The internet is going to be the death of me yet

A couple of weeks ago, I went poking around on the internet looking for the thugs who’d assaulted Wade and I on Halloween in 2011. To my horror, I found that one of them, Sirius, was in Phoenix (and had been so since 2015) and was living in close proximity to me. Or had been. He had several addresses since 2015 as well as several arrests, many of which involved violent actions. When I shared this news with Scott and Anne, they both said “get off the internet.”

I can see how paranoia can get fomented in this kind of activity. Anne reasoned that if I hadn’t run into him by now, it wasn’t likely that I would ever do so. Besides, the likelihood of him remembering my name is slim to none. I’m intrigued, though, how he can remain so free of incarceration. Does he have a permanent “get out of jail” card in his collection? He must have done time in LA County after the trial in 2012, but the California Department of Corrections didn’t track him as it did his partner in crime. The CDC notified me by phone when he was released on parole/probation to Compton in 2016. According to a Facebook profile of that name, he’s got a girl friend (a baby girl?) and is working at Wendy’s.

So, I stopped chasing criminals on my past and just stuck with Facebook. But even there I was finding myself feeling queasy and twisted with all the vitriol and anger that was vented against the NRA and the man in the White House. There was a constant beating of the drum of how insensitive, unjust, cold, cruel the NRA and the resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Av could be in the light of yet another mass shooting.

I told Scott, over sushi on Friday, that I was going to stay off of Facebook for a while. My depression was putting me in such a black place that I didn’t even want to text with Achraf. I woke up angry, grumpy and realized that there was nothing — no thing — that could peak my interest and make me feel good. Anhedonia writ large.

On top of all that, my funding for Genvoya seemed to be in jeopardy and I couldn’t find a number that directed me to a live person. Moreover, I have a difficulty in my jaw that makes it hard to open when I eat. The final topper is that I’m having increasing difficulty at word retrieval. Thoughts don’t come out in a fluid manner. My homily on Saturday was a series of bullet points, nothing that seemed to be coherent. I was frustrated at my attempts.

I should have known better, but curiosity got the better of me and I logged on to my Facebook page. Aside from a posting from Paul DeMillo, nothing seemed out of the ordinary until I came upon a posting that had been put up by my brother Ken. In it, there was a righteous, indignant, wrathful screed accusing President Obama of fomenting discord and revolution in his support of community organizing. The comments that followed were full of scorn and bile for Obama.

Scales fell from my eyes. At my last visit to Ken and Barbie in Sun City, I had seen a welter of campaign signs for candidates who were running for the newly vacated US representative seat vacated by the right-wing conservative who had proposed that one of his female staffers would give him a child.  One candidate boasted of endorsements from the ousted representative and Arpaio who lost his last election and was found guilty on a number of violations all of which were pardoned by his friend in the White House.

So, it shouldn’t surprise me (after all, Ken voted for him) that Ken would have such sentiments. But such blatant racist hostility! His wife is dying of cancer (although Ken is in rampant denial of same) and he has time to post such nastiness on Facebook. Perhaps the anger that he’s feeling (really feeling) about what’s really going on in his life is leaking out in his posting of such venom.

My first reaction was to call and decline my offer to visit next Sunday. I still might. I sense a tension between us that, making nice, only papers it over with so much politeness. But then I thought, he’s family. Family sticks together no matter what. Really? If Barbie were not dying of cancer, or if Barbie were already dead, the decision not to go would be simple. And why do I want to visit? To look good? To make up for the time I declined to come to Phoenix and witness their wedding? I resented Ken from the very start. I was the only boy in the family until he came along. I contrived to get him into trouble whenever I could. His bed wetting was a nuisance and I would heap shame on him for doing so. I was cruel to him. And yet, he was the favorite of Grandpa Felix, and, yes, even of Dad.

So, definitely no more Facebook. I have a week to think about the visit on Sunday.  In the meantime,


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