What a June! Cheney uses f-word, I turn 70!
So, the vice president of the most powerful nation on earth is caught using the f-word on the floor of the U.S. Senate, an act that displayed little in the way of refinement.If Bill Clinton had uttered the same expletive while he was in office, it is safe to say that the religious right would have gone ballistic. But Dick Cheney’s indiscretion seems not to have been all that offensive, nor was the fact that, while he more or less admitted using the f-word, he wouldn’t apologize for his crude behavior. Apparently it’s OK for a Republican to use one of the most disgusting words in the English language? I fail to see much in the way of moral high ground in such usage but, as we all know, the current administration is really big on Christian values – or so we are told time and time again.I could feign outrage, but I would be a hypocrite. With a certain amount of shame, I must admit using that nasty word far more often than has been necessary or appropriate. While administration representatives may not use the f-word with regularity, at least not in public, it most certainly is implied in their conduct toward critics or to those trying to obtain information about their administration and its obsession with secrecy.The prime example of that attitude was and is displayed in the administration’s refusal to let the American public know whom Cheney met with in drawing up the nation’s energy policy. In fact, any attempt to penetrate this administration’s secrecy is generally greeted with stonewalling that could be translated as a firm “Bleep off!” So Cheney’s vulgar indiscretion on the Senate floor, firing a tasteless “f— you” at a Democratic senator might be seen as nothing more than a terse summation of George W.’s attitude toward the American public in general.Ah, but June was too good a month to dwell on the buffoonery in Washington, D.C. We have finally been receiving some moisture; John Kerry came to our valley and suggested that a Woody Creek neighbor of mine, Hunter S. Thompson, might make a great running mate (a thought I would second in a heartbeat), and I just happened to have a somewhat significant birthday in early June.In this era of longevity, reaching 70 years probably is not much of an accomplishment; however, knowing my past lifestyle and all, it did come as something of a surprise. I must confess to reverting back to some of my earlier bad habits on my birthday, but it was an evening filled with good friends and a ton of fun.More important than my birthday, for me at least, was the fact that June 11 marked the 419th day I had gone without a cigarette. There is no hubris in that statement, because I still desperately want a smoke and while I gave up the cigarettes, I have not given up nicotine. I continue to consume nicotine lozenges, the crutch I leaned on to abandon smoking.My best estimate is that I smoked (always non-filters) for 56 or 58 years. I tried endless times to give up the addiction, including participation in a number of support groups and even one fling at hypnotism, but each attempt ended in failure. I more or less reached the stage where I accepted the fact that I was a spineless wimp, completely lacking in will power.Then, about three years ago, I had to put down an old friend and had pretty much made up my mind not to get another dog. That lasted about three days. I picked up the paper and there was Flapjack staring out at me from his jail cell, and I knew I had taken the bait. By now I was smoking close to four packages of cigarettes a day and my new buddy, who was about 2 years old, was a constant companion, traveling with me in the car and sitting with me in my cabin.It finally dawned on me that I was forcing him to breathe all of my secondhand smoke; I was turning Flapjack into a chain smoker. Considering how important a dog’s sense of smell is to its well-being, I knew I was being unconscionably unfair. So I finally had a good reason to quit smoking – I may not have given a damn about my own health, but I wasn’t about to hurt my dog! Group therapies and hypnotists may work for some in fighting the smoking habit, but having a dear friend, such as a dog that you care about, might be the best motivation of all.Which leads me to another beautiful thing that occurred in June: On June 9, Pitkin County gave final approval to build a new animal shelter, a facility desperately needed for many years.Both public and private funds are being used to construct the new shelter and on July 31 there will be the Bow-Wow, Meow Ball at the Circle R Ranch in Woody Creek. The second annual benefit is something of a top-shelf affair, one that is beyond the reach of my meager budget, but if you can’t make the ball, you can still make a contribution to the Aspen Animal Shelter. Every little bit helps, as they say.And you never know – a dog or a cat may come along and help you break a mean addiction. Just ask Flapjack!This is the 306th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where the dog days of summer are always welcomed as long as some actual dogs show up.
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