Whether a tiny fascist or benevolent dictator, South America needs something

December 29, 2005

When I was about 7 or 8, I’d have these sprawling, epic fantasies of being a worshipped leader of a nation. It was never the U.S., though. It would always be some undefined nation of non-English speakers. I’d be at the podium in front of millions of my admirers, shouting gibberish and accepting adulation from the awestruck populace.

Looking back, it seems kind of weird, but one must admit that being a 7-year-old, beloved fascist dictator must be a real hoot.

I never truly built on my fascist fantasies and really am not much of an ideologue of any type at this point. Which is likely why the trend of South American nations veering sharply to the left hasn’t filled me with any good, old-fashioned American hatred and fear.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of socialism, as for the most part, it seems to me the general plan of many socialists to solve wealth inequality is to just make everyone poor. But after spending enough time in South America, I can see why people are willing to listen to suggestions.

Here in Brazil, a simple drive down the street will take me past dozens of children — very young children — juggling tennis balls at stoplights for loose change. Or just outright begging. And, keep in mind, Brazil is about as good as it gets in South America, and the city I live in is as good a city as Brazil has to offer.

So if Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez wants to condemn capitalism and taunt the U.S., and Bolivians want to elect Evo Morales, who am I to judge? Unless the entire nation is endlessly ablaze, it’s not like a place like Bolivia will get much worse, anyway.

Obviously, the endless democratic tinkering the U.S. does in South America haven’t helped matters here, and one would hope there will be no more Allendes. There will be, of course, but one can hope.

But just as guilty are South American politicians as a whole. If you want to think that U.S. politicans are narcissistic whores, so be it. But take a look at some of the cats in charge down here some time to see how politicians really put the screws to their own people.

What do South American nations need more than anything else, in my opinion? Benevolent dictators. Preferably intelligent and older than 7.

Because something needs to happen. The level of poverty in South America is just morally insulting. While dreams of an immense South American turnaround are very likely akin to my fascism fantasies, it’s still blindingly clear things need to improve. And all plans for that improvement should be given consideration.


Being a screaming psycho is embarrassing

December 27, 2005

I get embarrassingly angry every two months or so. Usually, it’s something simple that just sends me into rage. The outlet my computer plugs into sometimes gets squirrelly, shutting everything down. That’s been good for just flipping me out at least twice.

It’s embarrassing because all I seem interested in doing at times like those is to break stuff and scream obscenities. We had workers here once who heard me going nuts and were flat-out terrified of me. They don’t speak English so all they knew was that I’m a crazy, screaming American.

What’s odd about it is how hard it is to shake off the anger. It’s as if I try and hold on to it. Like I get a perverse delight from being an out-of-control psycho. I’ve never hurt anyone, mind you, except for my wife’s feelings once or twice. And a couple chairs. My keyboard. Several pencils and pens.

It’s way too much like my dad, really. He used to own a trucking company in Southern California and I remember a time where one of his drivers didn’t properly secure a load of some type of steel equipment. They fell off the guy’s truck on the I-605 and about 25 cars were severely damaged from them. It was a costly day for my dad.

But he kept his cool and handled the situation. But real silly-ass minor stuff would piss him off to no end. And I am exactly the same. Nothing quite like holding in your feelings then vomiting them all out at once because of computer problems. Or not being able to find a shirt.

Like I said. It’s embarrassing.


Climbing from the hedge

December 23, 2005

It’s clearly apparent to me that someone wanted me to think about mortality in 2005.

My Godmother got hit with a vicious case of cancer that just about completely immobilized her.

Then a new friend I made in Brazil had brain surgery and nearly died afterward when his kidneys failed.

And finally my mother has been diagnosed with cancer, as well. She has already had laparoscopic surgery to remove her ovaries, which were cancerous, but now then they found more. She’ll have major surgery at the beginning of 2006, followed by chemotherapy.

It’s been just a swell time.

I really think the problem for me is that I’ve managed to spend 38 years on this planet ducking, dodging and drinking my way around anything resembling emotion.

A true story: when I was much younger, I used to go across the street from my house, where there were some hedges that I could crawl into. I was a little boy sitting in a bush so no one could see him, playing with my toys and daydreaming. I’d sit in that hedge every day for hours.

And more or less, I’ve stayed there. It’s been a lot easier to stay shielded and aloof of feelings than actually dealing with them in any way. But hiding from the important things in life is no way to live. There’s so much to think about and act on right now for me. Things are affecting all the people I care about, and my heart needs to be involved. Actively.

At 38, it’s time for me to crawl out of my hedge.


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