Trade Offer: You Get One Deadly Virus, I Get One Rent Freeze

For me, the worst part of COVID was closing my business. For some, including a few people I know, the worst part was an order of magnitude more awful: the death of a loved one. And for others, it was being sentenced to eighteen months of confinement with loved ones they merely wished would die.

The best part of COVID? There were a ton of positive things! Stimmy checks, student loan postponement, the normalization of work-from-home, less traffic and thereby lower emissions, and a boon to the heretofore-lagging sweatpant industry.

I really enjoyed one thing above all of those, namely because I live in a bougie part of an expensive metropolitan area. My favorite part of COVID was rent concessions. In a world where rent always goes up, ours did not for two years.

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On Being Grateful And Not Dead Yet

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the USA. If you’re reading this at another time of the year, that’s okay as long as you accompany the essay with some leftover turkey. It can be deli turkey. I know getting an entire roast turkey in June is difficult.

I’m grateful for a lot of things, in both November and June. The rest of the year? I sway between (1) utter disdain for my circumstance and acquaintances and (2) disdain that is slightly less utter. But today, given the crisp fall or drippy summer air, I’m feeling especially reflective. That’s probably just the sweat and turkey grease giving me a healthy sheen.

But in addition to being glossy, I’m also thinking back on the year and all the things for which I’m grateful. I’ll share a few with you here.

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The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Hunter Biden

The key to solving inflation, immigration, crime, fentanyl, gay marriage, abortion, sex trafficking, and transgender people using restrooms is simple:

We must investigate Hunter Biden.

I know what you’re thinking: what does Hunter Biden have to do with any of these real and imagined problems the ascendant Republican majority promised to address? Isn’t this just another case of the GOP leveraging the optics of a fight against a mythical dragon? And aren’t they more interested in fundraising from sheep who are scared shitless of dragons than in actually killing the non-existent beast?

WRONG. Hunter Biden is the pre-eminent threat to your family’s safety, security, and bathroom privacy. He’s coming for you, unless the Republicans can stop him. And they can’t stop him without your $27 recurring donation. Unless, of course, you want them to tell Donald Trump that you didn’t care enough to help.

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Provocatively Combining Words For Fun And Zero Profit

“If you wrote something a while back, but haven’t written anything lately, you’re not a writer. You’re someone who has written.”

I heard someone say this online recently. I thought it was odd that this unfamiliar dude would call me out personally in front of everyone like that. Typical anonymous internet sources, always being jerks.

He had a point, though. Writing is like playing a sport. I used to play football, many decades ago when I was young and my thick skull could take the trauma. But to call myself a football player today would be a massive stretch, and let’s face it: my 46-year-old groin isn’t that flexible. It’d be more accurate to say I have played football, in the present perfect tense. I know that’s the present perfect tense because, as one who has written, I have studied the intricacies of English grammar. And, accordingly, I have been fun at parties. Even with my inflexible, aging groin.

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Life Is What Happens While You’re Busy Watching Big Cats Get Busy

“I’m pretty sure no one here has a single clue as to what they’re doing.”

Somewhere between the third and eighth security check, my negativity went from frustration to sadness to anger. It made scheduled on-time stops at “what the fuck?” and “you’ve got to be kidding me!” I’m immensely familiar with both neighborhoods.

I had arrived in Kenya a few weeks earlier with the rehearsed acceptance of an intellectual, tolerant liberal. “Their way is not wrong or right, it’s just different!” I’d tell myself at the first, second, and four-hundredth illogical inconvenience. And I’d traveled enough to know that each one of those illogical inconveniences was lining up in anticipation of my arrival.

I came from the air-conditioned, 246-years-removed-from-colonization Land of the Free. I’m a white man from a country—and planet—where white men historically get their way, and my expectations of “how things ought to be” are often just thinly-veiled privilege.

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Look, How About You Save Your Daylight For Someone Who Actually Cares?

Happy End of Daylight Saving Time!

Thank goodness it has finally ended. The post-work sunshine was starting to interfere with my allotted hours of solitary introspection. Besides, what’s the point of the sun when my fields lie fallow and I shan’t plant again until the raven’s ca-caw at Spring’s first light! You know, those fields I tend from my apartment and such.

This time of year, I like to settle in with my sleeping cap firmly upon my head and drift off to peaceful slumber in the 4:30 pm darkness. Sure, it’s terrifying for my Uber passengers, but those control freaks need to take that up with their therapists. Or maybe choose an Uber that doesn’t have a sleeping-cap-wearing driver.

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A Billionaire And A Gay Prostitute Walk Into The Public Square…

Recently, a deranged Canadian immigrant attempted to upend the government of the United States by means of violence. I mean, a deranged Canadian immigrant other than Ted Cruz, though that would have been a solid guess.

No, I’m talking about a different cuckoo Canuck, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to write his name here and give him the publicity of my 17 followers.

Statue with face in hand, with quote "It's impressive, the lengths to which a sizable minority of our country will go to ignore logic and seize upon a completely unbelievable explanation."
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You Must Believe You Can Catch The Fly

My dog, Lemmy, is obsessed with flies.

It’s beautiful these days in Northern Virginia, where Lemmy resides. To that end, I find myself working from our balcony and leaving the door open. I enjoy the fresh air. And the constant roar of Reagan National Airport reminds me of a simpler time when great winged beasts filled the skies with hellfire and fury. Sometimes, I simultaneously play the fife and lute to augment the ambiance. It isn’t easy, but that’s the level of authenticity I bring to imaginary scenarios.

Having the door open allows all creatures great and small to wander in and out as they please. Well, “all creatures” with either wings or access to the elevator.

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Observe The Dog Biting Your Child

“Is it just me, or is that really stupid?”

The lady gestured broadly toward the six adults chatting across the dog park. I had been thinking the same thing and found myself catapulted onto my feet like I’d been swept up at a tent revival. The open invitation compelled me to commiserate with my newly-found kindred spirit.

Minutes before, a little girl in that oblivious group’s “care” had met me at the gate. Her grabby little mitt thrust through the chain-link holes as she yelled “DOGGIE!” at my little buddy. I’ll give her credit; Lemmy is indeed a doggie. But he’s a very particular kind of doggie: the kind that doesn’t like children. Or little people. Or people with crutches or walkers. Or people who run, or seated people who then elect to stand up. Or men.

He makes a begrudging exception for me, mostly because I have treats. And I always share them with him.

Lemmy is a rescue dog. We don’t know much about his earliest experiences, as we adopted him when he was around one year old. We weren’t able to conceive a dog naturally, so it was our best option. Maybe check your privilege, okay?

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Bring This Essay To Your Next Gun Fight

Police have a tough job.

It’s not a particularly high-paying career, especially starting out. You’re expected to deal with people who dislike and distrust you for no good reason, other than that you’re an authority figure. The work is physically demanding and mentally stressful, and there’s a chance you’ll get shot in the line of duty.

Sorry, did I say police? This was supposed to be my description for teacher. I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and I “accidentally” drew one rhetorical weapon when I meant to grab another. But I guess this works pretty well for cops, too.

It seems that cops are getting a bad rap lately, and while we can debate the reason, one possibility is their propensity to kill unarmed people.

While I can’t personally fix that, I can sell you some rhetorical ammunition without a thorough background check. Use the ideas here for your next family dinner, Reddit conversation, or wherever else you might encounter a bootlicker on whom you’d like to viciously dunk.

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