Notes From Otherground

By Brian Arsenault

Fyodor Dostoyevsky



Freeport, Maine.  (With apologies to Dostoyevsky, but you’re long winded anyway. Sorry to everyone else for the gratuitous remark about D.)


OK, I’m done. Finito. Kaput.

Brian Arsenault
Brian Arsenault


I will not be monitoring my time in the sun this summer. It’s a natural place to be. I may not even use sunscreen. Do you know how few warm sunny days we get in the north country? I am afraid of the cold that never ended this winter. Not the sun.

I am also not afraid of my gas grille exploding, sharks biting off my leg (Why not a shark hunting season, they hunt us), drones over the house, lyme disease, mosquito-borne nasty stuff, and distracted drivers. I will not be afraid to walk across the yard or through the woods though I may hate to drive at times in case my airbag shreds me with shrapnel after being hit head on by someone avoiding a bicyclist.

(Note to self: do not swerve to avoid a bicyclist out in the car lane going one tenth my speed; I don’t like riders’ fashion sense anyway.)

When Christmas rolls around I will not be afraid of my tree being engulfed in flames, poisonous gases from wrappings thrown in the fireplace, tainted eggnog or worn strings of light zapping me.

In other words, I’m done.

A favorite band of mine, Gladshot, sings about the cultural control combination of dumb entertainment with scare mongering. For proof, watch a couple days of Good Morning America.

Cute puppies alternate with deadly diseases, even deadly diseases from cute puppies. I swear if I ever get a dog again I will pick the ugliest pooch in the pound.

Summer vacation destinations juxtaposed with the latest Asian air disaster. There’s even implied cultural superiority to those “Asians” dropping planes like ducks during hunting season.

I am also going to eat eggs, bacon, sausage, all kinds of fatty meats and fried things. Are onion rings not the greatest contribution to the American diet? Bet they were invented at a state fair where people are happy, or used to be. Also on my list of desired foodstuffs: white pasta, bread and potatoes, cookies and all things chocolate.

And don’t tell me how many (meaning few) glasses of wine are acceptable on a given day. I’ll drink the whole bottle if I want. Reds are good for the heart – at least in the latest study — so more red must be more good.

Look folks, we aren’t here for eternity. A favorite old guy of mine — when I could call someone else an old guy — said that “in the long run, we’re all dead.” And son of a gun, much to my disappointment, he didn’t turn out to be immortal. It’s only a question of what’s gonna get you in the end. Speaking of ends, my doctor says that any guy who lives long enough will get prostate cancer. Life will try to take away everything before it takes you. Count on it.

I have lived to see comic books become movies; with less intelligence. I have lived to see disc jockeys in front of big lit screens give “concerts.” I have lived to see the Duggars and Kardashians become stars (sorry, that’s a cheap shot, they aren’t any worse than How I Married My Mother or whatever that show was.) I have lived to see junk email, which I may start reading sometime.

Given such and so many more horrors of the digital (could anything be less human than “digital”) age, would you really want to see what’s coming in another half century?  Millenials might even be recognized as individuals.

That’s another thing: sick of the labels – boomers, gens x and y (sounds like Dr. Seuss), white this, black that. Just give me a few wondrous people across my path now and again. The rest is stupid.
And no, I don’t want to pay with my smartphone. Oh, I already did. Without even taking it out of my pocket.

Well, you can’t fight progress. You can, though, subvert it at times and confront it always with a bad attitude.

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To read more reviews, essays and columns by Brian Arsenault click HERE.

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