Maybe that’s what happens when the last thing you read about before you go to bed is that over the weekend Kim Jong Un did his 75th intercontinental missile test. He shot a missile 490 miles into the sea between North Korea, China and Japan. Independent observers say that it’s a step up from his previous shoots. This one, they’re saying, may be able to make it to the west coast of America. North Korea is saying as such:
In response, the United States is setting up a THAAD in South Korea. This stands for “Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System.” Many in South Korea don’t want it and are protesting.
So I woke in the middle of the night sweating. It’s not the kind of thing that you’d think a local radio guy would wake up having bad dreams about, and it isn’t usually. It’s just a warning to the three or four of you – don’t read about North Korea and their increasing ability to bomb the west coast of the United States and then go to bed. It’s not healthy for your dreams.
It’s not healthy for your dreams
to read about nuclear missiles
before going to bed.
It’s not good for your digestion
to watch the news
while you eat.
It’s not good for your love life
to read the Wall Street Journal
and then fool around.
There is a lot of hunger and angst
in the world right now.
You can feel it in the way
people drive and how
impatient they are in line at
Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Reality sucks, and so does
Don’t you long for the days when you
could kneel down next to your
bed and pray and it would
all go away?
I know, I know. There’s been fear and loathing going on in the national arena for as long as we’ve been a country. We’re always at risk. People are always coming at us.
But somehow right now I can sense the underlying fear. It’s palpable in the callers on the radio show. If the three or four of you listen to the show, over time, you can hear it too.
And when I go places and people stop me to talk, I can feel it then, too. They might just be talking about the choir coming in to WJOB to sing or they might be liking our Facebook Live video, or they might be pissed about Verlie being on the radio or that someone else is not. Whatever it is they’re telling me, on the air or not, I can sense the frustration, the fear, the malaise, the loneliness.
That’s part of what it is – loneliness. There is little sense that we are all in this together. You can feel it. Callers are quick to cut down one another, to cut down an idea, to shatter any sense of hope. And it’s not just callers. The nasty texts that come in as I’m talking, the combative Facebook comments or those on this blog or in emails or letters. Sometimes it seems as if the fear and frustration is coming from all directions. I’m bathing in a hot liquid of fear and frustration, lack of hope and want of something else.
And in this bath, I feel alone. Sitting there with a headset on, I become a lightning rod to take in the electricity of the moment and let it flow through me to the underground where the immensity of the jolt can be dispersed. No one’s injured if the lightning hits the rod and the energy travels down the side of the building and goes into the dirt.
But what about the lighting rod? I’m rambling now… but aren’t we all these days? Aren’t we all just rambling from one moment to the next? We watch with awe and horror as our president tweets the most ridiculous stuff every night. Some of it doesn’t make sense. Some of it is pure hate. Some of it isn’t even grounded in reality. For some of it – it’s about time.
Trump and all that he is doing in a nonsensical way is the embodiment of the fear and frustration, but he’s not the cause. Not by a country mile. The angst was already there when he got elected on a platform of “drain the swamp” and “lock her up.” I’ve told the three or four of you on the air that I take a guilty pleasure in watching Trump do even crazier stuff than the night before. It’s great theater and I love a good drama, just like you.
But anymore, I wake up in the middle of the night and I can feel “the horror,” as Joseph Conrad would say. And it’s not a good feeling to have when you gotta get dressed and put on the headset in a couple of hours. I’d really rather go to bed and dream-worry about things like the transmitter breaking down or not having enough in the checking account for payroll. These are real fears, but fears that can be addressed.
This underlying fear that we’re all carrying around… we really can’t tell exactly what it is. We can’t give it form, so it’s even scarier. It’s the arm under our bed that’s gonna grab us if we get up to go to the bathroom. It’s the something’s out there in the mist feeling as we walk down an alley. It’s the tumultuousness in our stomachs as we watch the nightly news. Something’s gotta give, and for now, it’s sleep. Another Thousand Words. Go back to bed.