Examining My Head

I hit the pavement today, running a reel of the past few months through the windmills of my mind. I’ve spent so much time, lately, in rooms of joy and sorrow, and hotels, and towns where I catch my reflection in some store window and think: Who is she?

Everything’s askew.

I traveled with one son to visit another. Was sitting outside when the younger said, “Mom, you have beautiful feet. You have the feet of a sixteen-year-old.” Before I could tell him I know this, he continued, “It’s a shame I can’t say the same about your face.”
We laughed.

He and I had been discussing the dollar and what he calls my freak-ass economic doomsday tune. The whole foot thingy probably was an attempt to shift the subject.

His brother joined us and after more of my obsessing on bailouts and endless war, one of them suggested I find a boyfriend. I knew he meant a geezer. Inside the apartment, he grabbed his laptop, pulled up a dating site for seniors, and entered my zip code and an age range of 55 to 65. Photographs and screen names appeared. “Redy [sic] and Able.” Ugh. One guy was posing with his stethoscope. Double ugh.

Two days before, I’d said, “My life is very interesting.” One day before I’d said, “My life sucks.” I can see why my children think I need to have my head examined.

But, then, so does Barack Obama. Think that I need to have my head examined, that is.

The president, interviewed by CBS’s Steve Kroft after the “justice-has-been-done” assassination of Osama bin Laden, said: “And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”

So, I’m having my head examined. Not in any conventional way, right now. Doing the self-examination where there’s this collision of “perpetrator of mass murder” with mass-murder perpetrator and “deserve”. Because I think about what’s being done in my name, that burden of responsibility we share for slaughtering millions because we’re the USA! USA! USA! and we can. Forget international law. Forget that there are smart weapons with names on them. Forget that the Decider in Chief gets to stamp the names on the bullets. And the drones. Forget, too, that whenever these “intelligent” weapons explode and hit the marked person (or don’t), they, almost always, kill civilians. Forget, if you can.

Wednesday afternoon, one of my sons and I returned home, if this is my home, after a few days in North Carolina. He picked up a documentary, one he recently watched and insisted I see?Inside Job. It analyzes the 2008 global financial crisis and exposes the insatiably swinish banksters responsible for the recession/depression?you know, the parasitic, gluttonous Wall Street criminals who control our political system. These are the predators, along with the D.C. “leadership”, who have me wailing the economic doomsday tune. Jeez, I actually felt like I could carve some names onto bullets. If I weren’t a peacenik.

Later in bed, I felt rage hitting the windmills’ blades. Finally, I said a mantra, one that someone sent me. Over and over, I said the words until those blades became sails. It helped a little, but not very much, too.



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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: missybeat@gmail.com

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