of those might be a day late and a dollar short so I recommend sticking to just four of the D’s.

FYI, there’s a quiz at the end so pay attention!



MJE was perusing the obits the other day and was surprised at just how many people kick the bucket every day. FYI, it’s a lot. Curiously, out of all of the deceased only one person “died” (but it was peacefully.) All of the others’ expirations were euphemized in the blandest terms.  “Passed away” and “passed on,” despite being the least imaginative were the most popular expressions of choice. “Entered into eternal rest/peace/heaven” was a distant second followed by, in no particular order, “ascended to heaven/heaven’s gate”, “was called home”, “was called from above and brought home”, and “went home with his lord and savior.” The boldest choice was Eddie “Bit” Martin who “transitioned from the physical life to the spiritual realm” which seems a good deal of verbiage just to say Bit bit it.

The nicknames and memorable life factoids of the departed are a fun feature of the obits, “Maw Maw Francis” (a graduate of Katie’s Beauty College), Edward “Charlie” “Wookam” Joseph (whose worldly achievements were limited to a vast number of offspring), Joseph “Turkey” Starring (his favorite activity was working on the CHS barbeque), and Donald “Bulldog” Fernandez (a proud member of the Local 406 Union and the Invincible Masonic Lodge No 360).

One of the creepier sections is birthday wishes from family and friends to their dearly departed. It seems to me that once you’re dead you shouldn’t have to be troubled with birthdays, anniversaries, or any other guilt inducing holidays. You don’t have to worry about back taxes, overdraft protection, colonoscopies, unused frequent flier miles, the check motor light on your dashboard, that pledge to PBS that you never paid, or your grandchildren’s orthodontia bills. You’ve earned your eternal rest, so a note to those left behind:    Do not disturb.