Trevor Brookins

Trevor Brookins

*My grandpa is dying.

He is my last grandparent (maternal grandfather) and I am strikingly ambivalent.

I am proud of this fact. I remember going to the funeral of an aunt (I barely knew her and probably had been to her house less than five times) when I was a teenager and bawling uncontrollably.

I’m not ashamed of my crying but I do think it was uncalled for. Because of that episode I concluded that death and I don’t mix. Since then I have attempted to put an emotional wall up when the grim reaper is around. My grandfather was one of my first playmates; he taught me how to play cards, how to crack peanut shells, and to light a match after a fart (I still don’t understand that – wouldn’t that just ignite my anus?). When he and my grandmother split I would ride my bike to see him. When he fell upon hard times I happened to see him in the New York subway (I don’t know if he was homeless or had just run away from the veteran’s hospital he was supposed to staying at) and spent two hours catching up and listening to him detail how “they” were following him and out to get him.

He was my first experience to mental illness. He was also my introduction to the physically disabled – his lower body got progressively worse over the last 25 years and he just about couldn’t walk for the better part of a decade. Nevertheless he was a constant comedian. He cracked jokes even as he was shitting himself in my car as we drove to a funeral a couple of years ago, and I laughed through the ride and the smell for over an hour. He knew his time was running out and wouldn’t want a pity party so my ambivalence is an honor to him. Still you’ll understand if I shed a few tears this week. Here’s to Nyanza

The Yankees missed the playoffs this year. The Giants finally won a game six weeks into the NFL season. The Rangers seem to have regressed since their run to the conference finals two seasons ago. So it’s sad that I am currently pinning my hometown fandom hopes to the NY Knicks who objectively have the lowest likelihood of actually winning anything with Miami and Indiana going strong, Chicago welcoming Derrick Rose back, and Brooklyn importing hall of famers.

I have often written in support of citizenship privileges for homosexual Americans. And now that  that fight seems to be ending (society seems to be more and more accepting of same sex attraction) it is perhaps inevitable that the B, T and Q of LBGTQ would begin to agitate for their rights. Let me go on the record as saying I certainly support you transgendered, bisexual, and questioning guys and gals but it will take me a minute to educate myself and muster up some indignation on your behalf.

Was anyone really surprised that Ariel Castro was killed? I’m not sure but I have to think he knew his time was up when he was convicted.

I doubt this is the case but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it was: Kim Jong-Un is a young guy, grew up in a more global society and with the influence of his father’s love of basketball. Kim is still impressionable so the United States finds out that Dennis Rodman is going over there and just lets Dennis be Dennis while getting Rodman to report back what he sees.

The debt ceiling/government shutdown might be the most serious and most silly situation ever. In theory our government needs to fulfill its fiscal obligations and not spend too far over what it has budgeted. In reality the global economy is so intertwined now that I find it hard to believe that countries would stop doing business with the United States if the debt ceiling was breached. Sure it might have consequences for our economic standing in the world but who are we fooling? We’re already the largest debtor nation on earth and owe China gazillions (I looked it up – 53 gazillion to be exact) so how far can our reputation dip?

Having said that, I’m glad that the decision makers in Washington were able to compromise get a deal done.

Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War.  His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.