Today is Oliver’s birthday. Not the anniversary of Oliver’s birthday, but his actual one. Did you feel that planetary wobble? That was our boy. He was supposed to show up more than a week ago, but he was disinclined, and had to be evicted. Baby Oliver, my great-nephew, is the first new thing in our family in thirty-one years, and is a production of the last new thing.
I don’t really blame him for holding back. It’s a scary world out there. Dave thinks I am unreasonably optimistic, but he’s wrong. I am constitutionally wired to veer towards cheer, but I’m not really optimistic at all. I think we’re going down, but I also think, in the context of each of our little lives, that we must continue to do our best, and that means we need to pay attention. As a species, we’re still a teenager, and we’re trashing the place because we are lacking an adult perspective and we don’t think we’ll ever die, but the ugly truth is not all teenagers make it to adulthood. We might party down and wreck the car and crash and burn and take some stuff down with us, but after the teddy bears rot off the milepost marker, no one will remember us.
Now that Oliver’s here, I think it would be a swell time for all of us to try a little harder. Start anywhere. Start small.
Are you a sad, wounded, pea-hearted troll who slithers onto the internet at night to say nasty things to people, and you can’t bring yourself to just say nothing at all? Maybe you could work on your spelling.
Are you a more responsible soul, standing in line at the store to pay for a shirt, a bottle of water, and a snack-pack? Pay attention, instead. You’ve got time; the old bat up front hasn’t even started excavating her purse for her checkbook yet. How old was the person who stitched your shirt, and what did she get paid? Maybe it’s cheap for you because somebody else is paying. And let’s take a look at that snack. All those adorable little plastic compartments so you don’t have to risk your crackers rubbing elbows with your cheese-like product! The plastic is a deathless unit of petroleum that contributes to global warming on the front end and spins forever in the ocean destroying sea life on the back end. The cheese-like product is manufactured using more petroleum and some minor contribution from cows that have been zipped up with antibiotics that are being outwitted by virulent bacteria right now, to our eventual regret. Maybe you could have an apple. Maybe you could grow an apple.
About that water. Tremendous news, maybe you’ve heard? We get water pumped right into our houses now. Not that long ago that would have been an unthinkable luxury. It’s clean, too, because we got together and bought ourselves some protection with our tax money. You could pick up this uninspected fluid in the handy petroleum package so that someone gets some jingle in his pocket for the privilege of privatizing something that should be owned by all of us, or you could just turn on the tap for practically nothing.
Are you someone who is getting a whole lot of money and a big microphone that broadcasts to the whole world and all you can do is make fun of the First Lady’s ass and whine that she’s trying to take away your Twinkies? Seriously, dude? Maybe you can think of something more constructive to do.
Or maybe you’re in a position of actual power and you’re devoting your days to making sure that the people who have all the money get to keep it and add to it. Is this your legacy to the world? Give it a little more thought and do the right thing. Do one right thing. Extra credit if you can do it without getting your penis in the news, but we’ll let that slide for now.
Start anywhere. Start small.
Or are you really wicked wealthy? So wealthy that you could give away 95% of it and still be wicked wealthy? Maybe you could let a little of it go, or maybe you could send a little down the line to the people who got all that wealth stacked up for you. Because, honey, you didn’t earn it. Know how I know? It’s not possible to earn that much money. You amassed it, honey, and that’s about the most shine we can put on it. Maybe you could see that all those people who contributed to your fat bottom line could get more of a share. Maybe you could decline to do business in countries that do not care for their workers or the environment. Or maybe you could save a watershed a week, or cure malaria. Does that whole line of thinking make you pucker? Okay. Maybe you could merely call off Twinkie-boy with the microphone and tell him to quit making fun of the First Lady’s ass just to raise the rabble that keeps electing the people who are allowing you to amass more money. Maybe you could quit buying those politicians who are raising all those armies for you so you can keep all those resources under your control and continue to trash the planet while the rest of us try to get some of it cleaned up, and maybe you could quit paying those people to come up with ideas like manufacturing all this fake uproar you don’t even believe in about gay people so the ignorant keep coming to the polls and voting in your minions so you can keep all of your money and get even more. No? Baby steps, then. Maybe you could pay some damn taxes. Start small. Start anywhere. Start.
Because it’s Oliver’s birthday, and it’s time we grew up.
Amen! This should be required reading in every house and school in the land. Especially in Tea Party houses. Or we could make it an amendment to the Constitution, but then the Tea Party would never get to read it.
Welcome to the world, Oliver! I hope we can make it a better place for you.
Does it seem like you're hollering into the hurricane sometimes? Well, fret not. Or, fret a little less. Your words find homes more than you might know.
You tell 'em, Murr! I got a new great-niece this summer, so I know exactly what you're thinking. Hoping.
There's glory here, Murr. Nothing elevates the conversation like a new baby in the family. Congratulations to your family and keep that fiery rhetoric alive.
First of all, congrats on that sweet bundle of love that just joined your family.
Secondly, I wish you were my neighbour.
I loved this post, but I love Oliver more. He's exquisite.
Here, here! I worry for my grandchildren everyday. Contrats auntie.
What a gorgeous little guy!
Here's hoping the greedy psychopaths this post addresses will develop a conscience and some empathy. More likely though that we're going to have to compel them to play all nice and responsible-like. I don't think they read your blog, Murr.
What I don't get is don't these people you are writing about worry about THEIR grandchildren, great-nieces, nephews, etc.? Just how selfish/short-sighted are they?
Congratulations on Oliver!!!
Happy Birthday Oliver. I will do better for you little man, because nephews are important to our world.
Welcome to the party, Oliver.
What. A. Beautiful. Boy.
Classic post, Murr…the greedy will come to defend, and it won't be much longer I think.
Here's one small comfort to me–the more you have to lose, the harder it is for you. I'm sometimes grateful to not have so much, because it's near time to pay the piper, methinks.
Round and round and round she goes…the Karmic wheel turns…
I think you need a different post title. How about "Tilting at Windmills"? Or, "Socialist Rabble Rouser"? Also, I'm waiting for a post on Eric Cantor. He is a disgrace to my people. Gah. I start frothing at the mouth just thinking about it.
Thanks, just had to get that off my chest; and my blog is no place to do it. Although I might, anyway…
I love ya, Murr. But you leave me speechless….you say everything so damn much better than I could.
Beautifully written. Carry on, darling.
What a beautiful, beautiful baby with a silky head of hair. The babies in our family tend to be more of the bald-as-a-cue-ball variety. We're expecting our 12th grandchild at the end of the month, so I say Hear! Hear! to all that you've written. (We sure could use a few more progressives in Georgia … I'm practically the last of a dying breed.)
Amen! Wait! I'm an aetheist, that probably should be bugger!
Welcome to the world, baby boy!
Great post. Well said.
Yes, baby steps.
OMG, that's a newborn? Most newborns I've seen look like a red prune wired for sound. Oliver is awesome!!
Whatta sweetie. Indeed, newborns are the Creator's promise that there's hope. Thanks for sharing it and inspiring us to keep rooting in the bottom of our baskets where it's sifted into the corners.
Murr, you dear wonderful woman you, I want to stand on my computer chair and give you a thunderous ovation. I'll just *share* you on FB and hope this gets out there somehow.
And wee Oliver, a blessing has been sent your way. You got one with the aunt you got but another one won't hurt.
Congratulations to all! But especially to you and Dave. Baby nieces are even better than grandchildren in this respect: you have absolutely no responsibilities at all except spoiling them silly at every opportunity.
What a wonderful baby! Happy (real) birthday to him!
I certainly hope the world improves for him. If not, it won't be for lack of his great-aunt's trying.
Happy birthday Oliver. And listen to your Great Aunt. She is wise and she is funny. Both rare, but in the same package, priceless.
You said it, sister.
Would that that kind of wisdom would pour forth everytime a child were born.
Little does Oliver know just how dysfunctional the world has become. The human world that is, not the natural world. I hope he enjoys a few years of blissful ignorance before the awful truth dawns on him that humanity is eating itself.
"Maybe you could work on your spelling." Yeah, that's a good one.
Hallelujah and AMEN!
Thanks all. I've been on vacation (that means OFF THE GRID) and not chiming in as regularly as a blogster is supposed to. I am heartened by "amens" and "buggers" (well…) and I'm quite certain the people who should read this do not read my blog, because I never hear from them. So far I'm operating a troll-free zone by pure luck.
This post was written a while ago and Big O is a little past newborn in these photos, but I guarantee he was every bit as gorgeous on his birthday.
Blew me away. Covered so much that I've been thinking, and it was a glory to read it.
You are the "right now" Molly Ivins. May have spelled her name wrong. We need you seriously to get this stuff out into the world. Someone needs to say it, and that someone is you.
That's "Saint Molly." Bless ya. Also, Shaatzie, I love it when people say "it was a glory"…one of my favorite expressions.
Along with some Occupy Movement colleagues, I've been thinking a lot of the same thoughts, too Murr.
Our ecological footprint at the Bear's den is getting smaller; it will get smaller still.
I just wish our ecological footprint as a planet would get smaller. A lot smaller.
And that we would re-learn how to care, deeply, for each other.
Terrific writing. So true and heartfelt too. I so hope this gets read by lots and lots of people. I will email it to some people I know. Scary to think of the world Oliver has joined and what he will have to face and live without unless more people heed the things you mention in this post.
Oh my, TechnoBabe sent me your link and I, too am as entralled with your writing as she is. A beautifully wise – and sharp – mind at work on the page.
The crackers next to the cheese food product in the plastic compartments may be more nutritionally deadly than we've ever imagined. After reading "Wheat Belly", and giving up wheat (all grains), we are seeing amazing emotional results beyond the physical recovery.
Welcome to the world Oliver. Now let's make the planet really wobble. Small steps can make a big difference. 😉
Thanks, Tech, honey, for tossing James my way, and James, hope you stick around when I start writing about poop again. Which I do, pretty regularly.
I think I may now understand how I can be so depressed over the last two or three years, and still show an optimistic cheerfulness to the outside. The latter is genuine, but so is the former. Yes, we are going down, but we can also be the best we can try for as small people.
Maybe that will help, if enough small people try for it.
Geez…Murr. We have an Oliver too. He is two now.
Chris! Henry and Oliver! You're raising Englishmen!