Eight Years (Obama and Trump and Ex-Wives and Literary Wassails)

I remember eight years ago. Hope. Change. The Shepherd Fairey poster. I remember wondering where I’d be around this time in eight years. Or maybe I’m making that up. Maybe I was so immersed in the moment I never imagined the election following Barack’s presidency. I just remember feeling like we were on the verge of great things, and I was damn proud of us as a country. I love Obama and I still do. Dude got class.

Barack Obama is my homeboy.

Like Andre the Giant. They’re larger than life. Andre almost literally.

They say Andre could drink a case of beer and still not be drunk. If our hearts weigh a pound and a half (I’m making that up) than I wonder what his weighed. Seventeen pounds?

How could Barack Obama marry that professorial, diplomatic grace with brush-off-your-shoulders swag so well? Genius. With the most bullheaded, narrow-minded opposition ever faced he handled it even-tempered and almost always tonally on point. A fucking political machine and I love him.

Eight years ago I was an inspired idealist, floating on the fresh air that Obama blew in with. Self made. Family-oriented. Fighter for the community. And a sweet three-point shot. God, how things change…

This one-dimensional, monosyllabic overgrown child makes me cringe with my whole body every time I hear the gargling vitriol he calls a stump speech. Just spasms of anger and anathema coursing through every speck and splotch of matter in my flesh.

This potential joke dystopia is not what I pictured for us. This dust cloud of ignorance and hate disguised as an orange human in an unimaginably boring-ass suit may just break the world’s OG democracy.

This is 2016, not a grunt contest. America, freedom, the land of the free and dumb. It’s not the citizens, though, it’s the system.

Well, it’s us too. We feed at the trough. Like fucking Animal Farm. Piggy Trump!

You’re laughing and burping and slapping your back so hard you’re sucking your own dick. You big cartoon buffoon. Fuck you, Donald Trump — you aren’t my homeboy…

… You know who is my homeboy, though? Sam Malone.

That dude was quick with the one-liners. One of the best characters ever written on television. He always had a clear purpose: to be loved. And he was good at it. But he was vulnerable. His alcoholism ruined his career, leaving such a stain he had to live out his days in a den of temptation, serving some kind of penance by steering Cliff and Norm through their barely functioning love of hops. His vanity and need for attention, especially the glorious, genital kind from the females, got the best of him. His belief that he was stupid, always doubting himself and giving in to Diane’s logic, tripped him up.

Despite his extra-terrestrially-coiffed do’ he was human. Layered, yet somehow simple. We all know a Sam Malone. We have a little bit of him in us.

His polo shirt and chest hair was his armor, because his insides were that of a little boy’s. He was a lover and lovable, yet still villainous in ways.

Norm was just a lazy drunk.

You’re my homeboy.

Whomever you are, you’re my homeboy, or my homegirl. Until you give me reason to believe otherwise, I’ll accept that you’re good and true and you just want your love and your peace and some apple pie and a lazy Sunday night watching fireflies. Or Game of Thrones, or whatever it is. Maybe you’re just watching time pass by the number of Likes on your Instagram.

We were all babies once. Confused and terrified. We’ve all just learned how to put on clothes and delay the horror, or transfer it, or swallow it in drink or sex or french fries, pie-eyed survival tactics of the numb.

Eight years ago I was married to a woman whose face is so blurred by time she’s only a name, a story, whose only pictures I still have are preserved on Flickr. And in so many ways is untraceable. We lived in the valley. Lived like sensitive roommates. When Barack got elected I knew it was over because she didn’t come home, she watched the news break and the celebrations on the TV and the historic speech with her co-workers, and I left my ring on the bathroom counter when I went to work, ‘cuz I’m dramatic and lust for big statements and if I had control over how any of this was going to crumble, I at least wanted one piece to break off of it.

I flew to London first class and never looked back. I got drunk in pubs and looked at old art. I contemplated what it all meant…. I didn’t conclude a thing.

Eight years ago I was writing stories and poems, the familiar subjects: heartbreak, disconnect, modern isolation… I was daydreaming about a different life. Not even more glamorous or easier, just different. The domestic doldrums detonating every night were so small and silent I never noticed the dynamite underneath the counter.

Eight years ago, I was stepping into the TV business like a child toeing a cold pool, none-awares I’d be dunked backwards baptized-like in a black lake of water snakes and sharks and endless legs and curves like Mullholland Blvd with those shimmering cliffs I drove off, epic movie-endings over and over. I am still standing, staggering forward, arms stretched out, a rickety beautiful tower. A burning man. A modern day hero.

And your homeboy.

Eight years Obama’s hair was less grey. So was mine.

And I was a different man, with a much lighter heart, now it probably weighs close to Andre’s, proverbially. I carry a lot of shit with me, like those shoulders in Vietnam.

Eight years ago I cared deeply about the election, about our future, about the role of politics. For many reasons deserving of an entirely different post, I’ve faded from that person. I’ve become more resigned. Happily decorating my little bubble and ignoring the massive injustice we’ve built into acceptance I treated like art. I guess I grew tired of it all and thought it didn’t matter. I just wanted to buy clothes, travel, and meet new loves. Write about it all in a self-serving prose protecting how raw my insides were.

If anything crazy happened, I trusted Obama not to make it crazier.

But holy shit, eight years ago I didn’t know Donald Trump could somehow slime his way this close to the presidency by yelling into microphones and throwing his hands up in the air. People love to be spit on, I guess…

Let’s hurry up and get this over, send him back to being the angry uncle on the sidelines.

And let’s all imagine where we’ll be in eight years. Let’s imagine a better place. And we’ll look back and laugh at what a comical farce this election has become. That is my hope, dammit.

And also that I meet the one woman who I’ve been writing about all these years. The love that is capitalized and supreme. The one whose eyes, big and brown or green or even a Khaleesi grey-blue, pull me in like a Star Wars tractor beam, closer and closer until there is no escape and I’m in the heart of the beast and a hand is reaching out for my throat.

And please, my love, don’t ever release me.

Photo on 8-7-16 at 4.29 PM


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