10 February 2022

The Human Condition

I watched a segment on CBS Morning News where they talked to David Magee about his new memoir Dear William, about losing his son to an accidental drug overdose. I agree that it was tragic, that the family dynamics played a role in everything, that the combination of teen depression and availability of drugs to freaking everyone played a role - However, one thing that struck me was that everyone agreed that "this generation is different", because they're facing so many crises, and there are so many drugs, and etc.  Really?  

Welcome back to the 1960s. 

In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis increased the number of active nuclear defense drills - "drop and cover" - against a nuclear annihilation that seemed ever more imminent. 

1962 - Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, beginning the long battle to save the planet - and ourselves - from ourselves. 

1963 - John F. Kennedy's assassination.

1961-1975 - The Vietnam War: endless deaths, endless napalm; Buddhist priests setting themselves on fire; watching as prisoners were shot in the head; My Lai massacre; naked girls running screaming down the road; "We had to destroy the village in order to save it"; all broadcast nightly while we ate our dinners and pretended everything was going great. 

the 1960s - the Civil Rights movement; watching dogs, hoses, bats, set on groups of non-violent protesters, live on TV. 

1965 - the Watts Riots. Makes everything since pale in comparison. 

1966 - Richard Speck AND Charles Whitman the same damn year. The Boston Strangler throughout the 1960s. And many, many more. 

BTW, the first death of a person my own age was when a 14 year old fellow student died of an illegal Mexican abortion. (We all knew she'd been knocked up by someone in the family.)

The first non-relative's dead body I ever saw was another fellow student who died of a heroin overdose. Before fentanyl.

1968 - The assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. I was 14, and both - along with the death of the girl mentioned above - gutted me. And the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention was enough to make our Founding Fathers throw up in their graves.

We've forgotten the level of acceptable violence towards women and children in the 1960s, 1970s, even early 1980s. It was quite common to see black eyes, swollen jaws, bruised arms, etc. in the grocery store. Everyone ignored it. Children were whipped to bruises and cuts - just discipline, that's all. 

Speaking of what you could do to women and children, as I've said before, in 1961 my neighbors' college-aged son tried to molest me when I was six years old. No repercussions, other than my father built a fence between our houses and they never spoke to the neighbors again. God only knows what that frat boy got up to in later life. 

And catty-corner across the street was a family which took in foster kids. All of us kids knew that the dad was molesting the girls, but we also knew that if we said anything, we were going to be in trouble, because we weren't supposed to even know such things could happen. 

Also across the street were Annie, Mabel, and Frank, two silent movie actresses and their live-in boyfriend (not sure if he was he or she) who were doing just fine, thanks to royalties, cigarettes, and wine. Perhaps the most normal people in the neighborhood. 

Oh, and there was the overwhelming legal use of liquor in public. Public drunkenness was taken for granted. Take a look at the characters in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and in The Best Years of Our Lives.  ("the sixth martini" in The Thin Man...)  Suburban housewives like my mother drank because they were bored, lonely, not allowed to get a job or a degree, and perhaps came from a long line of violent alcoholics, and there was nothing else to do. Drunk driving was no big deal - depending on who you were, the most that would happen is you'd get stopped and they'd drive you home. MADD wasn't even founded until 1980. 

And you combine that alcohol with prescription drugs - well, we may not have had oxy, but there was Darvon, Valium, Seconal and Miltown for the anxious, amphetamines (Benzedrine, Dexadrine, etc.) for the tired housewife and long-haul trucker. All the over the counter diet meds were straight up dexy. There were a lot of accidental overdoses then, too, including Judy Garland's.  And a few deliberate ones.  And all the kids knew where the liquor and the drugs were, and helped themselves... 

Different? I don't think so. 

"Our ignorance of history makes us malign our own times:  People have always been like this." - Gustave Flaubert


Meanwhile, Florida man is back!  


38-year old Bradford Weitzel, of Port St. Lucie, told Martin County Sheriff’s Detectives that he couldn’t find his car after leaving a Martin County bar early this morning, so he stole one in a good faith effort to locate his own. He said he somehow ended up on the train tracks along Indian River Drive. That’s when Weitzel claims the vehicle he stole suddenly stopped dead on the tracks as a train was coming. So he said he got out and ran, leaving the car on the tracks. Within seconds, the train hit the car, catapulting it into a nearby home where the homeowners were sound asleep. Fortunately, they were not physically injured, although the explosive sound of a driverless car smashing into the side of their home was clearly jolting. Meanwhile, Weitzel continued on to a nearby fruit stand, where he vandalized the business then tried to steal a forklift. In the end, Weitzel said he thought it was best to flag down the responding deputies to let them know he was still looking for his car.  Bradford Weitzel was arrested and charged with Grand Theft, and Criminal Mischief. Additional charges are expected.  We told you a title was not possible."  



BTW, Our South Dakota legislature passed, and our Governor Noem signed, a bill that bans transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams. (Link)  Meanwhile, the best transgender athlete in the State is a transgender boy who plays football on the boys' team and is really good. 

In February, after an hour of testimony during which lawmakers and parents aired their fears of letting trans students play sports on teams that conform with their identities, a few opponents of the bill were allowed to speak. In his confident voice, Kris beamed in over Zoom: “One of the many things I've learned in my life is that people do not say anything until you do.”

He detailed his experience, having had to switch schools to play football. He said no kid should fear playing sports because of their gender identity, their race, or anything else. “No child should ever have to go through that kind of hurt—being shunned because you did not fit the standards of their expectations…. All I want to do is be a kid and play what I love, which is football and sports in general.” (LINK)

So far, he's not included in the law, but... give it time. He's got a hard row to hoe, damn them. 

More later, from South Dakota, where we talk like Mayberry, act like Goodfellas, but hey, at least we're not stealing forklifts to find our missing car. Yet.


  1. Amazing that certain circumstances and mental states can make the most bizarre decisions seem like good ideas. That is something that apparently knows no generation.

  2. Yep. I know someone whose first robbery was to hold up a florist... apparently he thought that's where the money was. He was wrong.

  3. As a former prosecutor and resident of Florida for 30 years, I can tell you that the most common words to be found in Florida Man stories are, "Alcohol was involved." The key to your story was, "...after leaving a Martin County bar...."

    Thanks for the reminder that the romanticized '60s weren't all peace, love and happiness. Having lived through them, though, I still think that what's happening now is far worse. Thank goodness we have Florida Man to distract us.

  4. Thanks Eve. Great as usual. Yeah, people act like the sky is falling. Y'all LITERALLY HAD A DOOMSDAY CLOCK COUNTING DOWN. Just saying. Keep up the great work!

  5. That's right - I'd forgotten about the Doomsday clock! Fun times!

  6. After 25 years of working the streets, it's been my experience that people rationalize their behavior as being okay for what they are about to do. Makes me worry about the gene pool.

  7. Yeah, I remember when drunk driving was considered fun & cool. Also the racism was absolutely unbelievable & it was everywhere. I don't know anyone who would say it nowadays, but a popular expression was, "You're free, white & 21," meaning, go ahead & do as you please!

    Here in Canaduffalo we've had an epidemic of people driving cars into buildings. This one is apparently about an old lady who waited too long to get glasses:

    "A driver lost control and rammed into the Sheridan Drive side of the Stanton Optical business at Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan, injuring one worker, about 9:30 a.m. Friday, according to Town of Tonawanda police. The worker, who remained conscious but was shaken up, was taken for medical treatment. The business was closed for a damage assessment and the start of repair work. The driver, whose name has not been released, has not been charged. The accident remains under investigation."

  8. Forklifts… (sigh) We can't seem to help it, Eve. Fools don't realize rear-wheel steering takes a little bit to get used to it.

    Although we fought against the Vietnam War and fought against the draft, we were also conscious we had it much, much easier than our parents fighting WW-II and our grandparents sandwiched between two World Wars and having to deal with the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the Spanish Flu, and not even a drink to cope, thanks to Prohibition.

    At a very young age, I was exposed to adult discussions and a slide presentation about atomic bombs, complete with bomb pellets from Hiroshima. They thought I was too young to understand. I fucking wasn’t. I couldn’t fathom how adults could do this to one another. Every night when I would hear planes overhead, I was convinced sooner or later they would start dropping bombs. No child should have to live with that. And men aren’t the only molesters… I can personally attest to that.

    I don't like to malign young generations and that determination to protest injustice lives on, but the face a shortage… a shortfall of really serious issues, God forbid we don't look outside our borders for more. Now we argue and debate gender pronouns with little quarter given and none asked. #CancelCulture hasn't burned itself out as it's still applied to the most minor of issues.

    In a way, we've made things too easy. I don’t want anyone's child to face going to war, and I don't want anyone lynched or even pestered over the color of their skin, but damnation. Turn that outrage into getting everyone vaccinated. Take a few ethics, economics, and civics courses and run for Congress. Clean house, so to speak.

    Eve, I started to write more, but perhaps I’ll make it an article. I liked yours and thank you.

  9. Great Job Eve. Thanks for refreshing our minds about the glorious 60's and the power of alcohol, not to mention gang warfare, drive by shootings, innocent people gunned down sitting on their front steps, extreme racism, and presidential assassinations.


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