Something to Cheer About

When the world seems especially bleak, one can improve one’s mood immeasurably by considering all the horrors to which one has not been exposed. For example, as I sit here at my desk, I am thankful I was not awakened before daylight by paramilitary goons who marched me off to my beheading in a public square. And I am grateful a volcanic crater did not suddenly appear beneath my house, dragging me downward to drown in a sea of molten rock. Is that sufficient? Still need a boost? Well, I’m thrilled that I am not experiencing retribution at the antlers of a deer I wounded but did not kill before it gored me. The latter situation actually occurred to a Yellville, Arkansas man a few days ago. He shot a deer and was, with his nephew, preparing to field dress it when the stunned buck attacked, riddling the man with puncture wounds from its antlers. The man later died. The deer has not been found.

I have avoided too many horrible things to allow myself to feel miserable. The list of potentially cataclysmic events that did not take place in my life is literally endless. When compared to the minor disappointments that befall me—I awake to learn Trump did not die while I slept; I discover that children remain in cages at the border; evidence emerges that confirms stupidity is both genetic and contagious in both rural and urban America—I cannot help but feel a deep sense of deviant joy. It’s a sense that “things could be so much worse,” coupled with the realization that “things are likely to get much worse before they get better, if they ever get better.” It’s strange and disturbing, while simultaneously calming and soothing. Hopeless acceptance, that’s what it is.


All right, I’ve managed to climb out of the vaporous chamber that kept me half-awake but deeply sedated in a surreal fog.

I spent a good fifteen minutes, maybe more, skimming thirty-to-fifty-year-old editions of the Guadalajara Reporter, formerly known as the Colony Reporter. Though I learned nothing likely to change the course of my life, I stumbled across some interesting tidbits. For example, the occasional burglary, robbery, and even murder took place in and around Ajijic “back in the day.” Of course, those crimes frightened the ex-pat community, but they were rarities. I think. And I learned that Plaza Bugambilias in Ajijic opened roughly thirty-two years ago (if I remember correctly the date of the issue in which I read about the dedication). Plaza Bugambilias is where El Torito is located, in case you wondered.

Looking through old issues of the publication triggered a brief resurgence in my interest in creating and publishing a newspaper and/or magazine. I love the idea for some reason. I always have. But the radical transformation of the ways in which people access and consume their news makes old-style publishing an increasingly risky business. I’m afraid a publication I might launch, or like to launch, would appeal to an old audience, a target readership slipping away with each passing day. But that reality causes me great concern about the future of humanity in general. If younger generations simply skim Facebook for their news, much of which is manufactured for the sole purpose of feeding misinformation to the misinformed, what can we expect of the future? I can only say I am glad I will not be here to witness the unraveling of society. What am I saying? I’m witnessing it already, every day! Doesn’t that sound exactly like the voice of geezerhood?! “Well, in my day, we read newspapers and drank coffee. Nowadays, these young’uns walk around with their heads down, playing video games and drinking Red Bull. It’s a damn shame!


My wife, who awoke several times during the night and got up to read for a while at some point, is now up for the day. She arose around 7:00, a good thirty minutes (at least) before her usual waking hour. I would have expected her to sleep in, given her unsuccessful state of sleep last night. But, not, instead she is up and has offered to prepare a chorizo con juevos breakfast, which I readily accepted as a good idea. So, while she prepares the ingredients for what promises to be a superb desayuno, I will wrap up this latest attempt at humor and heartache, recollection and reverie. I just wish we had some jalapeños or, at least, jalapeño paste, in the house. Chorizo demands it. Alas, I allowed the cupboards to get dangerously low on a staple. Now, we must made do. At least we won’t be forced to eat rancid roadkill possum off of dirty plates and drink typhoid-laced water from rusted cups. That’s something to cheer about.




About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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