There is something in us that looks for correlatives, signs within that correspond to that external world which exists on cable news or right outside the window. It is as if we might align our private life with the events of history on one long continuum. Historical events we find ourselves in the midst of have their way with our psyche whether we know it or not. Sometimes we mirror the news, other times we may act out its opposite.
In literary terms the objective correlative can sometimes be regarded as a tired, cheap shot. The patient is dying while outside the bedroom window a leaf is in advanced state of decay. The dark and stormy night references the weather inside the house as much as outside. Yet art of any kind conveys emotion best when revealed indirectly and not told.
When Rudyard Kipling visited Japan on his prolong honeymoon it was Kyoto’s season of cherry trees in bloom. He wrote about walking under this blizzard of petals as well as an azalea tree on the verge of bursting with fruit. All of this was possibly code for his wife’s pregnancy.
Four days ago was the 57th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. The shooting took place one day before my daughter, Janice’s, first birthday. Lke many one-year old babies she was not talking yet. In fact she wasn’t even babbling; she was congenitally deaf. We had suspicions but no confirmation of her hearing loss yet I had witnessed her sleeping through loud noises. One doctor brushed it off, another confirmed our worst fears. While probably not historically accurate I conflate the Kennedy shooting with my daughter’s diagnosis. It felt like an assassination.
April 12, 1945, Thursday afternoon. I was coming home from Hebrew School, about a year in advance of my Bar Mitzvah when the news hit the street: Franklin Roosevelt was dead. People were openly weeping as if giving permission to each other. For me it was his voice now gone. Roosevelt was my President, the only President in my lifetime and he was more than that. His intonations shivered me with a beneficent divinity. I realized he was my God. His death was, for me, the death of my religious belief.
My body is in its Trumpian upheaval. A whistle has been blown. The deconstruction of our Democracy under his malicious imbecility is matched by the precipitous fall of my anatomy. Suddenly arthritis is having its way with me from ankles to shoulders. My joints are inflamed and testifying loudly. Bones are conspiring to overthrow my constitution. I am being impeached.
I can’t blame Donald alone for all this. Like the Fuhrer he needed help. I blame the invertebrates in Congress who have made a Faustian pact to throw a blind eye and deaf ear at the miscreant in order to serve another term. Perhaps only a spontaneous remission can save my architecture and the structure of government conceived by our Founders.
The only good that comes to mind about Trump's presidency is the Golden Age of Comedy it has engendered. However Peggy's love along with her irrepressible spirit and creativity are ample compensation for me. The more I moan the more she flows. So I shall shut up; I'm a lucky guy.