It was a light snow, a slick snow, out by the road our driveway, needing shoveling, got me thinking Beto…
Far too many on the Right have taken a less than guilty pleasure in mocking former Texas U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s existential angst and skewering his “on the road” blog posts. To wit:
Have been stuck lately. In and out of a funk. My last day of work was January 2. It’s been more than 20 years since I was last not working. Maybe if I get moving, on the road, meet people, learn about what’s going on where they live, have some adventure, go where I don’t know and I’m not known, it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in?
How did these flinty-hearted haters respond to Beto’s doleful admission? By citing his poor grammar and putting him (for writing it) and themselves (for reading it) on a suicide watch.
Once I was as these myopic cynics, assessing Beto’s earnest, urgent missives were merely an “on the roadkill” Kerouac wannabe’s political “prog whistles” to his leftist compatriots, rife with references to sundry regressive issues and identity narratives. Really, wasn’t the irony on the benighted Beto for writing:
This was the most intense fog I’d seen. A thick all-encompassing blanket. I figured that by the time I’d finished breakfast at the Pancake House in Liberal (top three pancakes I’ve ever had) the sun would burn through, but it didn’t . . . . I left Liberal with a full stomach, and with gratitude for my hosts at Southwind. But since I came in at night and left in a fog, I had no idea what the town really looked like.
Recalling the passage, chuckling to myself, snow and me falling . . .
Then it hit me—or rather my head hit the driveway when I slipped shoveling snow. Only then did the fog surrounding my brain dissipate while a radiant light drew me toward its epiphany as I emerged from my coma: Beto isn’t just another politician-cum-travel agent pimping social media to run for president; no, Beto is our postmodern Nostradamus.
The parallels are as striking as my head was on the icy cement. Nostradamus, too, was ridiculed in his day, as Beto is mocked in his. Both men’s writings appear abstruse to the unenlightened eyes who cannot (or is it will not?) dare to glean the world-redeeming prognostications which are so patently evident to we, the enlightened. Yet there is a difference. Nostradamus’ crystalline quatrains predict what will happen; Beto’s rambunctious prose prognosticates what will come to pass—if we allow it.
Head bandaged, recuperating in a criminally underfunded community health care clinic, hearing about the benefits of Obamacare from the orderly who’s a Libra, rolling toward my CAT scan, I barely had time fully to absorb my suppository and this Beto nugget:
Learned about pump storage, battery technology, the role that production tax credits have had in making New Mexico a leader in wind energy production.
Redolent with the imagery of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Beto’s pump cannot be vandalized because it has been securely stored. This pulsating pump of public policy is then combined with the people’s energy (battery technology) and selfless sacrifice for the common good (production tax credits) and, when viewed in the context of a thinly veiled homage to the fresh infusion of life (wind energy production) being blown into the United States by immigrants (New Mexico), the result is that Beto’s deconstructed subtextual meaning is unambiguous: Trump sucks—but only if we let him.
Got good news from the underpaid, underappreciated social worker, who said I may get to go home soon, though it might take some time and TLC to regain what passes for my full faculties, just like the schools suffering teacher shortages. Uncool.
But the down time will give me more time to pore over these auguries with Beto breath, get the bowels moving, back on the driveway, shoveling, listen to the snow plow drivers, wave at least as they jam charcoal sludgy snow against my driveway so I can’t get the damn car out in the street and get on the road and one day I’ll find out where those bastards live and show them “fair is fair,” hopefully they won’t know who I am and find me and kick my ass, but that’s a later adventure, ’cause right now they’re cleaning my bandages while I reset my head, think new thoughts with knee-high socks, break out of the loopy restraints the orderly tied around my wrists and the bed rails, and change the future like a diaper.
Sly smile, furtive, to the orderly I whisper, “Have ya seen Sister Morphine?”
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Photo credit: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post for Getty Images