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You Down With CCP?

Yeah .. you know me.”

Easy come, easy go” is a decent idiom. So is “hard come, easy go,” even if it never caught on much. Any combination of coming and going, with applicative difficulty, works, actually. At the end of the day (or any other time, really) that’s all there is to life. The day comes and goes, the night, the morning, the minute, the second. Thus the need for religion — to give us all a sense of something permanent. Of course, religions come and go, too. As do gods and goddesses, newspapers, and software updates. This brief streak of profundity will pass as well, so please keep reading.

I had a Jewish girlfriend when I was younger and she described a philosophical exchange with a Muslim student at college. He wanted to know why, if “your people don’t believe in an afterlife” she didn’t go around “screwing people over left and right.” Troubled by the idea, she called home and asked her mother the same question. “You tell him,” Mom asserted, “that we just aren’t that kind of people.” This has since come to fill my definition of a “good answer.”

Nothing much is adding up these days. Some 25 years back, I had the idea of a burgeoning ‘Internet’ explained to me by a young, rotund, computer whiz on Ken Kesey’s farm. Best I could understand, it involved millions of individuals, all of whom would be equipped with increasingly small and portable computers, being linked to central data servers. Those servers would, in turn, be linked to one another, and voilĂ  — to quote John Lennon — the world would live as one. But they didn’t figure for Mark David Chapman. They didn’t figure for the “individual” part being as powerful as the “connected” part.

A friend of mine, pre-election, was troubled by various conspiratorial ideas being voiced by a family member. He told me that his “bullshit detector” was going to be on its highest setting in the months to come. There are, of course, no conspiracies; just as there are no coincidences. This mass migration to Texas, therefore, can’t be conspiratorial. I know more people making this move at present than I do those who have contracted COVID or those espousing conspiracy theories. Like Texas weather, this fact is subject to rapid change. But it’s happening all around. Major companies like Oracle, HP, and Tesla are making this move, as is my niece, best friend, and (potentially) my brother. What gives?

Here’s what I know about Texas: It was where my Uncle Marvin came from, and he could detect bullshit rather well. He was an Air Force man who married my mom’s sister, June. Back then, Texans epitomized America to young, impressionable Scottish women growing up at the end of World War 2. June moved to America and started a family with Marvin, eventually settling in California. My mother followed a similar migrational path, working for the British Embassy in D.C. and flying for American Airlines. She came to California before her sister and went to work in San Francisco where she met my dad.

You’re all over the place,” to quote Meadow Soprano, speaking to a rapidly spiraling brother A.J. Yes, yes I am .. but I have yet to move to Texas. I’m back in California and have been for some time now. California is, somewhat obliquely, the center of everything at present. It’s the central, central data server; home to Steve Job’s garage, Zuckerberg’s Tahoe and San Francisco spreads, and Jack Dorsey’s Sea Cliff mansion. San Francisco is still that oddest of places: a certified shithole on several levels, yet possessing vistas that will knock your billionaire socks off if you want to hole-up and work remotely in a bayfront estate.

When my Uncle Marvin first visited San Francisco, the Free Love movement was at its height. (Free Love — there’s a concept.) He, June, and their growing family stayed with my parents at their home in Greenbrae, a newly-established, somewhat sleepy burg in Marin County, California. This was the last pre-Me juncture. My older brother and cousins had all arrived but I had not. Dad took my uncle for a tour of San Francisco, noticing that Marv got rather quiet as they drove through Haight Ashbury. This was peak psychedelics Haight; peak hippie-hippie-paint-your-tongue-blue and protest The Man while copulating in the streets Haight. When Marvin did finally speak up, he was concise and to the point. “Dick,” he told my dad, “these people are fucking insane.”

Aaaaaand … scene.

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