Gut Rumbles
 

September 12, 2008

Almost over

Originally published December 31, 2001

It's the last day of a miserable year and it can't be over soon enough for me. In 2001, my entire life was turned upside down, shaken vigorously, folded, spindled, and mutilated, then thrown on the ground in pieces that I still am trying to reassemble into something that I can recognize. In a streak of less than 70 days, my wife divorced me, costing me the son I adored, the home I had always dreamed of, all my animals, my mini-farm, the neighbors I had grown to like and most of my sanity; then, I had my cancer operation, where they ripped out my prostate and left me weakened, scarred, impotent and incontinent to go along with all the rest. The Perfect Storm.

Lest I sound too full self-pity, fear and loathing, I want to assure you that things are looking up. I have a date tonight. We're going over to my old neighborhood for a New Year's Eve oyster roast and turkey-fry. We're staying the night there, too, because the scratch-and-sniff DUI checkpoints will be out in force tonight, and the last thing I want to do is begin the new year sitting in the county hoosegow for the high crime of having a couple of beers with my oysters. My friend throwing the party says that he has plenty of beds and both my date and I are welcome to crash there. I hope it requires only one bed for the both of us, but that part remains to be seen. I'm taking no chances, however, and intend to pack my wonder-drug and injection kit with me, in case I get lucky. The stuff will wake the dead, and that's what it takes for me since the operation.

I have a real problem with those scratch-and-sniff roadblocks anyway, even when I have not been drinking. I believe there is something inherently wrong, downright un-American, about stopping every car going down a road just to see if the cops can find something illegal going on, with no probable cause, no indication of impaired driving, nor any reason at all except for the fact that they can do it. MADD, SADD and similiar single-issue crusaders are as bad as the anti-smoking Nazis about wrapping themselves in a cloak of self-righteousness while trampling all over civil liberties in this country. Craven, gas-bag politicians and money-hungry law enforcment minions are quick to jump aboard their bandwagons, because doing so produces votes for the politicians and cash for law enforcement. Meanwhile, personal freedom erodes, slowly but surely. I would pontificate about the obviously abused property forfeiture laws that the wonderful "War on Drugs" brought us, but that idiotic, corrupt concept doesn't seem to upset anyone except those who have had their property seized and never returned, sometimes when they never are charged with a crime, let alone convicted. People who value liberty should rant, rave and scream about such things.

But very few people do. That's why we have scratch-and-sniff checkpoints, property seizure laws, no-smoking ordinances and the same gasbag politicians that pass these laws winning reelection over and over. What ever happened to the words "Live Free or Die" when people actually meant it? What ever happened to the people who carved this country out of a hostile wilderness, gained their independence by warring against the most powerful nation on the planet at the time, settled the plains, built the railroads, dug the canals, constructed the skyscrapers and kicked Hitler's ass in World War II? Have we become so weak, passive and frightened of everything that we actually WANT government to cover us with a warm blanket, hand us a teddy bear and tell us to sleep tight because Big Brother, er.. Daddy, is making sure the bedbugs don't bite?

My God, I hope not. But sometimes I'm not sure.

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