While earning a paycheck as a journalist, two bourbons in the evening usually calmed me down, letting me focus on something besides the disasters, and maybe even the triumphs, of that day at work. (Occasionally things had gotten so far out of control the result was a three or four-bourbon night.) Not all that long ago someone claiming to be a cardiologist suggested I cut out the bourbon, except on special occasions. He rejected my assertion that Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays qualified as special occasions.

This registered Democrat did what he was told and got accustomed to a bourbon-less life and then you-know-who became president. I’m finding it difficult to engage in any meaningful conversation with friend or stranger for more than two minutes before my head starts to shake, and my voice and temperature rise as I recount something Donald J. Trump has done or said. This cannot be healthy.

Going to the gym six days a week provides some distraction, but I’m searching for other activities to keep my mind occupied. So far my list of things to try includes:

Seeing a different doctor every month for a colonoscopy.

Dribbling my basketball up and down the beer aisle of a King Kullen supermarket with my eyes closed. That should kill some time along with the friendly relationship I have with an assistant manager.

Selling both our TV sets and then listening to nothing but old cassettes of The Shadow radio serial — the one that began with “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

Sitting in my car near a busy intersection and honking every time I see someone looking down at their phone. I anticipate non-stop honking.

Cutting my toenails so close all my toes hurt.

Surprising the sanitation crew by hiding in our garbage can once a month.

Washing the car during a snow storm.

Putting on my ski boots and seeing if I can trudge from the basement to the attic 2020 times in one day.

Trying to set up a zip line between the tall trees in our backyard and those of a neighbor four houses away.

Slathering my favorite Austrian preserves all over my palms and then slapping pieces of toast in midair.

Pounding nails into blueberries lined up on a cutting board.

Putting my fingers in the toaster, plugging it in and depressing the lever.

Throwing away all the calendars in the house so it isn’t so obvious how slow time is passing.

Rotating all four of my car tires once a week.

Going on an all cottage cheese diet — breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Running through the local Panera, at least once a day, shouting “onomatopoeia.”

Yes, I know most of this doesn’t make any sense but tell me something that does these days. It’s a loooong way to November.


Retired journalist, posts essays at, a new book, “Grandma Told Me To Never Believe Anything Grandpa Says,” is now available at book sellers