Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Praise Be to Nero's Neptune

I was off Friday so my back-to-work-after-the-weekend routine was a little more labored and rusty than usual so I was still reorienting myself that I was navigating the suspended indoor oval track barely beneath the roof above the basketball courts, treadmills, bicycles, weight machines and dumb bells. It's brisk up there in February as there's not a lot of insulation and the heat from the building only slowly rises. The good news, by mid-July, is the heat is fully risen and we could make pizza on the track.

If only we could reconfigure exercise to make you feel as good as the number after five in German, we'd go broke buying spandex. But in much the same way as we cannot make broccoli taste like chocolate, exercise is what it is and not much fun is a large part of that. But yesterday morning the headbender for me wasn't the heat from the indoor track or the mind-numbing dumbness of the laps (I think I actually like that part-I just have to aim and go).

Below me, the flat panel displays of the electric fire mounted on the walls facing the treadmills were silently offering, as if it were actual news, continuous coverage of the release from jail of Casey Anthony. This is the story that keeps on giving, better and bigger than OJ if he had Susan Smith in the Bronco with him.

When we have nothing else to tell one another about this American Tragedy (if Dreiser were alive today he'd be writing copy for Geraldo), we talk to ourselves about how low we've sunk as a country and then, morally reassured we aren't this blackhearted b*tch of a mother, return to our self-serving coverage, already in progress.

You haven't experienced America's 24/7 assault on the senses until it's still so early that for some it's still the night before and while you're watching pictures that make your flesh crawl, you're listening to Radiohead's Creep and it makes as much sense as a day pass for the cholera ward at Bedlam.

And then I get to work and dig through my backlog of weekend email and the news we had no room for on the plasma displays jumps out from Sunday morning: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Staff Sgt. Wyatt A. Goldsmith, 28, of Colville, Wash., died July 15 at Camp Bastion Hospital, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered July 15 when insurgents attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenade fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington."

Almost ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, the deaths of US service members are now so routine I cannot remember the name of the Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine who pre-deceased SSG Goldsmith and by this time tomorrow my recollection of his passing will be fading as well. And yet we reset the shot clock of notoriety and salacious celebrity on ...."All those people that you mention, Yes, I know them; they’re quite lame. I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name. Right now I can’t read too good, don’t send me no more letters, no! Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row."
-bill kenny

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