Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Wake the Grandma Fletcher Up


Hello, Earthlings. Because I’m inclusive, tolerant, I nod acceptance to all among the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, whatever, whomever, and I shout out,“Kumbaya”, despite its bad rap. We are the world.

I’m extremely anxious and agitated though, worried about the future of this world that we are. Some say we’re at a pivotal moment, even past. Earth is rattling death.

The fever blister on the right side of my upper lip feels as if I’ve been kissed by a hot frying pan, smoldering validation of my distress. The small tube of Zovirax was obscenely expensive, despite the costly prescription plan.

I’m encouraged however that aid organizations insist Typhoon Haiyan is a wake-up call, that Filipino negotiator Naderev “Yeb” Saño pledged a hunger strike to draw attention to climate change, and that more and more of you are calling for action to reverse energy policies that are leading to our planet’s extinction.

Now, I’m going to detour: I’ve been considering signs lately. My private/personal signs are lowercase and not far-reaching. I hear a whisper, my conscience offering advice but instead of listening, I do something else, like open the door to a stray, a mistake for which I pay painfully—fever blisters/gastritis. Okay, then there are SIGNS, the uppercase, different in magnitude, often having catastrophic consequences and affecting wider swaths—land and life. Along comes the gastritis and familiar tingling that intro’s a fever blister.

There’s yet another category, from the lost and found: I was running, spotted something on the asphalt, and scooped it up. A pendant—Christ on a cross. I clutched it tightly and then gave it more room, caressing it with my thumb. Initially, I thought, sign. Then, bauble, sign, bauble, sign. Finally, not really a sign—an un-sign. I slowed to examine the extended arms, the lowered head. I imagined suffering, sacrifice, salvation. This contemplation led to questions about our purpose here, my purpose. Then, selfishness assaulted. “Hmm, is this real gold? Is this 14K or maybe even 18K?” That’s when I knew I had to give it away, that I could not take it home and magnify its hallmark. Musty memories of Baptist guilt panted at my back. I looked for the man who smiles at me, the one to whom I flash my fingers in peace. Usually, he’s leaning against a wall in the area that reminds me of the East Village. Saw him and handed the gold deity to him. “Thank you,” he said, taking it.

Okay, back to SIGNS. They should be wake-up calls. No, they should be wake-the-Grandma-Fletcher-up screams.

These monster storms are SIGNS.

That cataclysmic typhoon is a humanitarian crisis. A million children are homeless, emotionally scarred. An estimated four million people have been displaced. The exact death toll may never be known.

On November 19th, the Italian government declared a state of emergency in Sardinia after a cyclone struck. In just a 24-hour period, more than a year’s rainfall swamped the island.

Those who repudiate the science that supports global warming can’t deny the reality of rising sea levels. And rising sea levels translate to more flooding when superstorms strike.

The gods must be very angry. And they aren’t sparing America. Maybe they haven’t heard about American exceptionalism. Maybe they don’t care. I mean, calamities aren’t just occurring in the Philippines, and Haiti, those less exceptional places. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy wreaked havoc in the USA. And on Sunday, November 17th, 81 tornados were sighted across the Midwest.

So, Earthlings, what say those of you who haven’t been affected yet? Look at the numbers among our species who have. Millions are traumatized, hungry, thirsty, without access to food, water, medicine, shelter. They are you—possibly in the not so distant future, when there may be nothing to eat, nothing sanitary to drink, no electricity, gas, anything. No aid. Nothing.

Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017