Anything That Distracts Us From Our Descent Into Madness is a Blessing

And other answers to questions you didn’t ask.

Image: Robert Couse-Baker

“What’s up with those fidget spinner things?” — Curious Carl

Have you seen those? They have ball bearings and three little wings and you spin it and it spins and spins like crazy. You can rest it on your thumb and just kind of watch it spin. Some light up with little bulbs. It’s the latest fad with all the kids, allegedly. There is very little in the world left to hold on to. Back into the old days, when things were getting rough, me and your mother used to go outside and split a cigarette. Before that, you could smoke butts literally anywhere. Elevators. Movie theaters. The space shuttle. Before that I think people just openly did coke and opium all the time, just to make it through the day. And what problems did those people even have? Worldwide Flu Epidemic? Sounds dreamy. Try having a crazy tweeting president! You’d beg for a lethal dose of influenza.

So, when things get rough and all seems bleak, keep your fingers busy. Busy fingers are happy fingers. They think maybe the crime rate has gone down, especially among young people, because of the proliferation of cell phones. Not merely just because of the heightened level of reporting crimes. I would argue it’s because people are too busy screwing around with their phones to commit crimes. Who has time to commit crimes when there’s all these photos to like on Instagram and all these tweets to troll on Twitter?

Hands too small for a full-size fidget spinner? Make your own out of paper.

This week will be a long build up to Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of Congress Thursday. Or, if you prefer, the release of Katy Perry’s new album Witness. Both have the chance to determine what kind of nation we’re going to be going forward. As Katy Perry gets less infectiously poppy and more vengeful and atonal, it’s a fair bellwether into our national psyche. “Swish Swish” was not as grim a misstep as “Chained the the Rhythm.” “Bon Appetit” seems to side with French Globalism over America Firstness. But what happened to the Happy Go-Lucky Songstress of “Roar?” Is this what it sounds like when she roars, gutturally, from the her deepest recesses? Like some lost track off the Beetlejuice Soundtrack? When will Katy cheer up and make us dance again? Unfettered by the worries of this world?

James Comey’s testimony is much better in the abstract than it will be in real life. This isn’t the end of A Few Good Men. No one puts all their cards on the table to some lame Congressional committee. You give them a taste, and then you make them buy the whole thing when your memoir comes out the year after. That James Comey was keeping contemporaneous notes all along is a good thing. But if he’s upset about being called a ‘nut job’ by the guy he basically made president we will probably never know. Either the Trump Administration will block his testimony or he will fink out. Nothing good will come out of the year 2017. Except for Wonder Woman, which is a masterpiece.

So we may need to keep our hands busy for the foreseeable future. These little plastic things take a little of the edge off. If we all spin them at the very same time, possibly we can send all the pollution right up out of our atmosphere, just spin it right on up out. There is some thought that the spinners can focus us for the difficult tasks ahead. People say that we can’t be distracted. We must constantly be vigilant. The real Donald Trump of the 1990s is stuck in the Black Lodge and this new doppelgänger is determined to puke its toxins in every direction. That’s a new “Twin Peaks” reference. Should you be watching “Twin Peaks?” All distractions are incredibly important now. Anything that distracts us from our descent into madness is a blessing. You will remember not the moments of high stress and angst, but the moments you found comfort in small, stupid things.

Jim Behrle lives in Jersey City, NJ and works at a bookstore.