Editor's note: Walt Amses is a writer and former educator who lives in Calais.
[I]’m not far away but I might as well be on Pluto. The silky water of the pond suspends and surrounds me like a giant gossamer web, spun by the world’s friendliest spider, who’s also a therapist. My objective is to forget about everything I know -- except how to swim, of course -- although even that seems too much of a requirement in an otherwise borderline perfect oblivion, where nothing seems to matter, particularly the everyday nonsense that we’re enticed into mistaking as important.
All systems are go -- blue skies with a couple of brushstroke cirrus clouds and a bald eagle slowly circling, brilliant sunshine and hardly a breeze -- perfect for being subsumed into the surroundings. But as I languidly make my way toward the rocky, distant shore, I can’t prevent my mind from bouncing in and out of the real world like the ecstatic dragonflies dancing along the bank.
In the “How stupid are we?” department, I think marketing Mad Men assume “very” and behave accordingly, foisting products and campaigns on the public that should have even the most malleable among us wrestling over the nearest barf bag. “America” -- the rebranded effluent of a beer produced by Budweiser, a company ironically situated in Belgium since 2008 and the largest brewing company in the world, will be on the shelves until Election Day in November.
I felt harassed. Perhaps that’s why Roger Ailes slithered into my consciousness.
“America”? Really? Didn’t we even have the name copyrighted? Did South America or Canada get a vote on this? At first I was baffled, thinking to myself ... “This isn’t what America’s about ... mind numbing sameness ..." until I realized that increasingly, that’s precisely what we’re heading for. How we got here is certainly debatable but we’re becoming so afraid of being left out that we appear to be willing to jump on any bandwagon that goes by. I have an innate fear of bandwagons.
For instance, right now I’m ignoring Pokémon Go -- whatever that is. I’m sure I’ll find out when it’s obsolete, like I did with practically everything else. While I was ignoring Facebook, I also missed Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Linkedin and Digg. Those are only the “things” I know I missed; I’m also sure I missed things I don’t know I missed and I don’t even know what they were called. Most troubling, I sound like Donald Rumsfeld.
My sunshine daydream is interrupted by a deer fly the size of small bird trying to take advantage of my arms being engaged to rip off a piece of my neck. When I eventually swat him, he explodes like a special effect in a Wes Craven movie and I wonder if all the blood covering my hand came from from a rabid raccoon. I felt harassed.
Perhaps that’s why Roger Ailes slithered into my consciousness. About to be ousted from Fox News for sexually harassing -- among others -- Megyn Kelly, I devoured the irony: Donald Trump, who sexually harassed Kelly on national television locked up the GOP nomination in Cleveland, where NRC convention delegates were treated to the wisdom of Scott Baio, the “Hillary is Lucifer” argument from the ever-drowsy Ben Carson, and Melania Trump’s opening night remarks, eloquently cribbed from Michelle Obama.
I’m startled back to staying afloat when a loon pops up close enough for me to look into his demonically crimson eyes. Like Carrie’s prom photo. As he seemingly tries to figure out what I am and if I’m a threat, I remember hearing of a loon attacking a swimmer, so I’m as wary of him as he of me. We slowly go our separate ways and he disappears below the surface looking for fish, which makes me think of lunch, heading for shore, content with having stolen a fleeting midsummer hour.