Great? Not Today.

January 20, 2017

My high school English teacher was big on avoiding what she called bland adjectives — amazing, fantastic, wonderful. Great she especially loathed. Even telling her to have a great day could result in a death stare, but perhaps I’m taking too much creative liberty.

She was very old then so chances are she is no longer with us. Maybe it’s better she doesn’t live in an age of Twitter and Trump, who is very fond of bland adjectives, especially great. He built an entire platform on great. If she isn’t already dead, it would kill her. Bigly.

Great, she argued, is also relative. A great day for a serial killer is someone else’s bad day. Can’t argue with that. Just like you can’t seriously argue that fifty years ago was a greater time for women or people of color. I’m going to go on a limb here and say civil rights violations and crotch grabbing seemed more likely fifty years ago, even with our new Groper-in-Chief. Some might find that scary; others just call it progress.

That said — it’s not a great day.

I had a professor who professed if you say something often enough, you start to believe it. At the time she used O.J. Simpson as an example. She was certain O.J. didn’t believe he was lying because he had told himself the lie until it became his truth.

“He actually believes what he’s saying,” she said.

Seems more like a sign of a psychopath, but she blamed his ego. With a big enough appetite, ego doesn’t care for truth. It’s an insatiable monster always looking to be fed. Ego will blind you, which explains Trump, and his hair — truth lying behind a carefully combed secret.

I’m quite certain she’s not having a great day either.

I’m trying not to be fearful here when fear is what got us into this mess. So I’ll just settle on today being a Not So Great, Very Bad Day for America. Today marks a day when everything that is unjust has been validated. Set aside party politics, we now have a man in charge who ran a campaign on fear, disrespect, intolerance and coyly courting racists. Sure, party loyalists can forget that bitter little pill. But he should have been crushed. CRUSHED. Period. Seat at the table – pulled away. Otherwise a disease spreads, as we have seen since (and before) the election, and I’m not even going to mention his views on climate change or yanking away health care for millions. America, you’re dating a douche. You can do better.

No, today I won’t be telling anyone to have a great day. Not when it is clear our country has a disease.

Today, I will say, is a day we must start looking for a cure.

Unbranded

grocery

Put me on a shelf,
Somewhere on aisle three,
Between peas and collard greens.
Pass the can opener,
Take a hit.
Grind my top,
Scoop out my soul.

Label me fuckin’ awesome
And you get a straight shooter.
Label me literary
Get me on The New Yorker.
Just label me so I’m not ignored.
That’d be the worst.

Don’t mind the gelatinous goo.
The beans between teeth.
Throw in the campfire and cowboy,
I need to get away for a while.

Whatever you do keep laughing.
Take the ironical bait,
While the ignorant slip through our fingers.
Quick, before we put on our glasses
And see the rise of the brand.
It’ll rhyme with Drumpf
And taste like steaks
Laced with salmonella and stupid,
With a dash of racism and misogyny.
Ah, delicious.

Let me stand on my soapbox a little longer,
The purge feels good.
Call me what you will
Just be sure to put a label on it so it could
Fit nicely on a shelf, cuz the grocer’s just doing his job, man.
Screw subtlety, it doesn’t exist anymore.
No one has time.

Stay in your lane, boy, you’re in drivers Ed now.
Eyes flashing between the dotted white lines,
Heart racing,
Pass that snowbird, driving through retirement
And cemented views.
Pass! Before you’re sold!

No. No. Stay neutral.
Leave politics alone
So the corrupt can rise.
Whatever you do, keep your brand alive.
Emblazed in gold, humility is dead.

Having a free thought?
Ask your doctor,
There may a prescription that’s right for you.
But it just may be a lobotomy.

-S. S. Hicks