Indignity Vol. 1, No. 27: Easy come, easy go.


Indignity Vol. 1, No. 27: Easy come, easy go.

Recently Found in America

A 16-year-old cat (in a ravine in Buffalo, Minnesota, after it had wandered away from a [human] nursing home there).

A three-year-old boy (in woods five miles from home in Plantersville, Texas, three days after he reportedly chased the family dog out of sight).

Deadly midge-borne epizootic hemorrhagic disease (in deer in Vermont for the first time, after outbreaks in neighboring parts of New York State).

Some 300 shredded voter registration applications (in Fulton County, Georgia, leading to the firing of two election workers).

Charred tobacco seeds from approximately 12,300 years ago (in Utah, moving the first known use of tobacco 9,000 years earlier than before).

A set of keys and a pair of eyeglasses (in different places in Lewiston, Maine).

Recently Missing in America

All of the American bumblebees (Bombus pensylvanicus) (in "Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon").

Several busloads of would-be marathoners (near the starting line of the Boston Marathon).

A pack of gray wolves (in northwest Colorado).

An assortment of illegal drugs reportedly worth $1,237,130 (from the evidence room of the Nebraska State Patrol).

A pallet of 50 firearms (in South Windsor, Connecticut).

An assortment of 41 brand-new home appliances (from an apartment construction site in Morton Grove, Illinois).

Josh Hawley photo by Natureofthought via Wikipedia; Henry Kissinger photo by the Kremlin, via Wikipedia; O.J. Simpson photo by Alan Light via Wikipedia; others: Public Domain via Wikipedia.

Who Will Inherit the Earth?

LAST MONTH, I turned 50. In many ways, it was easy to ignore or at least overlook the passage of the previous 20 years. A lot of things changed and happened, in my own life and in the world, but subjectively one day or year was much like the others. This was the same span in which clothing companies kept gradually putting more and more elastic in the fabric, so as to help smooth out the passage of time.

And basically, when you're 40, there's not much difference between someone who's 30 and someone who's 50. Some of them have had fewer life experiences than you, some of them have had more, but if you're living in the same spheres and doing the same sorts of things, you can talk to either one, and their perspective should be recognizable.

When you're 50, though, a difference becomes apparent between 30-year-olds and you: they'll still be alive when you're dead.

It's not as if I hadn't been thinking about death and the finality of the march of time before. But at 50, the population behind you has reached critical mass. I catch myself reading the news and dividing the newsmakers into the ones I'll outlive, and the ones who'll outlive me.

Like everything else, this could probably be blamed on Donald Trump. The one comfort through the Trump administration (the first Trump administration?) was the knowledge that no matter what hideous heights of power the man might have achieved at the moment, he was elderly and unhealthy, and someday before too long, barring terrible personal bad luck, he would be dead and I would be alive. That day was (and is) there to look forward to.

But once you start that line of thinking, it's hard to stop it, even when the results are no longer reassuring. Amy Coney Barrett is four months younger than me, enjoys better expected longevity because she's a woman, and is now wrapped in the protective embrace of whatever top-tier health care Supreme Court justices enjoy. Trump and Mitch McConnell set things up so that she is very well positioned to still be issuing terrible Supreme Court decisions after I'm dead.

Still, Mitch McConnell sure won't be there to see it! That guy goes in the Dead Before Me column. Josh Hawley, though: Alive. Jeffrey Maier: Alive. PewDiePie: Alive.

I hasten to say this isn't about wishing people ill, even the ones I do wish ill. This is just the plain recognition that there will be a world without me in it, and that other people are or are not likely still to be living in that world when it comes. My preferences for who should or shouldn't be around don't enter into the tabulation; it's as true of Jonathan Richman, Chow Yun-fat, and Harold Baines as it is of Skip Bayless, O.J. Simpson, and Ted Nugent.

Maybe when you're younger, you look at somebody who's succeeded and compare their age to yours. Then the appeal of that starts wearing off, and this is what takes its place. (The final version is keeping score as you read the obituaries.)

These are just rough guesses, by definition. Some people will die younger than expected. Some people who are due to die will refuse to do it. Dick Cheney, 80 years old and a physical wreck, has outlived Beau Biden for six years and counting. Henry Kissinger is 98 years old and still ruining things. I expect that when Kissinger finally does expire, he'll be followed by a wave of people a decade younger who just refused to let go until they knew he was gone.

What will happen in this world that I'll never see? Late-career appreciations of Sally Rooney. New crimes against humanity by Stephen Miller. Drake sitting courtside at the NBA playoffs, wearing the jersey of someone who right now hasn't yet been born. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deciding if it was all worth it.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg.

I didn't say it was fun to do; I just said I do it. At least, for the moment, the ledger feels roughly balanced. It will only get worse.


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WE PRESENT instructions for the assembly of sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

4 tablespoonfuls of picked shrimp
3 tablespoonfuls whipped cream
1 & 1/2 teaspoonfuls anchovy paste
Buttered rolls
Sprigs of parsley
Paprika to taste

Chop the shrimps, mix them with the anchovy paste, paprika, and whipped cream. Spread this mixture between buttered rolls, and serve garnished with the parsley.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy this sandwich, kindly send a picture to us at