My First Full Day in Florida, and The Tall Dark Man From PulpFest

I did not realize just how tired I was until I fell onto the air mattress in the front room.  I barely had the dexterity and the awareness to put on my CPAP mask and turn the machine on before falling completely asleep.  Susie had stayed up late with me for awhile–both of us on our respective laptops–but I stayed up a little later than she did, and almost fell asleep in the chair where I had been sitting.

Susie, Steph, and Mike gave me the $.10 tour of Brevard County after we stopped at a produce farm to buy mangoes.  The growers sold Steph and Mike some unripe mangoes, and said they had none available that were ready to eat.

The mango farm was just across the road from the Indian River, which separates Merritt Island from the mainland.  I saw the exterior of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cocoa, and from a distance saw the launch pads of the Kennedy Space Center.  We went onto the beach by Cherie Down Park in Cape Canaveral and I could barely see the launch towers in the distance.  I took some pictures of the Atlantic.

I realized that I did not blog about PulpFest after it happened, and I attribute that to a serious lack of mental and emotional energy.  I did not spend all that much money.  I think my single biggest expense was the admission fee.  For $650, I could have come away the proud owner of an electric typewriter used by Walter E. Gibson, the author of many novels and short stories featuring The Shadow.  And for $10 thousand, I would have owned a first edition of Dracula, copyright 1897 by Archibald Constable and Company.

Instead, I reigned in my spending.  I bought a DVD of Three Into Two Won’t Go, a 1969 British love triangle movie starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom.  I barely remember seeing it on the late, late show on Channel 3 (from Huntington) when I was a teenager.  The title intrigued me, and I remembered it instantly when the Yammering Magpie had it for sale among many hundreds of DVDs at PulpFest.

At a table full of vintage paperbacks, I spent $8 on a Dell paperback of The Tall Dark Man, by Anne Chamberlain.  Those blog readers who are not from Marietta probably have never heard of it, but The Tall Dark Man is a mystery novel written by a Marietta native.  The story is about a teenage girl who has a penchant for making up tall tales and improbable scenarios.  One day in study hall, she is looking out the window and sees two men on a hill.  One man kills the other, and then sees that she witnessed it.  The novel describes her attempt to escape him, and her often futile attempts to enlist the aid of people who know about her history of exaggeration.

I attended Marietta Junior High School for one year, and have not set foot in the building since 1978, but reading the description of the interior, and then of walking down the steps to Seventh St., bring vivid images to mind.

I mention it now because I had planned to bring the book on this trip, since I haven’t reread it for quite a few years, but while the bus was heading down Interstate 75, I looked in my knapsack and discovered that I had forgotten to pack it.

I’m starting to droop here.  We had a late meal at Steak ‘n Shake, and Susie and I are the only ones awake right now.  It’s getting hard for me to hit the right keys here.

Advertisements

Dateline: Merritt Island, Fla.

I have yet to take a melatonin tablet, but sleep will be fast approaching.  So, I’ll try to type some thoughts about the long trip to Orlando that ended early this evening.  I left Columbus at 9:15 last night, and spent the next 22 hours on Greyhound, and actually arrived at Orlando 20 minutes early.

This is my first time in the Sunshine State.  Susie has been down here all summer with Steph and Steph’s partner Mike.  Susie will be coming back to Ohio with me on Sunday morning (another first: the first time I have been on an airplane in almost 30 years), and I’m spending a little R and R here in Merritt Island, on the Space Coast of Florida.

I am glad I made the trip down by bus, although the portions of the trip occurring in the nighttime hours were tedious, once I left Cincinnati.  It was odd for me for a bus trip to not terminate in Cincinnati, so when the rest stop ended, I had to remind myself that I was going further south.  I was not able to sleep very well as the bus went down Interstate 75 through Kentucky, although I did manage a few scattered hours once the bus crossed the Tennessee line.  All I had to eat on that leg of the trip was an overpriced bag of animal crackers, which I bought at the Greyhound station in Chattanooga.  (The same bus station also featured 20-ounce bottles of Coke products for $2.25.  I passed on that!)

My only change of buses was in Atlanta.  The bus station there is too small and too chaotic, which is surprising for a city that size.  However, with the help of the station manager, the driver of the Atlanta-to-Orlando leg of the trip quite efficiently loaded the passengers, and we made very good time all the way to Orlando.  (During a rest stop in Tifton, Ga., I had some fried chicken at Church’s, which was my only meal until Steph, Mike, Susie, and I had a big dinner at Kelsey’s Pizza Pasta Kitchen in Merritt Island.)

The brevity of this account is a far cry from the first travelogue I ever wrote.  I think the first “long” manuscript I ever wrote (long since lost) was when I was 11.  It was called “Two Trips to Richmond, Virginia,” and I described two trips I made with my parents to Richmond, when my uncle was seriously ill with the congestive heart failure that would eventually kill him.  I faithfully described every bathroom break, food stop, Mail Pouch barn, and trip to the hospital that I could remember.  The end product was 48 single-spaced typewritten pages.

I am no stranger to long bus rides, but this one took a lot more out of me than I thought it would.  Even taking a melatonin tablet on the bus didn’t help me sleep.  I didn’t read much, either, because it seemed that would require more mental energy than I could summon.  My mood perked up as the bus neared Orlando, and especially when Susie ran up to me and hugged me in the terminal.

Now that I’ve visited Florida, there are only 11 states I have yet to visit.  They are in the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South, and Alaska and Hawaii.

I went to Volunteers of America and bought a large suitcase for this trip, and then had to buy a larger knapsack than the one I usually carry–one that would fit this laptop, as well as books, my diary, camera, and other necessities of travel.  Even so, I looked overloaded, because I also had to carry the black over-the-shoulder bag containing my CPAP machine.  (On the way back from Kelsey’s, we did some grocery shopping at Publix, since I had to buy distilled water for the machine.)

I had difficulty loading Blogger’s page while I was on the bus, otherwise I may have attempted an entry in “real time.”  (I have a hard time picturing Jack Kerouac with a laptop during his travels.)

Now, as Samuel Pepys would say, “And so to bed.”

A Record Yard Sale Acquisition

The yard sale signs are ubiquitous all over Olde North, and will be as long as the weather is pleasant enough for people to sit outside and wait for customers.  In this neighborhood, yard sales and the Clintonville Farmers’ Market are Saturday traditions, as much as football will be in the fall.  This past Saturday, I woke up around 10:45 and headed outside on the trike.

The logistics of the beginning and end of a trike ride are a bit frustrating.  Since the theft of the red Meridian, I have kept the new one in my dining room, so getting it outside means rolling it through the living room, out the front door, and down the porch steps.  Nuisance, yes.  But much less of a pain than shelling out another $300 to replace a stolen bike.

(As of this moment, I will be writing against a deadline.  After typing the above paragraph, I took a melatonin tablet and washed it down with a cup of Sierra Mist.  In about a half hour, I will definitely begin winding down.  A friend suggested it as a way to combat my insomnia, so when I went to Kroger last night to plunk down another $.88 for a jug of distilled water, I bought a bottle.  And now back to our story.)

I pedaled to a yard sale in a half double on Olentangy St.  All of the wares were inside, except for some unwieldy things (such as a stationary bike and a rowing machine), and they were bringing out more and more stuff all the time.  Apparently, the occupant on the other side of the half double had died, and the owner wanted to sell the contents of both halves, and then sell the property.

At first I thought I was going to come away empty-handed.  There were plenty of tools, and a tall stack of hymnals and Bibles.  I was briefly tempted by a Burroughs Portable adding machine, one of the old mechanical desktops with 72 keys and a crank.  If it had been a typewriter, I would have bought it right away, but I am not proficient with numbers at all (I use the calculator on my cell phone to figure tips!), so I would have been spending $10 for a doorstop.  Even if I knew it worked, I was not sure where to find ribbons for it.  (I have an Internet source for typewriter ribbons; I have never needed to ask him whether he stocks adding machine ribbons.)

I bought two breast-pocket notebooks for $.50.  I can never have enough notebooks, but they were pretty nondescript, and nothing I would boast about on Notebook Stories.  They were wrapped together with rubber bands along with two or three scratch pads from Whetstone Gardens and Care Center, and with a paperback anthology of poetry called Poems to Cherish.

A woman in her late 60s was sitting inside, and she pointed out a box of dishes on sale for $2.  Susie and I have yet to host a big dinner party, but be that as it may, having extra dishes in the cupboard is probably a good idea.  As the woman was meticulously wrapping each piece in newspaper, I asked if there were any records for sale.

She gave me this Well, why didn’t you say so? look, and asked one of the men running the yard sale to take me down to the basement.  We went through the kitchen and passed the dining room, which I guess they were using as a staging and sorting area.  He pointed underneath a shelf of paint cans to a box that looked like it was starting to ripple from moisture and age, almost like he was going to levitate it.

I glanced inside and saw the box was full of 78 RPM records, the ones made of shellac and Bakelite.  “Two bucks, and they’re yours,” he said.  I said yes immediately, although I wasn’t sure if I had a 78 speed on my Crosley phonograph.  (The orange and white monaural phonograph I had as an elementary school kid featured 16 RPM as a speed.  As far as I know, only talking books for the blind were recorded that slowly.)

The woman called downstairs and said, “Your dishes are ready!”  The man who showed me the records brightened up, and pointed to another box.  “Ten dollars, and it’s all yours–the dishes, the records, and another box of dishes.”

I told them I would have to come back.  I had bought breakfast earlier that day, but I had used my debit card, so I had no cash on me.  I asked them to hold all this, I would go to an ATM and get some money, and then buy it.  I did this, and, however awkwardly, we loaded these three boxes into the basket of my trike.

I barely had the trike above walking speed the whole way home.  I had to use a little more energy to pedal, with such a heavy and unwieldy load in the back.  Each crack in the sidewalk, or bump, or heavy landing from a curb, made me shudder and wait for the sound of something shattering.  (This was similar to my return journey from San Francisco by Greyhound in 1987.  In Ciudad Juarez, I bought a fifth of Dos Gusanos tequila for about $.85.  Once back on the bus, I wrapped it in two or three shirts in my backpack, and then sweat blood each time the bus hit a bump.)

Once home, I checked to make sure nothing was damaged.  Dishes and records were, unlike my nerves, all intact.  It was then I noticed that the dishes from the basement were wrapped in newspapers from about 1947.  (The Columbus Dispatch looked Linotyped until the early 1990s, but the papers were so yellow and brittle, I knew these were nothing recent.)  I still haven’t removed them from the box, because my focus has been on the records.

I am still in the process of sorting them out and researching them.  It’s a mixed batch of popular music (of the 1920s and 1930s), country music (which was then called “hillbilly” music), hymns, Christmas music, and music combined with spoken word comedy.  There are titles such as “Cottonwood Reel,” “The Engineer’s Hand Was on the Throttle,” and “I Get the Blues When It Rains.”  I have found one with the title “A Rovin’ Little Darkey”, backed with “The Year of Jubilo.”  I haven’t thoroughly looked over every title.  I began entering them onto my Library DB database, but the project is not finished yet.  I am even considering trying to keep the records in the right sleeves.  Put Conqueror records in Conqueror sleeves, Vocalion in Vocalion, etc.  I am doing this with an eye for eBay, and I’ve know I either have some diamonds in the rough, or I spent $2 on a box of skeet-shooting targets.

Almost as soon as I was back from the yard sale, I took this picture so I could boast of my wares on Facebook.

I think I am going to concede victory to the melatonin.  It is close to midnight.  My insomnia was so bad Monday night that I was unable to go into work Tuesday morning, but after I hung up from calling my supervisor, I could not get back to sleep.  And yesterday, I made it in to work, but my head throbbed, I felt like I was detached from my body and everything around me, and there seemed to be a seven-second delay between my brain and limbs.  (I did not feel like I had left my body and was drifting above everything–a friend of mine said he experienced this when he was having heart surgery, actually looking down at his own operation–but I did not feel “real”.)

This Saturday, I am going to continue this trend by buying more new “old” stuff at PulpFest.

Squinting at the Light

I am the first one to realize how long I have had this blog on hiatus.  Over a month is very out of character for me.  I have no illusions that there are hordes of people who hang on every word I post here, the same way people crowded the docks of New York and Baltimore for new shipments of Dickens’ novels.  My blogging this afternoon is one of the positive signs that I’m emerging from a mental lethargy that has consumed me much of the summer.  For the past week, however, I feel like I’m emerging from the mental haze and back into life.  (Also, I’m doing a once-over-gently allusion to I Peter 2:9 here.)

The lack of blog entries is a sign of what I suspect may have been a serious bout of depression.  At no time was I suicidal, nor did I (or anyone else) think hospitalization would be necessary.  However, my inactivity and overall lack of energy and drive worried me.  One red flag was when I looked at the current volume of my diary.  It is a 200-page composition book, and I wrote in this volume for the first time on May 1.  Today is August 7, and I am only up to page 57.

Per my Casio Data Bank watch, it is now 2:26 in the afternoon, Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  I am not at work right now because my CPAP machine kept acting up, and it was nearly impossible for me to sleep.  I was finally dozing off into a restful state when my alarm sounded.  I had just enough strength to phone my supervisor and tell her I wouldn’t be coming in, and then fell back into bed… and was unable to sleep.  (This is due to a combination of the CPAP, which is in need of a new data card with new settings, and Nuvigil, the wakefulness drug I just started.  The Nuvigil may be working too well at the moment.  My body needs to get used to it.)

Getting out of the house and onto the trike worked pretty well for me.  A trike ride has yet to fail to rejuvenate me–I keep hoping I can get my psychiatrist to declare it medically necessary, so my insurance will pay for it.  I had a great ride to the Ohio State campus, and to Thompson Library, where I am sitting in the lab typing this.

A week from tomorrow, I will be on the road.  Susie has spent the summer in Florida with her mom, and I will be making my first journey to the Sunshine State on ther 15th.  On that night, I’m hopping a Greyhound to Orlando.  It’ll be a 22-hour trip, with an hour-long transfer in Atlanta.  I’ll spend two full days in Merritt Island, and on Sunday morning, Susie and I will fly back to Columbus via Southwest Airlines.  This will be the first time I’ve flown on an airplane since 1983, when I lived in Boston, and used airplanes semi-regularly to get to Ohio or to Washington, D.C.  I will have some pictures and blog entries from this trip.

A definite step in the right direction for me was my 26-hour road trip to Washington, D.C. the weekend before last.  A friend invited me on Facebook, and I accepted, and was surprised at how underwhelmed I was about the whole thing.  Usually a trip to Washington has me stoked with adrenaline from head to toe.

This was a rally to ban fracking, an issue which affects many natives of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and upstate New York.  In my childless days, I paid little attention to environmental issues, shrugging it off by saying, “The world can do what it wants after I’m dead,” but that whole picture changed once I became a parent.

The Stop the Frack Attack took place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.  We left Columbus just after midnight from the Franklin University parking lot, and made it to Washington (by way of Interstates 68 and 70) just after 8 a.m.

I like schedules like this.  The rally itself didn’t start until 1:30, so I had plenty of time for walking around Washington.  Washington is a very pedestrian-friendly city, although it is tropical in the summer.  I had no plans to join any guided tours.  They always try to hurry you through too many sites in too little time.  The bus dropped us off at Union Station, and I got my backpack and began walking toward Chinatown.

I had an 11:30 lunch date with my friend Robert Nedelkoff, the man the British Museum and the Library of Congress consults for accuracy.  We had several emails flying back and forth between Columbus and Silver Spring about just where we were going to meet for lunch.  My first choice had been The Tombs, a bar and restaurant in Georgetown a block or two from the famous Exorcist stairs.  Looking at a map made me realize that Georgetown was a little too off track for going to the rally.  I would have had to inhale my lunch and then catch the Metro toward Capitol Hill.  So we agreed to meet at Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy in Foggy Bottom, where we had eaten before.

My walk through Chinatown was to look at Wok and Roll, the Chinese restaurant at 604 H St. NW.  Robert and I had eaten there before, but my interest is because, in 1864 and 1865, it was the Surratt boarding house, the meeting place for John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators as they plotted the abduction (and eventual assassination) of Abraham Lincoln.  For her hospitality, the owner of the boarding house, Mrs. Mary Surratt, was hanged in July 1865, the first woman executed by the Federal Government.

The William Petersen House, also known as The House Where Lincoln Died, 516 10th St. NW in Washington.  Visting this place and Ford’s Theater (even when I don’t have the time to go inside) is, in a way, my equivalent of visiting the Western Wall.

Robert had asked me when was the last time I visited D.C. as a tourist.  I couldn’t pin down the date, except that it had to be pre-1994, because when I visited JFK’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, Jackie was still alive and not buried there.  In 2000, when my dad died, I sent his obituary to the alumni office at his alma mater, the Catholic University of America.  A woman called me to let me know they were going to say a Mass in his honor.  I wanted to go to it, but a day or two before the Mass took place, I awoke with a very bad case of the flu and walking pneumonia, and my travel was restricted to the bedroom and the bathroom.  Trips between the two felt like climbing Everest.

Ancestors on my mother’s side owned and operated coal mines in Noble County, Ohio, and my late uncle, Glenn McKee, often wrote in his poetry about the mine fires and the mined-out coal country of that part of Ohio.  I took comfort in the fact they were probably rolling in their graves if they knew I was headed to Washington to protest fracking.

The truly joyous event of the trip to Washington was reuniting with an old friend.  The name Bill McKibben is quite familiar to anyone in environmental circles.  He is the founder of 350.org, an organization dedicated to solving the climate and earth crisis.  He is also the author of The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information.  (The latter is the only book of his I have read, I confess.)

Bill graduated from Harvard in 1982, three months before my arrival in Boston.  He had been president of The Harvard Crimson, which would become my employer and the focus of my life and activity.  After he graduated from Harvard, he worked at The New Yorker, writing many of its “Talk of the Town” columns.  Bill grew up in Lexington, Mass., just outside of Cambridge, and he would often stop in The Crimson‘s building on Plympton St. to visit when he was up from New York to visit his parents.

While he worked for The New Yorker, he volunteered as an advisor for the newspaper for an inner-city Manhattan high school.  When the paper folded, he came to Cambridge and asked me, and one or two others, to typeset the farewell issue.  (This was also the night of The Crimson‘s annual Alumni Dinner.  After the fête at the Sheraton Commander Hotel, I went to work on the copy.  A true Kodak moment: I was sitting at the CRTronic Linotype, my jacket draped over the back of the chair, my sleeves rolled up, the knot of my tie hanging down to mid-breastbone, and a can of Michelob at one hand and a can of Coke at the other.  And yet the finished product looked beautiful.)

I suspected Bill would be one of the speakers, because he is a superstar in the environmental movement.  The center of activity was a small dais on the West Capitol lawn, facing toward the Washington Monument (closed since the 2010 minor earthquake).  And I was not disappointed.  Bill was the third or fourth speaker.

I was able to shoot a video of Bill’s speech, and my batteries miraculously lasted long enough to get the entire thing.  I had the foresight to bring extra batteries for the camera, so I was able to shoot even more video and still pictures.

This is not my video of Bill McKibben, however I do make a Hitchcock-like appearance in front of the platform.

Once Bill stepped off the platform, I went to meet him.  “Hey, Bill.  It’s Paul Evans, from The Crimson!”  He laughed and hugged me, and said, “How are you doing, brother?”  I thought he would remember me, because we had some common ground, however slight, other than The Crimson.  His mother was born in Parkersburg, W.Va., as was I.  (Whenever I’m tempted to ridicule West Virginia–a very popular sport when I was growing up–I try to bear in mind that I was born in Parkersburg because “advanced” Marietta had no obstetrician/gynecologist in 1963.)

I handed the camera to someone nearby, and immortalized the moment.


Your intrepid diarist and Bill McKibben, July 28, 2012, West Lawn of the United States Capitol.

What truly inspired me was the undercurrent of happiness and positive focus that guided this demonstration.  I am not echoing the thoughts of New Age gurus who will happily collect your money and tell you that the victims of Hurricane Katrina should have thought more positively, and that six million Jews died under the Nazis because they chose to.  Hubert Humphrey spoke (somewhat naïvely) about “the politics of joy” at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago as police were breaking protestors’ skulls with clubs and arresting reporters, delegates, and protestors en masse.  At many peace march and political gatherings, I have often felt an undercurrent of hostility, of people who were itching for fights, and who delibertely tried to “sow dragons’ teeth,” which my English teacher Mrs. Curtis always warned us never to do.
I witnessed this when it came to a head in November 1982, when a march against the Ku Klux Klan in Washington degenerated into rock-throwing, tear gas, vandalism, and arrests.  I was on the receiving end of tear gas, and have chronicled the experience here, in an earlier entry in this blog.
After the speakers left the podium, everyone took to the streets from Capitol Hill.  There were about 5000 people, shouting and displaying every pun based on the word frack you can imagine (My personal favorite: GOD HATES FRACKS, a variation on the signs the Westboro Baptist Church alleged humans carry).  There was no parade permit, but the police stood by and watched.  Since we weren’t all mobbing the streets like the rejects from Attila the Hun’s army, they could relax.  We were a celebratory mob.  A young woman who was on the bus from Columbus periodically stepped out of the street and gave water bottles, sandwiches, and bread to homeless people sitting on benches nearby.
Only one time did I fear that the march would veer out of control.  We converged on the American Petroleum Institute on L St. NW, on a Saturday when the doors were locked and no one was at work, save for a lone unarmed security guard in the lobby, who probably earned minimum wage.  I’m sure all he wanted was to listen to the baseball game on the radio, but then here comes this mob that surrounds the entrance in a semi-circle, chanting, “The water!  The water!  The water’s on fire!” with the responding, “We don’t need no fracking, let the corporations burn!”  (This was a parody of “The Roof Is On Fire,” by Rockmaster Scott & the Dynamic Three, which I heard way too many times in the bars when I was at Ohio University.)  The energy level was so high that I was afraid at some point someone would toss a trash can or brick through the glass doors.  That would have been my cue to leave.  (To echo the words of Messrs. Lennon and McCartney, “But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”)
The march ended at Franklin Square, at 14th and K Sts., NW.  Many of the people opted to jump into the fountain in the center of the park.  This was pure spontaneity, and I doubt anything on the march was choreographed or pre-arranged.  There was no street theater or political statement to it.  The temperature was around 85° F., with relative humidity hovering around 82% all day.  (This, by D.C. standards, is cool for summertime.)  Only a person extremely self-disciplined and -denying would not have been tempted to get in the fountain.  (I didn’t get in, but I stayed near the lip of the fountain and was “accidentally” splashed a few times.)

Franklin Square, Washington, D.C.  “Whose water?”  “OUR WATER!!”  A far cry from the way the park appeared in The Lost Symbol.

Our bus was back in Columbus by 2 a.m. Sunday morning.  I thought about sleeping on the way home, but I was keyed up from the experience, and didn’t even read while we came home along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I was content to look out the window.  Once home, despite my exhaustion, I was up until well past dawn loading pictures and video to my Facebook page.
And I dreaded that a crash was coming.  After an event that is so exhilarating it stokes the adrenaline, once the stimuli disappears, the letdown is bad, especially for someone with bipolar disorder.  I tried to keep in mind the Facebook maxim “Don’t cry because it’s over, laugh because it happened,” and I was fortunate enough to have a full load of work when I came to work the following Monday.
This was important, because as much as I dread typing certain doctors (one sounds like he dictates after happy hour, another one sounds like he moonlights as an auctioneer), it is good for me to be busy.  Over the last several years, I have noticed that boredom leads to severe depression for me.  This is the type of situation that made me understand Sherlock Holmes’ rationalization of his cocaine habit in The Sign of Four.  Presented with problems, work, or crime, Sherlock Holmes could leave his syringe alone.  When his mind was idle (“My mind rebels at stagnation,” he told Dr. Watson), that was when he would turn to cocaine.
That route has not tempted me, neither cocaine nor anything else.  Since Susie was an infant, I have not had any beverage stronger than Diet Pepsi, nor used any unprescribed drug.  So, bored as I was, I never considered relapsing.  (The hardcore Straight Edge people, however, would not consider me one of their own, because of my excessive caffeine consumption and the fact that I eat meat.)
I have to constantly guard, however, against my current rejuvenated feeling veering off into a manic episode.  I have been conscientious about taking my lithium twice daily, but it can only control mania or depression, not stop it.  Under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, I probably cannot legally own a firearm, because I have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility in the past.
That’s probably a good thing.  Gun control pro and con has been all over the news this summer, because of the mass killing in Aurora, Colorado and this Sunday’s massacre in the Sikh temple just outside Milwaukee.  When Mitt Romney and President Obama take to the campaign trail after Labor Day, I am sure there will be plenty of idiots who want to get their names in the history books by killing them.
As a bipolar person, I understand that it would be stupidity for me to have a handgun in the house.  Not because Susie would find it and play with it–when she was in Florida last December, Steph took her to a firing range and let her target shoot, and the paper target now hangs on Susie’s bedroom wall.  Either end of the bipolar pendulum could spell disaster for me.  I would not use a gun on someone else, but in a moment of extreme mania I could find myself thinking how much fun it would be to shoot out street lights, or to see what would happen if I blew a hole in the living room ceiling.  And on the extreme depressive end of the scale… use your imagination, gentle reader.
As long as I’ve been typing this, I feel like I’ve gone a few laps on a treadmill.  Maybe it is a good sign that once I logged on here and began typing a blog entry, the struggle was not to produce the next word, but the biggest difficulty was stopping.