Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gun Control

I've never paid any attention to firearms or legislation regarding firearms, mainly because I don't like guns and I can't spare any attention for such subjects. I have way too much to get wound up about already. I went to the pharmacy the other day though to pick up my most-recently-tweaked prescriptions for zoloft and this new one for anxiety which I don't think I like called buspiron or something. It's had me nauseous and paralyzed all week, which is why it's taken me so long to write again. The pharmacy is right next door to this Red Cross blood donation center so I had to walk by it on my way. In the window they had this sign which read "No guns allowed on premises." It wasn't official or anything, just typed up on a piece of paper and taped in the window. It struck me as really funny and really strange for some reason.

For one thing, I wondered who typed up the sign? Was it some Red Cross worker who had just had it with gun-carrying blood donors? Was it a volunteer who had seen one too many episodes of Dexter and grew fearful that someone would come hold her at gunpoint and demand blood? Was it someone who, like me, doesn't like guns, and, unlike me, refuses to accept them as a kind of compromise for living in this state? I can't imagine guns being a problem big enough to move someone to type up and hang such a sign at a blood donation facility.

Then, I suppose one might consider that the sign is meant to protect us, the general public, from getting blown away while giving blood. Of course, the Red Cross would want to protect their blood donors, but as a member of the general public and a potential blood donor, of all the places to get shot, I couldn't help but feel that a blood bank would seem more appropriate, even MOST appropriate. Aside from being shot in an actual hospital, a place like a blood donation facility with standards of sterilization, medical equipment, and a staff with at least a minimal amount of training, would be my choice of crime scene if someone were to shoot me.

I sat there and thought about this while I waited on my prescriptions, half chuckling, half thinking about writing about it if something more exciting didn't come along this week and kind of stared up at the ceiling. In the pharmacy, in all pharmacies anymore, there were cameras everywhere. I counted three just pointed at the cash register. Do they think a person robbing a pharmacy is really doing it for the cash? Are people even robbing pharmacies anymore? Aren't all the narcotics locked up and dispensed by machine? And if there is a Drugstore Cowboy out there among us, wouldn't he be carrying a gun? Why didn't the pharmacy have a "no gun" policy? I would think that, of the two, the pharmacy would be much more high-risk than the Red Cross, when it comes to gun violence.

When I got back in the car with Justin, I pointed out the sign. He does pay attention to anything gun-related, and keeps up with the politics. He said that it's actually illegal for them to post a sign banning guns from the premises. Everyone down here has guns, and carries them. To carry a hand gun, the law is that you must have a permit and have it concealed. A person who has their concealed hand gun permit wouldn't let their gun be seen, even while giving blood, rendering the sign even more problematic to me. Who was the sign meant to protect, indeed FROM whom was it meant to protect? Am I to believe that there are people illegally wielding firearms who also donate blood regularly enough to justify such a sign?

I've been laughing and thinking about that sign since Monday. I just can't think of a reason why someone, let alone enough people to require a sign, would want to carry a gun into a Red Cross facility. If you want to donate blood in this town, though, you best leave your guns at home, or be prepared to debate the legality of the sign in the window.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Check Your Pulse

I need to preface this by a few acknowledgements. First of all, it's been too long, I mean this to be weekly and my only excuse is that I had my Big Idea before I allowed myself to watch the morning news on Monday. Since then I've been seeing these weird parallels, as shocking to me as anyone. I'm trying to whittle it down but it will probably be a long self-psychoanalisys and ill-informed op-ed based on a half hour of news, Weekend Update, and YouTube videos.

First, my epiphany. Of course, I've known I've been born with this innate kind of survivor's remorse for no real reason, so I've dedicated my life to punishing myself for being blessed. I have tried everything to make the crushing guilt abate while being ever vigilant to anticipate all possible catastrophic scenarios and have a plan so I'm prepared, to head off the crushing anxiety. I've been totally unsuccessful. It's the epitome of futility. The guilt never goes away because the catastrophes are never what I'll expect and, being a hyper-critical, skeptical, Virgo, AND melancholy Wednesday's child lacking both trust and confidence, I've spent 34 years searching for something certain. If one person in the world can doubt an idea, clearly it's not concrete enough. I've been wandering around in a dark forest with a lamp, squinting into the horror of the darkness, stubbing my toes, falling down, torn to ribbons by briars, and being constantly terrified of what I'm already enduring and paralysed by guilt by dragging through the underbrush those I meant to protect. And all along I've had this lamp. If I quit trying to head-off the hell on Earth I seem to be manifesting myself and just look down, maybe I'll see that lamp illuminating my path and appreciate how pretty the leaves on the trees are and just take baby steps in the light as opposed to the total destruction of planning ahead in the pitch dark.

A plan like that is reasonable, only I can't stop the "what ifs?" I may be on my pretty path now, but what if I look up? What if it stops abruptly? What if it's not even the right path? Nothing is real, and everything is suspect if I can ask "what if?" So I've pared everything down to its most basic. That's why I try to keep my head down and limit as much input as possible, I'm better off. "I think, therefore I am?" Lost me. My thinking cannot be trusted. So what is real? Well, I think, therefore I'm alive. I'm alive! That's it! I can check my heartbeat any time. No question. From there the possibilities are endless! I didn't start my heart and I don't control its beating nor can I stop it so clearly there is a higher power, and there must be a path He set for me if I relinquish my compulsion to avoid destruction by being terrified in the dark and trust to look down and appreciate the lamp light.

So, I was pretty excited about being able to check my pulse at any time when I turned on the news for the first time in ages and the lead story, this is no joke, was a kid in Kansas who invented a locker soda vending machine where you can put money in a locker and get a Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew, followed by a commercial for a diabetes medication, an insurance company, fast food, hospital, new cars, and injury lawyers, which all seem to kind of cancel each other out. Check the pulse. Yeah, this is real. Then, Donald Trump. And Hillary. The sound was down for part of it but I have to say, based on body language alone, I found Hillary off-putting at best, and Trump at least appropriate. Then, with sound, Trump was using adjectives! Only psychopaths and politicians avoid adjectives. It doesn't occur to the former, the latter don't want to qualify anything on purpose. Trump has my attention. It's something totally new. That's exciting. Check the pulse.

This is not a platform to air my psychosis or my ill-informed political views, and normally I would never reveal anything about my thinking that may offend anyone, or worse, make me look stupid. But Donald Trump said in an old interview "I know I'm right and when I know I'm right, I don't question anything." I can't believe I'm quoting the Trumpeter, but never in my life would it have occurred to me to have to confidence to make such a declaration. No "what if?" So, it's in that spirit that I'm posting this, having no clue who thinks what or if I may offend or what is really real. This is a risk it's taken me a week to evaluate, until I realized, evaluation is another form of lack of trust and confidence, more squinting into the darkness, no absolutes. Press "Post." Check the pulse.