The Woman On The Couch

She’s a young woman in her twenties: smart, energetic, empathetic, self-sufficient, a quick learner.

She’s a full-time medical assistant and part-time babysitter working for lousy pay to support herself and save for medical school. 

She sits on the couch, crying.

Not because of the twelve hour days. Not because of the stress of preparing for the MCAT. Not because of the long drives to the small home in Northeast Philly to visit her little siblings.

Nope. She is crying because her countrymen are being blown-up, shot up, cut-up, and slaughtered by Vladimir Putin.

This young woman and her family immigrated to the US from Ukraine when she was nine and her older brother was eleven— six years before her sister was born, seven years before her twin brothers were born. She was raised in rural Ukraine by her grandfather (who died just a few months ago) and her grandmother. Her parents had to find work in separate nations to feed the family. 

Sixteen years later she is well-educated, hard-working, thoughtful, kind, and ambitious. She doesn’t have a shred of an accent. 

What she does have is a visceral and ethereal bond with her birth country. What she does have is relatives trapped in Ukraine. What she does have is zero— not a prayer’s chance in Hell— of helping them or any of her countrymen. What she does have is a smartphone where she can watch the destruction of a peaceful, beautiful country, while helpless to do anything about it.

So she cries.

She cries while missiles fly and bombs fall, while Putin’s 190,000 troops surround, smash, and smother a country that has never done a thing to harm Russia or Putin— except feed them from it’s bountiful farmland— while politicians from the US and Europe furrow their brows at polls and probabilities, and shrink from their human responsibility to stop the Hitler wannabe.

She cries while Putin thumps his chest and threatens Europe just as Hitler did in 1938. She cries while Putin duplicates Hitler’s attack on Czechoslovakia which led to WWII. She cries while Europe and the US apply Chamberlain-like diplomacy.

She cries while the former President of her new country marvels at Putin’s “genius”, while ratings king Tucker Carlson turns up his snotty little nose at Ukraine and Ukrainians.

She cries while you and I worry about the price of gas, how much vegetables will cost, and if Major League Baseball will open its season on-time. She cries while Americans argue over how to cherry-pick history,  as Ukrainian civilians line up for AK-47’s they don’t yet know how to fire, creating history LIVE and on camera. She cries when Ukrainian marine Vitaly Skakun blows up himself and the bridge he’s standing on to block Russian troops at least for awhile.

She cries because she can’t do anything else.

If that disturbs you as much as it does me, here’s an idea: if you know anyone like this young woman or people from any other countries under Putin’s threat, call them and let them know you care, offer help if they lack anything, or just a shoulder if they don’t. 

Find legitimate places to send help to Ukraine and the 50,000 who have already escaped and thousands more who will flow to countries bordering Ukraine.

Help those who eventually make it to the US. 

And tell Carlson, Trump and their soulless buddies what the troops on Ukraine’s Snake Island told the Russian ship that ordered them to surrender or die: “Go F**K Yourself!”

It’s the response our military heroes have given to enemies from the Revolution forward.

It’s the response we should all give.

It’s the response this young woman would give if she had any alternative. But she doesn’t. So after a day of work, of studying, of babysitting, she sits on her couch. 

And cries.

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

Do you remember what “Bussing” used to be?

My parents trained me to say please and thank you, sir and ma’am, and would you mind passing the salt – Bozo!

OK, I learned the Bozo part from my brothers. 

In elementary school, I learned simple math, simple history and simple English. That’s because my teachers kept telling me how simple their subject and I was – I mean were… Wait a minute…  One “was” becomes a “were” when you add a second “was”, right teacher?

Once I got into high school, I realized how simple teachers were. English was very complicated, not to mention painful, as were history and math. Learning English required reading all kinds of boring books. Math evolved into geometry, trigonometry and algebra! Pure pain.  And history? OMG! It wasn’t just about the US!

College also had enlightening moments. I learned how to drink, get laughed at by pretty girls, and write long papers filled with big words saying nothing. 

The working world taught me that education was less important than kissing a**, and knowing which a** to kiss was critical. It also taught me how much of a waste school was. The only skill required to direct a TV show was timing down to commercial breaks. And TV operates in groups of 60’s, not 10’s. I had to learn a whole new math!

Then came kids: diapers, throwing up, feeding vegetables to the dog under the table and blaming it on siblings or, better yet, cousins when they came to visit. My oldest kid pushed so much spinach down the heater grate, it held up the sale of the house later. 

Grandchildren were so much easier, because I didn’t have to clean up or do anything but watch, laugh, and help them make messes.

You’d think, with all that knowledge, hitting old age would be a snap. Wrong. It’s mind-boggling.

First of all, how old do you have be to be old? My kids thought I was old when they were under 10. That opinion didn’t change in high school, college, entering the workforce, or with the arrival of my grandkids. I may be stepping out on a limb, here, but that disqualifies them in my opinion.

My Match dates don’t care; they’re just glad to see I still have (some of) my hair and can drive a car. 

My doctor’s don’t seem to care, except when they have to accept Medicare. That really ticks them off.

As long as I stay away from mirrors, I’m still virile, handsome, and 25…OK… 40. My wife dumped me because I threw all the mirrors away.

You’re only as old as your jokes, I say.  By the way, what are dad jokes, anyway? And, when you become a grandfather, are you jokes funny again?

As far as I’m concerned, old is anyone older than me, anyone who knows what “bussing” used to be, and anyone who checks obituaries on a daily basis. I only qualify for one of these.

OK… “bussing” is an old person’s term for kissing (I read about it in a history book, I swear)

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