Why is this man so happy!

I mean me, of course. I don’t have any overwhelming reason for being so happy, and sometimes I am pretty miserable, I am troubled to admit. But the seasons are changing and President Trump is in deep trouble and the Democrats are rising, not like a rocket, but steadily!


I have a respectable crush on Nancy Pelosi and can see why Californians have supported her so ardently. I like our governor here in Illinois and I continue to feel very good about the Illinois Democrats. Could be no one is headed to jail now! Dandy. The youngsters in Congress are climbing well, and that’s good. The oldsters in Congress may be getting the message, I hope in November, that it will be time to go. I don’t mind Joe Biden’s age at all. He’s just a little older than I am. That’s not so bad.

I do not actually hate Mitch McConnell, but I think he is driven by an ambition I simply cannot understand. You would think with that kind of power you would try to do some good. It’s not in him, I am sorry to say. I think the president has a definable mental health problem at the center of which is his inability to understand he has a sickness.

Not my problem. I wish he could get help. Watching this suffering is depressing.

I can no longer strut around Evanston, Chicago, or anywhere else puffed up and arrogant about my skills, because my era, which was defined by the strength and voice of the Chicago Tribune when I wrote there, has clearly passed. I was hired because I was a very solid writer and reporter with lots of hands on experience.

Useless these days.

The Tribune Tower is a big, fancy condo for the wealthy. People will look at it someday and wonder “What happened in there?”

I know.

I have never been much good at spouting off, and that seems to be what matters these days. All of those years of reading about Communism, listening to all the arguments, trying to understand the Soviet perspective, that stuff is as gone as it could be. The ludicrous competitions of the Cold War, to which I paid so much attention, have evaporated. What remains is a lot of hardware, men armed to the teeth and a couple of nations that hate each other but can’t quite say why. I have a head full of history and facts about Russia and memories that give me a warm feeling about Russian people and the kindness they could show just when you needed it. We would be much better friends than enemies.

I have finally met a black American president, which I think was just great. I am eager to vote for his Vice President in the contest against Donald Trump. I hope to God Joe Biden wins because who wants any more of Donald Trump? I have my hopes though, that the nation is smarter than anyone gives it credit for.

I am sandwiched between very good neighbors and I love that. I have a mostly dependable Ford CMax that makes strange noises now, but I am certain can be fixed. My collection of guitars is great! I just love my dog. I really mean that. I’m just about getting back to building ukuleles again in my garage and I loved doing that. I love mahogany, ebony, good spruce, the way they feel in your hands, like little guitars you can build yourself. I have everything I need to build a guitar for myself, but the thought of it frightens me. I already have the best acoustic guitar I have ever put my hands on, so there’s no need to build one.

I am well married and blessed for that because my wife and my sons kept me alive over the past years, when a thingie put into my brain to help with pressure went bad and I got a terrible infection that damn near killed me.

But it didn’t, so here I am.

I suspect the experience made me stronger. That’s what people always say about those things. I am not feisty as ever, I must say, and that is probably a good thing. People who are that way at age 70 usually end up institutionalized. Having spent enough time in hospitals and rehab centers over the past year, I don’t think I would enjoy that. I long to see my old friends in Philadelphia and North Carolina, and my brother and sisters, too.

Maybe this summer. One never knows.

I am roughly 57,000 words into a novel about a mining disaster I have been wrestling with for much of my life. I am happy to report it reads well. It’s going to take another year to finish it, but I’m feeling good about calling myself a “writer” for the first time in a long, long time. That’s good.

I do have a complaint. I had an ingrown toenail over the past week (Hurt like hell!) until a very good doctor just grabbed that baby and twisted it off. Took like, an hour. Now I am healing. I find dealing with that kind of problem is so much healthier than trying to figure out what the hell it is the president is doing.

I am writing this as the nation continues to push its way through this awful virus that has drawn bright red lines under our abundant weaknesses and killed an abundance of delightful, beautiful people before their time. We were never a perfect people. Our objective should be to try to help. That would be enough. Lots of people have lost their jobs in the past few weeks. I am very sad about that because having a job is a defining thing, until the defining thing becomes not having a job. I suspect a lot of that will return.

What will we have learned.

I know in my heart.

I really do.

5 thoughts on “Why is this man so happy!

  1. Never knew you when I was an editor at the Tribune, but I truly relate to this article. Thanks.


  2. I love it when you resist the urge to rant and choose instead to write, introspectively, with insight and depth of feeling. Thanks for that. Be well.


  3. Loved this article, Charlie. Life brings many changes’ know that for a fact. It’s exciting ,depressing interesting and most of all, self revealing. Keep on writing, I love it! And you!!!


  4. Charlie, you share your humanity. Your love of life shines through your words, the painful and joyful.
    . Warm regards and love, Your brother Micheal’s mother-in-law, Cathy Stroup


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