So Many Surprises, So Little Time.

I want to go on record: I don’t like surprises very much. My surprises are usually things like the heater breaking mid-blizzard, the dog pooping in the neighbor’s lawn, or, most recently, my newspaper editor censoring me based on her religious belief. 

No champagne celebrations there.

I was at dinner with friends the other night when one of them looked at her phone and said “Oh, this isn’t good.”

Ruth Bader Ginsberg had just died. 

We all knew Ginsberg was very sick, but that knowledge had been pushed into the background by Covid19, the west coast fires, a record setting hurricane season, Trump’s Trumpiness, the Post Office screwups, China, Russia, the economy… 

So when the death of this kind, perseverant, brilliant voice for equal rights pushed its way through all the other gnawing news, it was not a good surprise. 

And it immediately got worse.

Within an hour of her death Trump announced he would propose a conservative replacement right away. Shortly after, McConnell promised a prompt Senate confirmation hearing.

No surprise there, although I did wonder if Ginsberg’s body was still warm. 

McConnell has placed 30% of the judges in the federal court system since Trump came into power.  That is symbiosis: Trump gets acquitted of impeachment and McConnell gets his own judiciary. 

You know what would have been a surprise, and a big one? If the 2020 McConnell had stood by his 2016 reason for blocking Obama’s choice to replace Justice Scalia (“We must let the voters decide!”). 

But, hey, what’s a little hypocrisy compared to a packed Court? 

It was a touching surprise to hear Ginsberg’s deathbed wish, which she dictated to her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”.

Another surprise was Trump’s reaction: “a little too convenient” and “I don’t know that she said that, or if that was written out by Adam Schiff, and Schumer and Pelosi.” 

Who would say that? OK, in retrospect, not a surprise.

No surprise that all those Republican Senators are falling over themselves to get in line behind Trump and McConnell. Let’s not forget: they were all politicians before they were Trumpites.

Trump’s plan to announce his choice on Friday, the day before Ginsberg’s funeral, or Saturday, the day of her funeral was surprisingly disrespectful, even for him. 

Like so many others, I’m wondering what the “October Surprise” will be. A new war? A vaccine? Congress and Trump produce a real rescue package for the country? Trump gets Covid? Biden gets Covid? The entire Senate gets Covid and can’t replace Ginsberg until February? 

Pelosi gets a new hair dresser?

You know what would be a really great October Surprise? If Covid19 actually did miraculously disappear.

When I was a kid I loved surprises: Good grades, scoring a goal, having a girl return my phone call.

When I had kids, my life was full of surprises…and surprises…and surprises…

Now that my kids are out of the nest, my surprises are fewer and farther apart. It’s nice in a way, although a little boring.

What has surprised me recently is the speed of things, like surprises. Who knew the west coast would explode in flames this summer? Or the Atlantic would produce so many hurricanes, they’d run out of letters for the names? Or the Russians would get away with messing in a second election? Or TV football games would have canned crowd noise? Or Hollywood would have to stop entertaining us? Or Brooks Brothers would go under? Or a virus would cripple the entire world in a matter of weeks? 

Or smiling would become a hidden art? 

Fall is here, right on time. No surprise there. Some comfort in that.

Imagine how comforting it would be to go without any surprises for, say, the next four years.  

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)