Super Propaganda

I’d rather observe hair grow than sit in front of the TV and watch the Super Bowl.

It’s not just the brutality of body and head collisions and that the athletes/combatants are at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E) but also that the game is four quarters of military-recruitment war porn, a nauseating display of nationalism.

Plus, I have important tasks to accomplish and a deadline. Papers to shred, encumbrances to shed, other STUFF to pack for storage. Cue George Carlin here.

My friend Casey texted an image last night: two email icons with: “THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD”. One of the envelopes had no email and the other: 13,678.

I checked my email—more than 10,000 in unread and over 49,000 total. I’ve kept emails from readers, perhaps from you and you and you and you. And I’m grateful for your responses. I guess that’s why I’ve been unable to delete. Except a few of those I’ve written about from someone with a congenial greeting in the subject line, followed by “Fuck you, cunt,” in the body.

Anyway, the condo’s in contract with a closing date of March 1. I have no destination, one of the reasons I’m molting.

And this necessity to lighten extended to the heaviness of the email. I began to delete. My son H came in and offered to help. Tedious work it was. He took the computer. “Who’s this?” Many were people I couldn’t identify. Some I could, because, well, you’ve been writing for years. We’re like family.

I thought of one, an expat, David, who wrote from London. He left the U.S. years ago after living wild. He described a life of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll in NYC’s Washington Square Park. In one email, he’d present a Sufi parable. In another, he’d chastise, tell me I didn’t reveal enough of the personal to him. Occasionally, he’d send a stomp-foot threat, “I’m not writing you again,” but he’d return a few weeks later. He said he’d joined Mensa (big red-flag narcissism here) but decided the people he met were no more interesting than anyone else. Since I’m visual and he’d provided nourishment for my fertile mind, I formed an impression. I knew he was older than I, yet I created someone vibrant, youthful. Then he sent a photo. He was sitting on his bed, surrounded by books, and he was thin, shockingly emaciated, faded. Another writer who also corresponded with him said David was in poor health, was a genius and probably insane, told me he was glad David was separated from me by an ocean. I think David died. He didn’t stop writing after a tirade. Contact ended during one of our simpatico periods.

David’s missing from my library of emails now. Along with sites I’d registered for and didn’t have time to read, like So many. So many sites, that I’m forced to admit I possibly could have hoarder tendencies. Not someone who lines the walls with cardboard pizza boxes and newspapers. Not someone who can’t walk to the bathroom without climbing obstacles of items that colonize and consume space. But of people. I want you in my life. You and you and you and you. Human beings.

You, other friends, my children, Mr. Poop-adore, the Sisterhood. In my life. For small dinner parties, conversation, and laughter, wherever I am. But not to sit in front of the TV for the Super Bowl—four quarters of the flag and military flyovers—super propagandizing American exceptionalism.

Addendum: It was just announced that Ken Stabler had C.T.E. See this link for other former NFL players affected by the degenerative brain disease.

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: