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••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Retirement Living California

Observations on Life and Surviving it
• Martin Green

fortune teller

Spam Updates: last month I reported that the latest trend in the Spam world seemed to be offers of loans and other forms of financial assistance and wrote that I’d be giving a Spam world update in a few months. I forgot to note that another trend is to let you know about your future. Celeste says she’s in touch with my guardian angel and can give me a tarot reading. Chris offers a horoscope so accurate it will give me goose- bumps. Medium Amanda tells me I’m at a crossroads (I am?) and she can see to it that I take the right path. Well, tempted as I am, I think I’ll plod along as usual and take what comes. I do see another Spam update in the future.

The Big College Scandal: everyone has weighed in on the big college scandal in which wealthy celebs and just plain wealthy people gave scads of money to a guy who used to live in my old neighborhood, Carmichael, to get their kids into so-called elite colleges. So I thought I’d throw in an observation or two. Felicity Huffman paid a mere $15,000 to get her daughter into USC, which I thought was better known for its football teams than for being elite; but others, the just plain wealthy people, paid half a million dollars or more, which is incomprehensible. No college is worth that kind of money. Those plain wealthy people must have had a few million lying around and didn’t know what else to do with it. Also, it came out that one of the colleges involved, maybe USC or maybe Stanford, some college in California, has a sailing team. What’s next? Polo? Wine tasting?

P.D. James and Ruth Rendell: These two English mystery writers are among my literary heroes, I should say heroines, not only because of their writing ability but because, being an aged writer myself, of their longevity. Some time ago I downloaded a work by P.D. James called “A Time to be Earnest,” which is kind of a year’s diary and for some reason I was recently reminded of it and quickly read through it. At the end, James writes: “Tomorrow I shall be seventy-eight and, by the time this fragment of autobiography is published, I shall be within sight of my eightieth birthday. If seventy-seven is a time to be in earnest, eighty is a time to recognize old age, accepting with such fortitude as one can muster its inevitable pains, inconveniences and indignities and rejoicing in its few compensations.”

A few years after I retired, when I was a youngster in my sixties, Beverly and I went on a tour of Britain, starting with a week’s stay in London at a B&B near Holland Park.. We noticed that in the local bookstore, not P.D. James but her good friend Ruth Rendell was giving a reading of her latest book in a few days. Our B&B landlady recommended a restaurant just about next door to the bookstore (best fish and chips in London) and on the night of the reading we had dinner there and then proceeded to the bookstore. Ruth Rendell was a pleasant-looking dark-haired woman who read in a soft voice. After the reading, we spoke to her and found out she was about to go on a book tour of the United States. At the time I was free-lancing for the Sacramento Bee and I told her I could write her up if she was going to be in our area; unfortunately, she wasn’t.

She did tell us that her good friend P.D. James lived nearby, close to Holland Park, and it turned out that we’d passed her house every time we’d returned at night by Tube to our B&B. If her cat was on the doorstep we’d know she was at home. We passed P.D. James’ house several times after that but the cat, whose name, as I learned from reading that diary was Polly-Hodge, was never on the doorstep. If she’d been I don’t know, and shall never know, if I would have had the nerve to knock on the door. I also regret that I never had the nerve, even if Polly-Hodge wasn’t on the doorstep but might have been occupied elsewhere, to knock on the door. Well, that’s my P.D. James/Ruth Rendell story. I’ll just add that P.D. James lived to age 94; Ruth Rendell regrettably died at age 85.

Dave Barry: Another of my literary heroes, not for his longevity, but for his writing a weekly humor column from 1983 to 2005, which is 17 or so years. As someone who’s been writing a column trying to be mildly humorous for about the same period of time but monthly I can only say I’m awestruck. I recently came upon an article by Barry in the Wall Street Journal and discovered he is getting somewhat old, although a mere 70. The article says that at this age he’s going to emulate his super-friendly and always happy dog Lucy and try to make new friends and connect with old ones. I don’t have a dog, but, like Barry, I’ve been feeling the same about connecting or re-connecting with people from my past. I’ve found that this isn’t too easy, the problem being that most of these seem to have already passed on. Among my regrets is that I didn’t try sooner. So it’s never too early to reach out to old friends you’ve lost touch with and perhaps forestall those regrets. And I’m glad that Dave Barry is still around and still writing.

Your Bonus Adventure by Martin Green

spaceship

The Clean-Up

The appearance of a huge spaceship over Washington D.C. on a smoggy day created an even bigger stir than the Mueller report.

The Democrats said that this proved beyond doubt that the President was colluding with aliens and he should be immediately impeached. The Republicans said that the administration’s attempts to contact aliens were for scientific purposes only. Then the doors of the spaceship opened and the aliens descended.

Surprisingly the aliens didn’t look like little green men or have tentacles or more than two arms and two legs. In fact, they looked pretty much like humans, only much better-looking. All of Washington’s politicians plus the press corps and assorted media people were assembled to meet the aliens. The alien spokesperson, who spoke perfect English, explained that they’d been dispatched from a planet in a distant galaxy much older than our solar system and that they were from the Department of Interstellar Emergency Management Assistance (DIEMA), whose chief he was. Until recently they hadn’t been aware of the minor planet we called the Earth but one of their scientists had informed them that the Earth was pretty messy and they were here as a clean-up crew.

As it happened, the United States, besides the mess in Washington, had just experienced a series of disasters---hurricanes in Florida, floods in the Midwest and earthquakes in California. The DIEMA chief said they were aware of these and were ready to help.

“I’d like you to build a big wall,” said the President immediately.

“Are you in favor of universal health care, free college tuition, a guaranteed income and the Green New Deal?” the Democrats demanded to know.

The press corps and media people threw out a barrage of questions like hand grenades. “Is there gender equality on your planet?” “What about racial equality?” “How do stand on abortion rights/” “Do you have sanctuary cities?” “What are you doing about climate change?”

The DIEMA chief turned to his aide, who shrugged her shoulders. “We must get to work,” he told the crowd. “There are other planets that need our assistance.”

With their advanced technology, the DIEMA clean-up crew quickly repaired the damage caused by the hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. When they were done the aide said to the DIEMA head, “What about that other mess?” The chief considered for a moment, then nodded.

The next morning the huge spaceship was gone. So were all the politicians and media people. They had vanished. The air in Washington was unusally crisp and clear.

© Martin Green May 4th 2019
mgreensuncity@yahoo.com

The Mueller Report & Me
Martin Green

...maybe there were two reports as Fox and CNN seemed to be reporting on different things.


Observations on the Year Past
Martin Green

The year 2018 is almost past and it’s tempting to just forget it, but tradition decrees that you look back and say something about it so here goes. 


More life moments


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