I never call him “President.” I don’t even like to use his actual name. I prefer to refer to him as the Orange Menace, Hitler Lite, Dump, or—my new favorite—the Unindicted Co-conspirator.
But whatever I call him, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s killing me. And I don’t mean in the sense you use to praise a favorite comedian: “Stop it, Joan Rivers, you’re killing me!” No, I mean it literally. My mental and physical health have not been the same since November 8, 2016. The anxiety, the sleepless nights, the daily stress of keeping up with his alternately cruel and incompetent antics—have had tangible effects.
My stomach is in knots half the time, and my ability to deal with day-to-day stress—you know, real life, like traffic jams and the lid that refuses to come off the pickle jar—have been known to send me over the edge. And I can’t tell you how many hours I have donated to Morpheus that really should belong to me.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Donald Trump is shaving days off my life expectancy every month.
And he probably likes it that way. After all, it’s not his life; it’s mine. And clearly he doesn’t care much about anyone’s life but his own.
But that’s part of the grand scheme, isn’t it? The intent of these people (and it’s not just Trump; one man could not do all this shit by himself, even if he weren’t a certified idiot) is to wear us down. So we must stay vigilant, right? Or maybe we should just take turns being vigilant. Like campers, or soldiers in foxholes who take shifts guarding against danger.
You watch MSNBC for me today; I’ll watch it for you tomorrow. You unplug in Maui for the week; I’ll spend the next one in Sitjes.
Long ago I learned a valuable strategy for calming my nerves: imagine the worst-case scenario. The idea is to help you see that a) the worst-case scenario is highly unlikely; and b) it wouldn’t be so bad, anyway.
That works fine when you’re worried about not getting into the right college, or being dumped by a boyfriend. It’s less successful as an antidote to existential crises.
Personally, I imagine that my marriage will be annulled, that Social Security and Medicare will be dead by the time I’m eligible for them, that I’ll be put into a concentration camp, that nuclear bombs will go off all over the world. Those fears are in increasing order of seriousness and decreasing order of likelihood. But know this: none of them—absolutely none of them—is out of the question. Not anymore.
As the old joke goes, Just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. I prefer to think about paranoia the way Pascal thought about religion: believe in it just in case.
He’s killing all of us. But only some of us are paying attention to the pain as it comes. Ignorance is bliss, but it catches up with you eventually.