We Have No Idea What This Letter Is About, But We're Running It Anyway

Damn! Let me explain.

Everything is perfect this morning, the weather, the friendly people (even the woman, too wired to hear my "hello," smiles in response) as I'm walking along the trail near my home and I'm beginning to calm down.

It really is a wonderful world, I'm thinking, and we're going to come to our senses, stop making enemies everywhere and clean up our planet. We're even going to do it in time for my great-granddaughter to get a good education, to be free to explore, to find the work she has a passion for, and to live a fulfilling life among loving peers. I'm feeling good — full of hope and feeling really good — and telling myself that the strange looking little birdie who flew off my windowsill with wings flapping out of sync was only a dream; I pull up from the diaphragm and step up my pace.

I'm feeling free and safe and I'm thinking about how to write "the state of Arizona and its refusal to abolish the death penalty is evidence that we' re too addicted to vengeance to see that the killers we kill are actually suffering from mental illness because we don't want to see our periodic act of legal homicide as insane," without insulting anybody, and I'm wondering if background checks would have prevented that pro-war woman (who pushed me off the sidewalk and tried unsuccessfully to grab my peace sign) from acquiring the handgun she had stuck in her belt — when an unleashed dog comes out of nowhere to interrupt my thinking just as I'm getting a few letters-to-the-editor written in my mind.

He's followed by a couple of middle-aged guys who look familiar and when the spokesperson says, "Yeah, yeah, we know 'he's a sweet dog, but he should be on a leash,'" I remember we'd met before.

"Right," I say, "I like even sweet dogs on a leash when I'm walking here." (I've been badly bitten by guard dogs that broke out of their yard and every time a strange dog comes running toward me I get a flashback.)

"We like dogs off the leash. It's a beautiful morning!" He gives me a John McCain smile and I don't have to be a reformed fortuneteller to read that he's actually saying, "Get a life, you petty old bitty," and he adds, "We're sweet, too, and so are you," as his companion giggles. "Sweet? I'm a cranky old woman and," having been arrested five or six times for civil disobedience it takes some chutzpah for me to add, "you're breaking a city ordinance and I'm a responsible citizen!"

They never break their stride and I don't hear their smart-ass last words and I doubt they hear mine even though I'm shouting, "Grow up!"

Damn! If the day ever comes for the meek to inherit the earth it's not likely that I'll be among that number.

-Gretchen Nielsen


In the Rhythm & Views review of Run Boy Run's new album, So Sang the Whippoorwill (Mar. 14), we inadvertently included the cover art for their previous album. Apologies to Run Boy Run. The correct cover now appears online. It really is a delightful album. Check it out.

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