Thomas Wictor

“I just wanna bitch.”

“I just wanna bitch.”

My father’s hobby was complaining. He’d come over to vent, and if you tried to help, he’d say, “I just wanna bitch. I’m not here for solutions.”

It’s ironic because his favorite way shut you up was to ask, “Are you complaining?” He didn’t want to hear anybody else’s problems.

Dad loved to hook up with insane people and then complain when they acted crazy. Friedrich Neitzsche’s brother-in-law founded the settlement of Nueva Germania in Paraguay. When I told Tim about it, he roared with sneering laughter.

“Perfect!” he yelled. “They go all the way out into the middle of the jungle and surround themselves with what they consider to subhumans, just so they can spend the rest of their lives complaining!”

We understood the psychology of Nueva Germania, having been raised by a complaining German who put himself in untenable situations time and time again.

For the past few months, I’ve been as screwed up as I was when Mom and Dad were dying. As in 2013 I didn’t know the extent of it until it was called to my attention. Tim pointed out that I hadn’t driven my car in four months. I thought it had been just a few weeks. The reason was that I had to put on a new registration sticker, but I didn’t want to bother unscrewing the clear plastic cover over the license plate. I had to put that on after someone stole another registration sticker.

So I drove Dad’s Crown Victoria for what I thought was a few weeks but which turned out to be four months. The battery in my car was now dead; we had to recharge it.

I’m disassociating again. And having end-of-the-world nightmares. I dream I’m trapped in gargantuan buildings, and Dad is there with me—silent, evasive, as unknowable as he was in life.

There are lots of reasons. I’m losing my doctor on June 30, due to the new arbitrary requirements of the Affordable Care Act. My doctor is retiring against his will, and his brother will take over his practice. That means his brother’s caseload will double. I’m pretty sure that by July I’ll be without a doctor.

We’re feeding doomed, feral cats that live in the back yard of Tim’s former house. They’re already sick, and they can’t be saved.

Also, I’ve caught several people of long acquaintance in blatant lies. These are transparent CYA lies similar to what the White House has told about the VA hospital scandal.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wound up with egg on his face Monday as he told reporters that President Barack Obama first learned from a TV news report that his Veterans Administration was denying medical care to vets with secret off-the-books-waiting lists.

But new evidence emerged this morning that his transition team was notified five years ago about how VA medical centers’ official wait-list times bore little resemblance to reality and risked denying military heroes critical health care.

The Washington Times reported Monday that waiting times at veterans’ medical facilities were known to be wildly inaccurate at the end of the George W. Bush administration. By the time Obama’s transition team got a post-election briefing from the VA at the end of 2008, scheduling failures were already reaching a critical point.

The real story is even worse. President Obama knew about the VA hospitals’ problems even before his post-election briefing. How can I say that with such certainty? Because he campaigned on the problems when he was a senator. All you have to do is look at his speeches. This one is from May 12, 2008, given at Charleston, West Virginia.

We know that over the last eight years, we’ve already fallen short of meeting this test. We all learned about the deplorable conditions that were discovered at places like Fort Bragg and Walter Reed. We’ve all walked by a veteran whose home is now a cardboard box on a street corner in the richest nation on Earth. We’ve all heard about what it’s like to navigate the broken bureaucracy of the VA—the impossibly long lines, or the repeated calls for help that get you nothing more than an answering machine.

President Obama campaigned on a problem he now claims he didn’t know existed. What he did in 2008 was just bitch. Like my father, he didn’t want solutions.

And that’s why I’m having such a hard time right now. I’m in the process of accepting that a plurality if not a majority of people just want to bitch and remain unchanged. For someone like me—a person interested in improvement and solutions—it’s truly discouraging that so many of my fellow humans are like this.

There’s no reaching them. One of Dad’s crazy old ladies told us that people were sneaking into her bedroom at night, wearing her dentures, and taking hundred-mile-an-hour joyrides through her house in her wheelchair. When she accused Dad of stealing from her, he was livid.

“The nerve of that woman!” he’d shout. “After all I’ve done for her!”

“But she’s got dementia,” we’d remind him. “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.”

“I know that! But it’s infuriating!”

Obviously he didn’t know that. Another old lady once said to my mother, “If you’re hot, do what I do. Take off your top!”

She took off her blouse and sat there at the dining-room table, naked from the waist up. Dad was appalled.

“Is she out of her mind?” he asked.


He also used to get into fights with a retarded man. This man was a powerful, hulking, belligerent individual who lived on a diet of cake and ice cream. He threw tantrums and refused to do anything anyone asked. One day Dad had to drive him home after a funeral.

“I’m not wearing my seat belt,” the man said. “It hurts my stomach.”

Dad blew up at him. “Fine! Don’t wear your fuckin’ seat belt. We’ll crash, you’ll be killed, and that’ll be the end of it!”

Today Tim had a conversation with our lawyer, who said that the hardest thing he ever did was teach himself to not look for rationality where there is none.

That’s what I’m wrestling with. I don’t like having to write off vast swathes of humanity because they’re irrational. It’s becoming more and more necessary, though. Since dissent is the only unforgivable sin in many circles, they’re now trying to force me to be irrational too.

That’s never going to happen. I worked too hard to achieve clarity. If the price of clarity is isolation, so be it.

I didn’t grow up just like Dad. I try to go to bed each night a slightly better person than I was when I woke up. I can’t tell you how difficult that is.

But I’m up for it. And I’m not complaining.

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