Can you just stop reading?

Can you just stop reading a book that you’ve started? I can’t. I have read a few terrible books cover to cover and while I kept thinking, “this book is terrible,” I couldn’t stop. I can’t help it because this: what if it gets better? What if the author ends up with something profound in the last chapter and I missed it? What if I get to the end and, when it is a complete story, it is really quite touching, or funny, or challenging, or fill-in-the-blank-description? I’ll admit that this has never actually happened to me but, what if?

When books are bad, they generally stay that way.  And the worst, is when books seem ok, good even, and the ending is just so ridiculous you want to vomit what you have read from your brain and never think of it again. Case in point, The Notebook. Really Nicky Sparks!? That was the best you could come up with? Creepy. The Notebook is the ONE time Hollywood got it better than the original (that I know of since I haven’t read everything).

Some books, though, are truly amazing. I was introduced to the author Mary Doria Russell in a college class, and we were assigned The Sparrow. I forget the name of the class something along the lines of “Religion in Popular Culture” or something like that. Anyway, she is amazing. Truly. She blows my mind. Every book she has written I have read and every second that I spent reading them has been worth it. PLEASE read her ASAP!

So the reason this is on my mind today is because I am reading a book that while I enjoy it in the moment, I don’t look forward to it. It isn’t a book that I think is terrible, but I can’t tell where the author is going and I feel like I am going to be very disappointed in the end. Should I stop? Probably. I have spent far too many weeks with this on my bedside table. I need to move on! This size book should have take 2-3 days. There are so many more books on my virtual to-read bookshelf that I should just move on. But, I can’t. I just can’t. What if it gets better?



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Sage Advice From A Senior Millennial

Apparently, I am a Millennial. I generally take issue with that idea. As a child born in 1982, I don’t believe I have any shared generational experience with my 1997 born nephew. But, if I am to be lumped into this group, I feel I have an obligation as a senior member of the generation to say this. Millennials, don’t vote third party! Or fourth or fifth for that matter.

My first presidential election, and the first one for all Millennials, was the Bush- Gore election of 2000. What a fucking disaster! I, of course, was a naïve  18-year old with ideals and a sense of rebellion. Ralph Nader seemed like the guy for me. This was one of the biggest mistakes in my life.

I was so offended by my mother’s disappointed response when I told her who I had voted for.  How dare she, a senior Baby-Boomer-Folk-Hippie, reprimand me for voting for a Green Party candidate?!

But then the next day and the next and into December, we didn’t have a president. The election was very close and, famously, Florida was the contested state with its’ “hanging chads.” It is hard to say exactly, even now, how many people meant to vote for Bush or Gore, but what is known for sure is that in Florida, Ralph Nader racked up 97, 421 votes. 97,421. That number more than covers any margins in the various counts in Florida. Clearly, if Nader hadn’t run, not all of those votes would have gone to Gore. Clearly, most of them would have.  Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court got involved, the recount was halted and Al Gore was forced to concede the election to George W. Bush.

My mother told me the election wasn’t about the best candidate, but the least bad. What a load of shit, right?! Except not. At the time, would I have preferred Nader? Yes. But, in light of history, I’m positive that he would not have been the best leader to guide us through the aftermath of September 11, 2001. I’m glad Ralph Nader didn’t win.  Instead we had W., and we all know where that lead us. I, and many like me, should have set our ideals aside and voted for Gore. He would have had a more level response to 9/11 and, as it turns out, he feels pretty strongly about the environmental issues that concerned (and still concern) me.

If we had a system of coalition government like Britain’s, it would be perfectly fine to vote ideals. You can pick your cause, vote for those candidates, and leave it to the elected officials to do the compromising. We don’t have that system. Like it or not, we have to do the compromising for our candidates. Clinging to ideals makes us unable to compromise, as we have certainly learned in the past 6-8 years, or 16.

Ultimately, these are the things you must ask yourself before casting your vote this November. First, does this candidate have a chance? I’ll answer this one for you. If they are not Democrat or Republican, then no. Not a chance in hell. Next, is this candidate likely to at least consider something resembling my “pie in the sky” ideals? Finally, if the worst happens, and we experience 9/11.2.0, is this candidate likely to take a measured, rational response that would at least consider sensitivities that concern me?

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” –The Rolling Stones

Baby Millennials, please listen to me. Make the compromise and pick the least bad candidate. You just might find she’s just what you need.



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