Regrets, I’ve had a few,
But then, again, too few to mention
When I am asked infrequently by someone younger for advice from the perspective of 70-plus years lived through decades of monumental change that have taken me from crayons and transistor radios to my iPad and Zoom (cue the theme from To Sir With Love), I have a standby answer.
Be careful of the life choices you make that reflect character, or lack thereof, because once made they are indelibly ingrained in the minds of all involved parties and they cannot be unremembered.
Like legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin’s decision to pull his pud during a televised conference call, they become part of your permanent record.
Subsequent personal epiphanies, moral upgrades, repentance, restitution, self-recrimination will not change the fact those decisions were made. Neither will regret.
As Frank so coolly crooned, to have regrets is to be human. The person who claims a life without regrets is either lying or a sociopath and/or self-absorbed to the point of narcissism. Remind you of anyone?
We are living in chaotic times, with death floating through the air in microscopic droplets and heightened potential for civil unrest and violence lurking just beneath the veneer of civilization.
Times ripe for regret.
Lazing on the couch under a light quilt, with the fireplace on glow and Molly the cat comfortably ensconced in the cloth canyon at my feet, my mind wanders into the miasma of regret, and after appropriate self examination and recrimination, drifts to the people supporting the Orange Megalomaniac’s attack on democracy’s most sacred institution.
Does Lindsay Graham regret the day he let go of mentor John McCain’s political coattails and coddled up to Trump’s low hanging red tie? Limp-wristed and soft-principled, Lindsay has established quite a permanent record of late.
The South Carolina Senator has lowered the political hypocrisy bar to limbo levels, recorded on tape and video for all the word to see. He embraced the man scorned by McCain’s widow and family for dishonoring his memory, then carried Trump’s stinky water pot as excrement splashed his politician’s suit. Putin could have no better servant, but it is Trump who will be in the first paragraph of Lindsay’s obit, haunting him into the grave.
I wonder if Rudy Giuliani former steely-eyed mafia prosecutor who dined out as America’s mayor for being in the right place at a terrible time, ever sets aside his glass of scotch, puffs obscenely on a fat cigar in a smoky New York private club, and thinks about his life, his three ex-wives, the children he continues to embarrass, the friends and former colleagues who try to fathom what happened. Does Rudy regret starting out as a Kennedy Democrat and ending up as Trump’s Chump, with black sweat running down his face as he debases himself? I picture his final moments, glass in hand, that crazed, bug-eyed, stained-lower-teeth-and-upper-gums-look on his face, shouting gibberish at his doctors and nurses. Another obit with Trump up top.
What about Kelly-Anne Conway. Does she sit alone in her den at night, the kids upstairs tucked into social media, husband George jealously tweeting insults at her Orange Man crush from the guest bedroom, and ponder the choices she made?
Does she look from the tasteful leather couch to the mahogany desk to the custom bookcases and think back to her family time before Trump? When her, George, and the kids could go out without people staring and wondering, hostility seething just below the surface. Forever fixed in the history of the Republic as the Trumpiest Trumpette, the squeaky-voice coiner of ‘alternative facts,’ the gangster’s granddaughter who made it all the way to the White House but at the cost of her teenage daughter publicly seeking emancipation from a dysfunctional family.
Does Mike Pompeo, once an obscure congressman turned under Trump into his world-class Secretary of Sycophancy, ever lean back into his first class seat while traveling the globe at taxpayer expense, close his eyes and let his mind wander back to his days at West Point, where he graduated at the top of his class? Does the Honor Code he swore to uphold in his youth—“A Cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”—reverberate in his thoughts? Does he ask himself how he got so far from that youthful ideal? How his un-Christ-like lust for power turned him into a puffy apologist for the biggest cheat and liar ever to dishonor the office of the Presidency. Trump will be in the first graph when the last words are written about Mike, the Evangelical Christian who sullied his faith and the Cadet Code.
With her first statement to the assembled reporters about never telling them a lie cemented in her permanent record, will White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany regret starting her job with a whopper? Will the Harvard Law School graduate and flaunter of a fine gold crucifix someday tell her grandchildren that the first decades of the new Millennium were a time of “alternative facts?” Will she misremember the criminal sexual deviant she revered above her Christian values as someone they should model themselves after? Will she regret the choices she made in the time of COVID?
What about Melania? Does she reflect on her life while perfecting her model’s pout in front of the mirror in her White House quarters, safely away from her husband’s toxic presence? Does she ask herself how someone with her cheekbones and legs that go all the way ended up with a fat old man who paints his face orange and swoops his lacquered dyed locks over a bald spot into a greasy orange ducktail?
Was Barron and getting her parents green cards worth a gilt-accessorized life with a repulsive narcissist whose touch makes her skin crawl? Does she have regrets about their meeting, when he showed his character by ignoring his date to get her phone number? Does she think back to the last time she saw him naked, flabby hairless chest as big as her own, belly hanging obscenely above a mushroom dick, hair hanging to his shoulder on one side revealing the shameful baldness? Does she think, “My God, what have I done”? Or does she set her jaw and stare into the mirror, and say to nobody in particular, “I really don’t care, do you?”
Anyone who has even casually followed these disgraceful times of Trump in a pandemic will no doubt have their own list of characters with room for regret. There’s Pious Mike Pence, Moscow Mitch McConnell, Sean Big Crowd Spicer, Sarah The Huckster Sanders, Evil Elf Jeff Sessions, Rick The Good Catholic Santorum, Loudmouths For Hire Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and all the braying Fox friends, Ben Trump Gave Me COVID Carson, Steve The Mint Man Mnuchin, Climate Change Denier Scott Pruitt, Dr. Demented David Atlas, senators, governors, diplomats and orange ass kissers of every sordid ilk.
The list is way too long for a lazy afternoon of reflection on the couch.
I invite your comments.