PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

The Unperturbed Juror

If I were a Senator in a presidential impeachment trial, I would try to look like a person who’s completely uninterested in the proceedings. Feet up, reading a book. Maybe opening bills and junk mail and separating the wheat from the chaff.

Did the Red Sox trade Andrew Benintendi?!

I haven’t smoked a cigarette in a couple of decades, but I’m suddenly emboldened. Maybe a cigarette on the end of a long, black, wooden holder. And I’m wearing a top hat or something.

If I had a toaster with me, this would be a great time to be making toast. I like my toast to be ever so, made of freshly baked bread so that toasting it brings out the yeasty aroma and creates hot craters for butter to melt into, with only the very ends of the puffed wheat actually browning.

How can I be expected to listen to a case of inciting an insurrection by a sitting president if I’m trying to make the perfect slice of toast?

Another thing I like to do during impeachment trials is learn how to tie a new knot. As a knot aficionado, having another knot in my arsenal can’t hurt. There is certain to come a time when the knots I’m currently able to tie don’t serve my purposes, and… shoot, is that a roll call? Wait, when are we supposed to be voting?!

…Oh, phew, ok false alarm!

Vote is later today. (Isn’t it?)

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Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Recent reports indicate that in some states, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, smokers are getting prioritized for the COVID vaccine, right up there with transplant recipients, heart patients, people with diabetes, and your grandma.


Photo of a cigarette smoker with a black eyeThis seems like a good time to reveal a little-known fact about me, which no doubt will cause a stir and will be trending tomorrow on the internet: it turns out that I formerly smoked cigarettes. And I don’t mean one or two after dinner: I was a pack a day smoker, lighting up Marlboro Reds, Marlboro Lights, Kools, Newports, Parliaments, and every now and again an American Spirit. I doubt I ever smoked a Lucky Strike, but given that I bummed cigarettes from other smokers, it’s possible that I smoked Luckies, Pall Malls, and maybe even a Tareyton once or twice, whose devotees would “rather fight than switch.”

I don’t know who would have cared enough about another person’s cigarette of choice to demand that they part with their Tareytons in favor of some other brand, but from the billboards and magazine ads, those Taryton smokers were suffering lots of faux back eyes.

Another odd fact: Bishop Grimes High School in East Syracuse, New York, where I received advanced training in the smacking of heads on the gridiron, had annual fundraisers for the school that were called “smokers.” When I was a kid, I stupidly assumed that it was because everyone smoked while losing at blackjack and poker. I checked with my sisters on this one (so it must be true), and their answer was yes, that’s exactly why it was called a smoker. (To be completely transparent, my sisters aren’t really sure.)

You non-smokers may find it hard to believe that cigarettes in a newly-opened pack are “fresher” than those a few days old, just like Cheerios out of a new box are fresher. How can that possibly be, given that cigarettes are the antithesis of “fresh"? Still, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded that I smoke a cigarette right now, I’d request a fresh one.

Whenever we bought a new packet of cancer sticks, we’d smack the packs against our palms for a couple of minutes before removing the plastic wrapper so that the tobacco would get densely packed into the tube of cigarette paper and would leave a millimeter or two of empty space at the end. Then we’d light up and suck the toxic fumes deep into the inner recesses of our pulmonary systems, like it was the only thing that could get us through the next 10 minutes of our lives, wrecking our lungs and annoying the hell out of everyone around us.

Comedian Steve Martin in the 1970s with several bent cigarettes in his mouthI'm telling you this because while I’m no longer a smoker I have lots of smoke in my history, and maybe even more badly damaged lungs than many of the 20-year olds who are currently inhaling lung snacks and appear poised to jump ahead of me in line.

On the other hand, I feel like I have at least a small argument to put me up there with smokers, given that several times a year I smoke a big pile of ribs for the family. Maybe that’s not exactly what is meant by “smoking,” but ask any public health expert and they’ll tell you that smoking anything is a danger to your health. 

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Walking Tall

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of crazy stuff (also called “crazy shit” by people whose blogs aren’t quite as decent as mine), but among the crazier stuff is that the latest and sexiest article of impeachment against old whatsisname (former president, heavy dude, blond-esque hair, golfs a lot – you know who I mean) is being “walked over” to the Senate from the House.

What the heck! If you stood up for justice and truth, like several politicians did, you can’t even walk yourself down the street these days, let along walk a document indicting the plump, red-hat wearing dude who incited an insurrection. Are the articles being walked over with armed military personnel protecting the brave person doing the walking, or is some page skipping along to grandmother’s house without protection from the wolves? If it’s me, I get on my bike and ride like holy hell, flipping the bird to would-be articles-of-impeachment-thieves.

Anyway, don’t they know that we keep copies?

Hang on. I have people jumping up and down and waving their arms to get my attention. OK now they’re making that circular motion with index fingers around their temples to indicate that I’m crazy.

Ha, well, it turns out that it’s walked over because both houses of congress are in the same building. Except, wait, that’s the Capitol building.

I still think we need a robust security detail walking this one over.

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Retirement

Not that I have any idea how to manage this website, or that you’re actually reading it, but I think it’s the right time to announce that the sidebar to the right, which I stopped adding content to some years ago when President 45’s rhetoric stopped being merely idiotic and became downright incendiary, be retired in favor of something more uplifting.

Pictures of puppies!

OK, no.

I’m going to see if I can find in the inaugural words of our next president, Uncle Joe, an apt haiku to post to this sidebar. Basically, I have no idea how to get rid of this sliver of vertical verbiage. Maybe the refreshed haikus will become “a thing” (as my son tends to say) and the world will finally pay attention to me.

Yeah, probably not.

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J'Biden Era Haikuage

 

People's Arms. That's right!

200 million shots

In 100 days

 

We are good people

But we still have far to go

Repair. Restore. Heal.

 

There's nothing new here

The Affordable Care Act

We're restoring it 

 

America's Day

Democracy is fragile

The world is watching 

 

Strategy is based

On Science, not politics

Truth, not denial

 

 

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