American Chimera: Our Long History of Delusion

As Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration draws near, the level of apprehension over the potential for violence increases. Violence premised on a lie. Violence instigated with no basis of moral, legal, or ethical reasoning. Violence threatened by those either unwilling or unable to discern fact from fiction. It would seem we have a long history of such things.

Mayflower Lives' Review: The Pilgrims in Flesh and Spirit - WSJ
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The history they taught me about the “discovery” of America was a false narrative. The Pilgrims, or a more accurate appellation, Puritans, didn’t come here to establish religious freedom. They came here to escape religious persecution by the Church of England and to establish their own theocracy.

It wasn’t religious tolerance they sought, it was doctrinal dominance. Soon after, nights lit by the burning of witches revealed their embracing myths and lies. And let’s not even go down the road of a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner shared with the natives. Another twisted image of reality.

This foundation of a white-washed image of the beginnings of English influence in America sheds light on our proclivity to self-deception. One might argue many of those who came to America were chasing a lie. And the tendency to twist the facts to fit their own truth became ingrained in our society.

I am reading a fascinating book called Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen. He paints a picture of the falsehoods and lies sold to many English to lure them to this new land.

“Most of the 120,000 indentured servants and adventurers who sailed to the [South] in the seventeenth century,” according to the University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall’s history of America, Freedom Just Around the Corner, “did not know what lay ahead but were taken in by the propaganda of the sponsors.” The historian Daniel Boorstin went even further, suggesting that “American civilization [has] been shaped by the fact that there was a kind of natural selection here of those people who were willing to believe in advertising.” Western civilization’s first great advertising campaign was created in order to inspire enough dreamers and suckers to create America.

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 22). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. location 444

It would seem we have often been taken in by the words and lies of someone like Donald Trump almost from the beginning of the nation. And now we have taken it to a new height. A significant number of Americans embrace two poorly crafted fantasies devoid of even a semblance of validity, the Q-Anon Conspiracy and the lies this election was stolen from Donald Trump by an equally sophisticated and widespread conspiracy.

I’ve struggled to understand how so many otherwise rational Americans are taken in by such nonsense. How is it Americans firmly believe in things that cannot be proven or often are easily disproven?

From a variety of respectable survey organizations, we have these startling statistics :

  • 55 percent of Americans say they believe in angels.
  • Only 39 percent say they accept the concept of evolution.
  • Only 36 percent say they believe global warming is partly anthropogenic (i.e., caused by human activity).
  • 34 percent say they believe in ghosts.
  • 34 percent believe in UFOs.

As many as 69% of Americans who regularly attend religious services accept the “creationist” viewpoint, i.e., the belief that a single, omnipotent God literally created all there is.

Psychology Today

We are a nation lacking a fundamental understanding of basic science. We are inclined to fantasies more than facts. The biologist E. O. Wilson said, “We have created a Star Wars civilization with Stone Age emotions.”

“If one has enough belief in the supernatural plan, if one’s personal faith is strong enough, false prophecies are just unfortunate miscalculations that don’t falsify anything. If you’re fanatical enough about enacting and enforcing your fiction, it becomes indistinguishable from nonfiction.”

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen Kindle version location 595

Francis Bacon, the English Philosopher, was a strong purveyor of the myths of migrating to America and often promulgated the same unsubstantiated or, at worst, outright lies about the abundance of gold in the New World and the welcoming arms of the locals toward Englishmen. Locals, those encouraging emigration to the New World insisted, were desperate to embrace the “enlightenment” of English civilization.

“We have created a Star Wars civilization with Stone Age emotions.”

E.O. Wilson

Perhaps the willingness of many to plunge into the New World based on such myths led him to write this about human understanding.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate….And such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.”

Francis Bacon, The New Organon

And further on, he says,

“Once the human mind has favored certain views, it pulls everything else into agreement with and support for them. Should they be outweighed by more powerful countervailing considerations, it either fails to notice these, or scorns them, or makes fine distinctions in order to neutralize and so reject them.”

(Francis Bacon, The New Organon)

So perhaps it is in our DNA to embrace those fallacies because they appeal to something innate within us. Maybe this explains why, since the incident of January 6th, 2021, many spent hours and days crafting explanations and justifications for that which can never be justified. Yet, it finds acceptance by those whose fundamental beliefs need soothing reassurance.

If violence rages once again on Inauguration day, Wilson’s contention we have Stone Age emotions may be overly generous.

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Immoral Relativism

The natural phenomenon of spin has now ramped up fully, comparing the protests of last year over various incidents involving the police with the recent insurrection at the Capitol.  The tactic is to compare the violence and pass a judgement that the incident in the Capitol was somehow better or less violent.

It’s the old, “yeah DC was bad, but Portland was worse so there…”

The cry is Democrats characterized the protests over racial disparities in the country as mostly peaceful despite the incidents of violence and property destruction.  Such characterization is fraudulent and false on its face. Mostly peaceful means mostly not completely.

While violence and destruction of property is never justified, there is something inherently and more dangerously wrong when protests attack the seat of government. In particular when they do so based on a lie.

But if we’re going to play the moral relativism game let’s use facts. Here’s the total numbers of arrests from several of the more violent protests over racial issues and the arrests from the incident in DC.

If you look closely, you may see a disturbing pattern emerge.  

EVENTDATEARRESTS 
Protests in Minneapolis the day after George Floyd’s deathMay 26, 2020570
Protests in Ferguson, MO after Mike Brown’s deathAugust 10, 2014400
Protests during Trump’s inaugurationJanuary 20, 2017234
Protests in Washington D.C. following George Floyd’s deathJune 1, 2020194
Protests in Louisville, KY after the Breonna Taylor grand jury decisionSeptember 25, 2020179
Insurrection at the CapitolJanuary 6, 202169
Charlottesville Unite the Right rallyAugust 12, 20178
(https://www.businessinsider.com/number-of-arrests-capitol-riot-compared-blm-protests-chart-2021-1)

So, using these numbers, it would seem this administration takes a very hardline stance against those violently protesting racial disparity—of which there is ample evidence—and a more mild stance against those violently trying to subvert an election—which was based on a profoundly disturbing lie.

Now before someone raises the argument that the low count of arrests in DC was because the police were outnumbered and could not arrest then, but they will in the future, let me address that. The police were outnumbered, left out to dry by those in charge. They were unprepared for the violence because those in command didn’t see the threat or were too intimidated by those who orchestrated the protest, i.e., the President of the United States, to do their job. One might also make the argument they were color-blind to the problem, something they did not suffer at protests sparked by racial issues.

While violence is never justified, twisting facts to suit one’s tunnel-vision view of reality is hardly justification for whitewashing what was clearly an attempt to overthrow the government. There is no moral relativism justification for violence but I would argue that violence spawned by lies and falsehoods for the purpose of subverting the government deserves its own level of revulsion.

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A Pendulum Swings, But Not Too Far

Since the January 6th attempted insurrection by violent supporters of Mr. Trump, incited by a host of lies about the Presidential Election, the pendulum has changed direction. Many of those involved have been arrested, lost their jobs, and been the object of scorn and derision.

Much of this, for those who broke the law, is well deserved. Mr. Trump, touting his strong on crime positions of the past four years, often proselytized swift and significant punishment for lawbreakers. Those words may now come back to haunt him and those who were blinded by his subtle yet real calls for violence against the government. One thing Mr. Trump is good at is obfuscation of truth to serve his purpose. No one will ever dissuade me from the belief that Mr. Trump had every intention of inspiring that crowd to do exactly what they did.

Yet our reaction need be one in direct contradiction to Mr.Trump’s blatant incitement. There is a danger here in our substituting one philosophy for another and punishing those who disagree with us, that is his approach not ours.

Every single person who attended that rally supporting Mr. Trump had the absolute right to do so. Expressing one’s opinion in protest and free speech is the very foundation of government. Even when that speech is permeated with lies and intentional misrepresentations.

No matter how distasteful such political positions may be, no matter how antithetical they may be to the spirit of America, they are protected under the First Amendment from governmental restrictions or intrusions.

It is when they cross the line into violent acts that the law must apply.

While they may be well within their right to do so, if a company or other organization terminates an employee for their beliefs, for their exercise of their constitutional rights, for expressing an opinion outside of the workplace, absent any criminal act, it comes dangerously close to creating an atmosphere of fear.

As to those who took it beyond peaceful protest, you made your choice, and you must face the consequences. I know many of those who stormed the Capitol building took great delight in many of Mr. Trump’s forceful statements on punishing those who break the law. They just never thought it should apply to them because they bought into the lies of a charlatan.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the name, S.G. Tallentyre, in her biography of Voltaire wrote the following line (which is often incorrectly attributed to Voltaire underscoring the need to research truth)

In The Friends of Voltaire, Hall wrote the phrase:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

The line illustrated Voltaire’s philosophy, and it is one we should embrace.

I do not understand how anyone could support Donald Trump. I didn’t understand it in 2016, and I see the past four years as further evidence of his Presidency being the biggest mistake ever in our history.

But seventy-five million Americans voted for Mr. Trump. Seventy-five million. Because Mr. Trump lost the election does not mean they must be silent on their positions. It does not mean they must abandon their positions. It does not mean they cannot work toward 2024 for a Republican candidate to challenge President-elect Joe Biden.

It does mean they must accept the results of the 2020 election and exercise their rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly within the law.

As long as they do that, then while I would disagree with their philosophy I would defend to the death their right to say it.

And I would expect, as Americans, they would do the same. It is what makes America great and always will.

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A Life Well-Lived, in Perspective

Recently, we faced the reality of the tenuous and temporary nature of life. Ralph, our daughter’s fifteen-year-old Yorkie, began acting strange. Shaking and lethargic, we faced the real possibility that his time was drawing to an end and a decision would need be made.

As we all gathered around, each taking turns holding him and trying to hold back tears, the memories of his life with us came pouring out. He’s been part of our life since my daughter was in high school, soon she is to be a mother. Ralph is part of the very texture of our life. No one wanted to let him go, but we also knew no one wanted him to live his last moments in agony. Strange how we see the kindness and necessity of this with dogs but not people.

While he didn’t seem to be in pain, it was obvious he couldn’t walk well and began to shiver despite the blankets wrapped around him. We decided to see how the night went and reassess things in the morning.

It was not a restful night as more and more memories swirled up out of the past and played in my mind.

I am an early riser, as is my daughter. By 6:30 or so I could no longer wait so I sent a message. What I heard back was what I had dreaded all night, Ralphie was no better and they were taking him to the hospital. This was the same hospital where my daughter and son-in-law had taken Max when he suffered an unexpected medical emergency.

Max never came home.

When Max, Ralph’s companion Yorkie with whom he shared a love/hate relationship depending on the mood of the day, died,  I wrote how his death impacted us. https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2018/01/07/just-a-dog/

When I read my daughter’s message, I asked them to stop by before they went to the hospital for one last goodbye. But they had already left and she didn’t see the message.  So I woke my wife and we waited in silence for them to let us know what was happening.

Then, we got the call, and the emotions engulfed me.

Turned out it was a muscle bruise that was the cause of his problem and with the help of some IV meds and a prescription for anti-inflammatories, he’d be fine. HIs days of two mile walks were over, but his days were not.

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain, in a letter to the editor after a newspaper inadvertently published his obituary

Now I know someday the result of that call will be different, but that is not today. Yet it also occurred to me that now is the time to write about what dogs like Ralph mean to us. How they become family members in full standing and with all the rights and privileges thereof. Talk of these things now while they are still among us.

In Max’s case, we were away and never got to say goodbye but I now know it doesn’t matter because of all the times I got to say hello to him and Ralph as they romped through our lives. Those are the moments that matter and those are the moments we need embrace.

Hellos always outshine goodbyes.

Statistically speaking, Ralph may not have 10 years left but then again neither may I.  When it appeared his time had come, the feeling of sadness was overwhelming.  It occurred to me I liked him better than most people.

A lot better.

Now I have a different perspective on the course of life with dogs.

When the time comes, there will be no reason to say goodbye because I will have embraced every one of these remaining moments of hello. That’s the thing about dogs, every day they are with you are good days except the last one.

You can’t say that about people.

When a dog like Ralph or Max pass on, it is always sad. When some people do the same, it is a relief. It’s why dogs are so endearing to us and why I will make sure I enjoy each of those remaining moments with Ralph and all the others I hold dear.

This could never happen with a cat.

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Ignorance of the Constitution on Display

Here’s the headline

Don Trump Jr claims ‘free speech is dead’ after father’s Twitter ban

Here’s the Amendment he claims is dead.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Someone may want to explain to Junior the First Amendment protects Free Speech from Governmental interference. It prohibits Congress from restricting free speech or freedom of the press.

Private enterprises like Twitter or Facebook are free to promulgate any rules they like limiting what appears on their sites as long as they are not discriminating based on race, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity. And people are free to read or ignore such sites.

Alex Jones can refuse to publish pieces by AOC just as Vanity Fair can refuse to publish a piece by Donald Trump Jr. There is no diminution of Free Speech in these examples

That Twitter banned the President of the United States says more about the character of the President than anything else. It is not a violation of his First Amendment rights. He can publish anything he likes, there are all sorts of sites that live to promulgate his lies.

As long as the government isn’t stopping Mr. Trump and his minions from publishing or speaking their minds, there is no First Amendment violation. But like yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater, it is incumbent on the writer or the speaker to restrain from spreading lies or publishing dangerous incitements to violence. Otherwise, sites who take seriously their responsibility to ensure they are not abetting violence have an obligation to restrict such positions.

America Has a Problem

There has never been a more stark example of endemic racism than what happened in the days and hours leading up to the attempted coup on January 6th, 2021.

Now I don’t believe for one moment the Chief of the US Capitol Police intentionally underprepared for those days events in the hope the crowd would act as they did. But clearly there was a lack of preparation on their part. The same with the MDC Police who, three days before this planned and emotionally charged gathering of Trump supporters parroting the lies of a fraudulent election, refused the pre-placement of National guardsmen.

These inactions led to police officers being overwhelmed by violent protesters and the murder of a US Capitol Policeman. The restraint demonstrated by those front-line officers was remarkable. It is the only bright moment from this dark day. We can hope the restraint was a matter of choice, not simply being outnumbered or, worse, the racial makeup of the protesters.

But the evidence of differential treatment before our eyes is unmistakable. Those in a position to plan for such eventualities saw no need to prepare for the real possibility of violent confrontation. In contrast, the preparation for protests by Black Lives Matter and other such groups engendered an entirely different response, one that assumed there would be violence.

It begs the question why?

Either intentionally, or subconsciously, those in command of these agencies saw predominantly black majority protests as inherently dangerous and, in troubling contrast, saw the predominantly white majority protest as without similar risks.

The stark difference is black and white. They may not have said it out loud, but clearly the implication was, “you gotta watch out for them Black folk. You know how they can be.”

This piece will not endear me to many of my brethren in law enforcement, but the reality is endemic racism is insidious, dangerous, and fraught with peril unless we address it with determination. As my good friend Matt Horace said in his book, The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement

Whether unconsciously or intentionally, American society is suffused with a racial bias that must be eradicated. When it comes to the ailments and needs in the black community, the response is punitive and lacking. 
I thought about my fellow officers who are upset about a movement that is directed at fighting against police. But my brothers in blue are wrong. 
The suspect has once again been misidentified. These protestors are not saying that white lives don’t matter or that police lives don’t matter. Everything  in America — from educational institutions to social networks, television, news, films, financial markets — says white lives do matter. 
Instead, the message is a demand and a plea for society to embrace African American’s humanity, Black Lives Matter —-too.

The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matt Horace and Ron Harris

Even the responses of those looking to rationalize the actions on January 6th, making outlandish comparisons that at least this action was less violent than the BLM-led protests over the summer, are troubling as if this false relativism equals a rational justification.

And the man in the middle of this firestorm, who once demanded Governors and Mayors summon the National Guard with historically racists taunts like, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” forcefully resisted calling in the Guard. When his Proud Boy, white supremacist, Confederate Flag waving anarchists were violating the sanctity of the people’s house Mr. Trump watched it on television as his “great patriots” made him proud.

Joe Biden faces an enormous task. To take back the bully pulpit from the racist mob and heal a shattered American reputation in a world horrified by the reality of our systemic racist legacy.

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Rats Abandoning the Ship

In times of crisis, when the President’s actions place the country in grave jeopardy, that is when real character shows. We face the clear problem of a dangerous and likely deranged President who, while there may be only twelve days left to his term, cannot be trusted with the country’s safety and security.

Cabinet members have rightly been discussing invoking the 25th Amendment.  In 1967, after thirty-eight states ratified the Amendment, it became part of the Constitution to protect the country’s safety and security from an incapacitated President.

Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship | Weber Sentinel News | Serving the Great  Constitution of the United States
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The act requires a majority of the Cabinet members to determine the President can no longer discharge his duties lawfully and effectively. This begins the process of removing him from office.

It requires the Cabinet to put the good of the country before anything else.

We are seeing Cabinet members, who aligned themselves with the political philosophy of Donald Trump and embraced his policies of fraud and deception since the election, running for the doors because their conscience was shocked by the events of January 6th.

Their “shock” seems awfully convenient.

Perhaps, at the risk of engaging in baseless and unsupported conspiracy theories so enamored of this President and his minions, they are doing their masters bidding, hoping to derail the process so Trump won’t carry the burden of being the first President removed from office under the 25th Amendment. I’ll go with my first instinct, cowardice is the simplest explanation (as a side note, Trump will bear the burden throughout history of the first President to openly incite insurrection.)

Actions speak louder than words; cowardly acts scream at us. We are being screamed at.

This is not the time to resign. This is not a situation where a President has ordered a policy for which you have objections and feel you must leave instead of support it. This is a the time to take a stand. If you are presented with a choice under the 25th Amendment, make your choice. If you think this President is competent to complete his term, say so. If you think he is not, say so. This is your moment to show the content of your character, not duck for cover.

This is a time when you show your commitment to the good of the country, not run away at the sound of the first gunshot.

Secretary of Education Elisabeth Prince DeVos and Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao (the wife of soon to be Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell) have done just that. They have abandoned ship like the proverbial rats, looking to avoid their responsibilities to the country.

There may only be twelve days left to this nightmare of a President, but he still holds the keys to the country and can wreak much havoc left unchecked. It would do us well to remember the names of those who abandoned us in this time of crisis.

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The Speech Mr. Trump Will Never Give

My fellow Americans, on January 6, 2021 the nation’s capital was rocked by violence and rioting with many unlawfully entering the US Capitol building. This breech of security and violent action cannot, and will not, be tolerated.

I have directed the FBI and other federal law enforcement organizations to vigorously investigate and, if the evidence warrants, charge any individuals who violated the law. This attempted intervention into preventing the lawful and constitutional operation of government failed and will always fail under our democracy.

Vigorous debate is the hallmark of our system. It is our differences, our diversity, our unique American perspectives that drive our greatness. We can all disagree on the path forward, but we can never stop our forward progress.

If my words and actions over my demand for a careful review and revision of election laws gave anyone the impression I was encouraging taking the law into their own hands, you are mistaken. My intent was not to incite violence or opposition to the lawful transition of power but to insure the cause of improving the security of our elections, to guarantee the right of every legal voter to cast their vote, and to eliminate fraud.

To those who twisted my words into a call for violence, I urge you to step back from such actions and seek change within the laws of this great nation. We do not assault Police Officers, nor do we tolerate anyone who does. It is beneath the dignity of being American.

The cause for which we have worked these last four years, to make America Great Again, has accomplished much. Our country is stronger, our military well prepared, and our economy resilient. We have faced many challenges and will face more in the future. But we must do so within the law.

As I take leave of the Office of the President of the United States I pledge I will not abandon our cause. I will stand with all Americans and fight for the continued progress toward greatness. This is not the end of our quest, not the beginning of the end, it is the end of the beginning and we shall continue to work within the law to forge a great American future.

God bless you, protect our troops, and God bless America.

He could, but he won’t and the opportunity to do some good will be forever lost.

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An Act of Desperation with a Dollop of Conspiracy and Insanity

desperation noun

des·​per·​a·​tion | \ ˌde-spə-ˈrā-shən  \

Definition of desperation

1loss of hope and surrender to despair

2a state of hopelessness leading to rashness

Use the word in an example.

Desperation.

The President of the United States Donald J. Trump has spent the last few weeks of his Presidency engaged in acts of desperation.  These acts are characterized by lying, spreading false rumors, engaging in repeated litigation that fails, and seeking to coerce or compel others to engage in similar actions in contradiction to the Constitution and the law.

conspiracy

con·​spir·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈspir-ə-sē  \

plural conspiracies

Definition of conspiracy

1the act of conspiring together: They were accused of conspiracy to commit murder.

2aan agreement among conspirators uncovered: a conspiracy against the government

ba group of conspirators: conspiracy made up of disgruntled aristocrats

Use the word in an example.

The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and certain delusional Senators and Representatives are engaged in a conspiracy to circumvent the results of a legitimate election for their own political gain.

Bonus word, Insanity.

An act of insanity is characterized by repeating the same action, i.e. repeated filing of lawsuits that are consistently rejected or dismissed with prejudice, with the expectation of a different result.

Thus the United States of America finds itself in the first few days of 2021. Pummeled by a pandemic, plagued by a mismanagement of the logistics of vaccine distribution, and led by a delusional, soon-to-be ex-president followed by those who embrace conspiracy theory over fact.

No one could have imagined this scenario. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump sprayed jet fuel on our Republic and handed out torches to those whose blind allegiance contradicts all logic or ethics.

And yet, the beacon of hope remains for a better future once we shed this affliction.

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A Sunday Drive on a Monday

blue sedan
Photo by neil kelly on Pexels.com

I have a vague recollection of going on Sunday drives with my grandparents, Thomas and Margaret Campbell.  Such memories sparked a way to combat the COVID-19 Confinement which has decimated our wanderlust and travel plans.

So, with little other options to ease the boredom of our imprisonment, we took a Sunday drive on a Monday.

Opting to avoid the highway as much as possible, we wandered down Route 1 from Cranston all the way to Westerly, meandered the side roads, wandered through the downtown, then stopped for a look at the ocean at Misquamicut Beach.

Such is the world. While I can normally always amuse myself—reading down the several hundred books on my Kindle being just one—even I am finding myself driven mad by the restrictions on travel and venturing out.

Swirling about the memories of those once common Sunday drives is a rather distinct if a bit hazy memory of one with those long-departed grandparents we called Nana and Pa.

I have a memory of standing on the transmission hump (Google it) in the backseat, looking out as Pa drove along a road somewhere near the beach. I was four- or five-years old, so where else would I stand? I think my sister Peggy Ann (she hates that name, but that’s what we called her then until she became just Peggy) was there as well, but I was the oldest. I got the best perch..

As we sped along, a car cut in front of us (or some such thing, the memory is hazy) forcing my grandfather to slam on the brakes. Physics took over, and I took flight from the back seat, over my grandmother, and ended up wedged between the floor and the dashboard.

I don’t recall what they said, but I do recall being pulled and pushed until they freed me from my position under the dashboard. I climbed back into the back seat and resumed standing on the transmission hump as if nothing happened.

I think my grandfather may have even chuckled a bit. He may have told me to hang on tighter. Those were much better days.

I’m not sure it was the same trip, but there was a subsequent incident where my grandfather, who apparently had a heavy foot, was stopped by a RI State Trooper.  As the Trooper stood at the window, I told him my dad was a trooper. He asked my name, laughed, told my grandfather to slow down, and let us go.

I learned a valuable lesson at that moment, being related to a cop can help with avoiding tickets. It may have set my destiny.

I also seem to recall ratting out my grandfather about getting stopped and launching me from the back seat—which I thought was great fun—but the outcome of my revelation is lost in the fog.

Next time the boredom reaches a crescendo, we may map out a trip to all four corners of the state. The anticipation is killing me even more than the ennui of COVID-19 Confinement.

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