January 4th, 2017


Everybody Knows...

Today I read that our bodies now have an extra organ. Obviously, no new organs have snuck into our bodies in the middle of the night. Sometimes what was always there is just classified as an organ now. It's funny to think that you know the human body and then oops, science intervenes, and suddenly you don't. You have a mesentery somewhere in your digestive system and researchers aren't even sure what it does.

2016 felt a little like discovering there a new and mysterious organ in my body and that organ has cancer. I am not young, my few remaining readers. I have a career (I got a very fancy promotion in 2016) in which I am a respected expert rather than an international bright young thing. I have a house (or, as one much-younger visitor pointed out during my holiday Christmas party "she has a house that matches her apron"). I am reasonably competent at my demanding hobby. I speak authoritatively on a number of subject unrelated to my work. I travel the world. Indeed, I travel the world so much that I am recognized by the security guy at the International terminal at SFO. I have a happy life with J and our cats.

While 2016 was busy trying to kill as much of my childhood as possible (David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Prince) that's what I did. I ran down a giant sand dune in Namibia when J and I trekked across the country for two weeks. We saw a significant percentage of the world's wild roaming Black Rhinos (one) and endless number of desert-adapted elephants and a lioness stalked us. I touched a cheetah's paw--the cheetah was passed out. I flew to Chicago to go to dinner. J and I went to London to see Lush play. I was in Thailand when the King died. I released malware research and took on a post-Soviet government. I got drunk with a guy who used to tour with Bowie in a Doha hotel bar. I sat for my painter in Berlin and she made me into watercolors.

But Brexit and the US election gutted me. You think you know the world as well as you know your body. You think you know what all of your organs are. But suddenly you have a mesentery and it's come down with Stage IV Fascism. I am lucky because it is my job to fight and I will not have to spend any time worrying that I am not doing enough. And I'm unlucky because for ten hours a day, five days a week, I cannot escape what is happening.

So while everyone is resolving to eat better or lose weight, drink less or relax more, I am resolved that in 2017 I will fight like hell. This year is going to kill my cat and break my heart and destroy democracy as we know it. 2017 can come at me. I've got a broken bottle in my hand and I am ready.