The Moment I Knew I Had Lost My Country

For a lot of people, the election of Obama caused them to ejaculate, “I want my country back!” Eight years later, another president was elected fair and square and many of us ejaculated, “What the hell happened to my country?” The so-called division falls between those of us who accepted an anointed president, anointed by the Supreme Court, and those who not only refused to accept that the election was fair and square but even refused to accede to Congress’ declaration of the new president.
My moment came in a classroom a little before Obama. The background for this came as I was washing down my deck (on my house; I don’t own a boat). It was getting hot here in the desert of Arizona toward the last part of April and somehow my mind wandered back to those days in Ohio, in California, and here in Arizona when the hot weather would bring the kids out to gambol in the water: sprinklers, hoses, squirt guns, everybody having fun. The little ones would slide through the water on the sidewalks as their little diapers got soaked and slid down around their ankles.
At some point during the season, the local newspaper would run a tongue-in-cheek serious story about a police check on nudity. It turned out that someone had called the cops on the naked babies. No one took such complaints seriously but the police would tell the little ones to hitch up their diapers. It was a bit of a cold shower on the festivities but that was OK and everyone just went on having fun.

Decades later, in a classroom, for some reason we were talking about P.E. class and I mentioned that my eighth grade P.E. class was a swimming class. The students asked me where we put our bathing suits. I replied that we didn’t wear any; we just all jumped into the pool naked. I could have swept them up off the floor they were so shocked.

Then it was my turn to be shocked. “How do you shower? You don’t shower in your clothes, do you?”

“We don’t shower,” was the answer.

“You mean you just go out and run around and then go to class?”

“Well, yeah. We sure don’t get naked.”

So now it was my turn to be swept up off the floor. They meant it; they did not dress out, did not shower, did not take their clothes off. We dealt a little bit with the background of my P.E. class, how I was a member of the Y.M.C.A. and everyone, kids, old men, everybody, swam naked.

There was something wholly troubling about that and it made me feel creepy, or, as the kids say, it creeped me out. What had invaded our way of doing things. I was only much later, after Trump, that I thought, “The people who called the cops on the naked babies have won.”

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