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California Solstice

The New Normal: It’s For Your Own Good


The New Normal has become people saying, “It’s the new normal.” They claim random events are the New Normal. Wildfires, drought, earthquakes, flood, locusts, the pestilence of politicians — a lot of it sounds like business as usual. But —

It’s the New Normal. And it’s all for your own good.


Here in California, the Nanny State has outlawed death and regulated life to death. The New Normal has taken on the ghoulish spectre of a governor who looks like a freshly hatched vulture, and a citizenry that keeps hiding its eggs — nest eggs, in particular.


This morning, I attempted to open up a fresh new container of oatmeal. After a few minutes, my newly clipped fingernails gave out and I summoned up the courage to ask Dear Husband for help. My hunger pains had grown, along with other pains, whilst I tried to un-pop, unwrap and unpeel the plastic seals and sealants on the circular top of the cardboard tube.


This experience reminded me of when I tried to open up a new bottle of Tylenol after having undergone a root canal. I contemplated other people who had tried, in vain, during a cold, dark night, to ease their pain and suffered only The New Normal. I envisioned an elderly woman who had been tragically discovered — during a Wellness Check. Someone had popped in, and found her on the kitchen floor, below room temperature, her cold stiff hand clinging to the unopened bottle of Tylenol. A piece of the protective plastic circumference was found lodged in her front teeth.

The hermetically sealed protection on any bottle is analogous to the 2-step Verification Code for the log-in to all of your electronic devices. Why, you must carry at least 12 of them, especially when walking through Nature and wearing your hiking brain-bucket. I agreed to engage in this verification insanity once. I spent the day not being able to access anything on my 1 laptop. It was, I was told, for my own protection: my own good. It’s the New Normal!


The New Normal is not for your own good. It’s for the lawyers. And they are no good, no good at-all.


In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, I wish to shed some light on life that was much more merrily and brightly lived during an era when the U.S. citizen was not beleaguered by bureaucrats, those professional parasites who seek only your money, in the name of what’s good for you. That ploy, namely, is a form of extortion of liberty, not just money. The endgame of the politicians is to get their grubby hands on your dollars for their next “fix” of a most peculiar addiction: spending other people’s money.


It’s their Normal, and it ain’t new.


That cheerful long-ago era was my New Jersey childhood which really was not that long ago. I relive aspects of it every day. It’s become my New Normal.

Reading the cereal box at breakfast was a fun way to down the Trix, the Shredded Wheat, or the Raisin Brain. The nutritional information on the box was intriguing to an 8-year-old. The saga of nutritional facts has now grown to become farcical, especially on the packaging of Junk Food. Does the consumer really need to be told there is 0% nutritional value to Mountain Dew?


I can safely enjoy See’s Candies without finding out about the lack of vitamins in the nougat. The dark chocolate and trace minerals are what keep me coming back. The rule, however, is: If you consume It, It has to have a Sticker!


Grammar school science experiments were among my most memorable projects. I was not able to construct a still, the way a boy classmate did in the 7th grade, with his father’s help. I did, however, show how a molar of mine rotted in a glass of Coca-Cola in about a week.

There was also the biology experiment wherein a hamster that I bought, with the money I earned from selling felt figurines (without a business license), developed scurvy from lack of Vitamin C. “Retardo”, as my 8th-grade boy classmates called him, did not fare well. He died, but not before he bit the finger of Herbie, who insisted on sticking his index finger into the cage.


Fifteen shots in the stomach later, Herbie was fine. I think that experiment gave more scientific knowledge than was intended. It was, however, for his own good.

Speaking of shots, one of my most favorite toys, other than the Etch-a-Sketch, was my metal pistol with the plastic-pearl-handles. The “gun” used caps, and I enjoyed the sound, the smell of the sulphur, and the twirling of the pistol before I put the thing back in my pretend-holster. I also wore a red-felt cowboy hat and had a stick-pony. Can you imagine a 6-year-old girl — in California — playing cowboy today? With a cap-gun?


Way back when, in public school, I played soccer, hardball, and basketball alongside the mean girls. After a few rough spills, I learned to hold my own whenever a Mean Girl tried to get the tougher upper hand. I did not go to an Anti-Bully Committee, which did not exist at the time, or even to a teacher, to complain.


One spring afternoon, I showed up at the playground, after-school, for the fight that Big Hussy had challenged me to. She didn’t show. That was my lesson at age 12 in how to deal with a Bully. Lots of money and time can be saved through common sense courage. Of course, the problem then would be solved, lickety-split. And the Grievance Counselors would be out of jobs.


By the way, we played Girl’s Basketball back then, which was fiercely competitive. I played the position of “Rover” and, in life, I still do.

I also got a real kick out of cutting out of McCall’s magazines the paper clothes (with the tabs) for my Paper Dolls. The clothes were theme-wardrobed: Weather, Play Activity, Seasons, Holidays. Somehow dolls became Weird Instruments of Social Significance. Fears, not facts, got peddled along with those playthings. Weather became climate (change); holidays got neutered. Even “sex” got neutered into “gender” which, in my grammatical opinion, pertains only to articles in French (le/la).


“Women’s magazines” long ago stopped being for women and became all about the Issues, supposedly for Women. Dolls, play or real, left the magazine scene, never to be seen again. And my beloved Colorforms — have you seen what has happened to those characters? Have you noticed what the Weather Girl looks like nowadays? Forget wardrobe theme. It’s wardrobe-malfunction.

Riding a bicycle without a brain bucket was one of the supreme experiences of freedom during my childhood. I also felt the soaring freedom of skating on a frozen pond, free of warning signs, warning labels and warnings, other than the advice that the center of the pond was not yet fully frozen and I could fall in and drown.


Another peak experience of play was sledding on my Speedaway down the hill at the High School on a Snow Day. The students were given the day off because of the amount of snow that had fallen, and it was massive. We all promptly got there, to the steep hill, on top of which the High School loomed, and we sledded away most of the winter day.

Later, as an adult, during my first summers in this Golden State, I relished swimming in the Sacramento River — free of charge.


Free of charge — let’s work toward that New Normal. The buzzards of bureaucracy are forever circling new pieces of live meat, to tax into carcasses of former freedoms: the Internet, fishing licenses, candy, soda, plastic bags, plastic, paper bags, paper, toys, games, recreational fees, the nickel-and-diming of play so that fun becomes punitive.

It’s the Scrooge-time of the Year for the Taxing Class. The List of New Laws that go into effect on January 1 is a list that I fly away from like a hawk, or more accurately, like an eagle, seeking space and room to soar.


I’d rather not see the New Normal. I live in sunlit dreams of yesterday!