This Seems Reasonable

I occasionally get spam voice mails to my Google phone. It’s not a number I answer so the i only hear the message when I play the recording. I got one the other day. Here’s the transcript:

“I’m charged $1,499. We noticed some suspicious activity on your account. So we have put on hold to this transaction, please press one now. And to report please press two.”

That’s quite an accurate transcript of the message. But it seems like something was left out at the beginning before the recording kicked in. But to get the full effect of how ludicrous and bumbling this attempt is, you should really listen to the audio.

I really don’t get it. Is anyone ever fooled by this kind of thing? I surely hope not.

“Old Age Ain’t No Place for Sissies”

This quote, often attributed to the great actress Bette Davis came up in conversation today with a friend I have known for over 50 years. He was going through the litany of miseries he is suffering from cancer and the various treatments for it. The most radical treatment, surgery, will probably end up costing him his bladder in a few months. He’s already lost a kidney.

I have another friend in similar circumstances. Both are undergoing chemotherapy which in itself sounds like no fun at all.

I realize that as we get older we are more likely to encounter serious health issues. In spite of that, I cling to the belief that if I live right, and make good choices, I will live a healthy life to 110 and then pass away peacefully in my sleep.

Ray Kurzweil, the noted inventor and futurist posited in his mid-fifties that if he can live for 20 years, in that time, science and medicine will have advanced far enough to keep him alive and healthy for 20 more years, and so on, and on.

I don’t know how realistic that is. But even if it were, should we continue to take up space and resources for indefinite life spans? Seems pretty selfish. It also would further exacerbate the gulf between the privileged and the underprivileged.

I’m reconsidering my quest to prolong my life indefinitely, and will, instead, try to fully engage with every moment as it comes. What could be better than that?

Alternative Meat

Except for a brief period in my idealistic youth when I became a vegetarian, I’ve enjoyed eating meat. I enjoy the taste, the texture, the smell of meat of all kinds. I’ve eaten game I’ve shot when I used to hunt. Dove, pigeon, quail, deer, rabbit, squirrel.

For most of my existence, I have lived with the knowledge of the problems this practice presents: health, environmental, and moral problems. Most of the time I’ve been able to push these issues into the background so that I could continue to enjoy eating animals without conflict. I think we all live with some level of cognitive dissonance in order to get by in the world because it’s more convenient.

We drive cars that pollute. Even electric cars use power that is still mostly derived from coal and other horrible sources. We kill bugs and plants and animals we consider to be pests. I once read a fable about a monk who tried to live without harming another living thing. He only at fruits, vegetables, and nuts picked from plants and trees. He was careful where he walked so as not to crush bugs. He never bathed so as to avoid killing the mites that lived in his hair. He was devastated to learn that just by breathing his body killed bacteria.

I don’t have an answer or a path to living a more pure life. Do you?

Joy Sorrow Fear Anger


3 weeks and 1 day ago, our first grandchild was brought into the world. This made us gloriously happy. But it was accompanied by a deep sadness. Because of the pandemic we have had to put off indefinitely flying out to visit our grandson, daughter, and son-in-law. Zoom is just not an adequate substitute for holding and helping care for a newborn.

We fear picking up the virus and bringing it to them. We fear, as people in the more vulnerable age range, getting the thing ourselves. The descriptions of the suffering and death that many have faced with the virus are truly harrowing.

And I worry about what kind of world we are leaving Giovanni Dawson. The pandemic, the looming economic meltdown, a chaotic and nasty public sphere of politics, the climate catastrophe all feel like crushing pressures to face. I am angry about the state of the world. 

And yet, there he is and he makes my heart melt.

I have to remind myself that in the span of time, new people have been born into equally, often far more troubling times. Most of human history has been brutally harsh. Much of the world still faces hardships I can’t imagine surviving. But children manage. Children thrive.

So, on balance, I am comforted to know that Gio will be loved and cared for. And sometime soon we will find a way to hold him. Until then, I have to be satisfied by watching over him like some kind of digital guardian angel.

Sleep tight baby Gio.

Giovanni Dawson
Gio asleep in his crib.