jolting return to non-fascism
Wednesday, January 20 2021
It's not rare for me to have an active canker sore in my mouth, an unpleasantness that plagued me all my life. I can't say what causes them to erupt, but I have noticed that they are less frequent than they used to be. The mouth is a complex surface, upholstered with several different kinds of tissue, and these sores tend to appear on my cheeks, in places where I might accidentally bite myself. From there, they can spread to the floor of my mouth and the ventral surface of my tongue, usually avoiding the gums. The roof of my mouth is never afflicted, and troubles with the dorsal surface of my tongue are of a different sort, usually swollen taste buds. Occasionally the sores in my mouth erupt along a line, suggesting a problem with an underlying nerve, duct, or blood vessel. I awoke with just such a linear mouth sore this morning. It took the form of a line of swelling starting very close to the point behind my right lower wisdom tooth (the place in the mouth closest to the hinge of my jaw) and extending in a line for about an inch along the inside of my cheek. This hurt when I touched it or got food against it, and it the discomfort weighed on me all day, occasionally fooling me into thinking I was coming down with a sore throat or even a cold (which, in pandemic times, is probably not going to be an actual cold).
While we're on the subject of painful things one hopes will just go away, today was the day that Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump as President of the United States. I started watching the online coverage early. At little after 8:00am, Trump was expected to walk down a short length of red carpet out of the White House, get into a helicopter, and fly to Andrews Air Force Base, where a small crowd of well-wishers would see him board Air Force One for his final flight as President to Florida, where he will hopefully be arrested soon for his many crimes. I listened to Trumps self-congratulatory speech at Andrews, where he got his final chance as President to say the phrase "China virus," and to predict a booming economy under "the next [unnamed] administration" that he claimed to have engineered. What a small, horrible man! At that point he still had the nuclear codes.
So I watched in rapt attention as the inaugural ceremony unfolded at the recently-sacked United States Capitol. First there were the usual prayers, followed by Lady Gaga. Then Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President. Next came Jennifer Lopez, breaking into Spanish in the middle of "This Land Is Your Land." And then it happened, Joe Biden was sworn in, the moment at which Trump's nuclear codes were presumable deactivated. He'd had them for four scary, needlessly belligerent years, yet we, those of us not killed by his botched coronavirus response, had somehow survived. I half-listened to Biden's address. It was kind of dull, as these things are supposed to be, and that heralded a promising four years. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of flags planted on the mall waved in the wind, stand-ins for the massive crowd that sensible pandemic policy (and heightened security in the aftermath of the Capitol MAGA putsch) required.
Occasionally during the inauguration, dull as it mostly was in detail, I could feel myself tearing up. Trump caused a lot of psychic damage in his four long years, and it's only things like my unanticipated emotional reaction that provide a good sense of this.
Meanwhile I'd posted the following fake newspaper page with the headline that best captured the jolting return to non-fascism:
This evening, my mouth problems and vague coldlike symptoms prompted me to take a bath. When I got out of the tub, Gretchen had just made a hot & sour Asian soup. We ate it while watching a recent episode of Jeopardy!, recorded after the death of Alex Trebek. It was guest-hosted by Ken Jennings, one of the winningest contestants in Jeopardy! history, and we've been finding his hosting better than expected. He's been humble and extremely respectful of Trebek's legacy.
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