Fall is in the air here in Minnesota—it has been for the last week or so. I know better than to assume that the raging heat of summer is over—we won’t see the last of that until September has come and gone—but at the moment, it’s 58 degrees outside and there’s a pleasant breeze. It’s late Friday night, so the smell of wood smoke is apparent—and depending on where you are, there’s probably a nearby neighbor having a small party in his backyard, complete with beer and a bonfire.
I lived in such an environment for six years—an overgrown frat house that was host to a steady stream of drunken imbeciles and ne’er-do-wells. My friend Kari and I referred to them as “the parade of idiots,” even though most of them were her friends.
Am I complaining? No. Never in hell. I have fond memories of that house and the people who came along with it. When Autumn starts creeping in, I’m reminded of that place and it makes me happy and a little sad all at the same time.
My life is different now, if only because I live in a quiet apartment now with my three-year-old son. He’s turning four on the twenty-fifth, but we’re celebrating in the morning. He’ll be at his mother’s on his actual birthday … which serves to remind me that with two ex-wives, I was always happiest as a single man. My friend Lance will be 38 the day after my son turns four—and I should have listened to him when he told me not to do it. Both times. He’s a chronic bachelor and quite possibly the happiest person that I know. There’s a lesson to be learned there, if one would only take the time to soak it in.
Right now I’m sitting in my living room, next to the bar and the fireplace. I’ve converted this room into a giant office and I’m looking out the open patio door as the cool breeze blows inside. I’ve opened my first beer—a Corona with lime—and I have my electronic cigarette gripped in my fingers. I keep telling myself that I simply must quit tobacco once and for all … but it’s hard. This new digital cigarette helps, but it somehow isn’t the same.
But so what? I didn’t sit down at this machine to crank out a lot of nonsense about love and relationships and what the weather’s doing. The news is full of strange things tonight and I’d like to mention a few of them.
Many of you are probably familiar with the television show Breaking Bad. If not, you should be. The premise is that a mild-mannered chemistry teacher named Walter White begins manufacturing methamphetamine, at first with the best of intentions, but then slowly becomes a bloodthirsty kingpin. It’s a hell of a thing, really. Anyway, a story broke today about a man, also named Walter White and bearing a resemblance to the TV show’s character, who is now wanted—quite badly, apparently—in Alabama for manufacturing and distributing crystal. The folks close to this story haven’t missed the similarities in all this.
In other news, a Texas educator named Brittni Colleps received the Teacher of the Year Award—unfortunately, she also received five years in prison for having sex with five of her students, all of them 18-year-old seniors. Despite their ages—and the fact that they didn’t want to press charges and in fact nominated her for the prestigious award—the law in Texas makes no allowances for pretty women or consenting adults. It’s just as well, though—she’s married and has three children, so she got what she deserves. Her husband, a pitiful cuckold, cried openly in court as his cheating wife was led away in handcuffs. Imagine having to sit through a thing like that. They even presented text messages and videos as evidence. Jesus God.
Someone burglarized Steve Jobs’ home and gave a stolen iPad to a clown. The police have recovered the device, the burglar is in jail, and the clown is in shock. According to sources, he’ll be telling this story to anyone who will listen “for a very long time.”
And in what is perhaps the saddest news of the day, people will no longer be able to buy magic spells and potions on eBay. Seriously. I had no idea that anyone sold such ridiculous things; but then again, I shouldn’t be surprised since there are obviously people stupid enough to buy them. After all, people still put money in the collection plate at church every Sunday.
In related news—kind of—the good people of Los Angeles are facing the possibility that they will not be able to buy their medical marijuana after September 6. The city council passed an ordinance banning pot dispensaries; it is in direct conflict with Proposition 215, the state law that legalized such establishments in the first place. A lawsuit is already pending, but it makes you wonder: Just when are they going to give up and let people smoke grass already? And not just in California—everywhere else, too.
When I think of how much money, manpower, and resources are wasted on enforcing drug laws, it makes my head spin—not to mention the people who are incarcerated for what amounts to a victimless crime. Drugs might not be good for you, but then neither is alcohol—and when you’re comparing liquor and pot, liquor is far more dangerous. By repealing prohibition, the government could curtail gang violence, turf wars, burglaries, and a host of other real crimes by doing basically nothing. Less than a hundred years ago, you could buy cocaine and heroin at the local pharmacy—I doubt very much that our entire populace would turn into fiends overnight. Users would continue to get high—but they could buy their drugs at Tom Thumb for five bucks and save everyone a lot of trouble.
Right here in Minnesota, a story broke today about the increase in heroin addiction and the property crimes—theft and burglary, mostly—associated with the epidemic. By all accounts, addicts can spend as much as $300 a day on their habit. I can’t help but think that that number could be drastically reduced if opiates were legal.
Some bastard left his dog in the mountains of Colorado for eight days and now he’s facing charges. I’m just sayin’. That’s kind of shitty. That’s what the Humane Society is for.
In technology news, sources are reporting that we’re on the brink of having self-driving vehicles; in fact, we’ve been tinkering with the concept since the 1950s. Truthfully, developing the technology is the easiest part—it’s already been done—but implementing it is another matter. So far, no one has mentioned peak oil or the distinct possibility that cars will cease to exist … at least as we know them now. If you visit http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse, you’ll see that we’re more likely to be rolling like the Flintstones rather than the Jetsons in the coming years.
You know, I’ve noticed that some days there isn’t a goddamned thing worth reporting in the news; on other days—like today—the headlines never seem to end. I’m partial to news of the weird—and politics. So far I haven’t even mentioned politics—and I don’t think that I will. We all know that Paul Ryan is the Republican vice presidential nominee—and most of us know what that means—but I’m going to save that for another day. I have plenty of time between now and November 4 to kick that bunch of crooked screwballs around. For now, I’m going to finish my beer and go screw the girl who is patiently waiting on my couch.
Welcome to the weekend.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.