Monthly Archives: October 2022

Sarah’s Laugh, Donald Duck, and Jesus’ Other Woman

Organic mixed media artwork by Kay Sexton

I learned the Bible, the first two books of it at least, if not at my mother’s knee, then up close on our old maroon sofa a couple years before I started Catholic school. That sofa was also where she read me the story of Little Black Sambo, who started out as a boy but ended up as a pancake; “Water Babies,” of which I have no memory but the strange title; “Tom Thumb,” as well as dozens of nursery rimes, all out of a set of handsome faux-leather red volumes called Journeys through Bookland.

The Bible stories came from another place, probably an abridged version for children. I have no memory of the book itself. What I do recall after all these years like old sepia family portraits are images of Noah’s wife turning into a pillar of salt for disobeying God’s command not to look back on the destruction of Sodom; the great flood Noah escaped by building an ark to save two of every living creature; the mugging of Benjamin by his brothers for his beautiful coat; and of course the bondage and rescue of the Israelites from Egypt. I was especially impressed by the plagues God inflicted on the Egyptians until the pharaoh relented—the frogs, the duel between the Jewish and Egyptian magicians that ended with the Jews’ team turning their staffs into snakes that ate up the Egyptians’, and of course the slaughter of all non-Jewish first-borns by the Angel of Death.

Then I turned five and my mother enrolled me in the parish school, where I never heard any of those Bible stories again….

Read the rest of the essay.

Days of the Donald

Donald Trump is a character right out of As the World Turns or one of the other soaps that have been recycling the same kitschy plots since someone discovered he could use radio waves for something other than sending SOS signals.

Trump is the ambitious young surgeon with the year-round tan working his way through the nubile nursing staff with cold efficiency. Then he’s the middle-aged top-man-in-his field with two divorces under his belt and a libido that won’t quit, the aging but still feral fox in the hen house.

Later on he turns up as head of surgery, cruel to subordinates who don’t kowtow, ruthless to those who do, scourge of any hot RN’s who don’t see him as Zeus and themselves as this-is-my-lucky day milk cows, married to a rich socialite twenty years his junior, bane of feckless interns and an overworked Mexican maintenance staff, sublimating his still smoldering libido into an all-out campaign to destroy the talented young cardio man even the moth-eaten receptionist has a crush on.

Finally, the Old Man’s in what may be his most challenging role. Demoted from chief to emeritus, voted out by a hospital board that can’t afford to keep shelling out millions for his faux-pas in the OR and his long reach in the back stairwell the younger nurses use instead of the slow elevators, he has one last trick up the sleeve of his bespoke Savile Row blazer.

He may have three malpractice court appearances just this week; he may have caused the director of nursing, a woman the same age as himself and showing every year of it, damn her, to take a spill and fracture her hip when she told him he no longer had any authority to tell her what to do. But he isn’t ready yet to hang up his gold-plated stethoscope. He’ll show them all he’s cleverer than any ten Doctor Pretty Boys. And he’ll have the last laugh on those gutless traitors on the board who back in the day used to jump to attention when he stepped foot in the VIP lounge. If they think he’ll just take their gold watch and slink away to his three-million-dollar shore-front property in the Hamptons, they have another think coming.

We love this stuff. The cornier the better. Men have sports, women soap operas (though probably as many men watch them as women), not to mention the rom-coms, sitcoms and other Hollywood fantasies we use as wannabe templates for our uneventful lives. Males pretend we’re doing the caveman thing when we throw a steak on the grill and pop open a cold one in the parking lot of MegaCorp Stadium before the big game. But the off-field drama of the ballplayers’ lives is just as important to us as the manly mayhem on the field. Will the new tight end miss today’s showdown because he clocked his pregnant wife bigtime when she burned the toast the morning after last week’s loss? Will our slugging first-baseman be able to play after taking one in the jaw last night, and – more to the point — will our guys retaliate in kind like they should?

Now we have the sudsy drama of Donald Trump. Trump is the Everyman slob who lives our impossible dream – babes, money, power…the frigging presidency! He’s crude, like us. He’s overweight, like us. He talks not so good, also like us. He’s not the brightest bulb in the box, also like us. Sure, he’s a billionaire, unlike us. He’s had thousand-dollar whores, we should be so lucky. He gives us an image of ourselves we can embrace, a bozo with a gold toilet, a walking Big Mac, foul-mouthed and pig-ignorant. Like us. Minus the gold toilet.

We can’t be like that smartass fancy-pants Obama. And God knows we don’t want to be the bitch-from-hell Hilary. Dubya turned out to be even fecklesser than we expected. But the Donald is just right. He calls a shithole country what it is – a shithole country. He’s not afraid to say out loud that dagos are druggies and rapists. And he’s right, we would turn a blind eye if he chose to square things up with some dude via a magnum .44 on Upper 5th. Hell, he could tell us to storm the Capitol and we’d do it. In fact, we did.

He knows facts are just opinions. Wrong opinions if they aren’t his, because he’s a natural genius. That’s not boasting, it is what it is (his uncle was a doctor). Trump knows as much about science stuff as any egghead PhD. He understands leaders of foreign countries better than the entire State Department put together.

And everybody loves him. They can’t help themselves. The illegals who work on his golf courses and scrub pots in Mara Largo love him. Putin loves him. Boris Johnson loved him. Even that French guy who married his high school teacher (okay, she was hot back then, but why would a good-looking guy like that tie himself down with an old bag?), yeah, even Macron loves him.

And Trump’s stayed true to his roots. No fancy Upper East Side accent for him. A Queens guy through and through. Ever hear him say “schmuck”? Chuckie Cheese Schumer couldn’t hit that final “k” with more pizzazz. And he throws “schlong” and other New Yorkisms around like he grew up behind the counter at Zabar’s.

Come to think of it, his life could be a prime-time reality show as-is. Days of the Donald. No need for script writers. Just hand out copies of his tweets and news conferences. His off-the-cuff one-liners can keep the plot going for two seasons on their own. Let the actors ad lib.

In fact, let Trump play the leading role himself. No rehearsals. Do it live, and watch the ratings soar. He’s available most days, at least until the 2024 campaign gets into high gear. Only, this time the well-preserved twice-face-lifted head of surgery nails that wunderkind cardio bastard with a wicked right cross live on-air (you could use a stand-in for that bit) and the sweet young things in those hip-hugger uniforms wise up to who their real daddy is.

Hey, Trump could have been a great writer himself.

We’re lucky he went into politics. Who reads anymore anyhow.