Too many weeks “like this”

hitting things

sky's The LimitIn response to my most recent request to Ask Roger Anythingfillyjonk writes: Green says “I hope I don’t have a lot more weeks like this” after having several people in his life die and wow, I have had WAY too many weeks “like this” these past couple years. (ANOTHER friend at church lost her husband on Saturday). I’ve stared into the abyss altogether too much these past few years but find I have few answers

While I’m unclear whether it is an actual question or an observation, the narrative is compelling enough to try – emphasis on TRY – to answer it. The short answer is that I don’t know. Sometimes, I feel that I don’t know anything. But I keep throwing things against the wall, hoping some of them stick.

Releasing the rage

For one, I yell at the television when certain people are saying… the polite term is BS. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating perhaps from 2015. Lindsay Graham, for instance, is far more frustrating to me than people who are always awful, like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Josh Hawley. After expelling the anger, I feel better. No harm is done. Furniture and people are intact.

Recently, I mentioned to Arthur that a Dear Abby letter actually enraged me, much to my surprise. Basically, a family member thought another in his tribe was grieving for too long. She had “overstayed her time on the pity potty.” Abby for her part disagreed with the letter writer. Having allowed myself to be angry, it dissipated.

For far too long, I had tended to try to suppress my anger as “not nice” until I would blow a gasket. One needs to release the steam from the radiator.

Boy, I miss playing racquetball. That was a really good release of tension, hitting a bouncy thing with a fancy stick. I’m reminded that when I got really perturbed, I would find a stick, maybe a tree branch that had fallen, and strike it against a telephone pole or another item unlikely to be damaged. Therapeutic.

Can’t nothing be love but love 

On a Vlogbrothers post titled Motivation in Hard Times, John Green noted that he used to operate out of anger and resentment. And for a while, that worked for him. He showed up his old writing teacher who said he wasn’t good enough to be in his class. Ha! He had books published and then turned into movies. But ultimately, and he is a tad embarrassed by it, hesky's The Limit says it comes down to love.

In February, Dua Lipa interviewed Stephen Colbert on his show. She asked him about his faith. He said it’s “‘connected to the idea of love and sacrifice being somehow related and giving yourself to other people.'”

Surely, love is the optimal route. Yet you also need to find a term that’s become almost a cliche, self-care, whatever that is. It might be playing with stuffed animals or listening to music or reading comic books or getting a massage. Writing helps me somewhat. It’s naturally different for everyone.

I wish you well.

Signed, Dear Abby

The name Abigail Van Buren came from a Biblical woman and a one-term President.

Even as a child in Binghamton, NY, I religiously read Ann Landers in the morning paper, the Sun-Bulletin, and Dear Abby in the Evening Press. When the papers merged, both columns appeared.

Someone of a younger vintage might not appreciate the impact of the social significance of these columns written for many years by twin sisters, born July 4, 1918. Ask Ann Landers was originally the pen name created by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Ruth Crowley in 1943, but it was taken over by Eppie Lederer in 1955, and used until her death in 2002 when the name was retired; it was Eppie with whom the pseudonym was most identified.

A few months after Eppie became Ann, Pauline Phillips started the similar Dear Abby; the name Abigail Van Buren came from a Biblical woman and a one-term President. The sisters feuded for years. Pauline’s daughter Jeanne Phillips, took over Dear Abby in 2002, officially, when Pauline’s Alzheimer’s became known, though, in fact, Jeanne’s participation went back to her time as a teenager.

I long preferred Ann to Abby. I thought she was more tolerant, especially after her 1975 announcement about the end of her 32-year marriage.

Yet it was Dear Abby, by the structural simplicity of the pen name, which was the better known of the two. “Dear Abby” generated many more references in popular culture, such as this piece by the Bitchy Waiter. My favorite is the song Dear Abby by John Prine [LISTEN].

Pauline Phillips, the original Dear Abby, died on January 16.
Conrad Bain died this week. I must note that I wasn’t a big fan of Diff’rent Strokes, which was about this rich white man, who had a young daughter, adopting two black kids. Arnold often said to his brother, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” I think it was supposed to be funny.

I did watch and enjoy Bain on Maude as Dr. Arthur Harmon, her neighbor, and Republican foil to her liberal views.

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