I guess it doesn't matter anymore
I’m a newspaper reporter. It isn’t good for the stomach, but it can be good for reflection on those quiet, cool autumn night shifts in the middle of the week when nothing’s on fire and the street crime is of the ignorable, drug-driven, non-fatal kind.
And the circa-1987 florescent lights in the newsroom buzz like sleepy bees, and it’s time to get my baloney sandwich out of the crowded office fridge.
And, because I am not without some guile when it comes to things modern, I slip on my earplugs, find YouTube on my computer and, as the young copy editors make Miley Cyrus jokes, I find Linda Ronstadt, singing an old song called “I Guess It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.”
There’s a line in the song that asks, “Golly gee, what have you done to me?” There was a girl, more than 30 years ago, who would jokingly say that to me if I kissed her hard.
“Golly gee,” she’d say. “What have you done to me?”
It was a couple’s joke and we weren’t a couple for long, back in the college days when I drank keg beer cold as creek water in someone’s kitchen at parties and walked home wide-legged in the dark.
I don’t think of her often. I can’t close my eyes and see her. As I said, it didn’t last long. I don’t miss her, though with the song in my ears, it felt like I did until I realized I only missed being young and strong.
And I watch, through the slightly fogged vision of the middle-aged man, as my country slips away from young and strong to old and quarrelsome, from fast-footed and neat-limbed to ponderous, fond not of battle’s joyous shout but of privilege’s haughty whine of “I don’t have enough.”
Like many daily newspaper reporters, I interview a lot of World War II vets these days because they’re dying off and they remember when we were young and strong.
And they do not sound like Ted Cruz, hawping about patriotism and sacred things that little Nazi shouldn’t be allowed to touch.
They sound like what they are, old men who fought hard for three or four years and then came home to drive a truck for the next 30. They are beautiful men, beautiful in a specific way that only old men warriors are beautiful.
And they were young and strong, with their own songs to sing and their own girls with whom to share couple jokes.
Go on and sell the last of us to the rich, Sen. Cruz, go battle the imaginary enemies of socialism and gay-ness, go drive home in puking words your party’s idea that the people who bought you don’t have enough. Go use the Bible for a club.
We will not listen, those of us who have yet some young and strong in their ears, some song of youth, some song of promise.
I am a middle-aged man with “Golly gee, what have you done to me?” in my ears, but the blood still sings in me.
Shut up, you right-wing, nasty-toned, wing-tipped fools.
The song is moving away from you, and other people will sing its last verses.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit http://www.creators.com