DebraMilligan.com

 

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Summer 2020

End Games


Oh well, I tell myself — after a good night’s sleep has helped me to put a few things into perspective:


When the going gets tough, the native Californian gets going — out of state!


I, however, am not a native Californian. Dear Husband says that I am a Westerner-at-heart. As usual, he is correct.


The stereotypical native Californian likes to play. He lives to play, especially on the weekend. To recreate, in the mind of the Stereotypical Californian, is not to re-create, but wreck-create:


jet-ski, surf, kayak, trail-bike, mountain hike, speed boat, show-boat, downhill ski — all in expensive gear and in über-expensive places.


The Stereo-typed Californian is a Euro at heart. He values . . . play over work. In pseudo-fact, he values little else but play. And he holds the values of trivial pursuits well above any virtues of cherished ideals.

The stereotypical Californian lazies the day, and night, away, collecting paychecks paid for by the State Taxpayer. The State Teachers Union, in particular, no longer lacks that ski mask and a gun so necessary during the 1980s. The Educrat Blob now has its Mob. And the Dufus Facilitators presently hold the State hostage, listing their demands before they will go back to “work”, which is really to say, to play, at full-time pay.

It’s all part of the Clichéd California. PERS is their end game, their ever-shrinking and ever-receding end zone (although their buildings keep getting bigger). Cal PERS is the State Employees Personal Retirement Nirvana Plan; and Cal STERS is the California State Teachers Retirement Cloud-Nine System.


It is interesting to note how the 2 blobs do not co-habitate, although they may be partners in investment-crime, putting the strong-arm on the low-hanging fruit of corporations that are easy to bully into social justice.

I’ll bet the ESG crowd (that would be the Environmental, Social and Governance Investing) will be crowd-funding before too long! Investing in Red China can only ultimately lead to being in the red. In the meantime, a higher return and plenty of money in the pockets of the politicians make for the rosy scenario that pipe-dreamers always love. And what is California without pipe-dreaming?


The return on a wretchedly bad investment is, however, gonna come due . . . sooner rather than later. The end game of any Marxist is the well-orchestrated heist of the capitalist pocketbook.


No matter what state — physical and otherwise — the retiree is in, PERS is the over-extended god, the going-broke Buddha from which flow all benefits, paid for by the Taxpayer. I mean, just look at the dual Taj Mahals, built to bow before the Socialist God of Progressive Income Redistribution in California.

Each glass Goliath dwarfs the EU temple to collectivism. The State Teacher’s Temple, though, had to be located in West Sacramento, Yolo (“Yo-Yo") County, where property taxes are lower than in the confiscatory saddle of State Government in Sacramento.


The confiscatory saddle on the tax-horses in California, otherwise known as Free Enterprise, has become cinched a mite too tightly. The feeling is . . . constricting, and burdensome. Breaking bad might be a relief for the companies that intend to run free and capitalistically!

During the past 30 years, the anti-business climate drove so many businesses out of California that the remaining corporations are circling their wagons, but the circle keeps getting smaller! The foolish CEOs continue to enable the money-addict-politician, in their cloud-nine fantasy that their corporate blobs won’t be taxed any more. Their claim to fame is they are too big to fall: they benefit the citizen too much to become a mere cash-tax-cow.


And what is life without benefits! Why, it’s California without a tax base!

Since Dear Husband and I purchased our 3 lovely, flat acres of pine trees in August 2017, 5 of the 7 properties that touch our lot, have changed hands. Those Californian home-owners cashed-out and vamoosed out-of-state!


Dear Husband and I are now, even before moving into the domicile, the 2nd longest-term residents in the vast expanse of our country lane!


We were on-the-hunt yesterday for a U-Haul to move a deck-full of potted plants and trees from the Rental Home to the Dream House. The U-Hauls have been leaving the State at a rapid rate — and not returning! The local supply is nearly depleted. One truck was located this morning. Another answered prayer.


During times like these, I think back to my essay, Paradise (July 2015), which covers my early years here in the Golden-State. Five years after the penning of that classic composition, the real Paradise burned to the ground. And the people who thought they could tax-and-spend their way to heaven-on-earth in California have, in droves, left their golden-state opportunity, just to be able to afford to retire.


The Stereotyped Californian, and the Clichéd California, for the most part, no longer exist. Maybe they never did.


Life is a gamble, a game we all play, but you need to save something for a rainy day.

That witty line is from “Ace in The Hole,” a terrific song sung by George Strait, circa 1989. The rainy day came to the moldy-oldy Californians who lived large, much like the proverbial grasshopper. Now those bitter seeds, that never took much root in California, have hopped out of the state altogether. Leaving the ants to pick up the pieces. There are a lot of pieces to pick up! And many industrious small-business ants.


The Current and Always Continuing Crisis in California started just about the time of that witty tune by George Strait and his Ace in the Hole band. I recall going to the Record Store sometime during the early days of those heady hedonistic post-Cold-War years, in Roseville, California. This era was back in the day when vinyl LPs still spun around the listening earth. I wanted the ALBUM, not the CD, even though I owned a CD and the initial offerings of music CDs — because I was enamoured of the album cover. I’d played pool as a child in the finished basement of the home of my 2 girlfriends (who were born in Amsterdam) during my years of living in my small home town in northern New Jersey. It was my way of “going home” again, cause that place sure is no more.


The only album the Record Store stocked was the Display Model, which was, in part, what I wanted to do with my album, to frame it for display and inspiration. The thing sat on a shelf, way up toward the ceiling. I took that song off the shelf, and put those lyrics to good use!

The Record Store is long, long-out-of-business. George is still around! George has his own Ace in the Hole XM-Radio channel!


You truly do need to look at life as a game in play. I see life in California, and in the American West, as the end game of the rugged individual. That spirit does thrive here, in California, this favorite piñata of people who need to kick a dog when it’s down.


The end game of the West, and of America, is the rugged individual. There’s a way of looking at life that defines that type of person. That vision defined the immigrants who first came to the New World called America, the pioneers who moved the frontier westward, always westward, until the West was not won, but conquered, for the American people. The American people is, in itself, a never-ending creation, built on the bedrock of the Individual. The tumbleweeds of life get in the way, but you put them to the side, far to the side, and you continue on your way — to realize your dreams.


In life, things fall apart, then they come together, in a different way, a better way. I learned that truth when I was but a child. And I have hoped, beyond hope, it was an exception to the rule. It’s the rule. But even without that hope, or any hope, you must keep trying. Do not cash in your chips on the say-so of know-it-alls who know nothing. Barking dogs don’t matter to wild horses, on their way to tomorrow.

The other day, I re-read my essay on Louis L’Amour (November 2013). Written seven years ago, it still serves as an inspiration to me, especially when I’m surrounded by barking dogs. Lately, it sounds as if the barking dogs have overtaken the world. That world then becomes very small. That world must fall down, to make way for the new worlds of the future. Perhaps the riotous pestilence of the world of the barking dogs is the world, coming down on them, but not on you.


As Monsieur L’Amour declared: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”


We are on the verge of a new era in America. Even in the California that gets mocked and derided by so many cynics in this nation — that I had to take the time, my own precious time, to understand the reasons why I have not abandoned this state, a place that certainly did not welcome me in 1979. California has yet to realize its full potential, and I feel the same way about myself.


When I first moved to California, I did not realize how “woke” California, even then, was. I was too enlightened. One morning, while at work, I went with the gals from the Federal Word Processing Center to the State Building, down a ways on Capitol Mall, for Pizza Tuesday, I was astonished by the size of the State Cafeteria. The Federal one was sizable, but this feasting hall was ginormous — it was Norman in scope!

“Lots of mouths to feed at this trough,” I opined.


I caught on very quickly to the gimmick of the color-reward-for-the-White-Power-Structure in California: “Oh, I see. Here it is brown. In D.C. it’s black.”


That comment, spoken on the job, got me rewarded with the racist label. About a year later, I received very contrite apologies from two co-workers, women who informed me that I was not a racist, at all. I thanked them, in an odd sort of way. They were worried that I would confront the girl who had spread the rumor. I assured these two very kind souls that I wouldn’t do such a thing. They did not understand my stance.


“When someone is stupid enough to spread vicious lies, any lies, about you, you don’t waste your breath on her.”


Life is hard, but it is even harder for the stupid, and the mean, for the losers.


The losers of life never open their arms to the winners. And the losers of life are the whiners; they are out-numbered by the winners, who keep their mouths shut and keep moving, keep pushing forward. Ignore the noisy nasty nay-sayers on the sidelines, and walk past them. They are there to annoy the winners. And they do succeed — it is the only thing they succeed at doing!


The rugged individual begins with the lone mortal, the most vital element of a sane and civilized society: the Individual. The rugged individual sweetly surrenders to the will of God, to the will of life, to the will of love. The fraud can only ape whatever surrounds him, to try to mirror back a reality that is forever changing. It’s a dizzying approach to life! And yet, the phony will never look like the real thing: the individual.

My definition of the word, individual, is a person who has a core sense of morality, a creed of decency by which he lives, bravely, and through which he staunchly accepts the consequences of his actions to defend that code, his code of honor. Anyone who devises a system of deception, connived through images that work to his advantage, sometimes during an entire lifetime — that person is not an individual. He does not possess a core self, at least not a real one. He is a fraud, arrived at through selling his self to gain mammon, pleasure, power.


The difference between two such human beings, the Individual and the Somebody, a Sneaky Somebody, is dramatized dramatically in my novel NORTHSTAR.


Senator Adam Van Tress, the villain, sizes up Thomas Martel, the hero, and he realizes that Martel could be blasted down to rubble, and there would still be a lot left of the man. The Fraud, pretending to be an Individual, sees the real thing. And he detests the sight of him. Thomas Martel is a living, breathing, manly reminder of everything that Van Tress lacks, will never have, will never be.


The unit of a self can never compete against an entire self.


The fraud of life is any devious human being who has used the magnificence of the freedom of will to plunder people around him. He, or she, is a house that is never a home. Rent by divisions within, weaknesses that only God can heal, the fraud turns to the devil, covertly but consistently, to meet his end game: the destruction of his own soul. A house divided against itself cannot stand. And a person divided against his own soul cannot live with sanity or decency or enjoy a good night’s sleep.

There’s a quote by John Wayne that sums up the difference between the splendour of sweet surrender to life, and the slogging of the moral desperado toward the abyss.


There's right and there's wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat.


Let your end game be life, not the dead sombrero.