The place to come to wag more and bark less...

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Not a President, I Just Play One on TV

What is wrong with this guy?

In only four months’ time, the US has seen the rise of a blindly self-serving autocrat. Some, who rely upon his mere presence to pursue their own interests, kowtow to this man’s whims and placate him with patronizing words.

Despite the seemingly endless ego-stroking on display in DC, all involved compromise whatever sense of decorum they have to achieve their agendas.

The president himself, along with his entourage of sycophants are normalizing a wildly distorted definition of decency, honesty and good faith.

Further, these revised concepts are not subtly introduced, but hammered in like a red-hot rivet and left to cool. If ever our mindset is to be freed of this new mentality, it'd take a considerable paradigm shift for each of us. That, and very likely a blowtorch, too,

Since these norms of honesty and forthrightness are being stretched to a barely recognizable version of their intended meaning, our culture is slowly but surely assimilating them as our “new” normal.

But this is where, as a culture, we're conceding our mindset, modest and humble though they've may be to adapt to the role model we're used to seeing in the White House.

Instead, we're finding ourselves duped by a master whose only real skill is heavy handedly duping others to do his bidding.

And, my, how accomplished he is, making his administration look productive by signing a multitude of executive orders.

These, however, are merely photo-ops designed for broadcast or publication by reporters in the corporate-controlled media outlets he vilifies as “scum” and mere peddlers of Fake News.

In the face of all evidence to the contrary, the president and his minions, despite their rhetoric espouse a critically flawed agenda that can only end in disaster.

We citizens, who’ll be left to pick up the pieces, will find ourselves united in the sharing of a common trauma, which we'll only survive with the support of each other.

How could we have let this happen?, we'll ask ourselves. More important, we'll (hopefully) wonder how to keep it from recurring.

As a nation, we will emerge scarred and with a tarnished international reputation. But, like the Whitewater, Watergate and Clinton scandals (and many more), we will emerge.

It won't be much, but it'll be all we’ll have to work with at first. Along with the strength that the confidence to overcome brings will, hopefully, come wisdom.

Only then will all Americans be able to take a collective, deep breath and get back to the business of life once again.

This experience has been a horrific violation of our national trust, and it may leave a residue of governmental distrust for the next generation.

But the absence of this autocrat-and the nightmarish energy he carries-will one day be behind us. Not until then that the United States will return to its philosophy of governance of the people, by the people and for the people once more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Diff-Ability is empowering, but safety still rules!

While most of us have heard the phrase that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the abstract meaning can sometimes be overlooked. It's the sort of thing that can happen despite having the best intentions of protecting yourself from a sports injury, for example.

Case in point: While out on a mountain bike ride about a week ago, I went through my usual safety checklist. My helmet, my shoes and a glove to protect my right hand were all on, and away I went. This time, though, all my usual precautions weren't quite enough. With the drier weather came more cyclists and once-firmly packed trails became sandy.

Being new to riding a mountain bike once again and with only one arm at that, I concentrate more on my steering than ever. But the slick tires with a higher inflation pressure felt downright slippery, and that can equal danger. It's time again for tires with some tread and without as much pressure. Presto! I've got a safe ride once again.

Details like these I consider "rookie mistakes," because I'm so used to road cycling from my pre-accident days. My learning curve on a mountain bike is still steep. Plus, even though I haven't forgotten how to ride a bike, riding with only one hand (and off-road, no less!) is something brand-new to me. I literally am learning how to ride a bike again.

It's all part of being diff-abled, and I accept and understand it. It's a great way to turn those rookie mistakes into a habit of thinking about things in a safer context.

So, while people I meet on the trail often stop to cheer me on as I pass by, I'm nonetheless reminded that being diff-abled is great - but there's no need to add to the challenges I've already got!

So, everybody, happy trails! And, as I like to say tongue-in-cheek, Keep the rubber side down!

Friday, June 2, 2017

What happened to your arm, mister?

It's fairly common knowledge that disabilities take many forms, seen and unseen. But, since I can't snap my fingers and undo my disability, it's become sort of a hobby to have a little fun with it.

It's my disability, I reason, so I can make light of it. Nobody else can, however, not without the express written consent of the National Football League. See?

The first thing I think that identifies me as disabled is Sophie, my service dog. In fact, people notice her. That's right, Her.

The fact that she's a service dog usually comes second and, if I'm noticed at all, it's often as a distant third. Even then, it's only to ask “Can I pet your service dog?”

I've been known to tell such people “Oh, ha ha ha, she's not my service dog, I'm just watching her for a friend who's visiting Oklahoma for the next six months.”

Playing second fiddle to my dog is something I've grown used to and quite proud of, too, even though I make sport of pretending otherwise.

And Sophie's a smart one to be sure. Her toys are marked “genius level” right on the package, for crying out loud. I almost feel like a half-wit standing in line, waiting to buy one, mostly because I know she's smarter than I.

She must be. Even with my fingers and my power tools I don't think I could ever remove the treats I put in there. Sometimes, in a fit of frustration at being unable to thwart her genius-ness I really cram things in there. She just seems to relish her abilities even more.

My only fallback is to remind myself that I still have the upper hand in making her complicit with some of my hare-brained schemes. It’s a bit like the movie Rain Man. Guess which part I play.

My constant trying to outsmart a dog kinda makes it sound like life's just one, big Looney Toons cartoon, right? Well, if I'm lucky, it will be. And lately, I've been pretty lucky, and I have the new season to thank for it.

It's June here in Colorado and Sophie and I live in an especially Colorado-y place. We're in the foothills with a campground and reservoir right across the street. No kidding, it's a wet dog's dream!

Sophie believes that the campers, many of them with dogs, are there for her own, personal amusement. There's also a revolving door of ducks and geese, most of which are leading parades of recently hatched mini-me’s, struggling to keep up, through the water.

These little ones grow up fast to bathtub-toy size and beyond. If they didn't, locals tell me, there are plenty of fish that'd love to eat ‘em.

Other little ones have appeared, too. Bunnies, deer, mice, feral cats and even some humans have little ones running around, the latter easy to identify with one finger buried deeply up its nose.

Interesting, isn't it, how nature programs offspring to learn everything they need to know about life from their parents? Indeed, it is.

So, with all the activity around here, there's no shortage of places to go and people to meet, especially when I walk Sophie down to the reservoir for her morning dip.

It's the time when campers, usually stiff from tossing and turning all night because, well, they slept in a camper, come stumbling outside to find something to do. That's when the fun really starts.

For those who are able to look beyond Sophie and notice me, you'll see I'm an amputee, and I'm usually in pain, too. That's because I sleep every night in a camper. I'm just kidding, of course, I don't feel the pain as much anymore.

At the lake, my shorthand for “The Reservoir,” Sophie struts along beside me in her red Medical Alert Service Dog vest. Seeing this, people somehow assume her job is to compensate for my missing arm.

But her real job is to alert me to any seizures I might have. But, like the backup to Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, who almost never missed a down-ever, Sophie's got an easy gig.

For starters, I only have seizures when I sleep. But since that could change anytime, I'd want her to know what to do. So we practice, and practice some more.

Our practice routine is legendary. So she has the dream job; of always being there, just in case. And if she's bored, that's fine by me, because it means I'm A-OK.

But what about her helping me as an amputee? If you think about it, and most people don't, in what possible way could a dog help a grown man who happens to be missing an arm?

Make me breakfast, maybe? Well, if I'd be willing to eat some slobbery hunk of duck jerky from a genius toy then I'd be set. But waiting for lunch is by far the best option.

With the possible exception of scaring off would-be muggers, something Sophie's done her share of, especially in Mexico, I can't think of one thing.

How, on one hand she scares off bad hombres yet, on the other hand (or the same hand twice, like me) she attracts kids and sweet old ladies I'll never know.

Those very kids and sweet old ladies, however, I never tease when it comes to Sophie. She wouldn't hurt anyone in a million years unless they were out to hurt us first, something she sniffs out immediately.

Anyway, as an amputee, I find kids just stare at me, often speechless and with a bewildered expression. Their eyes say it all: Just what the hell could've happened to that guy's arm?

For once, I get the attention instead of Sophie, so I let ‘em off easy.

Sometimes kids do ask me about it and, that's okay, of course. I admit, though, if they seem snotty I'll drop my rule and say the first, usually idiotic thing that comes to mind:

“Where's my arm? I thought you had it,” or “it fell off and sank when I was out in a boat and I think a fish ate it,” that sort of thing.

Kids’ll buy pretty much anything you tell them, I've learned, so long as you can keep a straight face. I've also learned to laugh or smile at them before leaving so they don't wake up in the midst of a screaming nightmare.

“Mommy (or Daddy)! There was this giant fish and it had that man's arm sticking out of its mouth…” I hope that never happens, even to the snotty ones.

In general, kids don't ask what happened to my arm. Most often, it's drunk or just uncouth adults. So, I tell them “the dog bit it off and ate it after I accidentally stepped on her tail, then was rude about it.”

Sometimes I throw in “...and she loves the taste of human flesh that's been marinated in bourbon for x-amount of years,” and I guess their age.

Since I've never encountered any children who are both drunk and uncouth, I've never had to consider what I'd do then. It'd probably be the same thing, since kids shouldn't be boozing anyway. Scare ‘em straight, before it's too late, I say.

There's a particularly annoying version of that same question, always from weirdly stoic men, never women:
“Where did you serve?”

It makes it seem like, except in combat, I couldn't possibly have lost my arm any other way.

That question, and the stupid way it was usually asked sticks in my head all the way home from wherever it took place.

As if replaying it aloud and with a dipshitty tone, I say to no one in particular something like:

“How’ja looz y’arm, huh?”
“Yup, musta bin a gernade, yuk yuk yuk.” Or “coulda bin smallarms far, yuk yuk yuk.”

When it comes down to it, I do a pretty convincing dipshit imitation. Must be all that exposure and lotsa practice, yuk yuk yuk.

Somehow it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Sophie has thought about biting off my arm. It's to her credit she hasn't (yet).

All kidding aside, there's much more to look forward to in the coming months. So don't forget to wear sunscreen and, as always, to come back and find out what's been happening while you were away!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's Like Riding a Bike, Only Different

Wow-today was one of my first rides with my most recent, and carefully timed cycling upgrades; SPD compatible shoes.

This careful timing is not just a function of economics. No, I don't currently have the expendable income to upgrade to the latest and greatest bike stuff I grew used to having in my old cycling life.

Nah. I'm just entering my new cycling life and, for the first time since my big crash nearly five years ago, the routine is going to stick. There's no turning back, I'm in the saddle once again!

It feels so good to say that, I could never explain it. It's the same feeling I get on the bike once more, and it's no different than ever.

Which leads me to the real reason I've created a self-imposed timing; it's meant to keep me out of trouble.

Put simply, I know how I think when I'm totally immersed in my focus on the trail, navigating through all the stuff thrown at me and not concentrating on heart rate or muscle power.

The rush from that has gotten the best of me before, and it'll take a supreme effort at times to control it again.

Yes, it's great to be getting into the sport again, and adrenaline feels as good as I remember, but better because I am a survivor. It didn't require anything more than really, really wanting to ride again that's making it happen.

Which means then, that I really, really want it. But what I also want is to return tomorrow to build on what I've done today. And being smart about it is the key.

I've had a hierarchy of upgrades since I began riding several weeks ago, all designed to keep me from getting crazy in a rush of adrenaline and biting off more than I could chew. A one-way ticket to the ainful town of Endocity.

Mountain biking is serious business, and the trail is not a forgiving place. Rocks and stumps don't give if you hit them-but your body will. Cactus is prickly, branches will scratch and tree branches will surprise you in unimaginably insidious ways.

As a one-armed rider, even the least technical of trail sections demand I maintain my grip on the bar. Not until I reach a flat and/or straight section can I free my hand to grab a drink or swat away the bug I'd felt climbing up my neck for the past ten minutes.

But I wouldn't change a thing about it, for the alternative now - hiking or just plain sitting around, killing time - is unthinkable.

For the first time, winding along, feeling the warm wind in my face and the snug smoothness of my cycling shorts once again, I heard myself let out a whoop I'd forgotten once existed inside me everyday.

It just felt so good, like my world felt right again, the way things were meant to be. By my definition, this side of cycling is an esoteric experience that must be achieved to be fully understood.

I look forward to exploring that feeling again tomorrow with, as always, the rubber side down. It's mind cleansing and soul stirring stuff, and it makes me stronger, inside and out.

Also well worthy of mention is the community of cyclists out there on the trails.

Having been a roadie for so long, I'd forgotten the camaraderie that exists among off-road cyclists. Even if it's through sharing the trail, the give and take of stopping for someone climbing a singletrack stretch toward me, just as they'd stop for me, the positivity exists.

Other cyclists will take a few minutes to share their knowledge with me of an untried trail, so I'll know what I can expect as my bike control and technical skills improve.

Hikers and horses, too; we all coexist out there in our mutual enjoyment of the outdoors.

In my experience, I can't recall ever seeing a one-armed cyclist, though I know they've surely been there. Lately, however, I see at least one such rider every time I ride (hee-hee!).

I've grown used to being a novelty out there, and many people have offered encouraging and welcoming words that never fail to fire me up. “Dude, you're a stud” someone told me today, and it makes me laugh. Maybe it's because he was riding the trail with his little girl, who looked to be around twelve or so.

I'm gracious in return, for I've forgotten just how damn strong some riders out there are. While I'm happy to inspire others as a differently-abled, one armed cyclist, it's those powerhouses that inspire me to build back my own strength.

The road is where my best cycling remains to be found, but only on a mountain bike can I develop the strength and bike handling skills that will make me a safer rider no matter where I am.

No trainer or stationary bike can claim as much, and the road itself is no place to break back into the groove of cycling again. It can be a very unforgiving place that could result in a situation from which you won't walk away. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and I ain't going back there again!

That said, I’m happy to report that, when I'm out there, I don't feel fear. It's a function of having spent most of my youth and all of my adult life on a bike. Just two wheels and muscle power is all that matters; once I have that, I can take it from there. I'm a confident yet smart rider who gets the rhythm of traffic and the road in general.

Something that's been beyond my control however, runs far deeper. I've often felt a profound sadness about the very real possibility I might never ride again.

Maybe I couldn't overcome my fears or my physical pain or I'd find myself facing some other demon I'd yet to meet. The idea ate away at me inside like some all-consuming, insatiable tapeworm.

What's more, just knowing my old comrades were out there together, training without me, or seeing a lone rider out with nothing but time and many miles yet to ride always brings back the memories.

But it's not meant to be-I'm free of the demons, free to ride once more. Now, I can bring those old memories to life once again, and things will be the same as ever - only different.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Cleaning

This morning, after hearing a particularly meaningful testament on the importance of tithing in our lives, I considered what I have to give. 

“Nothing,” I thought. “There's nothing I have that I don't need or use.”

Boy, was I mistaken. It took only a moment to realize that, just yesterday, I gave a neighbor something really simple - a length of vinyl-coated, light duty cable dog leash. I found it weeks ago at a campsite along the lake not far from my home.

"Maybe I'll need this someday," I thought, though I might've known better. Sophie, my trusty service dog never runs away, unless she's running with me, so the need I imagined never materialized.

Anyhow, giving something away I'd be unlikely to ever use anyway didn't seem that big of a deal. I didn't think much of it, either, until I considered it's real value to my neighbor.

If you've ever been camping in Colorado in late May, or anytime, for that matter, you're not surprised when a winter storm blows through and makes all those seventy degree days from last week feel like ancient history.

Those are the times when the propane that fuels our furnaces becomes invaluable to us. 

Well, my neighbor had once suffered the loss of a sorely needed propane tank before, as a boy camping with his family.

He remembered shivering all night, and he resolved then and there it'd never happen again.

Although the cable I gave him wasn't meant to prevent anything from being taken, I could tell when he thanked me that the peace of mind it brought him was as much a gift to me as the cable was to him.

It makes me chuckle to think that I had the thought that “one day, I might find a use for that cable myself,” even though it sat, neatly coiled up beneath my camper.

But what I didn't realize at the time was that I did find a use for that cable; I gave it to my neighbor. The metaphor of that one, seemingly simple act was not lost on me; giving is an act from which all parties benefit.

You've heard of buyer’s remorse, right? Well, I've felt like a consistent sufferer of seller's remorse. “Man,” I'd think, “I coulda got way, way more money when I sold that (fill in the blank) if only I'd asked for more.

But there's an insidious, built-in, two-fold mechanism at work in my thinking here.

First, saying that I should have asked for more not only cheapens my memory of having sold something to someone fair and square, but it cheapens the transaction itself.

Instead of making a positive deal with somebody, a sort of dark cloud came over it in my mind, turning it into something that felt somehow tainted.

“I'm so na├»ve,” I'd think, “how could I let myself get taken like that?” Or, “That guy knew what he was doing all along-I fell for some slick-talkin’, fast-walkin’ crook!”

You might already see where this is leading.

The second aspect of this is easy enough to remember, for it's best known as second-guessing. These thoughts pull a built-in trigger for an onslaught of self-criticism.

Any question I ask myself that begins “How could you have…?” automatically qualifies as one likely to end with some sort of harsh, inwardly pointed judgment.”

But after hearing Dr. Roger’s message this morning, it all became clear -the subject of tithing, that is, not All all!. Tithing needn't be of a financial sort, but can occur in a multitude of ways.

However many things you might give, or moments of your time, or heartfelt, thoughtful words etc., are simple, daily tithings I've been giving all along.

But, then I remember-drawing strength from the things I'm capable of giving everyday is actually the very basis of the contract I've made with my world.

In fulfillment of that contract I give of myself to others, like donating clothes or shoes or food, or recycling anything that still has a purpose, or my time and attention. It's what I do because I can, and I want to.

That, I now realize, is a form of tithing, and an infinitely rewarding one at that.

Just a little something to keep in mind during spring cleaning this year. 

One other thing - while outgrown or unwanted or needed consumer items have their place, I think the tithing Dr. Roger is referring to is actually the financial kind!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Breaking News

Mentally Ill Man-Child With 
Seizure Faking History Steals Toy Truck, Takes Joyride

Man-child, faking seizure

Washington, DC: Mentally ill man-child breaks into Kindercare in search of Department of Education Secretary/Fellow Rich Person Betsy deVos. Man-child loses grip on reality, throws tantrum, drives off believing he's Fred Flintstone.

Man-child fleeing Kindercare

Using his outside voice, man-child yells “Wilmaaa!”, forgets his manners, rudely shouts “Outta my way, very bad dum-dums!” 

Irritated neighbor, speaking on condition of anonymity, says “Nobody can stand that kid. He's been shouting nonsense since moving in four months ago.” 

Amateur video shows man-child hollering “Yer fired, ya nut jobs! Beep beep beeeeeeep!” No children were present, as deVos shut down facility earlier that day.

Man-child sent home with reluctant mommy, Ivanka, to their big white house. Tells him “You're in big trouble.”

Father, Stephen, tells man-child he'll get “good Democratic spanking”. He was sent to bed after only one scoop of ice cream, an hour of TV, and no cake.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sympathy for the Donald?

Inasmuch as I believe Donald Trump did not want to lose the 2016 election to a woman – he does not want to lose anything to a woman – he also did not have the foresight to see that, as president, he'd have to get off his ass and do something.

After lamenting about how much easier his previous life was before he became president, and stating outright that being president is more difficult than he thought it would be, just to watch Trump’s behavior as merely another person, without any expectation of seeing anything in him beyond that, is to witness a simple, undeniable truth about him.

A critical part of the problem with the world's view of Donald Trump is that those analyzing and reporting on him regard him in a political context.

Perhaps the Goldwater Rule is responsible, at least in part. I'm no sigmund Freud, but my eyes don't deceive me; I know what I see.

American voters in 1964 were encouraged to take a long, hard look at presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Fact magazine published a campaign ad featuring the polled disapproval of Goldwater’s by 1,189 psychiatrists.

Goldwater lost the election. but won a libel suit against the editor of the magazine that ran the ad. But it also resulted in the so-called Goldwater Rule, in which American Psychological Association members are forever ethically bound to not endorse candidates in this way again. It would be considered both inappropriate and unprofessional.

The lawsuit itself also had a somewhat similar chilling effect on how news could be reported. Unaccredited psychological professionals no longer gave their input, so any reporters making claims about anyone's mental state did so at their own peril.

Since then, barely a peep has come from journalists intent on reporting and keeping their jobs by not bankrupting the publishers that employ them. Anyway, it's a matter best left to late night TV hosts who somehow, in their own way, make stomaching chronically angry personalities like Trump's possible.

However, as a fiercely independent-and unemployed- news junkie/writer I am not bound by the wishes of any publisher for my actions. I am, therefore, both free and more than willing to speak out for what's right.

Regarding Trump, if you look at him as a person, and a troubled person at that, you will see the separation between the guy who is president, and the guy who just wants to play one on TV. The latter is the Real Donald Trump.

Some of what I'm pointing out here I've only seen expressed by two other writers.* One wrote an article entitled something like "Trump: what you see is what you get." The other wrote an eloquent piece with greater detail on this matter entitled “The Madness of King Donald”.

The point of the first article was that there really is no depth, no substance to Donald Trump. All of the inexplicable, idiotic behaviors and the apparently obscene, rude, and pointless views he has ever held are truly all there is to Donald Trump.

The second article, as the title suggests, is that the guy is just plain nuts, and there's a long history of tyrannical rulers who've displayed their craziness first.

No matter how well Donald Trump’s ego deludes him, he’ll never be the first, nor the “greatest ever” goofball to appear in the history books. It's almost like looking back for hundreds of years on Trump's genealogical tree.

Though I'm at a loss to figure out why, not enough emphasis is placed on the extreme insecurity that Donald Trump embodies. Aside from his near-paralyzing sense of fear, which runs a close second, insecurity is the driving force behind everything he does.

Nothing that Donald Trump does is done for any reason except to exercise power solely for his own personal gratification. It simply must make him feel better about himself, however he defines that at any given moment.

For someone who has all the money he will ever need or want, all of the things he could ever need or want, there is really little for him to want beyond outright glorification.

Donald Trump sees himself born into this world as a poor old sod who rose to prominence by virtue of his superior craftiness, shrewdness and wit. He then, rightfully became king. And, by definition, "king" to Donald Trump means having everybody wait on him, literally, hand and foot. It's what he's become used to, it's what he can't live without. Poor old sod.

In his business life, he could get away with it. In the world of politics, he cannot, and that's what he means when he says being president is harder than his previous life.

So why did Trump run for president anyway? It clearly wasn't to make America great again. Simple; he had nothing better to do and the call of infinite presidential glory was irresistible. In so many words, it sounded good.

Today, having won the election months ago and with the realities of the job staring him in the face, he can't help but flinch.

But with each quick look back at his victory last November, preferably coupled with a prideful, self-satisfying but awkward to anyone stuck nearby, gives Donald the confidence booster he so sorely needs.

Now that Trump needn't show the world the charming candidate adorned with a bright red ball cap and bursting with promises, Trump makes no effort to hide his real side. It's visible for all the world to see, and it ain't pretty.

He creates situations whereby he blatantly contradicts others who bear his message. This includes his press spokesman/whipping boy Sean Spicer who doubles as a sponge for Trump’s constant flow of vitriol.

But Trump’s not above putting his second in command, Mike Pence, in the hot seat, either. Chances are, it's just a reminder to Pence that he is, indeed, only second in command.

Given that Trump believes he's his own, best advisor, and that the conclusions he draws are the right ones, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary, his administration is, by design, largely devoid of appointees.

It's no wonder that his wife will not join him in Washington DC. No sane person would go out of their way to be with a man who screams, rages, and displays his ire in public.

I'll leave it up to the imagination to wonder what kind of heavy-handed bastard Trump turns into behind closed doors. Does he suddenly turn into a gentleman and model husband and father-of-the-year finalist? Not likely.

In the absence of those whose two favorite words are "yes, sir", in that order, somebody must be there to take Trump's angry energy. And who is downhill from it all? His wife, Melania, the low profile First Lady.

You remember her: She's (God forbid!) the immigrant who reminded Trump in public to put his hand over his heart as the national anthem was being played. He was likely preoccupied with thoughts of his next round of golf.

Yes, that's the Donald Trump the world now sees and, now that he's king, that's all that matters to him. Now, if only he can figure out how to get someone to do all the work of governing while he remains king.

“Too bad we gave up the English system of government all those years ago,” he thinks, “they really know how to treat royalty there.“

Back in the real world, Trump has lost the collective support of all House Democrats and is working his damnedest to do the same with his fellow Republicans.

But once he does, it won't be his fault, you see. When the fruits of his behavior hit the fan, as it's now doing, his rule will come to an abrupt, albeit bittersweet halt.

Bitter in that the eyes of the world will no longer be fixed on him. Sweet because he'll still have a Secret Service detail at his disposal while he gets back to his real calling; golf.

Inevitably, he'll be asked to look back and remark on his broken and short-lived presidency. In a nutshell, he'll offer up a face-saving tale of victimization, highlighted by leakers and fake news,
which he'll ultimately blame on "the system.”

"The system," of course, is simply some quixotic paradox that exists only in his mind. It's something he is doomed to never find, though his life has been spent in search of it.

One day, despite his many flaws, Donald Trump will be remembered as someone people once really, truly adored. It may also be remembered that most of those people were stubborn and misguided, drawn perhaps to a supposed underdog.

He appealed to many who felt better understood by him more than any politician ever had. Given the political climate, it's reasonable people might bet on a dark horse.

But there's another aspect of Donald Trump for which I believe he'll be remembered, and that is mental illness.

Ever since the culmination of the last year's campaign season, I've recognized it in him. The defensive tone of his words, and the childish, pre-emptive nicknames he constantly used in reference to his competitors.

His use of childhood phrasing at the end of his sentences, e.g. “...and everyone knows it.” His predisposition toward sudden mood swings, and tantrums, as evidenced by reports of his raging at his staff and singling out certain TV celebrities who scorned him.

As many already know, mental illness can strike anyone regardless of financial, social, or physical status. Anyone is vulnerable, including Donald Trump.

Just as he displays symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, I believe it's up to professionals like psychologists and psychiatrists to finally speak up.

Drop the professional gag rule and make an exception; you're smart people, smart enough to come up with a plausible reason why it's okay to do so in this case.

Consider this:

Now-former FBI director James Comey conscientiously spoke up about reopening Hillary Clinton’s email investigation ten days before last November’s election.

While it likely contributed to her campaign loss, Comey did so knowing he was the only person who could disclose that information. The gravity of his announcement - or decision to not announce - a development of such importance to his country's future he felt would make him, and he alone responsible for the consequences.

He knew the gravity of his decision could lead to many deaths, of innocents and combatants alike. There may well be shakeups in the world order and more.

So APA members, you've got a responsibility to the citizens of the world, the same world you, your family and everyone else shares. Please take the initiative and do something.

Anyway, despite Comey’s best intentions, it turns out that Hillary Clinton, with all her international diplomatic experience, would have been the better person to handle the job of president.

Given Donald Trump’s emotional and mental shortcomings, his administration was doomed from the start. But the subject here transcends politics; it's about mental health.

Donald Trump is a conflict-oriented person, as evidenced by, among other things, his penchant for filing lawsuits at the first sign of resistance from those with whom he's done or is doing business with.

Given his impressive corps of attorneys, it's not surprising so many lawsuits are pending still from his previous exploits in the private sector.

Now that he's involved in politics, however, a new evolution of Trump’s conflict-oriented nature has emerged.

Audaciously flexing his newfound political muscle, he continually offends Congress and, in so doing, all Americans by trivializing those issues set before him.

When he's not dabbling in behaviors that even experienced TV scriptwriters might consider inconceivable behavior for an American president:

Walling off the entire US border? Give top-secret intel directly to Russian diplomats in a closed-door meeting in the Oval Office? Nah. Nobody’d believe that.

He continually embarrasses his colleagues’ and pushes their trust to the limit with contradictory explanations of his exploits. This he downplays by saying that he “likes to improvise,” or that his “thinking has evolved.”

As president, Trump feeds his insatiable insecurity by betraying his subordinates and lording his power over them, yet still craving the loyalty he so desperately wants.

Despite having the upper hand now, he's up against a system he'll never defeat.

Again, that's when his story about unfair treatment and being undermined by some traitor who leaked information, disseminated fake news, etc. etc.

His insecurities will be aggravated and, once in that special state of upset, he'll finally feel content again. Only in his absence will the country be able to repair itself and it's relationship to the rest of the world, as well.

At least, however, the world will have a greater awareness and, hopefully, a better understanding of mental illness and it's profound effects on everyone whose lives are touched by it.

* Now it's four; I've added two more, below:

So Much For The Goldwater Rule:

Here are two related articles worth reading on this subject I have since come across writing this post yesterday.

The first is an op/ed by David Brooks entitled When the World Is Led by a Child.

In it, Brooks addresses Trump's infantile, childish and, at best, sophomoric behaviors in greater detail.

The second is also an opinion piece entitled Shrinks Define Dangers of Trump Presidency, by Hara Estroff Marano. It was posted on Psychology Today's online site on April 20, 2017.

In it, the findings of a panel of mental health experts who met at Yale to discuss the president's mental fitness are presented. Their answers may not surprise you.

Perhaps the best part about this group is their consensus that they've chosen to act out of a sense of responsibility for everyone's best interests, Goldwater Rule be damned.