Around two months ago, a post I wrote focused almost exclusively on a woman I dated once while I was a young, inexperienced kid. I have only a slightly greater reason to write about her today than I did two months ago. Yesterday, you see, was Maggie’s birthday. So, I sent her my annual birthday message. I wished her well, said I hope she either has already or soon will be able to retire. And I otherwise dabbled in niceties. That’s what one does, I suppose, when one writes to someone one once dated when one and the other were both essentially children and when one hasn’t seen or spoken to the someone in forty years or more. How’s that for a difficult to follow sentence? It’s difficult for a reason. It’s hard to understand the sentence without taking it slowly and breaking it into pieces. The same is true of my periodic contact with Maggie. I checked my messages and discovered that, yes, it was exactly a year ago (I dropped the ball and missed her birthday by a day last year) that I last sent her a message. And she responded eleven days later, on November 13. My guess is that she finds it strange that I send her periodic messages. She may even consider me a strange, slow-motion stalker. Perhaps I should stop wishing her happy birthday. If she doesn’t respond this year, or if her response isn’t obviously and genuinely positive, I shall do that. I have no interest in frightening someone with my odd annual ritual. Now, about understanding the difficult-to-follow reason I have been writing to Maggie once a year for a few years. I don’t know. It’s that simple. I tend to get a person’s birthday stuck in my head and feel an odd compulsion to acknowledge it. It’s not true of everyone, but I’ve found it increasingly true of more people. Even people I don’t know particularly well. I think it might seem slightly upsetting. How would I feel about getting a birthday card from someone who’s essentially a stranger. Every. Single. Year. I probably would feel stalked. And worried that my stalker has some sort of unhealthy attachment to me. And I might call the police.
“Officer, I keep getting cards from a woman I barely know.”
“Once a year.”
“Once a year? And this worries you because….?”
“I don’t know. It just seems strange. I mean, it’s like she’s pursuing me.”
“Well, at the speed of once a year, I sort of doubt she’s going to catch you.”
“You’re not taking me seriously, are you? How would YOU feel if some woman kept sending you cards?”
“How would I feel if a woman sent me a card once a year? I’d feel like she works for my insurance company and is required to wish me happy birthday because I’m a customer.”
“Okay, you can cut the sarcasm. What can I do to stop the harassment?”
“Harassment? You call one card a year harassment? What would a phone call once a month be? Attempted murder? C’mon, you can’t be serious that you’re worried about her when she contacts you once a year. Can you?”
The conversation could go on, but you can probably tell that it would end badly for the complainant. Ultimately, he would be arrested for harassment of a law enforcement officer. During the process of the arrest, the complainant’s efforts to resist being handcuffed would lead to the officer being pushed against his patrol car. That, in turn, would lead to the complainant being severely beaten with a club and pistol-whipped by an angry police officer. Things would go little better in court during the trial, where he would be sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for attempted murder of a public servant.
I just can’t see Maggie doing that to me just because I remembered her birthday. But stranger things have happened. Look at the occupant of the White House. Who would have thought American democracy would have been brought to its knees by a few remarks made by the sitting presidents during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner…a few remarks jabbing a dinner guest for promoting a conspiracy theory suggesting that the sitting president was not legitimately a U.S. citizen?
I remember it well. I was at the Correspondents’ Dinner. The object of the President’s ridicule was livid, but he laughed, attempting to distance himself from the white-hot rage he felt at being mocked. Oh, but he was angry in the extreme. He pulsated with anger as he heard the entire room laugh at him as a Black man took repeated jabs at his intellect, his reality show personality, and his vocabulary, which was slightly less advanced than a six-year-old.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, the reality show nut-job revealed a deep flaw in democracy by enlisting others of his ilk to vote. You know, people who should not be permitted to vote due to their penchant for criminal insanity. But you may disagree that they shouldn’t be permitted to vote. That’s your inalienable right. Inalienable. Interesting turn of phrase, given that 5200 troops are about to amass along our southern border. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 5200 along the northern border. Because Canada. Aliens. Invasion. And the rest, as they say, is history.