Personal Pieces postsSaturday February 16, 2019
The other night I called to my wife from my office and asked her: “How does it feel to be married to a New York Times columnist?” When she looked confused (and maybe momentarily hopeful?), I showed her this:
“It's in a book,” I said, “so it's all true now.”
The book is “Mapping Smallville: Critical Essays on the Series and Its Characters,” and this essay, by Roger Almendarez, is called “Model Immigraton and Superman's Impossible Dream,” a title, and an essay, that feels like it needs an upgrade for our current nasty times.
Anyway, I did have an Op-Ed on the history of “Truth, Justice and the American Way” in The New York Times in June 2006. And that was that. But I appreciate the promotion, Roger.
In fact ... Can I put this on my resumé now? “New York Times columnist”? Since it's been in a book? Doing so wouldn't be the truth but it's not far off from the American way.
‘Lin-Manuel Miranda Liked Your Reply’
I was working late the other night, occasionally distracted by the usual social-media suspects when I came across this on Twitter: one of my guys commenting on one of my other guys.
Every day I come to this platform to say the same blessed things as this great heart, binding me in fellowship to every other sacred soul in our glorious human drama. And then some pratfalling fuckstumble tries to tell me what he really thinks and my words just end up different. https://t.co/LdlCtTpeV9— David Simon (@AoDespair) January 8, 2019
I love that Simon called Miranda “this great heart.” I also love “pratfalling fuckstumble,” but that's par for Simon's course. The creator of “The Wire” is also the creator of the best epithets in social media. Or anywhere, really. He's a Mozart in the arena.
Anyway, I responded with the obvious: “We need you both.” I was kind of thinking “The Enemy Within,” the fifth episode of “Star Trek” TOS, when Kirk gets split in two—the kind that bleeds and the kind that cuts—and how each needed the other. Mostly I was thinking how both men are heroes to me. We need both to help keep us sane and interested and honest and engaged.
Very quickly I got this.
So my year is done. I can't ask anything more of it.
OK, maybe if our pratfalling president fuckstumbled his way out of office. I could dig that, too.
Trying to clean up my desktop this afternoon, I came across a spreadsheet labeled “NYR-2018” and wasn't sure what it was.
I opened it up and went, “Oh, right: New Years Resolutions from last year.” It looked like this:
That's as much as I tabulated. Eight days. I kept doing this stuff, but the goal, the resolution, was to tabulate it in order to encourage myself to do it every day. At least situps and Chinese. Plus one of the three: running, walking, biking. But ... poof.
Some small comfort in case, on Day 5, you're already having trouble with your 2019 resolutions.
A Response to a Request
Here's another tale of modern living.
Last month I received several copies of the same letter from our mortgage company. It began:
Thank you for responding to our request for proof of a current hazard insurance policy on your property. Please note that your acccount has not been charged for any lender-placed hazard insurance.
Well, thank god for that. But wait: Who responded to whose request for what? I didn't respond to any request. I didn't even get a request.
There was a phone number to call. Do I call it? Was it a scam to get me to buy insurance? I wound up tossing it in that pile of stuff I should do something about one day but never do. But yesterday I received another such letter—my fourth—and said fuck it and called.
This was not our original mortgage company, by the way. When we refinanced in 2016, we shopped around and went with a local bank. They had an office nearby in case we had questions. We could walk in. We could see people. But last year, less than a year after the refinance, the local bank sold our mortgage to an outfit in Irvine, Ca.: a loan management service. Sometimes they call themselves “debt collectors.” They often feel slightly off or cut-rate to me. I get the feeling there's just executives and drones and that's it—no middle people doing real work.
I also wonder what other services get to do this besides mortgage banks. Can a gym sell your membership to another gym? “No, sorry, you work out across town now. You work out in Irvine, Ca.” Can your bank sell your savings account to another bank? Why is it allowed with the most important thing you own?
Anyway, the phone call. That letter thanking me for responding to their request for proof of insurance? That was the request. They were asking for proof of insurance. Read it again. It's the worst ask I‘ve ever read.
Oh, and guess why they wanted to know? Because, they said, our previous insurance policy had expired. Except it hadn’t. What they thought was our insurance company wasn‘t, and hadn’t been for years.
Meanwhile, the correct insurance company didn't respond to their subsequent request for information since they had a different mortgage lender on our policy. And not the local one either. The one before that. So I spent a long afternoon sorting shit out.
- There's a lot of bad data floating around, like garbage orbiting the earth, that may one day cause havoc with everything.
- Write clearer sentences.
I think the metadata on me floating around between corporations and their handers is screwed up in some fashion. Everyone I know says when you hit 50, when you immediately hit 50, you begin to get AARP magazine. Or you get some notice from AARP. They reel you in, in other words. I'm 55 (and a half) and I haven't gotten bupkis from them. I almost feel bad about it.
I was hoping it was because I looked young, but today I got some spam snail-mail from Neptune Society that puts that to rest. Literally:
Time passes so quickly. Before you know it, a year has passed, then two. You start thinking about all those things you should do, but haven‘t. Take the time now to make an affordable, sensible choice. Cremation is dignified, inexpensive and has less impact on our environment.
I’ve passed retirement and gone straight to death.