These days, I feel caught in the strangest kind of limbo, suspended somewhere between euphoria and the most utter, bleak despair, and in speaking to the other people around me and even in hearing from friends all over the world, I know I am not alone. Everyone feels irritatingly and ominously hopeful and hopeless, ecstatic and morose.
We all held our collective breath for months, waiting to see if brains would triumph over bluster in the election. They did. Miraculously, we elected Barack Obama. Then, poised on the precipice of hope, the volcano of bad news started erupting and still it comes. We know now that the country Obama will take over from Bozo Inc. in just 3 days is, incomprehensibly, even more of a disaster than we could possibly have imagined. In fact, if I were Obama, I might well cry "foul" over the job description.
Remember at the end of Chinatown, when Faye Dunaway, as the steely, duplicitous, wildly distraught heiress, Evelyn Mulwray, cries, in between slaps: "My daughter, my sister, my daughter, my sister, my sister AND my daughter?" to detective Jake Gittes, explaining her shamefully incestuous relationship to Catherine, the girl in the car? Right now, I think we are all feeling the sting of those slaps as we ricochet and seesaw between emotions. Our shock absorbers are shot. My sister. My daughter. Slap. Only 3 more days to go before we turn the page. What kind of puppy will the Obama kids get? Slap. And how many more billionaires will kill themselves now, in the best of times, the worst of times?Slap!
Still, even in the midst of this gloomy, funereal muddle, perhaps it is worth noting that even with things as bad as they are, with no jobs, no money in our pockets and the forecast for things to get so bad that we are now at the proverbial picnic, things could be worse. Shouldn't we be counting our blessings right about now, and for longer than it takes to say the words "bankruptcy" or "foreclosure"?
It's worth trying to summon a bit of perspective, is it not? After all, if the cards had been dealt just a little bit differently, we would be counting down the days until President McCain's inauguration, just 3 left, not to mention Vice President Palin, you betcha. How grim would that be? Imagine Joe the Plumber preparing to reinstitute shuttle diplomacy right about now (or not), instead of Hillary Clinton. And who would have been Secretary of the Treasury, Howdy Doody Blagojevich?
If our feckless, current and rudderless leader, who claimed several summers back to have read "three Shakespeares," had only been telling the truth, he might well have come upon the words: "So foul a sky clears not without a storm."
Pollyanna Heller I have never been. I was raised, after all, by the very man who created the phrase "Catch-22," along with a glorious woman, my mother. But for both of them, the glass was frequently not even half full, in fact, there was no glass!
Still, Shakespeare was no W. Shakespeare knew his stuff.
The sky could perhaps not be fouler at the moment, true, but the storm that is coming might be in the hands of McCain and Palin 3 days from now, and then where would we be?
We would still have the Gaza, Bernie Madoff, Iraq, China, Russia, Iran, Blago and Ann Coulter, but there might be no hint or hope whatsoever of any possible light on the horizon.