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San Francisco Carnaval Parade

June 1st, 2002

Be So Sure
Home from work around three this afternoon and then crawl into bed for a short nap. I guess it was a nap, one of those lie down and go into a rather pleasant half asleep, half awake dream hugging a pillow. One of those times you wish you weren't a crusty old bachelor and you had someone nice to hold to. Crusty old bachelors aren't always crusty. Some days we wonder what another kind of life might have been like. And then the thought passes and you roll over and think about getting up and putting some gas in the car, because the little light was flashing when you were driving home from the office. And then you wake up. Had that little light really been flashing?

Tomorrow is still another day at work. I'll go in early, but I'll be out of gas before noon. And then spend the afternoon without ambition, maybe spend the time sitting in a cafe sipping coffee and reading. Pick up another jug of Wild Turkey at the discount whiskey store on the way home from the office. I'm out of whiskey. One should not run out of whiskey. One should not sip coffee at a cafe and worry over ambition.

Do I detect a certain disengagement of mind here this first day of the sixth month of the second year of theSan Francisco Carnaval Parade Third Millenium with India and Pakistan hunkered down and ready for thermonuclear war? Do you get the same creepy feeling I do when a pompous asshole speaking for whichever government says, "well, there is just too much respect for nuclear weapons in their military to contemplate their use, so why even discuss the subject?" You know right then these people have not a clue. "Don't worry, I can juggle this war business blindfolded". War has its own time and makes its own rules and "loosing the dogs of" has exactly the right connotation. Fools have it under control. Or am I just getting old and overly sensitive? Has the world always been this dicey?

I remember the Cuban missle crisis, but only that it happened when I was in college well over the horizon in Seattle. I was, I don't know, hassling over my classes and complaining about lack of sleep and academic direction as they were lighting their matches. Lack of sleep and direction. Does that sound familiar?

You can tell I've been listening to public radio. One of the three or four news reports this afternoon was followed by an interview with someone selling iodine pills on the web. If terrorists blow up the local nuclear plant, you take one of his pills and it loads your Thyroid up with "good" iodine, so the radioactive iodine that enters your blood can't get inside and fester. Seems most of the cancer deaths after Chernobyl came from Thyroid cancer. Well, OK. Interesting, but these stories themselves must fester in the back of the brain after a while. Wake up sweating in the middle of the night and you blame it on work or life in the city, but thoughts of buying pills to be used in case of unavoidable and sudden irradiation can't be good for the soul.

So why listen?

Because I'm fifty-nine years old right smack in the middle of the demographic that listens to old fart radio news and I can't seem to break the habit.

You started this hugging your pillow and now we're on atomic conflict?

Well, I could see myself hunkering down and hugging my pillow with a mushroom cloud in the distance.

Well, yeah, but you weren't thinking about death and catastrophe with that pillow this afternoon.

Don't be so sure.

The photographs were taken at the San Francisco Carnaval Parade last Sunday.