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Plain Peanut Rant

The social stuff you’ve been doing lately is a good sign. You had me worried for a while .. every night playing country, drinking whiskey and eating M&Ms ..”

Got the above advice from a buddy this week, and I listened while sipping Glenmorangie with Johnny Cash spinning softly in the background. I’ve been trying to switch from M&Ms to all-fruit popsicles, which seems a positive nod to health. But the ‘social stuff’ .. I’m not so sure. Seems to me there’s been nothing gained from opening my mouth to state an opinion or two this past year. It’s only widened divides and cast me in a perhaps inalterable light for those of a more enlightened nature. Deplorable, delusional and deepening daily. Speaking of country, Dwight Yoakam is starring in the latest Clint Eastwood vehicle, “Cry Macho.” Clint is a hundred and seven now and Dwight’s put on a few el-bees since his butt-shaking Honky Tonk Man days. (Come to think of it, that’s also another Eastwood title.) But I couldn’t be more pleased. As a card-carrying member of the post-ninety brigade, Clint is officially entitled to do whatever it is that pleases him, up until his somewhat labored breathing and steely late-geriatric glint give way. Van Morrison, Clint Eastwood, Norm Macdonald, Dwight Yoakam .. I have few icons left and once they’re gone, they’re gone. You can’t alter who or what it is you deem iconic; it’s pretty much a one-shot deal at registration. Inevitably, and like you, they all get old, and the retort from punk haters always points as much out. To them I say “who’s your Clint Eastwood?” 2021 and those replies are still a long time coming.

But we’ve all got it coming, as The Man himself warns in “Unforgiven.” I put that reality off until a later date the other day, adroitly side-stepping an oblivious motorist on my daily jog. It was at an intersection under heavy construction where most pedestrians opt for an alternative path to the painted lines. I threw myself out of harm’s way as the driver hit the accelerator then barely regained my step and composure before the passenger — a ham-faced broad with more testosterone than that on reserve at a WWF event — screamed at me: “THE CROSSWALK IS THERE FOR A REASON, SIR!!” I’ve done a decent job since my mid-20s of keeping rage intact, having grappled with a sizable assholic temper up to that point. But something about the combination of nearly getting hit, a pounding heart, self-conscious instincts, almost tripping over a traffic cone as I steadied, and being berated by the same car that almost hit me, fueled old instincts. The vehicle sped off before I could say much besides “why don’t you come back and we can discuss it?” But I wasn’t coming down anytime soon.

Then, a few blocks down the road, I spotted the same car coming out of a driveway. I hadn’t made out the driver, an older fellow with a somewhat clueless expression, but there was no mistaking his belligerent sidekick. I stopped in front of them and walked calmly over to have a word as he rolled the window down. My words were measured but my blood pressure was still off the charts and I’m quite sure whatever expression I was sporting would not have made the cover of Serenity Today Magazine. “Look,” I said, in a seethingly calm manner, “you don’t almost run somebody down and then scream at them as they’re recovering.” I had a few other pieces of choice advice, all delivered minus any implied threat, but were I either of them I’d have been silently thanking California for its strict concealed-carry laws. The driver was a bit shaken but able to decipher that I wasn’t going to do anything and the woman in the passenger seat turned her head away in either fear or disgust. Then, as I continued past them, a few nagging questions persisted. “Was the car in question off-white or tan?” … “How many doors did it have?” … “Did the original screaming lady have on long or short sleeves?”

The more I thought on it, the more convinced I became. I’d pulled the threatening psycho card on a couple of innocent bystanders. I wasn’t certain but there was enough nagging doubt to add “shame” for dessert to my raging, fearful entree. If there was a lesson to be learned from all or any of it, I’d pick something along the lines of “don’t scream at anyone, ever.” There are times it may be warranted, but you’ll never go wrong skipping it all together. As a matter of fact, don’t even speak to anyone in a heated or threatening manner, tempered or otherwise. While we’re at it, don’t voice disagreement with anyone’s opinions of a political or otherwise passionate nature. Ah hell .. just keep your mouth shut altogether. Clint Eastwood’s more or less made a career of it and he’s still kicking.

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