Don't be "scared"

Commander in Chief my ass. Trump ain't shit.

We’ve all heard, in this era of everyone being Emily Post for everyone but themselves, generalized objections to childish behavior, or at least behavior judged childish, by adults. You may remember the explosion of indignity among conservatives over “Pajama Boy,” a male model in an Obamacare campaign who was pictured wearing pajamas; while many enragées projected homosexuality on the model, others attacked him because in their view a grown man wearing pajamas was juvenile — making him “an insufferable man-child” in the view of dead butch hard man Rich Lowry, among others.

And it’s not limited to or even mainly about politics. Every so often you’ll run into articles with titles like “To be treated like an adult, act like an adult,” “When Adults Need to Act Like Grown Ups,” “If you’re an adult, please act like it,” etc.

Maybe it’s because in recent years more grownups have been engaged in, or maybe just let themselves be seen engaging in, activities that we once associated with children. Everyone, for example, now loves comic-book, horror, and wizard movies, which were once the province of pre-teens and the mentally deficient. People dress like gym rats at office jobs. You know the scene: People not “adulting,” in part by using words like adulting.

In the main I couldn’t give a shit. In my earlier life, I evaded responsibility for anything except my art as much as I could for as long as I could, even well into adulthood. I not only enjoyed it, I think I did right; certainly I compare my efforts with the Reverb Motherfuckers, my largely unread early literary output, and my hella good times very favorably with the family-raising and career-building with which more “responsible” adults occupy their prime-of-life. I mean, what’d I miss? Soon enough my coevals and I will be skidding into cemetery plots — some have already completed the journey — and precious few of us, hardworking or not, straight-lifer or hang-looser, will have accomplished anything by which the general public will be roused to raise a statue in the park; and I am not one of those who take comfort from the thought that, once they are dirt-clots and ambient energy, someone else carrying their DNA will yet trod the earth. Having a little more money in these final stages would have been nice, I suppose, but as I once told an employer who asked me if I valued my paycheck, I am not so debased that I would actually work for it.

(Also, currently I do work hard and have responsibilities and, while this state of affairs has its little compensations, it certainly can be hard on the spirit and the stomach lining, and I shudder to think what awful damage a whole lifetime of it could do.)

But I have been a little bothered for some time about one specific childish (or if you prefer, child-like) behavior, and it recently got to me.

I refer to using the words “scary” and “scared” in place of “frightening” and “frightened.” (See the tweet at the head of this email.) I notice it a lot these days. (Hmm, maybe “a lot” and “lots” in place of “often” and “many” is another — oh, let’s stick to the subject.) It’s a small thing, I admit, and it only bothers me on occasions when I think courage of even the most perfunctory kind is called for, as I think applies to the current political situation.

I worry that using the kid version helps us convince ourselves that we are “scared” the same way kids are scared at dark rooms, loud thunderstorms, and loud voices — in a blind, unreasoning way that leaves us helpless. And while it’s one thing to be as excited by Iron Man now as you were when you were eight, it’s another thing to regard fucked-up politics the same way you once regarded the boogieman. One amplifies your sense of wonder; the other amplifies your impotence.

I’m sometimes frightened by the same things that frightened me when I was a child, but where needed — like if I have to get something from a dark room — I summon a little courage, which is all it takes, and go into the darkness and get it. Most of us I’m sure do the same.

But I see a lot of people cowed by Trump and his goon-squad — including media dopes who talk about them as if they’re an unstoppable juggernaut; for example, Mustache of Derp Thomas Friedman, who in “‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’” Chicken-Littled the Democratic Presidential race like — well, I gotta say it: like a whiny little bitch. Oooooh, if we don’t stop asking for universal health care and a wealth tax Trump will win and it’ll be awful and then you'll be sorry — Ugh! Trump is a senile, blustering sack of shit who probably can’t tell time, let alone respond convincingly to a policy argument. The main and maybe the only thing to do with him is punch him in the mouth — figuratively, I guess, given his Secret Service protection. Call him out. Refuse to respect his bullshit. Fuck, the only reason he was so rattled as to back off his racist ravings at the “Squad” (and then take it back, which made him look like even more of a douche) was that these four relatively powerless women fought back without wondering ooooh maybe this is bad optics.

So look, be like a six-year-old anywhere else in your life. Wear a onesie to work, suck your thumb, eat Chicken McNuggets three meals a day, it’s great. Just don’t be “scared.” Tell the boogieman to go fuck himself.