Monday, February 15, 2021

Q and A

No, not Qanon. They are a different question and answer.

In the decade of the 1930s when capitalism was on the brink of extinction, I look to pop culture to describe the way it was. Movies provided us with the stuff of dreams. Crooners crooned, killing us softly with a song. Ma Perkins always had a pie in the oven. Dr. Goodfellow would be making a housecall soon and scribble a prescription that would make us whole in seven days whether we took it or not.

Jigsaw puzzles were the craze. I had a few myself. I vaguely remember spreading out all those pieces looking for the straight edges of cloud or brook. And when I finally got the brook to stop babbling along with all the other irregular shards it was always an idyllic scene as if, as Rimbaud said, It was of Eden I was dreaming.

Detective stories were also widely read, watched or listened to. We wanted answers by the last page or final reel. This disintegrating, baffling, indifferent world must be put to right, brought to justice or tidied up. Somebody was to blame and we had Ellery Queen, Charlie Chan or Sam Spade to dig up the truth along with an army of private eyes, cops sleuths and mild-mannered guys with a cape under their white shirt to do battle with evil, those crooks, rustlers and mad scientists.

Radio also gave us answers with Dr. I.Q., Information Please, the Quiz Kids and the Answer Man to name a few. Life was a quiz. If only…….

Today we’re still looking for What’s Wrong with this Picture. The Republican Party is a jigsaw with leaders talking out of both sides of their irreconcilable mouths. Some voters can’t make up their minds as if they had a mind to make up. What evil lurks in the hearts of men? What drives a person to relinquish his autonomy and hand it over to a flimflam artist? What primal fear compels a man to become a feral beast? How does a nurturing woman who fiercely advocates for the life of a fetus care not a hoot about the life of a person born? Why would a voter turn against government, the very institution, which provides them with healthcare, unemployment insurance, living wage, clean water, unadulterated medication, and old-age security? What makes a person militate against their own well-being?

Sorry, Virginia, there are questions with no answers. Live with it. For some, Mercury is always in retrograde. Nothing aligns. There are pieces missing to the puzzle and no straight edges. Crimes, against which Captain Marvel is still marveling and Krypton looks like that proverbial Better Place we all seem to go according to the obits.

Yes, the world is in flux…….but it’s always been fluxing. What was good enough for Grand Dad was not really good enough for him. He, too, was yearning for an imagined time. The elevator operator lost his job. So did the Chinese laundryman. And the soda-jerk. The milkman is finished and the guy who drove the Good Humor truck. Where are all the floorwalkers? All gone. Get over it.

Those early movies taught us an essential life lesson. We learned to distinguish between the real and the fantasy. We walked into the dark theater with eyes still wide with the sun and staggered out three hours later as if back to Kansas from Oz. We knew to expect that bullet aimed at our hero’s heart was only a flesh wound requiring a bandaged head by next Saturday. We didn’t live in that penthouse with parents in tuxedos. We just accepted the illusion and somehow knew it wasn’t our reality. Not an answer to hard-times, just another piece of the puzzle we instinctively put in its place. The answer may be blowing in the wind but it is just out of reach; we need to keep yearning.   

As for Qanon they need to be either arrested, committed or deprogrammed, one nitwit at a time. 




  1. Well, Norm, you really hit it on the head!!!
    I am thoroughly enjoying your book The Bus to Elsewhere!
    Thank you for writing it, A

  2. Thanks for letting it in. Think of it as the 3rd shot against Covid.