Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I meant to comment on this last week, but I've been huddled in the cold the whole time, standing in a line of five thousand people in the middle of a forest on the side of a mountain, eating worms and whatever else I can find for sustenance as the crowd jostles and jockeys for position in line for the last three tablets of aspirin in Japan.

My headache is killing me, but in Japan this is the reality of the health care system. Every once in a while somebody in the line flips out because they can't take it any more. Like clockwork a soldier emerges from the trees and shoots the complainer on the spot. This is good news for the patient ones nearby. For a couple of days they stop grubbing for worms.

I don't complain, and not just because I don't want to be shot. I come from Canada. There's a hellhole if there ever was one. I fucking escaped Canada, dig? In Canada there is no aspirin. I'd never even heard of that shit until I came to Japan. A pill for a headache? Get the fuck outta here! Hell, Canada doesn't even have running water, never mind high-tech shit like toilets.

Shit, I've gotta go. The chubby American who said he'd loan me his iPhone for ten minutes if he could talk to my little girl is coming back. I don't see my daughter, though...


  1. Count yourself lucky that you cannot truly appreciate the nature of politics in the US in this day and age. It's like a clown show dreamed up by Stephen King. It would be laughable if people weren't dying while our so-called leaders dither and jockey for television air time. So, Rick, you just be patient while you stand in that long line waiting for your aspirin. You're sure to get it sooner than any of us will.

  2. Glenn,
    You know I'm just (kinda) kidding around. It's only recently started to dawn on me that there are millions (fucking millions!) of Americans who don't. Like, probably more people than live in Canada. They frighten us, you know, but don't tell anyone you heard it from me...

  3. As Andrew Sullivan says, it's nihilism along the lines of "If I can take you down with me, I'm happy to destroy everything else in the process". Or do I mean terrorism?

  4. Susan,
    That's a kind of nihilism that's really hard to wrap my brain around. I don't believe in "Evil," but I don't know what else to call people who lie, and profit from their lies at the expense of others. "Assholes" just seems too friendly somehow...

    On the bright side: "evil" is really nothing more than acute stupidity. Dangerous, but controllable.

  5. Rick, I read your post before clicking the link and thought what a nice piece of dystopian short fiction... then I clicked and the lunacy jumped from the screen. I have just watched a few clips of her on youtube, the emptiness in her eyes reminds me of Sarah Palin.

  6. Nasim,
    It's hard to believe, but I think Bachman is actually loonier (and more dangerous) than Palin. In the first comment Glenn mentions Stephen King, rather appropriately I think (I don't know if you've read The Dead Zone--probably his best).