Happy Anniversary to You, Me & this Wonderful, Screwed Up Little Blue Planet

10390427_10154190375260422_32656567362887161_nHappy Anniversary to us!

You and me, dear reader!  We made it a whole year!

Together we survived same sex marriage and Bashar al-Assad (although many did not) and drone strikes (ditto) and the Polar Vortex and the Putin Polka and the Koch Brothers and Operation American Spring and Ken Hamm’s hellacious hermeneutics and the overall general Hobby Lobbification of ’Murica.  For now, at any rate.

Hey, why don’t we grab a low-lit booth over there in the corner and reminisce over a cheese plate and a couple of ouzos?

Waiter, do you think you could play some Dave Brubeck?

That’s nice.

You don’t happen to have any brats back there in the kitchen?

Well, lookie here!  That’s not a Johnsonville, is it?  It is!  Suh-weet!

Ah, memories.

A shot of ouzo, a bun and brat & Thou.

Let us begin…

Last May, I was shopping at a mall and was disturbed by a violent event I had learned about on the news earlier that day. I was mad at myself that I should need pants at such a time! Then I realized that all times are “such times”—that, in fact, there are so many “such times” that someone—in fact, lots of someones in news rooms all over our Little Blue Planet—have to sift through all of the unimaginable daily madnesses to choose horrors for us to digest:

But, really, it’s even worse than that: because the handful of awful stories you and I become fixated upon (“concerned about,” pick your phrase) on a daily basis are just the ones that have been hand-selected for you by a team of media producers who are convinced those are the stories which will capture your attention TODAY.  Then TOMORROW. Then THE DAY AFTER THAT.

When I arrived home, I plunked down in front of my keyboard and wrote an essay about my thoughts, which I entitled “When Media Tragedy Overtakes the Man in the Mirror.”

What’s that?  No, I don’t actually remember whether I bought pants that day.  I’m pretty sure I was wearing pants at the keyboard, though.  Then again, maybe not.  (By the way, I wouldn’t look under the booth if I were you.  Here, have a wedge of Danish blue cheese.)

When I finished the essay, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  I used to write for Columbia City Paper, an infamous alt weekly rag here in Columbia, South Carolina.  But now it’s defunct.  (As you can imagine, a gonzo progressive newspaper in the Palmetto State has a limited shelf life.  It’s a miracle we lasted as long as we did—a fact which Dan Savage told us one night over drinks.)

Anyway, what to do with an essay about being mad at yourself for buying pants?

On a whim, I submitted it to Forward Progressives.

As luck would have it, Forward Progressives had a total dearth of pants-related articles at the time.  So they ran it.

Since then, you, me and several hundred thousand other readers have been going at this political conversation thing.  Google even informs me that there’s some guy or gal in Burkina Faso who tunes in every now and then.  For what it’s worth, folks in Ouagadougou should be on the lookout for anyone who runs around shouting about Pastor Pillow and the X-Rated Bible.

Here, have a piece of French Roquefort and a slug of ouzo.

They say the one-year anniversary symbol is paper—which is a little ironic given the medium of blogging.  Now, you don’t have to give me an anniversary present—oh, but you want to?  Aw, how sweet!

Here’s what I want more than anything in this world.

Print this article and find some inventive way to pass it to another reader—then describe what you did in the comment section.  (Yeah, yeah, trolls, we know, you used it to line your cat litter box.)

If you’re looking for ideas, the first one that comes to mind is leaving an origami of your favorite marsupial on a subway or park bench—even a pew in St. Patrick’s Cathedral will do.

A paper airplane would be good too:  climb the nearest tall building, let it go, and watch it find some unsuspecting reader below.  Lexical drone strikes are the only ones I approve of, by the by.

Finally, perhaps pen a prayer on the back, roll it up real tight, then stick it in the Western Wall on your next trip to Jerusalem.  And while you’re at it, please ask the Big Man to do something about those 24 idiotic states that refuse to expand Medicaid.  I’m not asking for lightning strikes, but if Yahweh feels an Old Testament mood coming on, who am I to argue?

But we digress—which, if you haven’t noticed, is an essential part of my writing style.  Loved by some, hated by others.  But I find reality a fascinating series of digressions that somehow wander about like noodles on a plate and form a palatable dish—especially if you have tasty meatballs.

Had enough of “Take Five”?  No problem.

Waiter, bring us the whole ouzo bottle and throw on Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd’s “Jazz Samba”:

Over the past year, I have spent my days and nights contemplating important progressive issues worthy of a reading conversation between you and me.  Then, come evening, I pony up to the keyboard, swing my coattails over the bench, crack my knuckles and commence to do my thang.

In total, I’ve started more than 80 such conversations with you in the past year.

Continued on page 2

Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina. Visit the archive for Arik’s campaign website, and check out his latest book, So I Ran for Congress. You can also follow his political activities on Twitter @Bjorn2RunSC and on Facebook. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!


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