Radio Free NH: So Maybe a Baseball Game Will Suddenly Break Out

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Michael Davidow

By MICHAEL DAVIDOW, Radio Free New Hampshire

Our son has taken to wandering the house wearing eye-black. He wants to be prepared in case a baseball game breaks out. I envy him his sense of purpose, his optimism, and his foresight. He knows what’s important.

Besides, he is making more sense than most people are, this weird and worrying summer. Forest fires in Canada, heat domes across the south, flooding in Vermont and death on the high seas; Armageddon seems to be knocking and we’re busy watching television. Only there isn’t any television because Hollywood’s actors and writers are on strike.

Not many people seem to notice their absence. The stuff with which we entertain ourselves has been the same pap for a while now; we watch the repeats and they’re as good as new. There are fears that artificial intelligence will be robbing us of our creativity next. Those worries seem a bit overblown in a world already dominated by Donald Trump and Shark Week (that’s National Geographic’s Shark Week, folks: what kids in eye-black like to watch). But that’s not fair to the sharks.

I sometimes think that Donald Trump himself is a harbinger of what AI has to offer. He is a mash-up of every nightmare America has suffered through, as if a dim-witted computer had stumbled across the collected works of Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, and Huey Long, put them into a blender, added a dash of smut, and vomited the results. We get dumber every time we listen to him. It hurts, like a hangover.

But back to this summer, this warped collection of hot and cold, wet and more wet, grey skies and bitter news about our ex-president getting indicted again soon, even as he tops the polls. Our son has met this season on its own ground. We force him to grapple with it. He heads off to camp each morning armed with a pair of shorts, a tee shirt, an apple that he ignores, and enough sun screen to coat, well, to coat a small boy who never uses it. I don’t know how he survives, but somehow he does, to return home each evening drenched and starving, yet strangely willing if given the chance to play ball for another two or three hours. Because, again, he knows what’s important.

He does not know, however, that the answer of our Republican party to the question of global warming (also the question of AI, also the question of Russia, also the question of racial justice, also the question of income inequality) is to forbid drag queens from reading books to him. He would not understand, particularly, why a drag queen would want to read him a book; nor why anyone should care about it, one way or the other. When he was younger, he would have been happy for anyone to read him a book; now that he is older, that’s no longer a thrill, but he knows when someone is treating him like a child and pretending that something is important when it isn’t. Again, I envy him his judgment.

But back to summer. This is a column about summer, and about the blueberries in our backyard, and the mosquitoes that guard them. You would think that the mosquitoes liked those blueberries. They don’t. They like our blood. It’s the wild turkeys who like our blueberries, and they eat them with that unconcerned air of aristocratic self-possession that can otherwise only be seen courtside at Wimbledon; also probably at certain dinners attended by those members of our Supreme Court who are bought and paid for by the same scam artists who brought us global warming.

But that’s not fair to global warming, which has only a little to do with Exxon and Shell. They sell, but we buy. We can’t ignore one half of the equation.

In the middle of the last cold war, anyway, when the bomb was still new, when Africa and South America were in flames, and when Europe was cut in half by iron, there was a little creature who lived in a swamp; a possum by the name of Pogo. He was the creation of a cartoonist named Walt Kelly, and Walt Kelly looked out at the scary world he lived in, with Russians who hated us, angry men in armed rebellion on practically every continent, and communists being hunted throughout our own government, and he delivered the tough news. We have met the enemy, he said. And they are us.

It’s summertime, and Donald Trump expects to be indicted soon for trying to overthrow our government. He is also the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination for president. I can’t wait for summer to be over. These mosquitoes are killing me.

Davidow writes Radio Free New Hampshire for He is also the author of Gate City, Split Thirty, and The Rocketdyne Commission, three novels about politics and advertising which, taken together, form The Henry Bell Project,  The Book of Order, and The Hunter of Talyashevka . They are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Davidow’s Chanukah Land can be found here.

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