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JOE returns Ap. 6
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This florid girlie Bleat banner was brought to you courtesy of a snowstorm last Friday, when the simple pleasures the picture depicts – reading in a bower at sunset – seemed as far away as a future where our power is supplied by a fused quantum singularity suspended on the moon in “anti-space” and connected to earth by interdimensional conduits. Yes, that future.

That was Friday. Now it’s Spring, but the snow is still heavy on the ground, a wet sodden mass that weighs on the world like a sopped quilt. Winter is the only season we’re glad to see go, and it knows it. Winter always leaves with spite and sneers. And still every year it comes back after fall, and we think: how lovely it is.

Good weekend; Gnat had friends over to make Easter eggs and cookies. She got a palm in chuch on Sunday and walked around shouting HALLUSANNAH, a combination of Hallelujah and Hosanna that sounds sounds like some sort of Italian dish. I did next to nothing, and it felt good; just sank into a nice passive state, like a sponge in the sink. Should have worked on the book, but something told me to stand back and let it cool. Everything will get done. Come April First I will put a period to it all and start again.

The Schiavo matter is the Elian Gonzalez case of 2005, a person who stands at the nexus of a variety of irreconcilable issues. Some people wouldn’t care at all if she died, unless she had been the sole occupant of a hospital in Baghdad leveled by an errant Tomahawk; then you’d see her face in every protest march. Some see another step towards the triumph of euthanasia – they stop at the idea of someone being starved against the wishes of her parents, and there’s not another fact that matters. Then there are the people for whom this is an opportunity for horrid mockery, the people who care about nothing (but will find someday that nothing cares so much about them it has taken over their hearts completely.) Others demonstrate their enthusiasm for pawing through the casket to find the silver lining. Then there are those who brim with passion not just for the state-approved quietus, but with fury for those who oppose it. Fury and impatience. I’m not talking about the people who regard Schiavo as brain dead and believe her guardian should be allowed to carry out what he insists are her wishes, without the state’s intercession – I mean those who show up on message boards and comment forums sneering about vegetables-in-pampers, and have a good larf pointing at the christers with their imaginary friend in the sky who tells them that an angel will come down and give her a brain like the Wizard of Oz or somethin’. It’s this combination of nihilism, cynicism and a flat nasty refusal to even consider the possibility of transcendence, puffed up with that brackish snarkier-than-thou style that makes the Comic Book Guy the patron saint of the Usenet.

And I’m going where with this? No idea. But today I thought of this guy.

Captain Christopher Pike of the Enterprise, shown here after the accident that occurred when something or other lost structural integrity and blasted him with so much radiation he no longer looked at all like the guy who played the character in the pilot. In retrospect, you would have thought that science would have advanced to the point where he could communicate through some neural interface, but never mind. I remember being horrified by him as a kid, because it seemed the perfect smothering claustrophobia nightmare: unable to exist outside a motorized iron lung, face scarred to immobility, unable to communicate beyond a pathetic beep. But it never occurred to us why he was still alive, why someone hadn’t slipped him the needle or put a pillow over his face in the dark of night. That didn’t seem like an option. No, you suffered, and you suffered like this.

Of course, we all know what happened, right? An elaborate plan was set in motion to steal the flagship of the fleet, proceed to a restricted location one could not visit without pain of execution (if I remember correctly, going to Talos IV was the sole capital crime left on the books – which meant that the death penalty had been eliminated, presumably as a sign of enlightenment) and return the crippled man to the land of the giant throbby-head-vein librarians so he could live out his life in his head, free from physical constraints.

Not an option we have today, of course. I mean, even if you could get a starship, good luck finding Talos IV. It’s not like there’s a map in the glove compartment.

But wouldn’t it have been easier for Spock just to come back and kill Pike for his own good? Wouldn’t it have been logical?

I’ll stop here before someone feels compelled to send an email comparing Terry Schiavo to Spock in that horrible episode in which his brain was gone – but even then, you’ll note, they beamed down and looked around for the damn thing. In short: err on the side of life is not a bad motto to keep in mind. This seems simple enough. I respect those who nod, count to three, and offer a soft “however” so that we may refine the particulars. But I don’t have much time for those who hear “err on the side of life” and automatically bristle, because they hear the voice of someone who, damn their black and God-addled brain, once sent $10 to a politician who opposed parental notification law that did not have a judicial review.

You may not always agree with that sort of person. You may have no need for them. But you never think you have need of any chocks until you're in the truck, and you realize it's rolling down the hill. Backwards.