The Observer has long been an America junkie. We don’t buy dumb T-shirts or American Flag swim trunks or bumper stickers that say “Love It or Leave It,” but we swear to you that we would, this moment, give our life for this country if our democracy was threatened, because that is what it takes sometimes.
At last, we come to the end. How it is that 2020 wound up lasting 36 months or so we’ll never know. That’s a problem for the eggheads up at the college maybe, though whether you should contact Quantum Physics, Poli Sci or the Philosophy Department to try and crack that nut is anybody’s guess. But whatever the case, here, after long and terrible months, we come to the end of the dread year of 2020.
To bask a bit longer in the hours after the first moment we glimpsed light after they called the election for decency on Saturday, four very long days after the vote and after four very long years that proved why that vote was do-or-die, The Observer, Spouse and Junior went out for a long family drive to look at the fall colors and just sorta breathe full, deep breaths for the first time in years.
It is mid-October where we are and The Observer finds ourself again at one of these moments — plentiful in the last few years — when you, Dear Reader, know something that we don’t.
October is The Observer’s favorite month and has been for as long as we can remember. Not just for the costumes and free candy from any stranger well-off enough to leave a porch light burning on Halloween, either. We also love October for the sort of cultural permission slip America gives itself one month out of the year to consider darkness and dark things, witches and spooks, moonlit gardens where every leaf is spotted with blood and a werewolf prowls.
For parks staying parks and the 1961 International Scout.
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Allow us to tell you what's going to happen with this Top Golf bullshit Mayor Frank Scott Jr. is exploring for 18 acres of the former War Memorial Golf Course.
We pick our leaders, and those leaders pick the leaders of the police departments. That means that if you’re mad as hell and aren’t gonna take it anymore, you don’t actually have to take it anymore. All you’ve gotta do is register to vote, cast a ballot for the people who are dedicated to holding the powerful to account and convince a couple ten thousand of your friends to do the same.
Stuck as we are inside the hermetically sealed bubble of The Observatory, The Observer has been thinking a lot about restaurants recently.
While The Observer was never quite a “people person,” more likely to spend time with characters in books and films than with flesh-and-blood folks unless they’re kin or married into our little circle, we find that we have come to miss shared social experiences quite a bit during this thing, locked down as we are here in The Observatory with Spouse and Junior, two crazy cats and whatever volunteer critters are making those scratching, skittering noises we’ve heard coming from the crawlspace.
It’s Friday the 13th as The Observer writes, the Dow Jones is a dumpster fire, a deadly virus is sweeping across the land and a 73-year-old, truth-phobic toddler is flying the jumbo jet on which we are all passengers for at least the next 10 months. Given that, allow Your Old Pal to hopefully brighten your quarantine cell, secluded cabin or hermetically sealed containment unit with a tale of the good ol’ days.
The Observer is about to hit the back slope of our 40s come this July, and as our dear old Pa and Granny and every other well-seasoned adult in our life tried to tell us back when we were in the carefree summer grasshopper portion of our existence, the idiot lights to our body are starting to wink on, one by one.
True story: Heaven is a bar where the World Series is always on TV, it’s always happy hour, and “Lay Lady Lay,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” or “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is eternally playing on the jukebox. An old bubblefront Wurlitzer, maybe, or one of those early ’60s jobs full of 45s, glowing like the command console of the U.S.S. Enterprise next to the squat battleship of the cigarette machine. Quarter for three plays. Make your choices and take your chances, kid.
In 2020, we will answer one call per month from a number we don’t recognize, just to help keep our spirit of adventure alive. In that same vein, we will also tell the woman down at the haircutting place, “Just work your magic,” by way of instructions on every third haircut, then just close our eyes and let the locks and eyebrow notches fall where they may.
The Observer is a movie buff of some renown, even though the ticket prices and fees and concession prices and all the other stuff that pays for Brad Pitt and our local theater owner to live in the style he is accustomed to can really rack up.
For us, Halloween has become the greatest thing one can do with underpants on, a chance for adults to be kids again and for kids to consider an insulated-by-fun glimpse of all those things that you must confront as an adult: the unknown, the macabre, the unsettling.
As of this writing, both wars are still going on, if you can believe it, with children born on Sept. 11, 2001, now old enough to legally join the military and fight in the wars that day spawned.
Like you, your cousin, your Dutch uncle, Meryl Streep, the guy at the corner store and your ol’ dog Blue, The Observer ain’t getting any younger.
The Observer was a weird little shit who has since grown into a weird old fart, and for several years there in our teens and 20s, serial killers happened to be one of the things in which we were interested — the real-life equivalent of the monsters that haunt the darkest fairy tales, and maybe even the original, unspeakable inspiration for the Big Bad Wolf and Rumpelstiltskin, the Wicked Queen and the Boogeyman, and all the other baddies that lurk in the darkness of closets and under kids’ beds when mom and dad say goodnight and the lights go out.