Volume 75, Number 27 | November 23 - 29, 2005


Operation everything

By Andrei Codrescu

“Look at what happened,” mother said pointing at CNN. I looked up from the newspaper I was reading at her behest because she wanted me to read the jokes in the media organ of the retirement community where she lives. Suicide bombers on CNN kind of interfered with my complete understanding of a Britney Spears joke that ends, “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.” I’m surprised that the folks around here know who Britney Spears is.

My mom and I watched “The Honeymooners” last evening. President Bush follows the suicide carnage on CNN with a firm vow to keep fighting in Iraq. He’s in Mongolia. I’ve been on the road from New York to Florida and I stopped to see my mother this Thanksgiving week because I am a dutiful son. My clothes are tumbling in the washer on the floor of the complex mother inhabits. This morning we took a walk to look at all the trees downed by the latest storm. Mother also showed me the empty swimming pool being cleaned of dirt and branches. They also have a movie theatre here, exercise rooms, classes in Spanish and sculpture. None of those interest mother who’d rather complain about the world.

The TV is a very important aid to her activity. It helps provide fuel when the fire of the world’s offenses against her runs low. Well, that’s one of the privileges of age: you can call out the flaws in everything, and everything is flawed, believe me. CNN displays Bush in Mongolia against a red wall festooned with some designs that look like a zillion sickles and hammers, and mother brings out some sugarless cookies that I must have because “these are the O.K. kind.” I eat them.

My mother is a Democrat. Last evening we watched “Fahrenheit 911,” the Michael Moore movie, and she cried. Today, CNN looks like it’s the sequel to Moore’s movie. Actually, every day since Bush was re-elected has been a sequel to Moore’s movie. There is also a Greek-lettered hurricane in the Caribbean again, so that feels like a sequel, too. If they run out of the Greek alphabet, they can start on the Cyrillic. Then the Chinese. Thank God we have plenty of alphabets. What we don’t have is the forbearance and wherewithal to take any more hurricanes and three more years of George W. Bush.

My mother lived through World War II in Romania, but that was then, and this is now. Killing civilians still gets her upset, even though it’s not our relatives this time. They are somebody else’s relatives. But the storms do seem personal. Especially since the Bush gang seems determined to deny global warming and environmental degradation. Mother jumps up and runs to put my clothes in the drier. She returns excited: “I got there just in time. An old man was taking over the driers.” Old men. Time. Timing. The world. It’s all here, and I’m typing it as it happens.



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