Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer

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Staying well during the weird times

Surely you've noticed how unhappy and depressed many folks are. We all now know what many have long suspected: we're living in a class system that's two-tiered. Even Wikipedianew window admits it. Even the New York Times awoke from its comanew window long enough to notice it. We are soon going to have a two-tiered Internetnew window. We have a two-tiered health care systemnew window. I can make links all night long, but we all know what's going on. It went on in 1920, 1930, 1940 . . . it cooled down awhile and started again in the 1970's. Now we're here in 2014, and it's here big-time again. Economic Apartheid. That's when the super-rich suck up all of the planet's wealth, won't let it go, and hold ninety-nine percent of us hostage!

By the way, want to get your mind blown? Really blown? Visit the "Craigslist for the Rich." It's called JamesEdition. I dare you. Here's just a few of the many neat items for sale there as of December 2nd, 2013:

A real Bank Vault, with tons of coins:

bank vault

A cheap (only $ 9,255,480) little yacht:

yacht

A flight simulator for the kiddies:

flight simulator

By the way, the site is for real. Not a spoof. A real thing. And guess what else? It's positively a-buzz with million-dollar deals. A million or two? Nothing. It doesn't count. Matt Zuckerburg and Bill Gates avoid millionaires. They're so . . . well, poor!

I find this all slightly tragic. I mean, are all of the really rich so terribly bored that they need to take baths in gold coins and get into a flight simulator to pretend they're dropping H-bombs on the poorer sections of major cities?

I believe that about ninety percent—maybe even ninety-nine percent of our problems—could be solved if certain people decided to use their money for something other than silly shenanigans like you'll find at that web site. But that is not to be. We are stuck here in this situation, and we better make the best of it.

I have a sort of recipe for getting your life back. It takes courage and hard work, but you'll be surprised . . . you'll start to feel alive again very shortly:

1.) You will have to give up your TV and Internet news-habit, but the news now is so skewed and controlled and filtered and slanted that you won't miss much. If those two girls with the flight simulator get ahold of a real fighter-jet and blow up your house, at least you'll die happy, with a smile on your face! It's better than getting all upset about aliens and weather control and Monsanto and Blackstone and mercenary soldiers and petty despotic regimes and Building #7 theories and the like. Leave those to the tin-foil-hat crowd who operate ham radios at 4am. You'll find that attitude is a big factor in getting through the weird times, the shift away from the world you had previously thought you knew, into a world that's backwards and upside-down and just slightly more familiar to you than the surface of Titan.

2.) You have to find someone to kiss. More than kissing is even better. Whether you're falling in love or just fooling around, you'll find that it's quite impossible to think of Rupert Murdoch or T. Boone Pickens while you are engaged in the pursuit of happiness. Similarly, you will soon discover that it is also quite impossible to engage in the pursuit of happiness while thinking of Rupert Murdoch or T. Boone Pickens. It just works that way.

3.) Not only do you have to give up your TV and Internet news-habit: You need to disconnect the TV. If you don't, you'll be sorry. Now, there are plenty of movies at NetFlicks, but you won't find the old ones there . . . the great movies of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. If you use a service like NetFlicks, be prepared to see many, many end-of-days, apocalyptic, doomsday zombie movies. That seems to be all they're making nowadays! And that will not aid in pursuing your main objective: to forget about the lunacy that goes on all around you, in flight simulators, on yachts, in Washington, D.C., and maybe even right next door.

This is not about "getting off the grid." This is about creating your own separate reality.

4.) Lots of the old movies are available in the bargain bins of Costco or Safeway. Nobody wants them. They're so old. So they're very cheap. Five Frank Capra movies cost us $1.99! And a collection of twenty of Darryl F. Zanuck's biggest hits, real whoppers, cost us a walloping $5! Every single movie there is a winner. And, no zombies! No end-times! Just stories. In glorious black-and-white, stories about love and war and conflict and joy and life and death, with stars like Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn and Lauren Bacall and Jean Arthur and Greta Garbo and Clark Gable and Theresa Wright and James Stewart and Claude Raines. What a wonderful way to spend your money and your time.

5.) Listen to classical music as much as possible. Hopefully there's a 24-hour station in your area. Radio is such a blessing. Nowhere else will you here the beautiful music of Bach and Beethoven and Ravel and Strauss and Stravinsky. If you don't get a classical station, try some classic rock. Anything to take your mind off of the shenanigans taking place just outside your door. It's in the air. If you wake up a little depressed and don't know why . . . well, now you know why. It's in the air. Roll over and turn on that radio ASAP!

6.) Do NOT attempt to become a billionaire. There are only (circa 2014) about 3,000 of them on the planet. If you're reading my blog, the odds are against you. Do not even think of the word. When it comes up in conversation, switch to another, happier subject such as psoriasis or foot fungus. Never try to join such an exclusive club. It's probably not as cool as you think. And even if it is, you don't have the "right stuff."

7.) Relax! You're only here for a minute. 70 or 80 years will slide right by. Be kind, be nice. Or at least pretend to be. Be happy, and enjoy what there is to enjoy. Suffer what there is to suffer. The future just is. And when you walk down a street and you hear someone playing a piano or an organ or a saxophone or a flute or any musical instrument at all, stop and listen. You won't hear it that often anymore nowadays, so stop and listen. It may be good music or it may be bad music—it may not qualify as music at all! But remember: They are trying! So listen to them. It's a sound from yesteryear, a blast from the past. And it is always sweet. My neighbors leave their windows open during the summer in the hopes that I'll play something or other. People swoon over it. Even when I practice, even when I goof up. They know that it's a sound from yesteryear.

8.) None of this is going to work if you drink tap water. Nor will it work if you eat fast food or pig out on TV dinners or frozen prepared foods. Don't expect to be physically and emotionally healthy if you eat at the Golden Arches three times a day. That's not food. It's a food-like substance. And our municipal water supplies are not only full of bacteria and fecal matter, they're full of radioactive wastes and petrochemicals and benzenes and lordy-knows what else.

If prices for good food and decent water keep soaring, you may have to grow your own food and buy bottled water imported from Fiji or Iceland. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but you can't expect to weather these weird times if you're sickly or fat or addicted to the chemicals in Happy-Burgers or are growing tumors everywhere, inside and out.

9.) Laugh as much as possible. The Marx Brothers will make you laugh, as will Laurel and Hardy. I won't give too much advice here, as only you know what you think is funny. But try not to laugh at others. It hurts their feelings. Try to laugh at the truly funny stuff. There's lots of truly funny stuff, and most of it is NOT on YouTube.

10.) Do something kind for another at least once a day.

Well, good luck! That's my 2 cents. I'm sure you have personal things you can add to the list.

I do believe that things will get better for all of us, at some point or another. This is not a survivalist game, however. Do not live in a camouflaged tent in the hills with your 49 unregistered firearms. Do not join a militia in North Dakota and build small thermonuclear devices with your like-minded pals. Do not barricade yourself behind razor-wire and radio-controlled land-mines. That's exactly what will get you zapped. That's exactly what will get you tazed, drugged, wrapped in canvas, and trundled off to a very dark, damp prison somewhere in Eastern Turkey.

Just do the best you can. I know I will . . . I will do the best I can. It has to blow over. After all, change is the only constant, the only thing we can depend on.

Meanwhile, don't put bad stuff into your brain. Don't put bad stuff into your body.

And do as much kissing as possible!

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What do you think this little red button does, Suzie?
We're now in International Waters. We can do ANYTHING we WANT. Uh...what do we do now?
I really NEEDED a bath!