Month: July 2019

Burning Bridges

By Charlie Jensen

Once, years ago a fellow was driving along a semi-dirt road in one of our very rural farmland states. It was near evening and he noticed that he was low on gas. He had just passed through a small town driving by the town’s Exxon gas station so he began to think about turning back. After a few minutes, he decided that he would fill his tank in the next town which, according to a Gulf Oil Company’s free folded paper map, was little more distant ahead than turning around would be. Eventually he spied the roofs of several buildings in the distance, a church spire, a nearby a grain silo, and a water tower.

     “Aaa, civilization at last. I hope I can get a good cup of coffee at a diner in this town,” he said to himself.

He drove on and discovered that there was no gas station and “Drats …” no diner, so he drove on in the gathering dusk, all the time becoming more and more concerned about the fuel needle which was approaching the tip of the “E”.

No sense stopping, he drove on cursing under his breath, “How the hell can these damn people not have a gas station or a decent diner, damn hicks.”

His concern began to become worry. But at least he thought, since the last town had no place to buy fuel, the next town must surely have one as they have to get gas somewhere. A few lights provided some glare ahead so he drove on, but suddenly he realized that one by one the lights were being turned off. A glance at the fuel gauge did not help, he pressed the accelerator as if the vehicle could go faster and despite his knowledge that high speed burned fuel faster.

Now his concern was gone. What replaced it was sheer blind worry, and his misgivings were rewarded by the discovery that the lonely Arco station was closed. The doors were shut and there was no life to be seen within except for the big German shepherd who kept jumping at the glass shop doors. Panic began to erupt as he cleared town.  His breathing became labored.

Ahead was a light from what appeared to be a farm house, but the house was far off on a two track dirt road. He thought he could see some lights ahead in what he hoped was a big farmhouse closer to the main road where he could buy a can of gas for his vehicle.

     “Damn,” he thought, “the farmer will know I’m desperate and will probably overcharge me.”

With that the auto’s engine began to sputter and he rolled it to the side of the road. His angst was loud, long and culminated with him pounding his fist first on the steering wheel and then on the hood till he bent it and bruised his closed fist.

There was still a light on ahead so he began to walk. As he walked along at a quick step, trying to avoid the occasional pothole and the possibility of tripping in the now pitch black darkness, he rehearsed the expected conversation.

He saw the ground floor lights going out, one by one, so he began to jog. He swore something about the damn farmer going to bed so early. Turning into what was apparently another long driveway he began to stumble in the dark, mostly because he was not used to running and carrying on the heated conversation he was imagining at the same time.

The last remaining second floor light went out as he almost reached the porch. A dog barked, “He better not unleash some vicious dog on me. I’ll sue his baggy pants off” and with his last breath he swore, “He better not be angry with me waking him his fat wife.”

With his final burst of energy he began to pound on the large oaken door. It took a minute or so and as he beat on the door harder and harder he knew this was going to end badly. The upstairs light flickered on, a window sash squeaked and a gruff voice called out, “Who’s there?”

With that the stranded traveler stepped off the porch, away from the steps, turning and looking up into the light, he shouted, “You can keep you dammed gas and gas can!”

He turned away from the house and staggered back down the driveway. The moral of the story is;

“While it is not wise to burn the bridges behind you as you go through life, it is completely stupid to burn the ones ahead as well.”

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2019, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved

How Crazy Conspiracy Stories are Born

An afternoon’s pure speculation about how crazy conspiracy stories are born.

I have been thinking about some curious details in Trumpland. For some time Trump has had some intermittent difficulty with simple speech patterns. Not just the difficulty between origins and oranges, convefe and whatever he was trying to say, and lately his remarks about the continental air forces as well as several others, but his inability to notice the problem, matched with the frequently reported rages at things that have happened around him.

For a long time I have noticed the repetitive use of words and phrases, that have been thought to be just a manner of oratorical speaking. What appears to be the total inability to recognize truth from fiction in his rantings even when he ought to know that his contrary remarks are a matter of taped record. Many other aspects of his behavior, such as with females and the excessively friendly relationship with the most despicable world characters seem to scream out that something is very wrong with his brain functions.

Trump’s mental and physical health has long been open speculation. The report from that screwball doctor in Queens, NY, really opened more queries than were answered. Then last week suddenly the Veep’s plane was turned around and Pence was rushed back to Washington with no explanation. There could have been many reasons, but few that could not be explained to the press unless there is something very secret happening.

The official explanation was that there was an active shooter and there were shots fired, but neither shooter nor evidence of shots having been fired, and little more was made of it in the press.

There are enough nearby airports in the vicinity of that USAF base that a safe landing could have been made, even if the plane had remained airborne circling for an hour or so. Perhaps a passing vehicle backfiring was enough to, in an abundance of caution have caused the base to close and others to be alert, but it just sounds fishy to me, and this administration has yet to gain even middling marks for truthful reporting.

I suggest that Trump is having occasional, even frequent mental incidents rendering the White House staff to be concerned enough that they wanted the next in line available for an emergency. Think about the additional aberrations that have been covered up by his staff. Things like that have happened before, Wilson’s sickness, Roosevelt’s disability and increasing debility, and of course, Kennedy’s Addison’s Disease and his reliance on massive medications, all covered up by his friends and family, come to mind. Is there any disease that might cause such symptoms? Perhaps dementia, inability to perform certain acts, headaches and fatigue, difficulty with brain function beyond what is normal with age?

How about something so bad that close associates and staff riding the gravy train are horrified? And once the cover-up commences, the players are trapped into silence and compliance. Could something have been diagnosed during one of his trips overseas by foreign doctors and potentially used by ruthless leaders to influence behavior? Maybe it was something so serious that a commissioned naval officer might feel that as long as it lies dormant it would be in the national interest to conceal from the American public. “I am not a doctor,” people will say so I should stick to my knitting, but the possibilities I have conjured up in my mind, frankly worry me.

Let me add another thing. There is a very strange dynamic between husband and wife. Melania actually lives somewhere in Maryland and avoids staying at the White House. Some of the facial expressions, captured on film are difficult to reconcile with a “loving relationship” between a husband and wife. Not really hatred, but to me somewhere closer to genuine disgust.

I seem to recall another incident where Pence was off on a trip, South America, I believe, and suddenly with neither explanation nor forewarning he returns to Washington early in the Trump administration. What do you think?

Note: recently the “Active shooter” excuse was replaced with something about Pence not wanting to be photographed with one of the greeting party because he is a known, or accused, drug kingpin. I wonder how long it will be before that story is replaced?

Charlie Jensen

Copyright 2019, Foc’sle Chatter, All Rights Reserved