Either – Or…

The newscaster declared, “whether you are a democrat or a republican, or right or left”. I said to my self – self you are neither. This way, or that way? Right or wrong? In or out? Lost or found? On or off?

Dichotomy is not life. I am not so simple. Every child instinctively knows that life is not simple. When asked a question, the child frequently responds: “I don’t know.” The answer is not born of ignorance, but an innocent response to the complexity of life.

Tom Golden, December, 2018

Joe, the Good Ole Boy…

In North America, the word “diversity” is strongly associated with racial diversity. However, that is just one dimension of the human reality. We also differ in gender, language, manners and culture, social roles, sexual orientation, education, skills, income, and countless other domains. Nowadays some advocates have even argued for recognition of neurodiversity, which refers to the range of differences in brain function. For the moment, let’s forget about neurology.

Research shows that differences do make it harder for people to connect and empathize with each other. Navigating differences can be tough, whether in the classroom, the workplace, or our personal relationships—and yet people all over the world do it every day. It’s a prosocial skill, like empathy or forgiveness, that can be developed over a lifetime with intentionality, knowledge, and practice.

Diversity suggests fairness, and good will.  Diversity drives cultural, economic, and social vitality and innovation. Indeed, decades of research suggest that intolerance hurts our well-being—and that individuals thrive when they can tolerate and embrace the diversity of the world.

Tolerating and embracing diversity can be tricky. Diversity offers many colors including difference, dissimilarity, otherness, disparity, unlikeness. deviance, and some shades of discord, disunity, incompatibility, inequality, and dissent.

In diverse societies, cultivating our ability to forge relationships across differences can increase our well-being, but the tolerance that is meant to safeguard the best of diversity can be quite fragile.

It is not easy being President-Elect. The Biden transition faces satisfying expectations for a historically diverse Cabinet. The news is full of demands for equal representation after a presidential election in which Asian Americans were difference-makers in Georgia, Latinos boosted Biden in Arizona, and Black voters propelled him to the nomination and ultimate victory.

Latino lawmakers and outside groups, for example, are pushing New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for Health and Human Services secretary — but tapping her over former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who is Indian American, could anger Asian American advocacy groups. You can generate your own inclusion conflicts.

Joe Biden, the President-Elect is given little time to relish his victory. Perhaps prior to his victory, but certainly at the win, Joe hears: “Good luck Joe. Don’t forget the Latin vote from south Florida”: “Say Mr. Vice President, I know Guam is not close, but we voted 100% for you –  100%!”: “Mr. Biden, the Indian nations will not suffer again. You know we know we won’t be last ever again”: “Mr. President, excuse me, Mr. President- Elect it helps to speak Mandarin with the Chinese. San Francisco’s deputy Mayor, Lee Kim knows China like the back of his hand. What about it!”: “Mrs. Harris was a good start, but don’t take the Black vote for granted because of her selection as Vice President.”

Joe has not yet heard the inclusion blasts from the Gays, LGPT’s, and Transexuals.

In diverse societies, cultivating our ability to forge relationships across differences can actually increase our well-being, but the tolerance that is meant to safeguard the best of diversity can be quite fragile. We wish the President-Elect good luck. I fear that we will need it.

What is America?

Republicans or Democrats or Americans…

The expert pundit stated that it is not a Republican of Democrat problem, but rather an American problem. It is time to appreciate that the label American does not reflect the actions of the government, nor the citizens walking, marching, or fighting on the streets of America. Within households, it is becoming difficult to identify the American.

Perhaps we should not be despairing that the appellation American is not particularly reflective of who we are. We may have to be satisfied with geographical titles such as North American, South American and even Central American.

Every day we are reminded of the lack of historical continuity, and the comfort of “used to be.” Every day we marvel at how little elected representative of all stripes perform their American duties. We now must wait until two elections in Georgia allow the congress to go to work. We usually waited for peaches in Georgia to ripen, but now we are asked to contribute millions of dollars to possibly generate novel activity in Washington.

America’s national security, economic progress, individual security and pandemic elimination is the province of attorneys, judges, and exhausted poll workers counting the legitimacy of millions of ballots.

We look forward to a day in January 2021 to bring some respite. January 2021 will allow a national exhale. But what happens to the millions of citizens who supported the President. Sincere Americans who vow to “fight to the death”, to forestall a fraudulent election. Scattered violence is afoot, and likely foretells more as January, 2021 arrives.

Okay, what about the good news. The best is yet to come. Americans will realize that such a creature does not exist. Perhaps never existed, absent the demands of war. Americans will come to appreciate that we have always been a fragile population. A nation, with feet of clay, like many other nations. A nation where ignorance and indulgence have been systemic diseases. Can a nation suffer a ‘mid-life’ crisis? Can a nation acknowledge that diversity of ethnicity, religion, race, sex, economic and educational circumstances requires accommodations that do not come so easy. It should not be surprising that every poll taken regardless of the content never register 100% for one position. Never!! One hundred percent is not possible, nor should it be.

Each person has a moment, or perhaps many moments when one assesses their behavior, opinions, aspirations, and relationships. Sometimes that assessment is prompted by a significant life event, or perhaps by a friend, relative or professional. Sort of a personal poll, and as with all other polls, the consensus is elusive. But, there are those moments, when the beginnings of change take root. As with any substantial change, the transition if fraught with angst, and error. Time does not make for the change. You do the changing, and often with the assistance of others. You can name the others. You know the others. They are not Republicans or Democrats nor Americans.

Transitions

The Transition…

Harry and Abdulla are in the basement of the White House. They are surveying the supply shelves. Harry has been the facilities manager for President Trump. Abdulla is the House Keeping director for President-Elect Biden.

Harry: Well, what can I tell you?
Abdulla: For a starter, how come there is not one roll of toilet paper in supply?
Harry: We get delivery every third Sunday. By next Sunday, there will be plenty.
Abdulla: I noticed in the first floor ladies room, there was no toilet paper on the roller.
Harry: What were you doing in the ladies room?
Abdulla: Harry, relax. My wife had to use the toilet, and she hollered to me to get some.
Harry: Well, you could have gone to another john. We have a dozen toilets in the White House.
Abdulla: I could have, but her need was at the moment. I had some tissues and gave them to her.
Harry: Sounds good. Any other questions?
Abdulla: Not right now, but I did notice that the cabinet containing the sterling silverware was locked. Actually pad-locked.
Harry: Yeh. What about the pad-lock.
Abdulla: I was informed by the Bush dining manager, that the sterling silver collection is extremely valuable. Most of the items have been gifts from various international dignitaries. I was just wondering.
Harry: What about the sterling? What’s your problem?
Abdulla: No problem, just thinking.
Harry: Listen Aboola. You don’t get into this building until January 14th. It’s my place until then. Any more questions, or I’ve got to go.
Abdulla: It’s is Abdulla. Abdulla. Where are you going? We have more to tour.
Harry: Tour? This ain’t Disneyland. Since you asked, first I’m going to the John, and then President Donald and some of us are going to the golf course.
Abdulla: Say Harry, I have more tissue in my car in case you need some.

Tom Golden, 2020

do you swear to tell the whole truth…



Bailiff: Will Bank of America please come to the bench.
  (no activity in the courtroom)
Bailiff: Will Bank of America please stand and come to the bench.
  (still no movement in the courtroom)
Judge: Is there a Bank of America in the room?
  (no response)
Judge: (quite firm) I will ask just one more time. I have a judgment that I am going to announce, and I must have Bank of America come to the bench and be sworn in.
  (no response)

Judge: All right, I assume that absent…
  (interruption. A man in a gray suit – gray hair, approximately 50 years of age, slim, well groomed)
Man: Your Honor. I am representing Bank of America for this hearing.
Judge: I appreciate your willingness to represent the Bank of America, but this judgement of 19 billion dollars must be rendered to Bank of America, and not a representative.
Man: Your honor, I am hesitant to inform the Court, but there is no individual named Bank of America.
Judge: Sir, excuse me. Your name.
Man: Cutler, Mr. Harry Cutler, Your Honor.
Judge: Thank you, Mr. Cutler. Understand, I am fully aware that the Bank of America is a United States Corporation. I am also aware that the United States Supreme Court has declared that corporations have the same first amendment rights as do individual citizens. With that in mind, despite my distaste for that decision, I insist on having before me the Bank of America. Is that clear, Mr. Cutler?
Mr. Cutler: Yes Your Honor, but I understand that it is somewhat difficult to accept that the guilty party is a Corporation, but honestly that is who – I mean that is what is being punished, honestly.
Judge: Mr. Cutler, I do not want to discuss the issue of Bank of America, the real, or make-believe person. What I am much more concerned about is, or was there any person, male or female, that resembles most of the persons in this courtroom that was responsible for any illegal behavior as regards the mortgage loans in question. Anyone-did any human being do anything that would suggest he or she was involved in such illegal actions? I would like someone with a name, social security number, or Facebook account. Please answer my question.
Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, it is Bank of America that is totally responsible for any actions that have resulted in the mortgage irregularities.
Judge: Sir, I have allowed you to finish your statement, but I must tell you that I am at the point of charging you with contempt, but I will not, seeing that you are willing to talk to me. I know that you are in a difficult position in that Bank of America will not face this Court.
Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, I was…
  (Mr. Cutler is interrupted)
Judge: Do not say another word. Not another word. I know this. On a particular day or days, in some location a real red blooded person did somethings that have resulted in harm to other red blooded persons. I promise you that I will not require you, or any other red blooded person to pay damages of 19 billion dollars, but, I am determined to hold some person or persons accountable. I believe by all that’s holy that someone did something, and Bank of America is holding the bag!

Mr. Cutler: Your Honor I do not understand.
Judge: (vexed) Bank of America, this thing, this company, this name-tag is willing to pay a lot of money, and in fact Bank of America did nothing wrong. Do you understand me?
Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, I have told you that Bank of America is totally responsible for any damages. The

Page 2…

Bank really means to make good.

Judge: Mr. Cutler, just stop with this silly talk about Bank of America. Listen to me, does Bank of America drive a car, sweep a floor, flush a toilet, eat chow mien, or watch Beavis and Butthead? Does it? Of course not. But there is someone who works for Bank of America and does some or all of what I just mentioned, and many more things. In addition, someone at Bank of America screwed up, excuse my language. I demand to know who that was. I will not close this case until I find out. Do you understand Mr. Cutler!
Mr. Cutler: But sir, if I can just explain how the process works at the Bank?
Judge: (more relaxed) Mr. Cutler take it easy. Let me tell you a story. Let us say that you and your family, the Cutler’s live next to a neighbor who grows roses – beautiful roses. One day the man notices that his rose bushes have been cut down. All the stems are resting on your lawn – right alongside the remaining rose bushes. Your neighbor, formerly a good neighbor, calls the Police and he presses charges. He believes that someone in the Cutler family destroyed his rose bushes. Your neighbor presses a charge against, THE CUTLERS. All six members of your family, but not any one person, just the CUTLERS. Perhaps you as the Father of the family or perhaps your wife, Mrs. Cutler know who cut down the roses, or perhaps the culprit is for the moment unknown. The likelihood that the entire Cutler family went together and cut the roses is rather slim, but the Police and a Court will be obliged to punish the entire clan absent identifying the rose cutter.
Mr. Cutler:(upset) But Your Honor…
Judge: Just shut up, Mr. Cutler. Is it right that each of you, including your 12 month old infant, and your 4 year old daughter should be held guilty?
Mr. Cutler: (flustered) Your Honor, I have no wife, nor children. I am not married.
Judge: So what! I am just telling a story. Can’t you get with the program? I mean, I am getting disgusted with this entire case. It is plain and simple. I want the names of the guilty party or parties, and I do not want to hear it was a company foul-up nor clerical error, or case of PTSD! This case is adjourned until sanity returns to this court house!  (bangs the gavel)

Writers Cramp, 2014, Tom Golden


Priorities

Which Priority?

The Vice President was speaking about the need for a national priority. The reporter said that perhaps the priority should be Climate Change. Another reporter suggested the COVID-19 epidemic.

Two concerns for humanity. Two realities and which should be our priority. Tending to Climate Change can determine the survival of the species. Every human being will be affected by substantial changes in the climate. All corners of the world will suffer from uncontrolled climate changes. The consequences are so profound and universal that as a priority it fails. Too grand. Too large. Too long in its generation, and it requires at least the same, or likely more time to suppress. The massive changes in human behavior is untenable. Fortunately, most persons do not experience the current consequences of climate change. As such it is easy to ignore the Polar Bears in Alaska, or the Glaciers in Greenland. So what if the reefs in the South Pacific are dying, and the fires in northern California are numerous and enormous. I live in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York.

As to the worries about COVID-19 19, I feel just great. Never felt better. I don’t know anyone who has gotten sick with COVID-19. Even the President thinks it is a hoax. If he said nothing, the whole notion that a simple cloth mask can protect me is dumb. Thousands of people have been marching without a mask. Some get sick. Only a few among thousands. I know the virus is probably real, but so is the common cold, the flu, pneumonia. Besides, I really don’t like being told what I must do with my body, my job, my entertainment, and any other way. I just don’t like to be bossed around.

Climate change is too big. Me, just me cannot do anything about it. Covid 19 is too personal, and I can do what I want with it. I do have priorities, such as my family, my job, my God and the Nets.

not on my block

One on Every Block…(Not on My Block)

The lady was old. I had no idea how old, but old. Kinda like an old witch. Once in a while I saw her in her front yard, and sometimes in her backyard. Just a fleeting figure. I never saw her face, but I knew she was crazy. Her teen-age daughter was also crazy. There was a son, maybe in his twenties. I know he worked. He left their home every morning. Maybe he wasn’t crazy, since he had a job. We all knew that family and especially the old lady was bats!

I know that my crazy lady has her replica on every city block. In every hamlet, there is a crazy person. Sometimes a lady, and sometimes a man. Some left their home and walked in the streets. Sometimes they talked, but only to themselves. Some of crazies were teased and tormented by the local delinquents. They were crazy, but not enough to get arrested. Adults never paid any attention to the crazies, but they told their children to stay away from the crazy man or lady.

Every block has one, and one lives on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. He lives with his family. He has a job, and he plays golf. He says he talks to lots of people, but you never see them to talk to him. Maybe his family talks to him. Sometimes he talks to thousands of people. He even talks on the television. He hardly sleeps, and he eats a lot of junk food. He does so many things that all of us do, that it is hard to believe that he is crazy. He does not look crazy. His clothes look normal, he shaves and combs his hair. So how come we all know he is crazy. Maybe that is why so many people who worked with him leave or get fired. It must be hard to work with a person who is crazy.

He says so many crazy things that millions of people laugh at him or ridicule him. Millions of other people say they love the job that he is doing, but they don’t like how he acts, or what he says. Why? Because they know that what he does or says is crazy. Even the millions who love him, are afraid that he is crazy, but they will not say it. Hundreds of officials who work in Washington, D.C. try and avoid him. Being a boss, they must listen to him, and obey what he says. In the privacy of their offices, bathrooms, saunas, gymnasiums they whisper “he is crazy”. How do they know he is crazy? Do not ask them. They will not answer you. They will not laugh at you, or ridicule you, but they know he is crazy. They count the days that he will move to another block, but not on my block.  

My Teacher’s Packin

Luncheon at P.S. 22 – Five third Graders…

Mike: Did you hear?
Susan: What?
Peter: Hear what?
Mike: I think Ms. Schultz got a gun.
Francis: What?
Susan: So?
Mike: Ms. Schultz got a gun. She’s got a gun in her bag.
Ralph: Really? A real gun!
Francis: A gun?
Susan: Mike, can I have one of your donuts.
Mike: Here. Take one. Just one.
Francis: My Mom told me that teachers don’t have guns.
Peter: My dad said teachers should get a gun.
Susan: Can I have another? (she takes another donut).
Mike: Harry in Mrs. Bacon’s class told me.
Francis: Harry is in Kindergarten.
Mike: So what? He told me that he saw the gun.
Ralph: Wow!
Peter: He really saw a gun. A real gun.
Mike: That’s what he told me. I believe him.
Susan: I’m gonna ask Ms. Schultz.
Mike: Yeh, ask her. But don’t say I told you.
Peter: Yeh. Good idea.
Ralph: You think, she can show us the gun. Ya think she would?
Mike: That would be great. I never seen a real gun.
Francis: I did. My grandfather has a lot of guns.
Mike: O.K Susan. After lunch lets go to her and see the gun.
Peter: Great. Let’s go!
Susan: Don’t tell the other kids.
Mike: Just us. Let’s go.

A Complex Killer…

Upon arrest the El Paso killer stated to Police:


  “I killed innocent people. I wanted to kill Mexicans. I am a killer. Don’t forget, I am also mentally ill.”

“Suicide Watch”
Jail Commander: ” Officer Kogan, were you on the suicide watch.”
Officer Kogan: “ Yes Sir.”
Jail Commander: “Kogan, what does that mean?”
Officer Kogan: ” It means that I am to watch a suicide.

Jail Commander: “Thank you, officer Kogan.”

Watching Ain’t Easy

I just finished 16 hours on duty. I was really tired. The Supervisor asked if I could just do half of the next shift. He is a good friend. I said okay. I was assigned the perverts cell. Why always me for extra time? I can’t tell you how boring this job is. Especially the rich guys. They don’t to nothing. Just smile and wait for their attorney visit. What a creep.

I am bushed. Five days in a row of overtime. Sure, the money is great, but hanging out at this place is disgusting. Stinks, garbage everywhere, and those cons are lowlifes. That Jeffrey guy was on a watch, now just look in about every 30 minutes. What a pain. Sometimes I’m a little late in looking. Last time I looked; he was sleeping. Sleeping on the floor. I didn’t say anything. Who cares?

Usually I’m a clerk in the health records room. For the past two days, I got ordered to watch men in the suicide watch section. I have never seen a man toilet. It was not very pleasant. They said I would there for 6 hours. I am now into hour 12. Frankly, I am very tired. I mean exhausted. Didn’t sleep last night, my kid kept me awake all night. She has allergies. Sneezing, and coughing all evening. My husband worked the night shift, so not at home. I think I will just take a little snooze. Just a few minutes. The guy seems quiet.

That guy doesn’t look like he’s gonna kill himself. They told me that he tried to hang himself last week. Well, he made it here. Now I must watch him. I am ready to quit. We haven’t had a pay raise for two years. Other guys have quit. I’m thinking to do the same thing. Pay is for shit, and I don’t give a damn about the prisoners. They could kill themselves for all I care.

How come that guy got off suicide watch. Money. I think he paid off and got off. Where is the other guy in his cell? He was there yesterday. With those sheets, he could hang himself. Better be careful. Thirty minutes checkup. Where is that Observation Check Sheet? How come no Time Checks yesterday, or the day before? Did anyone do any check?

BREAKING NEWS – EPSTEIN FOUND DEAD IN HIS CELL. APPARENT SUICIDE.

Thomas Golden
Writers Cramp, August 12, 2019

Watching Ain’t Easy

I just finished 16 hours on duty. I was really tired. The Supervisor asked if I could just do half of the next shift. He is a good friend. I said okay. I was assigned the perverts cell. Why always me for extra time? I can’t tell you how boring this job is. Especially the rich guys. They don’t to nothing. Just smile and wait for their attorney visit. What a creep.

I am bushed. Five days in a row of overtime. Sure, the money is great, but hanging out at this place is disgusting. Stinks, garbage everywhere, and those cons are lowlifes. That Jeffrey guy was on a watch, now just look in about every 30 minutes. What a pain. Sometimes I’m a little late in looking. Last time I looked; he was sleeping. Sleeping on the floor. I didn’t say anything. Who cares?

Usually I’m a clerk in the health records room. For the past two days, I got ordered to watch men in the suicide watch section. I have never seen a man toilet. It was not very pleasant. They said I would there for 6 hours. I am now into hour 12. Frankly, I am very tired. I mean exhausted. Didn’t sleep last night, my kid kept me awake all night. She has allergies. Sneezing, and coughing all evening. My husband worked the night shift, so not at home. I think I will just take a little snooze. Just a few minutes. The guy seems quiet.

That guy doesn’t look like he’s gonna kill himself. They told me that he tried to hang himself last week. Well, he made it here. Now I must watch him. I am ready to quit. We haven’t had a pay raise for two years. Other guys have quit. I’m thinking to do the same thing. Pay is for shit, and I don’t give a damn about the prisoners. They could kill themselves for all I care.

How come that guy got off suicide watch. Money. I think he paid off and got off. Where is the other guy in his cell? He was there yesterday. With those sheets, he could hang himself. Better be careful. Thirty minutes checkup. Where is that Observation Check Sheet? How come no Time Checks yesterday, or the day before? Did anyone do any check?

BREAKING NEWS – EPSTEIN FOUND DEAD IN HIS CELL. APPARENT SUICIDE.

Bar Talk

Location: McMurray’ Bar, Brooklyn
Evening: 7:00pm
Harry: Say, Mike, a Miller’s.
Pete: Make that two.
Jack: Say, Mike, have any Rollin Rock?
Mike: Yeh, at home. We don’t sell it.
Jack: O.K. Tequila on the rocks.
Harry: Ain’t we the latin lova.
Pete: You guys heard the Presidents screed.
Jack: His what?
Pete: His screed. Yesterday on the t.v.
Harry: Yeh, I heard him. What’s this screed shit?
Pete: Forget it.
Harry: No, what screed? I did hear the trope.
Jack: What the fuck are you talkin about?
Mike: Say fellas, I saw this fuckin meme last night. Hilarious.
Pete: You mean the one on Fox. I saw it too. Existential as hell – just great.
Jack: Fellas, I gotta get goin. See ya tomorrow. (Swallows the Tequila)

They Are Already Here

Dino said to me: The Wall, it is too late. They are already here!

Wow! I smiled at his comment and reveled in the reality of his observation.

Dino was correct. A nation boasts about its immigrant origins. A nation born of European settlers with no papers. They just came and stayed. The locales never asked for identification, skills, nor intentions.

Over the decades millions have come to America.

Poetess Emma Lazarus wrote: “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

So, what has changed? Still men, women and children. Still tired, poor, wretched, battered and homeless. What makes these pilgrims different? Look, and you shall see. COLOR! Brown or Black men, women and children is the problem for todays locos. Emma Lazarus never envisioned caravans of Brown and Black men, women and children yearning to be free in America. Unimaginable at the time were the yearnings of rapists, killers and drug dealers.  If only the Statue of Liberty floated on the Rio Grande River, in the southwest.

A Parent Interview

On Thursday, October 5th, during her daily White House news briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered that during the investigation of the massacre at Las Vegas, the FBI, ATM, local authorities, and family members of persons killed or wounded would be included and interviewed as part of the process of investigation. Sarah’s inclusion of family members concerns this writer, and resulted in the following interview.

FBI Agent: Mrs. Pierce, I understand that your daughter was killed at the concert.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Yes, she was killed. She was only 19 years old. My only child.
FBI Agent: I am so sorry. Can you tell me how you feel at this time.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Terrible, just terrible.
FBI Agent: Yes, I understand.  I truly understand how you must feel. Can you offer any suggestions about the investigation.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: What do you mean?
FBI Agent: Well, the FBI, and other authorities need your help in the investigation.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: My help? How can I help?
FBI Agent:  Well, do you have any ideas that could help in the investigation?
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Sir, my daughter is dead. My daughter is dead. What do you want from me?
FBI Agent: We think that you and other families may be able to help in the investigation.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Please, I can’t speak anymore. Please forgive me.
FBI Agent: I understand, but maybe you have some thoughts that could help the investigation.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: I am very sorry, but somehow you haven’t heard me.
FBI Agent: What do you mean, Mrs. Pierce? Can you help in any way?
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Sir, my daughter is dead. Have you no feelings?
FBI Agent: I do, but we think that relatives of the dead can help in the investigation.
Mrs. Pierce: Please, I must go.
FBI Agent: You mean you won’t help. We need your assistance. The FBI, and police can’t do it alone.
Mrs. Alice Pierce: Please.
FBI Agent: So you won’t help – not at all.
Mr. Frank Pierce: Mister – Fuck off!!