THAT (that) wrote,

The Golden View... of the Gaping Abyss

When I sit down to eat my eggs, I have to have something to read. Ideally, I will do the New York Times crossword while I'm mopping up egg yolks with my English muffin, or (second choice) rye toast, but even a travel or real estate guide will do in a pinch. I am so terrified of having nothing to read that if there's no paper on the counter at my beloved Dottie's—the newspaper machine outside is always empty—I will walk 2 blocks to the next nearest machine.

Now, one day at the Speedway Diner out on Highway 20, there was no newspaper laying around. And there were none in the adjacent convenience store. I was either going to have to get in my car and drive several miles down the road to find a paper, or else finally read...

The Golden View: Dedicated to the Young at Heart

Well, I was cornered. I've always dreaded and avoided senior newspapers, but it seemed to show a selfish disregard for the planet to start up my car again just so I wouldn't have to read one. So I did it. I read it.

Cover to cover. I had to leave an especially generous tip because I must have drunk a gallon of coffee. I am now obsessed with the Golden View. It's my favorite newspaper.

I'm going to start you off easy. This one is short. But don't be fooled. This is dangerous stuff. If you tarry too long in a doomed attempt to spot any trace of an active mind in this strangely vacant typewriting exercise, you may get caught in a cognitive moebius strip, a veritable worm hole to the dimension of where are my slippers?

Still with me? That was just a warm up, baby. Now we get to the main event.

And so, my friends, let us be brave. Let us put on those drugstore reading glasses and see what the future holds. On what profound gems of wisdom will we meditate as our few remaining days ebb away?

Hell, I don't know, but I sure hope it's nothing like this.

(Note: for full comic effect and/or if you need to empty the room, this may be read aloud.)

Holy. Mother. Of. God. If you don't feel so much more senile than you did 3 minutes ago, then congratulate yourself, for you are made of krypton and nothing can harm you.

There are so many strange and glorious proclamations here that it's hard for me to pick a favorite, but I keep circling back to this one:

There are so many Pie Charts out in the system that it makes your head spin.

Wow. That really says it all about what's wrong with our world today in a way that even the simplest among us can grab onto like something shiny that makes a noise. The assault of complexity, climate change, globalization, the polarization of the electorate, the collapse of public discourse into an archipelago of self-contained media echo chambers... what do they all have in common? It's the Pie Charts, man, the fucking Pie Charts.

I also enjoyed this keen insight into what's on the mind of today's youth:

They were all handsome boys and neatly groomed so I felt they were thinking good thoughts about old people...

But don't get me started. As my young nephew said to me when I ate the last Little Debbie cupcake, no wait, I don't think he was there. But those things sure are good.

And so, if you're ever in Dubuque, Iowa... and you want to get a feel for the place? Why, stop by the Speedway Diner on Highway 20. That guy at the counter, with the bed head, silently laughing until he cries over his hash browns? That would be me. Come on over and say hi. I sure do enjoy telling my life story to any young person that doesn't get up and leave.
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